Legal Terminology Online

Here are some of the legal terminology and definitions from the Legal dictionary used in a court of law.


Acquittal: when a defendant in a criminal case is not found guilty by a judge or a jury.

Administrator: A person that the court appoints to manage the probate of the estate of a person without a valid Will.


Affidavit: A statement of fact.

Affiant: A person who makes an affidavit.

Appeal: a written request to a higher court to reverse or modify the judgment of a trial.

Arbitration: hearing of and decision on a dispute between parties by an arbitrator.

Arraignment: takes time the first time the accused goes before the judge. At that time, the charges are read, and the defendant is asked to respond with a plea of guilty or not guilty.

Annulment: when a marriage is dissolved and treated as it never happened by a court.

Arrest Warrant: a document issue by a magistrate authorizing the police to arrest someone.

Assault: when a person attempts to physically harm or make another person feel threatened. Actual physical contact is not necessary.

Assets: Anything owned with monetary value. This includes both real property or personal property.

Audit: an examination of a person or business financial records or taxes.

Bail: the money that is paid to the court in order to make sure an arrested person that is being release will show up at all required court appearances.

Bailiff: officer of the court employed to maintain order in the courtroom.

Battery: when a person makes a physical contact with the intention to harm another person. Unintentional harmful contact is not considered battery.

Beneficiary: A person or party named in a Will to receive a portion of the estate. A beneficiary may also be a person who receives payment from a life insurance policy or income from a trust.

Bequeath: To give personal property through a Will.

Bequests: A gift of property made through a Will.

Bill of Sale: Document showing all parties to a sale, the type of property sold, and the price.

Breach: Failure to observe the terms of a law or a promise.

Burden of Proof: duty to present evidence supporting an assertion of charge.

Buyer: A consumer.

Bylaws: the rules that governs a corporation’s actions or internal affairs.

Chattels: A moveable item of personal property.

Check Stop Payment: Request to bank to not honor a particular check.

Civil Lawsuit: deals with private rights and remedies that are no criminal.

Claim of Lien: Notifies third parties of a monetary interest in property where work was performed.

Claims: To demand or ask for as rightfully belonging or due.

Closing Arguments: the party’s counsel final statement to judge and jury before deliberation, summing up the case and asking the jury to rule in the party’s favor.

Codicil: An amendment to an original Will that changes or modifies the Will.

Collateral: Security given as a pledge for the fulfillment of an obligation.

Commercial Lease: Agreement to rent commercial property.

Complaint: document used to initiate the action in small claims court.

Confidentiality Agreement: Agreement between two or more parties to keep certain information secret.

Consign: To give into someone's care.

Consignment Agreement: Agreement to buy goods and sell on consignment.

Consignor: A person or a firm that consigns goods to a dealer.

Consulting Services Agreement: Defines tasks to be completed by consultant.

Contingent Beneficiary: A person designated to become a beneficiary if the first beneficiary predeceases you.

Contractor Agreement: Basic agreement to perform construction.

Court Clerk: office that records the documents and keeps the files.

Creditor: A person to whom money is owed.

Criminal Action: action brought by the government to punish offenses against the public.

Custodian: A person who has the custody or care of something.

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