TERMS USED IN LAW

A Certiorari.

A writ issued by a superior court, evoking matter which would otherwise have been been tried before an inferior court.

Affidavit.

A declaration on oath.

Affirmation.

A solemn declaration made by one to whom an oath has no significance. It has the same weight as an oath, and incurs the same penalties for perjury.

A priori.

Arguing from the cause to the effect.

Champerty.

The maintenance of a party in a law suit upon condition of sharing with him the thing at issue if successful.

Civil Action.

A non-criminal action brought in a County Court, These actions deal with petty squabbles regarding money, etc.

Co-Respondent. —

T he person with whom the defendant in a divorce action is cited as having committed adultery. A male corespondent may, in the event of a decree being granted, be mulct in the costs of both the husband and wife.

Coroner.

An officer of the Crown, generally a lawyer or a doctor, appointed to enquire into unnatural deaths, fires, etc.

Decree Nisi.

A preliminary order granted by a Divorce Judge which is followed at the end of six months, if there is no King’s Proctor’s intervention, by a ‘Decree Absolute.’

Deposition. —

Evidence taken down in writing and signed in the presence of a Commissioner for Oaths, etc., by a witness who, owing to illness or being overseas, is unable to appear personally in court.

Distraint.

The seizure of goods, etc., to be sold in order to pay a debt.

Elisor.

The person entrusted with the work of appointing a jury in the event of recusation (objection) against a sheriff.

Escrow.

A document which is not to be delivered to the person to whom it is addressed until certain conditions are fulfilled.

Ex Gratia.

A payment made, not under compulsion, but as an act of grace.

Fee Simple.

Owning in heredity, as a Freehold.

Force Majeure.

Outside human control. An act of God.

Garnishee.

A method of obtaining payment from defendant’s debtors, under a court order, of money owing to defendant. This is claimed by the court for the benefit of the plaintiff.

Heir at Law.

The legitimate heir to an estate, as opposed to a testamentary heir.

Injunction.

A court order restraining the performance of a certain action, pending enquiries.

Inquest.

An enquiry into the cause of a death or a fire, by the coroner.

Jurisdiction.

The area under the control of a certain court, assize, &c.

Larceny.

A theft by a person who has a legitimate right to be on the premises at the time (as opposed to Burglary and Housebreaking) .

Mainour.

Stolen property found on the person of a thief.

Mala-in-se.

A n ac t—a s murder—naturally bad, and rebuked by morality, independently of the law.

Mala-prohibita.

An act, prohibited by law, but not necessarily immoral, as Poaching, etc.

Mal-Fcasance.

An act of negligence due to sheer carelessness.

Non-Fcasance.

An unconscious act of negligence.

Mayhem.

The legal expression for the loss of a limb.

Misdemeanour.

A breach of a petty by-law.

Jplaint.

The legal term for a c^’plaint in a court.

Plea.

The legal term for an excuse.

Post Mortem.— ’After Death.’ Generally signifying an autopsy or medical examination of a corpse.

Precatory Words.

An indefinite expression in a will, as ‘I hope,’ ‘I desire,’ ‘I expect.’ Recusation.

An act in law, challenging a sheriff or judge.

Royalty.

A commission paid to an author or inventor.

Sine die.

Without date.

Suit.

The act of suing at law.

Surely.

One who acts as a bond for another, for the attendance of the latter or payment by him, or for his good behaviour.

Test Act.

An Act repealed in 1828, to ensure that all public officials should be members of the Church of England.

Tort.

An actionable wrong.

Turbary. Common of.

The right to take peat or turf from the land of another.

Warrant.

An authority, signed by a Justice of the Peace, for the arrest of a person, or to search premises.

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