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Legal Terms Starting With A

Abatement

A reduction in some amount that is owed, usually granted by the person to whom the debt is owed. Read the full definition of Abatement on Duhaime.org

Abbacinare

A barbaric form of corporal punishment meted out in the mipive ages where persons would be permanently blinded by the pressing of hot irons to the open eyes. Read the full definition of Abbacinare on Duhaime.org

Abduction

To take someone away from a place without that person's consent or by fraud. Read the full definition of Abduction on Duhaime.org

Abet

The act of encouraging or inciting another to do a certain thing, such as a crime. Read the full definition of Abet on Duhaime.org

Ab Initio

Latin: from the start; from the beginning. Read the full definition of Ab Initio on Duhaime.org

Aboriginal

Pertaining to things or land or person or members of a race, which are indigenous to, or first occupied a specified territory. Read the full definition of Aboriginal on Duhaime.org

Absolute

Final, perfected, complete and unconditional. Read the full definition of Absolute on Duhaime.org

Absolute Discharge

A sentence of a person guilty of a crime in which the accused is deemed to have not been convicted; no criminal record issues as regards the offense for which an absolute discharge is granted. Read the full definition of Absolute Discharge on Duhaime.org

Absolute Privilege

An absolute defence to an otherwise defamatory statement because of the venue or context which the statement was made. Read the full definition of Absolute Privilege on Duhaime.org

Acceleration Clause

A clause in a contract that states that if a payment is missed, or some other default occurs (such as the debtor becoming insolvent), then the contract is fully due immediately. Read the full definition of Acceleration Clause on Duhaime.org

Acceptance

The final and unequivocal expression of assent to another's offer to contract. Read the full definition of Acceptance on Duhaime.org

Access

A non-custodian parent's bundive of rights or times and days during which he/she has exclusive time with the child of the separated parents. Read the full definition of Access on Duhaime.org

Accord and Satisfaction

A term of contract law by which one party, having complied with its obligation under a contract, accepts some type of compensation from the other party (usually money and of a lesser value) in lieu of enforcing the contract and holding the other party to their obligation. Read the full definition of Accord and Satisfaction on Duhaime.org

Accounts

The written, detailed or summary, record of a person's managament or administration of an estate or of a particular matter. Read the full definition of Accounts on Duhaime.org

Accretion

The imperceptible and gradual apition to land by the slow action of water. Read the full definition of Accretion on Duhaime.org

Acquiescence

Action or inaction which binds a person legally even though it was not intended as such. Read the full definition of Acquiescence on Duhaime.org

Acquittal

A decision by a judge that a person accused of a crime is not guilty. Read the full definition of Acquittal on Duhaime.org

Act

A bill which has passed through the various legislative steps required for it and which has become law Read the full definition of Act on Duhaime.org

Act of God

An event which is caused solely by the effect of nature or natural causes and without any interference by humans whatsoever. Read the full definition of Act of God on Duhaime.org

Actual Total Loss

Property that is completely destroyed, or lost and irretrievable; a term of insurance and maritime law. Read the full definition of Actual Total Loss on Duhaime.org

Actus Reus

A prohibited act. Read the full definition of Actus Reus on Duhaime.org

Actus Reus Non Facit Reum Nisi Mens Sit Rea

Conviction of a crime requires proof of a criminal act and intent. Read the full definition of Actus Reus Non Facit Reum Nisi Mens Sit Rea on Duhaime.org

Ad Colligendum Bona

When a person dies and there is no apparent executor or administrator, a person can be appointed by Court order and for the limited and sole purpose of collecting, inventorizing and preserving the assets of the deceased until an appropriate full-fledged administrator can be found or appointed. Read the full definition of Ad Colligendum Bona on Duhaime.org

Ad Damnum

Latin: refers to the parts or sections of a petition that speaks to the damages that were suffered and claimed by the plaintiff. Read the full definition of Ad Damnum on Duhaime.org

Apendum

An attachment to a written document. Read the full definition of Apendum on Duhaime.org

Ademption

When property identified in a will cannot be given to the beneficiary because it no longer belonged to the deceased at the time of death. Read the full definition of Ademption on Duhaime.org

Adhesion Contract

A fine-print consumer form contract which is generally given to consumers at point-of-sale, with no opportunity for negotiation as to it's terms, and which, typically, sets out the terms and conditions of the sale to advantage the seller. Read the full definition of Adhesion Contract on Duhaime.org

Ad Hoc

Latin: for this purpose; for a specific purpose. Read the full definition of Ad Hoc on Duhaime.org

Ad Infinitum

Latin: forever; without limit; indefinitely. Read the full definition of Ad Infinitum on Duhaime.org

Adjective Law

Procedural law. Read the full definition of Adjective Law on Duhaime.org

Adjourn

The postponement, suspension and interruption of an ongoing hearing or meeting to resume at some future date; to break off for later resumption. Read the full definition of Adjourn on Duhaime.org

Ad Litem

Latin: for the suit. Read the full definition of Ad Litem on Duhaime.org

Administrative Law

That body of law which applies for hearings before quasi-judicial or quasi-judicial organizations such as administrative tribunals, or the underlying regulatory agency. Read the full definition of Administrative Law on Duhaime.org

Administrative Tribunal

Hybrid adjudicating authorities which render judicial decisions. Read the full definition of Administrative Tribunal on Duhaime.org

Administrator

A person who manages (administers) the assets of another, such as an estate administrator or the administrator of an insurance plan. Read the full definition of Administrator on Duhaime.org

Admiralty

Law or judicial body having to do with, or jurisdiction over, shipping and use of the sea. Read the full definition of Admiralty on Duhaime.org

Adoption

To take as one's own. Read the full definition of Adoption on Duhaime.org

ADR

Abbreviation for alternative dispute resolution. Read the full definition of ADR on Duhaime.org

Adultery

Voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and another person who is not their married spouse. Read the full definition of Adultery on Duhaime.org

Adverse Possession

The possession of land, without legal title, for a period of time sufficient to become recognized as legal owner. Read the full definition of Adverse Possession on Duhaime.org

Adverse Witness

The right of a party calling a witness to show that the witness made a prior inconsistent statement. Read the full definition of Adverse Witness on Duhaime.org

Affiant

A person that is sworn to an affidavit; who gives evidence by way of an affidavit. Read the full definition of Affiant on Duhaime.org

Affidavit

A statement which before being signed, the person signing takes an oath that the contents are, to the best of their knowledge, true. Read the full definition of Affidavit on Duhaime.org

Affirmative Action

A reverse discrimination law, program or activity that has as its object the amelioration of conditions of individuals who are socially or economically disadvantaged. Read the full definition of Affirmative Action on Duhaime.org

Affray

A fight between two or more persons in a public place so as to cause terror to the public. Read the full definition of Affray on Duhaime.org

Affreightment

A transportation contract whereby a transportation company, shipowner or operator agrees to carry goods in return for a sum of money, the sum being paid called freight. Read the full definition of Affreightment on Duhaime.org

Agency Law

The law of agents and their principals as between themselves and third-parties. Read the full definition of Agency Law on Duhaime.org

Agenda

A term of parliamentary law and procedure referring to a program, written notice and order of business at an upcoming meeting. Read the full definition of Agenda on Duhaime.org

Agent

A person who has received the power to act on behalf of another, binding that other person as if he or she were themselves making the decisions. Read the full definition of Agent on Duhaime.org

Age of Majority

An age generally specified by statute, at which time, upon an individual is given the full gamut of legal rights and responsibilities generally available to an adult of sound mind. Read the full definition of Age of Majority on Duhaime.org

Aggravated Damages

Damages awarded by a court to reflect the exceptional harm done to a plaintiff of a tort action. Read the full definition of Aggravated Damages on Duhaime.org

Alimony

An amount given to one spouse to another while they are separated. Read the full definition of Alimony on Duhaime.org

Alliance

A military treaty between two or more states, providing for a mutually-planned offensive, or for assistance in the case of attack on any member. Read the full definition of Alliance on Duhaime.org

Alien

An individual citizen of a state but so characterized by and while in transit, working, residing or otherwise in the territory of another state. Read the full definition of Alien on Duhaime.org

Alienate

To sell or give completely and without reserve; to transfer title to somebody else. Read the full definition of Alienate on Duhaime.org

Allodial

Land ownership that is unfettered, outright and absolute. Read the full definition of Allodial on Duhaime.org

Allonge

A piece of paper which has been attached to a contract, a check or any promissory note, on which to ap signatures because there is not enough room on the main document. Read the full definition of Allonge on Duhaime.org

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Also known as 'ADR'; methods by which legal conflicts and disputes are resolved privately and other than through litigation in the public courts, usually through one of two forms: mediation or arbitration. Read the full definition of Alternative Dispute Resolution on Duhaime.org

Alternative Measures

Canada; a much lighter disposition of a criminal charge regarding an adult accused who would be prepared to plead guilty and which does not result in a criminal record or incarceration but instead usually results in a mild penalty such as community service, an apology to the victim or counseling. Read the full definition of Alternative Measures on Duhaime.org

Amalgamation

The merging of two things together to form one such as the amalgamation of different companies to form a single company. Read the full definition of Amalgamation on Duhaime.org

Ambassador

A citizen that has been officially asked by their country to live in another country in order to legally represent it. Read the full definition of Ambassador on Duhaime.org

Ambulatory

something which is not cast in stone; which can be changed or revoked, such as a will. Read the full definition of Ambulatory on Duhaime.org

Amend

To change, to revise; to formally change a statement on the record or the wording of a written document, such as a statute. Read the full definition of Amend on Duhaime.org

Amicus curiae

Latin: friend of the court. Read the full definition of Amicus curiae on Duhaime.org

Anarchy

Absence of law. Read the full definition of Anarchy on Duhaime.org

Ancillary Relief

Secondary relief claimed by a litigant which is subordinate or subservient to a principal claim. Read the full definition of Ancillary Relief on Duhaime.org

And/Or

Any combination of two options; one, the other (either), or both. Read the full definition of And/Or on Duhaime.org

Animal

A creature or living thing, other than human, being able to move of its own accord. Read the full definition of Animal on Duhaime.org

Animus Contrahendi

Latin: an intention to contract. Read the full definition of Animus Contrahendi on Duhaime.org

Annulment

To make void forever; to cancel an event or judicial proceeding both retroactively and for the future so that in the eyes of the law, it never occurred. Read the full definition of Annulment on Duhaime.org

Antedate

To date back; retroactively. To date a document to a time before it was written. Read the full definition of Antedate on Duhaime.org

Antenuptial

An event or document which pre-dates a marriage. Read the full definition of Antenuptial on Duhaime.org

Antichresis

Civil law: the pledge of real property as security for a debt. Read the full definition of Antichresis on Duhaime.org

Anti-trust

(USA) 'Anti-trust' legislation is designed to prevent businesses from price-setting or other secret collaboration which circumvents the natural forces of a free market economy and gives those engaging in the anti-trust conduct, a covert competitive edge. Read the full definition of Anti-trust on Duhaime.org

Apostacy

The ancient criminal offence of not being Christian or atheism. Read the full definition of Apostacy on Duhaime.org

Appeal

To ask a more senior court or person to review a decision of a subordinate court or person. Read the full definition of Appeal on Duhaime.org

Appearance

The act of showing up in court as either plaintiff, defendant, accused or any other party to a civil or criminal suit. Read the full definition of Appearance on Duhaime.org

Apportionment

The division and distribution of something into proportionate parts; to each according to their share. Read the full definition of Apportionment on Duhaime.org

Appraisal

The informed and objective inspection and estimation of a thing's worth. Read the full definition of Appraisal on Duhaime.org

Appraisement

The inspection and appraisal or valuation of property, especially vessels, such as by a court-appointed surveyor, before its judicial sale, thus allowing the court to make an informed decision as to whether the judicial sale price is fair to the parties, particularly where there are competing claims for the proceeds of sale. Read the full definition of Appraisement on Duhaime.org

Appurtenance

Something that, although detached, stands as part of another thing. Read the full definition of Appurtenance on Duhaime.org

Arbiter

An alternate term for arbitrator; preferred in some jurisdictions such as Scotland. Read the full definition of Arbiter on Duhaime.org

Arbitration

An agreement to submit a dispute for a hearing and binding decision by a third-party, an arbitrator(s), who is neither a judge or a Court Read the full definition of Arbitration on Duhaime.org

Arbitration Agreement

A contract between two or more parties to refer a dispute to arbitration. Read the full definition of Arbitration Agreement on Duhaime.org

Arbitration Act

A statute that sets out default terms for the conduct of arbitration between parties to a dispute. Read the full definition of Arbitration Act on Duhaime.org

Arbitration Clause

A clause in a contract which requires a party to refer a dispute to arbitration. Read the full definition of Arbitration Clause on Duhaime.org

Arbitration Rules

The rules of procedure that govern a particular arbitration. Read the full definition of Arbitration Rules on Duhaime.org

Arbitrator

The adjudicating and presiding officer of a dispute submitted to arbitration. Read the full definition of Arbitrator on Duhaime.org

Arbuckle Rights

The right of an accused to be sentenced by the judge who took his guilty plea. Read the full definition of Arbuckle Rights on Duhaime.org

Armchair Rule

A rule of interpretation that a judge, called upon to interpret an otherise unclear legal document, shall take into account the circumstances in which the document was created. Read the full definition of Armchair Rule on Duhaime.org

Armed Robbery

Robbery committed while the person accused is armed with a dangerous weapon. Read the full definition of Armed Robbery on Duhaime.org

Arraignment

In USA criminal law, the formal appearance of an accused person to hear, and to receive a copy of, the charge against him or her, in the presence of a judge, and to then enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. Read the full definition of Arraignment on Duhaime.org

Arrears

A debt that is not paid on the due date aps up and accumulates as 'arrears'. Read the full definition of Arrears on Duhaime.org

Arrest

The detainment or restraint of a person or thing for the purposes of determining legal rights as regards a thing, or suspicion of criminal activity as regards a person. Read the full definition of Arrest on Duhaime.org

Arson

The intentional setting of a fire to a building. Read the full definition of Arson on Duhaime.org

Assault

The touching of another person with an intent to harm, without that person's consent. Read the full definition of Assault on Duhaime.org

Assign

To sell, give or otherwise transfer some legal right or responsibility to another. Read the full definition of Assign on Duhaime.org

Assisted Suicide

An attempt to take one's own life with the intentional assistance of another person. Read the full definition of Assisted Suicide on Duhaime.org

Association

A form of organizational structure which is institutionally operated on a cost recovery basis, for which incorporation is extended by the government or, in some jurisdictions, as an unincorporated association of individuals, for a set of purposes set out in statute such as religious, scientific, social, literary, educational, recreational or benevolent purposes, and generally operated as nearly as possible at cost. Read the full definition of Association on Duhaime.org

Assumpsit

Medieval era action for breach of contract. Read the full definition of Assumpsit on Duhaime.org

Athens Passenger Convention

Formally, the Athens Convention relating to the Carriage of Passengers and their Luggage by Sea (PAL), 1974, an international treaty which establishes a regime of liability for damage suffered by passengers carried on a seagoing vessel. Read the full definition of Athens Passenger Convention on Duhaime.org

Attorn or Attornment

To consent, implicitly or explicitly, to a transfer of a right. Read the full definition of Attorn or Attornment on Duhaime.org

Attorney

An alternate word for lawyers or barrister and solicitor, used mostly in the USA. Read the full definition of Attorney on Duhaime.org

Audi Alteram Partem

Latin; literally 'hear the other side'. Read the full definition of Audi Alteram Partem on Duhaime.org

Automatism

An act done by a person who is not conscious of what he is doing. Read the full definition of Automatism on Duhaime.org

Autrefois Acquit

Previously acquitted; an accused cannot be tried for a crime because the record shows he has already been subjected to trial for the same conduct and was acquitted. Read the full definition of Autrefois Acquit on Duhaime.org

A vinculo matrimonii

Latin: of marriage. Read the full definition of A vinculo matrimonii on Duhaime.org

Avulsion

Land accretion that occurs by the erosion or apition of one's land by the supen and unexpected change in a river stream such as a flash flood. Read the full definition of Avulsion on Duhaime.org

Avunculus

Latin: a mother's brother. 'Avuncular' refers to an uncle. Read the full definition of Avunculus on Duhaime.org

Award

The decision of an arbitrator. Read the full definition of Award on Duhaime.org