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Legal Terms Beginning with M

Magna Carta

Charter to which subscribed King John of England on June 12, 1215 in which a basic set of limits were set on the King's powers. Read the full definition of Magna Carta on Duhaime.org

Mailbox Rule

A contract law exception that makes a mailed acceptance of an offer valid as of posting. Read the full definition of Mailbox Rule on Duhaime.org

Maintenance

Refers to the obligation of one person to contribute, in part or in whole, to the cost of living of another person. Read the full definition of Maintenance on Duhaime.org

Maladministration

Abuse of power by public officers. Read the full definition of Maladministration on Duhaime.org

Malfeasance

Doing something which is illegal. Compare with misfeasance and nonfeasance. Read the full definition of Malfeasance on Duhaime.org

Malice

Spite or ill-will. Read the full definition of Malice on Duhaime.org

Malicious Prosecution

A tort which compensates a person for the malicious, unfounded and unsuccessful institution of criminal or disciplinary proceedings. Read the full definition of Malicious Prosecution on Duhaime.org

Mandamus

A writ which commands an individual, organization (eg. government), administrative tribunal or court to perform a certain action, usually to correct a prior illegal action or a failure to act in the first place. Read the full definition of Mandamus on Duhaime.org

Manslaughter

Unlawful killing of a human being without malice. Read the full definition of Manslaughter on Duhaime.org

Mansuetae Naturae

Latin: animals which are now generally domestic, presumed gentle and readily tamed, such as dogs, cats, cows and horses. Read the full definition of Mansuetae Naturae on Duhaime.org

Mareva Injunction

A temporary injunction that freezes the assets of a party pending further order or final resolution by the Court. Read the full definition of Mareva Injunction on Duhaime.org

Maritime Law

A very specialized body of law particular to transportation by water. Read the full definition of Maritime Law on Duhaime.org

Maritime Lien

A lien which attaches to a ship and its cargo. Read the full definition of Maritime Lien on Duhaime.org

MARPOL 73/78

Acronym for the international treaty for the prevention of pollution from ships, 1973, as modified in 1978. Read the full definition of MARPOL 73/78 on Duhaime.org

Marriage

The voluntary union for life of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others. Read the full definition of Marriage on Duhaime.org

Martial Law

The suspension of regular government and habeas corpus or the reliance of military law enforcement. Read the full definition of Martial Law on Duhaime.org

Mary Carter Agreement

Where some defendants settle with a plaintiff a term of which is a loan by the settling defendant to the plaintiff, to be repaid by any monies recovered from the remaining defendant(s). Read the full definition of Mary Carter Agreement on Duhaime.org

Massachusetts trust

A unique way to organize a business where the property is bought by, or transferred to, a trustee (such as a trust company) and the trustee issues trust units, which the investors, or their designates, hold as beneficiaries. Read the full definition of Massachusetts trust on Duhaime.org

Matrimonial

Of or relating to the state of being married; of marriage. Read the full definition of Matrimonial on Duhaime.org

Matrimonial Asset

An asset owned by one or both of two persons who are married to one another which, upon the application of one of the spouses to a court, is subject to division between them. Read the full definition of Matrimonial Asset on Duhaime.org

Matrimonial Debt

A debt contracted during a marriage and for which both spouses are equally liable, regardivess of who contracted the debt or who is directly liable for it. Read the full definition of Matrimonial Debt on Duhaime.org

Matrimonial Property

Property owned by one or both of two persons who are married to one another which, upon the application of one of the spouses to a court, is subject to division between them. Read the full definition of Matrimonial Property on Duhaime.org

Matrimony

The legal state of being married. Read the full definition of Matrimony on Duhaime.org

Mechanic's Lien

A statutory charge on real property arising from labor or material supplied to improve upon it. Read the full definition of Mechanic's Lien on Duhaime.org

Med-Arb

A form of arbitration in which the arbitrators starts as a mediator but in the event of a failure of mediation, the arbitrator imposes a binding decision. Read the full definition of Med-Arb on Duhaime.org

Mediation

A neutral facilitator who assists the parties to a dispute in communicating and negotiating a settlement. Read the full definition of Mediation on Duhaime.org

Melton's Case

A mid-1500s English case, never brought to Court because the king and his Parliament defeated the otherwise meritorious claim by retroactive statute. Read the full definition of Melton's Case on Duhaime.org

Mens Rea

Latin for guilty mind; guilty knowledge or intention to commit a prohibited act. Read the full definition of Mens Rea on Duhaime.org

Minor

A young person not yet of the age of majority. Read the full definition of Minor on Duhaime.org

Minutes

The official record of a meeting. Read the full definition of Minutes on Duhaime.org

Miranda warning

Also known as the Miranda Rule, this is the name given to the requirement that police officers, in the U.S.A., must warn suspects upon arrest that they have the right to remain silent, that any statement that they make could be used against them in a court of law, that they have the right to contact a lawyer and that if they cannot afford a lawyer, that one will be provided before any questioning is so desired. Read the full definition of Miranda warning on Duhaime.org

Misdemeanor

(USA) A crime of lesser seriousness than a felony where the punishment might be a fine or prison for less than one year. Read the full definition of Misdemeanor on Duhaime.org

Misfeasance

Improperly doing something which a person has the legal right to do. Compare with malfeasance and nonfeasance. Read the full definition of Misfeasance on Duhaime.org

Mis-joinder

When a person has been named as a party to a law suit when that person should not have been aped. Read the full definition of Mis-joinder on Duhaime.org

Misrepresentation

A false and material statement which induces a party to enter into a contract. Read the full definition of Misrepresentation on Duhaime.org

Mistrial

A partial or complete trial which is found to be null and void and of no effect because of some irregularity. Read the full definition of Mistrial on Duhaime.org

Mitigating Circumstances

These are facts that, while not negating a wrongful action, tend to show that the defendant may have had some grounds for acting the way he/she did. Read the full definition of Mitigating Circumstances on Duhaime.org

Mitigation of Damages

A person who sues another for damages has an obligation to minimize - mitigate - those damages, as far as reasonable. Read the full definition of Mitigation of Damages on Duhaime.org

M'Naghten Rules

A defence to criminal law liability developed in England in if at the time of the offence, the accused had a disease of the mind such that he was unable to know that his act was wrong. Read the full definition of M'Naghten Rules on Duhaime.org

Modus operandi

Latin: method of operation. Used by law enforcement officials to refer to a criminal's preferred method of committing crime. Read the full definition of Modus operandi on Duhaime.org

Moiety

Half of something. For example, it can be said that joint tenants hold a moiety in property. Read the full definition of Moiety on Duhaime.org

Monarchy

A form of government in which law-making power is given to a single person, usually holding such authority by birthright and not by merit. Read the full definition of Monarchy on Duhaime.org

Money

An item accepted by all as payment for debts or for goods or services. Read the full definition of Money on Duhaime.org

Monopoly

A commercial advantage enjoyed by only one or a select few companies in which only those companies can trade in a certain area. Read the full definition of Monopoly on Duhaime.org

Moot

a side issue, problem or question which does not have to be decided to resolve the main issues in a dispute. also called a moot point Read the full definition of Moot on Duhaime.org

Moot court

Fictional or hypothetical trial, usually hosted by law schools, as training for future barristers or litigators. Read the full definition of Moot court on Duhaime.org

Moratorium

The temporary suspension of legal action against a person. Read the full definition of Moratorium on Duhaime.org

Mortgage

An interest given on a piece of land, in writing, to guarantee the payment of a debt or the execution of some action. Read the full definition of Mortgage on Duhaime.org

Mortgagee

The person who extends credit secured by a mortgage; the mortgage lender. Read the full definition of Mortgagee on Duhaime.org

Mortgagor

The person who borrows money secured by conceding a mortgage against his interest in real property. Read the full definition of Mortgagor on Duhaime.org

Mosaic Law

Ancient law as set out in the first five books of the Bible (Old Testament). The name is derived from Moses who received the Ten Commandments; this and other Jewish law as set out in the aforementioned first five chapters (books)of the Bible. Read the full definition of Mosaic Law on Duhaime.org

Motion

A proposal made to a Court or at a meeting and intended to be considered and decided upon. Read the full definition of Motion on Duhaime.org

MOU

Abbreviation of Memorandum of Understanding. A document intended to become a contract but which, if meeting other criteria, can be recognized, in law, a contract. Read the full definition of MOU on Duhaime.org

Movable

Civil law: things not attached to land and which may be carried from place to place. Read the full definition of Movable on Duhaime.org

Murder

Intentional homicide (the taking of another person's life), without legal justification or provocation. Read the full definition of Murder on Duhaime.org