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Legal Terms Beginning with S

Salus Populi Est Suprema Lex

Latin: the welfare of an individual yields to that of the community. Read the full definition of Salus Populi Est Suprema Lex on Duhaime.org

Salvage

The rescue of vessels or cargo in peril at sea, and the reward thereof. Read the full definition of Salvage on Duhaime.org

Sanction

To sanction can mean to ratify or to approve but it can also mean to punish. The sanction of a crime refers to the actual punishment, usually expressed as a fine or jail term. Read the full definition of Sanction on Duhaime.org

Sanctuary

A special criminal law option available in Medieval times to persons who had just committed a crime, allowing them to seek refuge in a church or monastery. Read the full definition of Sanctuary on Duhaime.org

Sarbanes-Oxley Act

An American federal law, 2002, which substantially revised and strengthened securities laws and their administration in the aftermath of high profile corporate accounting scandals such as that involving Enron. Read the full definition of Sarbanes-Oxley Act on Duhaime.org

Satisfaction guaranteed

A term in a sales or services contract in which the seller defers to the buyer the sole and unilateral discretion as to whether or not the goods or services tendered are acceptable. In the event the price is not paid, no cause of action exists unless the buyer acting in good faith is satisfied, no matter how good the goods or services are in terms of quality. Read the full definition of Satisfaction guaranteed on Duhaime.org

School Law

The law as it relates to education. Read the full definition of School Law on Duhaime.org

Scienter

Latin for actual or guilty knowledge; knowingly. Read the full definition of Scienter on Duhaime.org

Scott v Avery Clause

A contract between two parties that they will submit any dispute between them to arbitration before taking any court action. Read the full definition of Scott v Avery Clause on Duhaime.org

Scrivener

A literate person who sells his reading or writing services to illiterate others. Read the full definition of Scrivener on Duhaime.org

Scrutineer

A person enlisted to assist in the conduct of a vote. Read the full definition of Scrutineer on Duhaime.org

Search Warrant

A court order that gives a police the permission to enter private property and to search for evidence of the commission of a crime, for the proceeds of crime or property that the police suspect may be used to commit a crime. Read the full definition of Search Warrant on Duhaime.org

Secret Trust

A trust where, to a stated beneficiary, the donor secretly communicates that he/she holds title in trust for another. Read the full definition of Secret Trust on Duhaime.org

Security

Something given to ensure the payment of a loan. Read the full definition of Security on Duhaime.org

Security Deposit

Money paid to another to be held as security for the occurence of a specified event. Read the full definition of Security Deposit on Duhaime.org

Sedition

The speaking or publishing of words which excite public disorder or defiance of lawful authority. Read the full definition of Sedition on Duhaime.org

Seisin

The legal possession of property. In law, the term refers more specifically to the possession of land by a freeholder. Read the full definition of Seisin on Duhaime.org

Semayne's Case

A 1604 English case that established the right of a home-owner to defend his premises against intrusion ("every man's house is his castle") yields to those seeking to enter with lawful authority such as to make an arrest. Read the full definition of Semayne's Case on Duhaime.org

Sentence

The punishment given to a person who has been convicted (i.e. found to be guilty) of a crime. It may be time in jail, community service or a period of probation. Read the full definition of Sentence on Duhaime.org

Sentencing Circle

A sentencing opportunity at which an accused hopes to favourably influence the court passing sentence, by convening a conciliatory pre-sentence meeting between offender and victim. Read the full definition of Sentencing Circle on Duhaime.org

Separate Property

A marital property regime wherein property acquired or owned by a married person and which, notwithstanding the marriage or, where recognized, a marriage-like relationship, remains the separate property of the spouse who acquired or to whom was gifted the item of property. Read the full definition of Separate Property on Duhaime.org

Separation Agreement

A private contract between separating spouses resolving issues of joint, family or marital property or assets, support and child responsibilities. Read the full definition of Separation Agreement on Duhaime.org

Sequestration

The taking of someones property, voluntarily (by deposit) or involuntarily (by seizure), by court officers or into the possession of a third party, awaiting the outcome of a trial in which ownership of that property is at issue. Read the full definition of Sequestration on Duhaime.org

Servient Tenement

The land which suffers or has the burden of an easement. Read the full definition of Servient Tenement on Duhaime.org

Servitude

From Roman law and now a feature of civil law; equivalent to ther common law's easement: access rights over the property of another. Read the full definition of Servitude on Duhaime.org

Set-Off

An alleged cross claim by a defendant against the plaintiff which, if successful, would result in the reduction of elimination of the plaintiff's claim. Read the full definition of Set-Off on Duhaime.org

Settlor

The person who actually creates a trust by donating property to be managed and administered by a trustee but from which all profits would go to a beneficiary. Read the full definition of Settlor on Duhaime.org

Severance Pay

An amount of money an employer owes to an employee in lieu of notice, in exchange for the employee's agreement to sever an employment contract forthwith. Read the full definition of Severance Pay on Duhaime.org

Sex

Sex: gender, as in male or female. Also refers to sexual intercourse. Read the full definition of Sex on Duhaime.org

Sexual Assault

A sexual act upon or directed to another which is unwanted and not consented to by the other. Read the full definition of Sexual Assault on Duhaime.org

Sexual Harassment

A term used in human rights legislation and referring primarily to harassment in employment situations, related to sex or gender, which detrimentally affects the working environment. Read the full definition of Sexual Harassment on Duhaime.org

Sexual Intercourse

Penetration by the penis of a woman's labia. Read the full definition of Sexual Intercourse on Duhaime.org

Sexual Orientation

An individual's preference in terms of sexual relationship with others - whether homosexual or heterosexual. Read the full definition of Sexual Orientation on Duhaime.org

Share

A portion of a for-profit corporation bought by cash. Read the full definition of Share on Duhaime.org

Shared Custody

A family law support or maintenance term referring to a situation where a child spends about an equal amount of time in the care and home of each of the two separated or divorced parents, and the parents share the legal rights in regards to the child. Read the full definition of Shared Custody on Duhaime.org

Shareholder

Persons who own a share(s) of a for-profit corporation. Read the full definition of Shareholder on Duhaime.org

Shareholder agreement

A contract between the shareholders of the company and the company itself, in which certain things which would otherwise be the purview of the board of directors, are predetermined. Read the full definition of Shareholder agreement on Duhaime.org

Sharia Law

Muslim or Islamic law, both civil and criminal justice as well as regulating individual conduct both personal and moral. The custom-based body of law based on the Koran and the religion of Islam. Because, by definition, Muslim states are theocracies, religious texts are law, the latter distinguished by Islam and Muslims in their application, as Sharia or Sharia law. Read the full definition of Sharia Law on Duhaime.org

Ship

A boat or any vessel used in navigation. Read the full definition of Ship on Duhaime.org

Ship Mortgage

The pledging and charge upon title of a ship and its machinery as security for a loan. Read the full definition of Ship Mortgage on Duhaime.org

Shotgun Clause

A buy-sell agreement where a shareholder wishes to sell his or her shares, or an irreconcilable disagreement on a fundamental issue in regards to the corporation breaks out between shareholders, the sale can be forced by the sell of the holdings of one shareholder to the other. Read the full definition of Shotgun Clause on Duhaime.org

Sick Leave

Time off from work, paid or unpaid, on account of an employee's temporary inability to perform duties because of sickness or disability. Read the full definition of Sick Leave on Duhaime.org

Silent partner

A person who invests in a company or partnership but does not take part in administering or directing the organization; he or she just shares in the profits or losses. Read the full definition of Silent partner on Duhaime.org

Simony

The crime of corruption for the purpose of a Church or religious benefit. Read the full definition of Simony on Duhaime.org

Sine die

Adjourned without giving any future date of meeting or hearing. Read the full definition of Sine die on Duhaime.org

Sister Ship Arrest

Maritime law: In the context of a legal claim against a particular ship, and in certain circumstances, the law allows the arrest of another ship belonging to the same owner, called a sister ship. Read the full definition of Sister Ship Arrest on Duhaime.org

Sixth Amendment

A 1791 amendment to the American Constitution guaranteeing fundamental rights in criminal proceedings such as speedy trial, impartiality, public evidence of witnesses and a right to a lawyer. Read the full definition of Sixth Amendment on Duhaime.org

Slander

Verbal or spoken defamation. Read the full definition of Slander on Duhaime.org

Slander of title

Intentionally casting aspersion on someones property including real property, a business or goods (the latter might also be called slander of goods). Read the full definition of Slander of title on Duhaime.org

Slavery

When a person (called master) has absolute power over another (called slave) including life and liberty. Read the full definition of Slavery on Duhaime.org

Slip Rule

A rule by which a Court can very exceptionally reopen a published order but only to correct a accidental slip or omission such as a clerical error. Read the full definition of Slip Rule on Duhaime.org

Small claims

A regular court but which has simplified rules of procedure and process to deal with claims of a lesser value. Read the full definition of Small claims on Duhaime.org

Socage

A term of the feudal system which referred to the tenure which was exchanged for certain goods or services which were not military in nature. Read the full definition of Socage on Duhaime.org

Socialism

A form or system of government which champions the equal sharing of land and equal return of the product of the land and industry to all citizens. Read the full definition of Socialism on Duhaime.org

Society

A group of people formed as a separate organization and which has as a stated purpose some charitable or benevolent purpose either in regards to the public at-large or in regards to the common interests of the members, and which operates as nearly as possible at cost. Read the full definition of Society on Duhaime.org

Sodomy

Synonymous with buggery and referring to unnatural sex acts, including copulation, either between two persons of the same sex or between a person and an animal (the latter act is known as bestiality). Read the full definition of Sodomy on Duhaime.org

SOLAS - Safety of Life at Sea Treaty

International treaty promoting the safety of life at sea. Read the full definition of SOLAS - Safety of Life at Sea Treaty on Duhaime.org

Sole Proprietorship

A business by a single individual which is not formally organized and for which the individual and the business are indistinguishable in law. Read the full definition of Sole Proprietorship on Duhaime.org

Solicitor

A lawyer that restricts his or her practice to the giving of legal advice and preparation of formal legal documents, and does not normally litigate. Read the full definition of Solicitor on Duhaime.org

Solicitor's Lien

A lawyer's right to retain client's document and property pending payment of the lawyer's bill. Read the full definition of Solicitor's Lien on Duhaime.org

Son Of A Bitch

A derogatory and possibly defamatory reference to another person suggesting that they are of substandard lineage. Read the full definition of Son Of A Bitch on Duhaime.org

Sovereign

Has two meanings. The first one is a technical word for the monarch (king or queen) of a particular country as in the Sovereign of England is Queen Elizabeth. The other meaning of the word is to describe the supreme legislative powers of a state: that they are totally independent and free from any outside political control or authority over their decisions. Read the full definition of Sovereign on Duhaime.org

Specific Deterrence

Deterrence, as an objective of sentencing, which is fit to a particular offender. Read the full definition of Specific Deterrence on Duhaime.org

Specific Performance

A remedy in the event of breach of contract, whereby the Court orders a party found in breach of his/her contractual obligations to perform their specific duty as set out in the contract. Read the full definition of Specific Performance on Duhaime.org

Split Custody

A child custody decision which results in the splitting up of the children; that legal custody of one or more of the children is with the father, and that of one or more of the other children are with the mother. Read the full definition of Split Custody on Duhaime.org

Spousal Support

Payments to an ex-spouse which are temporary or indefinite, lump sum or periodic, designed to pool and share the income of both spouses for that period of time necessary for the lower-income spouse to become economically self-sufficient. Read the full definition of Spousal Support on Duhaime.org

Springing Power of Attorney

A power of attorney that takes effect only upon the occurrence of a specified event. Read the full definition of Springing Power of Attorney on Duhaime.org

Sprinkling trust

Discretion given to a trustee to distribute income from a trust fund disproportionately between beneficiaries. Read the full definition of Sprinkling trust on Duhaime.org

Spy / Spies

A person who acts clandestinely or on false pretences to endeavour to obtain information of or within another state with the intention of communicating or selling it to others. Read the full definition of Spy / Spies on Duhaime.org

Standing committee

A term of parliamentary law which refers to those committees which have a continued existence; that are not related to the accomplishment of a specific, once-only task as are ad hoc or special committees. Read the full definition of Standing committee on Duhaime.org

Stare Decisis

(Latin) A basic principle of the law whereby once a decision (a precedent) on a certain set of facts has been made, another Court of the same rank or lower, must apply that decision in cases presenting the same set of facts. Read the full definition of Stare Decisis on Duhaime.org

State

A term of international law: those groups of people which have acquired international recognition as an independent country and which have four characteristics; permanent and large population with, generally, a common language; a defined and distinct territory; a nations to refer to what international law calls states. Read the full definition of State on Duhaime.org

Statement of Claim

The document which sets out the plaintiff's allegations of fact and thus, engages the judicial process by seeking trial. Read the full definition of Statement of Claim on Duhaime.org

Statement of Defence

A defendant's written answer or reply to a statement of claim, admitting or denying each and every one of the facts contained in the statement of claim and alleging such facts as the defendant wishes to assert at trial in opposition to the plaintiff's case. Read the full definition of Statement of Defence on Duhaime.org

Statute of Frauds

A statute that set a minimum standard for enforceable contracts, usually requiring at a minimum something in writing or the actual exchange of reciprocal obligations, at least in part. Read the full definition of Statute of Frauds on Duhaime.org

Statute of Uses

A 1535 English law that prevented, for a time, the legal structure of a use. Read the full definition of Statute of Uses on Duhaime.org

Statutes

The written laws approved by legislatures, parliaments or elected or appointed houses of assembly. Also known as legislation. Read the full definition of Statutes on Duhaime.org

Statutory Rape

A statutory rape which allows for conviction regardivess of the consent, such as with a minor. Read the full definition of Statutory Rape on Duhaime.org

Statutory Trust

A trust created by the effect of a statute. Read the full definition of Statutory Trust on Duhaime.org

Stay

To stop; to suspend; also known as a stay of proceedings; when a law suit is suspended either indefinitely or until the occurrence of a condition imposed by the court. Read the full definition of Stay on Duhaime.org

Steal

The taking of something from another without any legal right to do so. Read the full definition of Steal on Duhaime.org

Stirpes

Latin: the offspring of a person; his or her descendants. Read the full definition of Stirpes on Duhaime.org

Strict Liability

Tort liability which is set upon the defendant without need to prove intent, negligence or fault; as long as you can prove that it was the defendant's object that caused the damage. Read the full definition of Strict Liability on Duhaime.org

Subinfeudation

The process whereby, under the feudal system of tenure, a person receiving a grant of land from a lord, could himself become a landivord by subdividing and subletting that land to others. Read the full definition of Subinfeudation on Duhaime.org

Sub judice

A matter that is still under consideration by a court; still subject to active litigation. Read the full definition of Sub judice on Duhaime.org

Sublease

The subsequent lease of property that is itself leased; with the primary tenant retaining an interest in the original lease. Read the full definition of Sublease on Duhaime.org

Sublicense

The grant by a licensee of certain licensed rights to a third party. Read the full definition of Sublicense on Duhaime.org

Subordination

To be subject to the orders or direction of another; of lower rank. Read the full definition of Subordination on Duhaime.org

Subpoena

Latin: an order of a court which requires a person to be present at a certain time and place or suffer a penalty (subpoena means, literally, under penalty). Read the full definition of Subpoena on Duhaime.org

Subrogation

When you pay off someone's debt and then try to get the money from the debtor yourself. Read the full definition of Subrogation on Duhaime.org

Substantial Awareness Test

The realization by a person of the harmful nature of a crime or a tort perpetrated against him/her. Read the full definition of Substantial Awareness Test on Duhaime.org

Substantive Law

Core law which determines rights and obligations, as opposed to procedural law. Read the full definition of Substantive Law on Duhaime.org

Substituted Service

A method of delivery of a court document on a person other than in-person and generally subject to pre-authorization by the Court. Read the full definition of Substituted Service on Duhaime.org

Successor

A person who takes over the rights of another. Read the full definition of Successor on Duhaime.org

Sue and Labour Clause

A standard clause in a maritime insurance policy which allows the insured to recover from the insurer any reasonable expenses incurred by the insured in order to minimize or avert a loss to the insured property, for which loss the insurer would have been liable under the policy. Read the full definition of Sue and Labour Clause on Duhaime.org

Suicide

To intentionally take one's own life. Read the full definition of Suicide on Duhaime.org

Sui Juris

A person who possesses full civil rights and is not under any legal incapacity such as being bankrupt, of minor age or mental incapacity. Most adults are sui juris. Read the full definition of Sui Juris on Duhaime.org

Summary conviction offence

In Canada, a less serious offence than indictable offences and for which both the procedure and punishment tends to be less onerous. Read the full definition of Summary conviction offence on Duhaime.org

Summary Judgment

A court order dismissing a claim summarily, upon application, and based on the allegation that there is no claim or defence with a reasonable prospect of success. Read the full definition of Summary Judgment on Duhaime.org

Summary Trial

A disposition of litigation by way of affidavit evidence only or by use of truncated process. Read the full definition of Summary Trial on Duhaime.org

Summons

In the USA, this is one of the initial documents issued in a civil suit; giving the defendant notice of the claim and an opportunity to defend it. Read the full definition of Summons on Duhaime.org

Surety

The person who has pledged him or herself to pay back money or perform a certain action if the principal to a contract fails, as collateral, and as part of the original contract. Read the full definition of Surety on Duhaime.org

Surety Bond

A three party bond contract in which a third party (the surety) backs up a principal by agreeing to honour the principal's obligation(s) towards the obligee of a bond in the event of the latter's default. Read the full definition of Surety Bond on Duhaime.org

Suspended Sentence

A judicial prerogative retained by a sentencing judge on a person convicted of a crime by which the full sentencing of a convicted person is suspended or deferred until some future time commensurate with the convicted person's compliance with the terms of the interim probation order. Read the full definition of Suspended Sentence on Duhaime.org

Suspicious Circumstances

Circumstances in the preparation or signing of a document that give rise to suspicion as to mental capacity of, or fraud or duress upon the signatory. Read the full definition of Suspicious Circumstances on Duhaime.org

Synallagmatic Contract

A civil law term for a reciprocal or bilateral contract: one in which both parties provide consideration. Read the full definition of Synallagmatic Contract on Duhaime.org

Syndicate

A formal, informal or secret group of individuals or, more usually, corporations, formed to carry on a specified purpose. Read the full definition of Syndicate on Duhaime.org