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Legal Vocab

attestation act of witnessing the execution of a document
attachment pre-judgment seizure of property based upon court order
aver assert; allege; claim
chattel personal property
common law law based upon custom, usage, and judicial decision
condemnation process of taking private property for public use under eminent domain
conversion wrongful taking of peronal property with the intent to deprive its owner of it permanently
debenture bond given as evidence of corporate debt
pro tanto for so much; to that extent
prochein ami next friend
a priori from what goes before; from the cause to the effect
actiones in personam personal actions
ad damnum clause to the damages; clause of the complaint that states monetary loss
ad hoc for the purpose; for this occasion
ad rem to the thing at hand
adversus against
alias dictus otherwise called; aka
aliunde from another place (as in evidence outside of the document)
animo with intention, disposition, design, or will
ante litem motam before the suit is brought; before litigation is filed
assumpsit he undertook; he promised
capias take; arrest
causa mortis by reason of death
certiorari send the pleadings up (to the US Supreme Court)
circa in the area of; about; concerning
consortium union of lots or chances; conjugal fellowship of husband and wife
coram nobis before us ourselves
cum testamento annexo with the will annexed
de facto in fact; in deed; actually
de novo anew; afresh
dies non not a day
dum bene se gesserit while he shall conduct himself; during good behavior
en banc all judges present
erratum/errata error
et sequentia (et seq.) and others
et vir and husband
ex gratia as a matter of favor
ex parte one side only; by or for one party only
facto in fact; in or by the law
fiat let it be done
fieri facias cause to be made; writ directing sheriff to sell debtor's property for amount of judgment
forum non conveniens discretionary power of court to decline jurisdiciton when it believes it should be tried elsewhere for the convenience of the parties and witnesses
habeas corpus you have the body; writ directing a person to produce another person
honorarium honorary fee or gift; compensation from gratitude
idem sonans having the same sound
in esse in being; existense
infra beneath; below
in loco parentis in place of a parent; one charged with parental rights and obligations
in personam personally; against the person
in re in the matter
in specie in the same or in similar form
inter alia/inter alios among other things; between other persons
inter vivos between the living; from one person to another
in transitu in transit
ipse dixit he himself said it; an assertion made but not proven
ita est so it is
jura rerum rights of things
jure uxoris in his wife's right
jus/jura law; right; laws collectively
jus gentium the law of nations; international law
jus tertii the right of a third party; the rights of another person
lex law
nil debet he owes nothing
nolle prosequi unwilling to prosecute; prosecutor's discretion not to file charges
non assumpsit plea in defense; that he did not promise
non est factum it is not his deed
non sequitur it does not follow
nudum pactum nude pact; bare agreement which lacks the consideration to form a valid contract
nulla bona no goods (used on the return of a writ fieri facias)
obiter dictum remark which is not central to the main issue
opus/opera work; labor
pari delicto in equal guilt
prima facie at first sight; on the face of it
per diem by the day
per stirpes by representation; by the roots or stocks for purposes of inheritance
post-obit to take effect after death
per annum annual; by the year
per contra in opposition
pater familias father of the family
pendens pending
pro hac vice for this occasion
pro se appearing for oneself personally
pur autre vie for or during the life of another
quantum how much; the amount
quare clausum fregit breaking the close; trespass
quid pro quo what for what (consideration for contract)
res thing; object; subject matter
res ipsa loquitur the thing speaks for itself
respondeat superior let the master answer
scintilla a spark; the least particle
sic thus; so; in such manner
secundum according to
semper always
sigillum a seal
sine die without a day; without a specific day assigned for a future meeting
stare decisis to abide by decided cases
sua sponte voluntarily; of his own will and motion
sub silentio under silence; without any notice being taken
sui juris of his own right; having legal capacity to act for himself
supra above; cited in full above
terminus a quo the starting point
ultra vires beyond the powers of; without power
videlicet (viz.) it is easy to see; that is to say; namely
vis-a-vis that which is face to face with another
voir dire to speak the truth; questions asked of the jurors during the selection process
accomodation arrangment made as a favor rather than for consideration
adhesion contract standardized contract in which a party with little or no bargaining power is forced to accept its terms
abrogation annulment of a law
agreement meeting of the minds; preliminary to contract formation
assumption of risk doctrine under which a person cannot recover for injuries received from a dangerous activity to which she voluntarily exposed herself
attorney-in-fact one appointed to act in specific matters described in a power of attorney
bailment delivery of property to another to be held for a particular person and then returned
choate perfected; complete
commutation substitution of a lesser punishment
consideration lawful price, motive, cause, impelling influence, or inducement for a contract
copyright right to reap the financial benefits of literary property
pro tempore for the time being; temporarily
publici juris of public right
quaere question; doubt
quare wherefore
quasi as if it were
quo warranto by what right or authority
res gestae things done; excited utterance
res judicata a thing adjudged
warranty promise to defend the truth of a fact
verification sworn oath by an authorized person that certain statements are true to the best of his knowledge and belief
vendee purchaser or buyer of property
usury excess over the lawful interest rate
unconscionable grossly unfair; unscrupulous; terms or conduct which shocks the conscience
testimonium clause begins, "In witness whereof...."
specific performance equitable remedy in contract law that requires the breaching party to perform according to the terms of the contract
slander spoken defamation
settlor one who creates a trust; trustor
rescission equitable remedy which invalidates a contract on the basis of mutual mistake, fraud, impossibility, etc.
replevin action to recover possesion of personal property
recidivist repeat offender
quitclaim deed deed without warranty, which passes only that title that the grantor has
quiet title action action to determine clear title to real estate
proximate cause last negligent act which leads to injury; legal cause
promissory estoppel doctrine which prevents a party to a contract from denying that consideration was given
pecuniary monetary; relating to money
payor one who makes payment
payee who to whom payment is made
parol evidence oral proof of contract terms which are not conatined within the written contract
offeror one who makes an offer
offeree one to whom an offer is made
nuncupative oral; not written
novation substitution of a new contract, debt, or obligation for an existing one
motion in limine application requesting a court rule in advance that specific, unfair, prejudicial information will not be mentioned during the trial
misfeasance improper performance of an otherwise lawful act
metes and bounds method of describing real estate using boundary lines with terminal points and angles
memorandum opinion very short opinion of a court
malfeasance evil doing; performance of an act with bad intent
magistrate court officer with limited judicial authority
libel written defamation
lessor landlord
lessee tenant
laches doctrine by which equitable relief is denied to one who has waited too long to seek relief
jurisprudence science of law; system of law
jurat clause of a notary public or authorized officer attesting that a statement or document was sworn to by a specific person on a specific date
intestate without a will
interlocutory provisional; interim; not final
infant minor
indemnify to secure against loss or damage
inchoate incomplete; unfinished
grantee one to whom real estate is conveyed; the buyer
grantor one who conveys real estate; the seller
general denial answer that denies allegations but contains no affirmative defenses
escheat reversion of property to the state when there are no heirs to inherit the property
devise gift of real property by will
lis pendens litigation pending
locus sigilli the place for the seal
mala fides bad faith
mala praxis malpractice
mala animo with evil intent
manu forti with a strong hand; forcible entry
nihil dicit he says nothing; a default judgment against a defendant who does not raise a defense
levari facias cause to levied; writ of execution
lex loci law of the place where the cause of action arose
locus delicti the place of the crime
mala bad
mala in se wrong in itself; an act which is morally wrong
mala prohibita acts declared criminal by statute though not wrong in themselves
mandamus we command; writ used to compel an official to perform an act which he is required to perform
mens rea guilty mind; intent
nil nothing; of no account
nisi prius unless before (trial court where case was before appellate court)
nolo contendere I will not contest it
non compos mentis not of sound mind
non obstante notwithstanding
nota bene note well; take notice
nul tort no wrong done
nunc pro tunc now for then
onus probandi burden of proof
ore tenus by word of mouth; orally
pari passu by equal progress; ratably; equitably; without preference
peculium private property
pendente lite pending the suit; during litigation
per capita by the head; equally shared
per curiam by the court
per se by itself; taken alone
post-factum after the fact; after the event
praecipe order to clerk to issue a summons or execution on a judgment already rendered
pro forma as a matter of form
pro rata according to the rate or proportion
scienter knowledge; awareness
a fortiori with stronger reason
ab initio from the beginning
ad curiam before the court; to the court
ad faciendum to do
ad litem for the suit; for the litigation
ad valorem according to the value
aggregatio menium meeting of the minds (contract law)
alibi in another place; elsewhere
amicus curiae friend of the court
animus mind; intention
arguendo in the course of the argument; for the sake of the argument
bona fide good faith
capita persons; heads
caveat beware; a warning
cestui beneficiaries
compos mentis of sound mind
contra against
corpus delicti body of the offense; essence of the crime
datum/data information; a date
de jure of right; lawful
de son tort of his own wrong
duces tecum bring with you
e converso conversely; on the other hand
eo instanti upon the instant
et alii (et al.) and as follows
et ux and wife
ex delicto arising from a tort
ex officio from office; by virtue of his office
ex post facto after the fact
felonice feloniously
fieri to be made up; to become
flagrante delicto in the very act of committing the crime
gravis serious; of importance
habendum clause part of a deed that defines extent of ownership
idem (id.) same as above
in curia in court
in forma pauperis permission given by a court to a poor person to sue without liability for court costs
in limine at the beginning; threshold
in pari delicto in equal fault
in praesenti at once; now
in rem proceedings against a thing
instanter immediately
inter se among themselves
in toto in the whole; completely
intra within; inside
ipso facto by the fact itself
jura personarum rights of a person
jure divino by divine right
jus ad rem a right to a thing
jus commune the common law; the common right
just habendi the right to have a thing
scire facias cause to know (writ used to revive a judgment that has expired)
scilicet (ss) to wit; that is to say; namely
se defendendo in self defense
seriatim severally; separately
sine without
sine qua non that without which a thing cannot occur
status quo status in which; present state
sub nomine under the name of; in the name of; under the title of
sui generis of its own kind or class; the only one of a kind; unique
supersedeas superseding (bond that accompanies a writ commanding a stay of proceedings pending appeal)
tenere to hold; to keep
venire facias that you cause to come (a type of summons)
vi et armis by force and arms
vivos living
abatement reduction; termination
accession that which increases the size or value of property
ademption satisfaction of a legacy by gift prior to testator's death
adverse possession acquiring title to real estate by hostile possession rather than by purchase
Created by: nharward