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Intro 2 law

Introduction to law class vocabulary

QuestionAnswer
adversarial system a system of justice involving conflicting parties where the role of the judge is to remain neutral
defendent A person charged with a crime or against whom a civil action has been filed.
due process of law Procedural and substantive rights of citizens against government actions that threaten the denial of life, liberty or property.
federalism The constitutional distribution of government power and responsibility between the national government and the states.
lex talionis The ancient law of retaliation.
natural law Principles of human conduct believed to be ordained by God or nature, existing prior to and superseding human law.
plaintiff The party who started a legal proceeding
positive law The written law enforced by government.
rule of law The idea that law, not the discretion of officials, should govern public affairs.
stare decisis The principle that past decisions should stand as precedents for future decisions: “To stand by decided matters.”
united states constitution The fundamental law of the United States of America setting forth the structure and powers of government and the rights of the people.
alternative dispute resolution Any method of resolving disputes without judicial adjudication.
appellate jurisdiction The authority of a court of law to hear an appeal or otherwise review a decision made by a lower court.
arbitration Method of settling a dispute between parties involving a referee or panel of referees who decide the matter on the merits after presentations by the disputants.
diversity of citizenship jurisdiction The authority of federal courts to hear cases in which the parties are citizens of different states and the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000.
federal question jurisdiction The authority of federal courts to decide issues of national law.
jurisdiction (generally) The power or authority of a court, or tribunal, to hear and decide certain types of cases between parties of a specific geographical region.
legislature An elected lawmaking body, Congress at the federal level and one for each state government.
mediation A non-adversarial process of dispute typically by a neutral party assists in the resolution without providing the resolution. Parties are fully informed, explore their issues and settlement alternatives, and craft a mutually acceptable resolution.
negotiation Method of settling a dispute between parties without a formal trial.
affirmative action A broad term referring to a variety of efforts designed to assist women and minority groups.
bill of rights The first 10 amendments to the Constitution
checks and balances Governmental powers are given to different branches of the government
concurrent powers Powers are exercised jointly by the federal and state governments.
contract clause Constitutional provision that prohibits legislatures from passing laws that impair the obligation of contracts
enumerated powers Powers are specifically stated in the Constitution.
implied powers Powers necessary for a government to carry out its explicit duties.
preceden A judicial decision cited as authority controlling or influencing the outcome of a similar case.
prior restraint An official act preventing publication of a particular work.
standing The right to initiate a legal action or challenge based on the fact that one has suffered or is likely to suffer a real and substantial injury.
accessory to a crime A person who assisted with the crime but did not directly participate.
beyond a reasonable doubt The government’s burden of proof in a criminal case
exclusionary rule Prohibits use of illegally obtained evidence in a criminal prosecution.
fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine Evidence obtained from other inadmissible evidence is also excluded by the court.
inchoate offense A series of steps or activity directed toward the completion of a crime.
mens rea Criminal Intent
principal to a crime A person directly involved in committing a crime
probable cause Sufficient grounds, based upon known facts, to believe a crime has been committed.
search An intrusion by law enforcement or other government officials that affects an individual’s legally protected zone of privacy
seizure An action by the police when they take possession or control of property or persons
"but for" test One test used to find negligence.
comparative negligence Doctrine that allows a plaintiff to recover damages from a defendant in a negligence action even though the plaintiff’s own negligence contributed to the harm suffered by the plaintiff.
comparative negligence 2 However, the plaintiff’s damages are reduced based on the amount of the plaintiff’s own negligence.
contributory negligence A common law doctrine that provides that where a plaintiff’s own negligence contributed to the harm suffered by the plaintiff the plaintiff cannot recover damages against the defendant for that harm
intentional acts Acts committed purposely
intervening act An act, human or natural, that occurs after the original tort. The act can excuse the original tort unless it was foreseeable by the tortfeasor.
negligent acts or omissions Acts or omissions committed by a person who fails to act as a reasonably prudent person would act under identical circumstances.
proximate cause The cause that is nearest to a given effect. A cause and effect relationship.
reasonable person The hypothetical person referred to by courts as the objective standard for judging a person's acts or omissions giving rise to an action in tort.
Res ipsa loquitor the thing speaks for itself
tort A wrong or injury other than a breach of contract for which the remedy is a civil suit for damages.
acceptance When a party agrees to an offer.
bilateral contract A contract where two parties exchange promises
capacity The legal ability to enter into a contract
consideration The exchange of value in a contract
corporation An artificial entity created for business purposes
implied contract A contract between parties based on the actions or inactions of the parties.
offer A proposal to enter into a contract
partnership A business organization formed by two or more persons who share profits and losses.
Sole Proprietorship A business owned by only one person.
unilateral contract When one party makes a promise in exchange for an act or performance
appellate procedure The rules followed by appellate courts.
cause of action A right to bring suit based on someone’s breach of a legal duty.
civil procedure The rules used by civil courts.
damages Monetary compensation awarded by a court.
direct evidence Evidence that proves a fact without the need for inferences or presumptions
indirect evidence Inferences (presumptions) that tend to prove the existence of a particular fact or the assertion of that fact. Also know as circumstantial evidence.
opening statement Gives the jurors an outline of the case
peremptory challenge Excusing a potential juror without stating a reason.
rules of evidence Governs the exclusion and introduction of evidence in courts.
voir dire Selection of the jury
Created by: nnation922 on 2011-05-10



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