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Legal Environment

Chapter 2

TermDefinition
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) The resolution of disputes in ways other than those involved in the traditional judicial process, such as negotiation, mediation, and arbitration.
Answer Procedurally, a defendant’s response to a complaint.
Arbitration The settling of a dispute by submitting it to a disinterested third party who renders a decision that is often legally binding.
Arbitration Clause A clause in a contract that provides that, in the event of a dispute, the parties will submit the dispute to arbitration rather than litigate the dispute in court.
Award The monetary compensation given to a party at the end of a trial or other proceeding.
Bankruptcy Court A federal court of limited jurisdiction that handles only bankruptcy proceedings.
Brief A written summary or statement prepared by one side in a lawsuit to explain its case to the judge.
Civil Law System A system of law derived from the Roman Empire and based on a code rather than case law. Most European nations have this system.
Complaint The pleading made by a plaintiff or a charge made by the state alleging wrongdoing on the part of the defendant.
Concurrent Jurisdiction Jurisdiction that exists when two different courts have the power to hear a case.
Counterclaim A claim made by a defendant in a civil lawsuit against the plaintiff.
Default Judgment A judgment entered by a court against a defendant who has failed to appear in court to answer or defend against the plaintiff’s claim.
Deposition The testimony of a party to a lawsuit or a witness taken under oath before a trial.
Discovery A method by which the opposing parties obtain information from each other to prepare for trial.
Diversity of Citizenship A basis for federal court jurisdiction over a lawsuit between citizens of different states.
Docket The list of cases entered on a court’s calendar and thus scheduled to be heard by the court.
E-Evidence A type of evidence that consists of all computer-generated or electronically recorded information.
Exclusive Jurisdiction Jurisdiction that exists when a case can be heard only in a/particular court or type of court.
Federal Question A question that pertains to the U.S. Constitution, acts of Congress, or treaties. A federal question provides a basis for federal jurisdiction.
Interrogatory A series of written questions for which written answers are prepared and then signed under oath by the plaintiff or the defendant.
Judicial Review The process by which a court decides on the constitutionality of legislative enactments and actions of the executive branch.
Jurisdiction The authority of a court to hear and decide a specific case.
Justiciable Controversy A controversy that is not hypothetical or academic but real and substantial.
Litigation The process of resolving a dispute through the court system.
Long Arm Statute A state statute that permits a state to obtain personal jurisdiction over nonresident defendants.
Mediation A method of settling disputes outside the courts by using a neutral third party who acts as a communicating agent between the parties and assists them in negotiating a settlement.
Motion for a Directed Verdict A motion for the judge to direct a verdict for the party who filed the motion on the ground that the other party has not produced sufficient evidence to support her or his claim.
Motion for a New Trial A motion asserting that the trial was so fundamentally flawed that a new trial is necessary to prevent a miscarriage of justice.
Motion for Judgment n.o.v. A motion requesting the court to grant judgment in favor of the party making the motion on the ground that the jury’s verdict against him or her was unreasonable and/erroneous.
Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings A motion requesting the court to decide the issue solely on the pleadings without proceeding to trial.
Motion for Summary Judgment A motion requesting the court to enter a judgment without proceeding to trial. The motion can be based on evidence outside the pleadings and will be granted only if no facts are in dispute.
Motion to Dismiss A pleading in which a defendant admits the facts as alleged by the plaintiff but asserts that the plaintiff’s claim has no basis in law.
Negotiation A process in which parties attempt to settle their dispute informally, with or without attorneys to represent them.
Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) The resolution of disputes with the assistance of organizations that offer dispute-resolution services via the Internet.
Pleadings Statements made by the plaintiff and the defendant in a lawsuit that detail the facts, charges, and defenses of a case.
Probate Court A state court of limited jurisdiction that conducts proceedings relating to the settlement of a deceased person’s estate.
Question of Fact In a lawsuit, an issue that involves only disputed facts and not what the law is on a given point.
Question of Law In a lawsuit, an issue involving the application or interpretation of a law.
Reply Procedurally, a plaintiff’s response to a defendant’s answer.
Rule of Four A rule of the United States Supreme Court under which the Court will not issue a writ of certiorari unless at least four justices approve.
Small Claims Court A special court in which parties may litigate small claims (such as $5,000 or less) without an attorney.
Standing to Sue The requirement that an individual must have a sufficient stake in a controversy before he or she can bring a lawsuit.
Summons A document informing a defendant that a legal action has been commenced against her or him and that the defendant must appear in court on a certain date to answer the plaintiff’s complaint.
Venue The geographic district in which a legal action is tried and from which the jury is selected.
Voir Dire The process in which the attorneys question prospective jurors to learn about their personal characteristics that may affect their ability to serve as impartial jurors.
Writ of Certiorari A writ from a higher court asking a lower court for the record of a case.
Created by: mjgraham237