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Common Terms Used in a Legal Case and Courtroom

Decatur LawyerIf you are dealing with a legal matter, it will help to familiarize yourself with legal terms that are commonly used in case documents, by your Decatur lawyer, and in the courtroom. The following are common legal terms to get you started, and by no means is a complete list. Do not hesitate to ask for clarification from a Decatur lawyer such as one from Andrew R. Lynch, P.C.

  • Abstract of judgement – An official copy of a civil judgment.
  • Abstract of conviction – An official copy of a criminal or traffic verdict and/or settlement.
  • Accused – Referring to the person who is being accused with a crime or infraction. If you were accused of a crime, contact a Decatur lawyer from Andrew R. Lynch, P.C.
  • Adjudicate – Another word for decide, settle, decree, or pass on judicially.
  • Administrative law – The area of law encompassing government agencies.
  • Affidavit – A statement of facts, or printed, recorded or written declaration that has been made voluntarily, and confirmed by an oath of the party who made it, also known as an affiant.
  • Breach – Breaking or violating a law or duty by either omission or commission.
  • Cause of action – The primary reason a person files a claim or lawsuit against another party.
  • Civil law – A term describing all non-criminal legal matters.
  • Compensatory damages – Damages that are recovered for losses related to injuries or finances. A lawyer in Decatur can determine a fair amount to include in the claim.
  • Counterclaim – A claim made by a defendant in opposition of the claim made by the plaintiff.
  • Court order – A mandatory direction given by a judge during a case.
  • Decree – In equity matters, a decree is an order by the circuit court.
  • Demurrer – A motion to dismiss a case due to insufficient evidence.
  • Disclaim – To deny.
  • Discovery – A phase during a suit that includes the process of finding information or evidence relevant to the case, and that may be known by the other party.
  • Dismissal – An order disposing of an action, and without trial.
  • Diligence – A term describing reasonable care of an issue or matter. Diligence denotes what a normal person would do under similar conditions. It also applies to the expectations of a lawyer.
  • Fiduciary – A person who has the legal and ethical duty to the responsibility and care of another person. Another term is guardian.
  • Grand Jury – A special jury who will investigate and decide on whether or not charges will be brought against another person.
  • Indigent – In general, a term for a person who has insufficient funds, is “needy”, or lacks any living person to support him or her.
  • Judgement creditor – Refers to a person who wins a settlement in a civil court.
  • Mediation – A type of dispute resolution that does not involve the court and uses a third party to help the other parties come to a settlement.
  • Malfeasance – Performing an illegally or morally wrong act. Dishonesty is a form or malfeasance.
  • Mens rea – The Latin term for “guilty mind”. It is used to describe criminal intent and a culpable state of mind.
  • Prima facie case – A case in which the facts prove the case.
  • Punitive damages – Damages which are awarded on top of compensatory damages and act as a “punishment” and an example to others, including the defendant.
  • Statue – A written law passed by a legislative body such as Congress.
  • Subpoena – A process that commands a witness to appear in court and give a testimony.
  • Tort – The French word for “wrong”. Tort is commonly used in the U.S. legal system and refers to an illegal act, both accidental or intentional, and from which an injury results. A Decatur lawyer can help you recover your damages.

Lawyers in Decatur You Can Trust

To learn more about the laws relevant to your legal matter, please call an Andrew R. Lynch, P.C. Decatur lawyer at (404) 373-7735.