As aspiring lawyers you must be familiar with some words commonly used in the legal context.

Your aim of learning the meanings of words under your vocabulary course may be to better your writing skills or to improve your understanding of the English language and various writings.

Your aim of learning the meaning of words and phrases under legal vocabulary should be quite different.

The purpose of enhancing your legal vocabulary is to realize the legal applicability of certain concepts and to build a good foundation beforehand for the teachings you shall receive in the course of your law school career.

Here are some words and phrases to start off your preparation. Pay attention to these legal words and phrases. Read and understand the meaning patiently.

  1. forbearance

An intentional delay in collecting a debt or demanding performance on a contract, usually for a specific period of time.

Forbearance is often consideration for a promise by the debtor to pay an added amount.

  1. obiter dicta

Remarks of a judge which are not necessary to reaching a decision, but are made as comments, illustrations or thoughts.

  1. Jane Doe

1) a fictitious name used for a possible female defendant who is unknown at the time a complaint is filed to start a lawsuit.

2) the temporary fictitious name given to an unidentified hospitalized or dead woman.

  1. waive

To voluntarily give up something, including not enforcing a term of a contract (such as insisting on payment on an exact date), or knowingly giving up a legal right such as a speedy trial, a jury trial or a hearing on extradition (the transfer to another state’s jurisdiction of one accused of a crime in the other state).

  1. defraud

To use deceit, falsehoods or trickery to obtain money, an object, rights or anything of value belonging to another.

  1. officious intermeddler

A volunteer who assists and/or benefits another without contractual responsibility or legal duty to do so, but nevertheless wants compensation for his/her actions.

The courts generally find that the intermeddler must rely on the equally voluntary gratitude of the recipient of the alleged benefit.

  1. chattel

An item of personal property which is movable, as distinguished from real property (land and improvements).

  1. maim

To inflict a serious bodily injury, including mutilation or any harm which limits the victim’s ability to function physically.

Originally, in English common law it meant to cut off or permanently cripple a body part like an arm, leg, hand or foot.

In criminal law, such serious harm becomes an “aggravated” assault, which is a felony subject to a prison term.

  1. quid pro quo

Latin for “something for something,” to identify what each party to an agreement expects from the other, sometimes called mutual consideration.

  1. guarantor

A person or entity that agrees to be responsible for another’s debt or performance under a contract if the other fails to pay or perform.

  1. incidental beneficiary

Someone who obtains a benefit as the result of the main purpose of the trust.

Example: the co-owner of property with a named beneficiary may benefit from moneys provided to improve the building they jointly own, or a grandchild might benefit from his/her parent receiving a gift which could be used by the entire family, or which he/she may inherit from the parent.

  1. indemnity

The act of making someone “whole” (give equal to what they have lost) or protected from (insured against) any losses which have occurred or will occur.

  1. ultra vires

Latin for “beyond powers,” in the law of corporations, referring to acts of a corporation and/or its officers outside the powers and/or authority allowed a corporation by law

  1. temporary injuction

A court order prohibiting an action by a party to a lawsuit until there has been a trial or other court action.

  1. lessee

The person renting property under a written lease from the owner (lessor).

  1. negotiable instrument

Check, promissory note, bill of exchange, security or any document representing money payable which can be transferred to another by handing it over (delivery) and/or endorsing it

  1. voluntary bankruptcy

The filing for bankruptcy by a debtor who believes he/she/it cannot pay bills and has more debts than assets.

Voluntary bankruptcy differs from “involuntary bankruptcy” filed by creditors owed money to bring the debtor before the bankruptcy court.

  1. scienter

Latin for “having knowledge.” In criminal law, it refers to knowledge by a defendant that his/her acts were illegal or his/her statements were lies and thus fraudulent.

  1. easement

The right to use the real property of another for a specific purpose.

  1. case law

Reported decisions of appeals courts and other courts which make new interpretations of the law and, therefore, can be cited as precedents.

2 Response Comments

  • Jane DoeJune 10, 2017 at 11:46 am

    This was really helpful.

    Reply
  • Jane DoeJune 10, 2017 at 11:49 am

    Use of every word/pharse in a sentence should also be shown.Please do it.

    Reply

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