Stare Decisis

Stare Decisis in the United States Latin for "let the decision stand." Stare Decisis (Judicial Function) holds that once a principle of law is established for a particular legal situation, courts should adhere to that principle in similar cases in the future. The case in which the […]


Appeal in the United States A request to an appellate or superior court to review a final judgment made in a lower court. Appellate jurisdiction is the power conferred upon appeals courts to conduct such a review. It empowers the court to set aside or modify the lower court decision. An […]


Mandamus in the United States An extraordinary writ issued by a court under its equity jurisdiction to require anyone, but most often a public official, to perform a specified official act. Mandamus is an affirmative command calling for an action to occur. When a mandamus is issued against a […]


Jurisdiction in the United States The power of a court to act, including its authority to hear and decide cases. Jurisdiction defines the boundaries within which a particular court may exercise judicial power. Judicial power is specifically conveyed through the assignment of jurisdiction. The […]


Negligence in United States Negligence Definition The breach of a legal noncontractual duty to use care, with no precise intention of producing a particular injury thereby. See Shear. & R. Neg. §3; Beven, Emp. Liab. An inadvertent imperfection by a responsible human agent in the […]


Evidence in the United States Material presented as proof at a trial. Evidence provides the basis upon which a fact dispute is resolved. Evidence generally takes the form of witness testimony or physical objects such as documents and records. Parties to a dispute are entitled to submit […]


Ordinance in United States Ordinance Definition In Modern Usage. A law passed by the legislative body of a municipal corporation for the government of such municipality. 117 Ind. 221. In Old Law. The term was applied to laws of other than municipal bodies. The following account of the […]

Plea Bargaining

Plea Bargaining in the United States A process whereby the prosecutor and the accused negotiate through his or her attorney a mutually acceptable settlement in a criminal case. The practice of plea bargaining is extensive in the United States. Approximately ninety percent of all criminal […]


Statute in the United States Law enacted by the legislative branch of government. Statutes are enacted by legislatures under power authorized and means prescribed by federal and state constitutions. Resolutions adopted by legislative bodies are not considered statutes. Law adopted by […]


Pleading in United States Pleading Definition

In Chancery Practice'. Consists in making the formal written allegations or statements of the respective parties on the record to maintain the suit, or to defeat it, of which, when contested in matters of fact, they propose to offer proofs, […]


Adjudication in the United States The judicial act of making a judgment in a legal action. Adjudication involves formal decision making processes as a court moves to a final judgment in a lawsuit. Adjudication requires, at minimum, notice to all parties that a decision is being sought, and an […]


Hearsay in the United States A statement by a witness repeating the words of another person rather than testifying on the basis of direct knowledge. Hearsay testimony is not based on what a witness sees, hears, or otherwise senses himself or herself. Rather, hearsay repeats what someone else […]


Certiorari in the United States A writ or order to a lower court, whose decision is being challenged, to send up the records of the case so a higher court can review the lower court’s decision. Certiorari means to be informed, and may be granted to the losing party by the Supreme Court. Until […]


Complaint in the United States A charging method generally reserved for less serious criminal violations. A complaint may also be used in civil cases in which the assertion of a claim is made to initiate the legal action. In criminal cases, a complaint is submitted to a judicial officer and […]


Misdemeanor in the United States A misdemeanor is a relatively minor criminal offense. Misdemeanors are generally punished by fine, but can involve detention at a county jail for up to one year. Misdemeanors are defined by each state and will vary somewhat. Some states choose to create […]

Common Law

Common Law in the United States Common Law Definition That system of law or form of the science of jurisprudence which has prevailed in England and in the United States of America, in contradistinction to other great systems, such as the Roman or civil law. As distinguished from statute […]


Respondent in the United States The party against whom a motion is filed. The respondent responds to or answers the motion. The term respondent may be used to refer to defendants at the trial level or the party against whom an appeal is commenced. At the appellate level, the respondent may […]

Standard Of Proof

Standard Of Proof in the United States Standard Of Proof and the State Laws Select from the list of U.S. States below for state-specific information on Standard Of Proof: Standard Of Proof in the Subject Index of the Alabama Portal Standard Of Proof in the Subject Index of the Alaska Portal […]


Writ in the United States A written order from a court requiring the recipient of the order to do what is commanded. Numerous kinds of writs exist, but they generally are directed either toward commencement or furtherance of a lawsuit, or they require some particular action to be performed. […]


Warrant in the United States An order issued by a court authorizing the arrest of a person or the search of a specified location. The warrant requirement in criminal cases is found in the Fourth Amendment following the assertion of the people’s right to be secure against unreasonable […]


Felony in the United States A classification that covers the most serious kind of crime. Felonies can be penalized by imprisonment for a year or more. A felony is different from petty crimes, which are called misdemeanors. Conviction for certain felonies may bring the possibility of the death […]

In Camera

In Camera in United States In Camera Definition In private; in chambers. In Camera in Foreign Legal Encyclopedias LinkDescription In Camera, In Camera in the World Legal Encyclopedia., In Camera, In Camera in the European Legal Encyclopedia., In Camera, In Camera in the Asian Legal […]


Relevant in United States Relevant Definition In the law of evidence. Having relation; applicable. Relevant evidence is evidence applicable to the issue. Relevant in Foreign Legal Encyclopedias LinkDescription Relevant, Relevant in the World Legal Encyclopedia., Relevant, Relevant in the […]


Hearing in United States Hearing Definition In legal contemplation, the word hearing, when used in connection with the trial of a lawsuit, includes not only the listening to the examination of the witnesses but the entire judicial examination of the issues, both of law and of fact, between […]


Malice in United States Malice Definition In Crimes. In its broadest legal sense, the term is substantially synonymous with criminal intent, and means the state of mind of a person, irrespective of his motive, whenever he consciously violates the law. In this sense, every person who is sui […]


Incest in United States Incest Definition The carnal copulation of a man and a woman related to each other in any of the degrees within which marriage is prohibited by law. Bish. Mar. & Div. 214221. Incest in Foreign Legal Encyclopedias LinkDescription Incest, Incest in the World Legal […]


Testimony in United States Testimony Definition The statement made by a witness under oath or affirmation. For distinction between testimony and evidence, see Evidence. Testimony in Foreign Legal Encyclopedias LinkDescription Testimony, Testimony in the World Legal Encyclopedia., […]