Legal terms and their meaning


Legal terms and their meaning


Glossary of legal term consists of definition and explanation of legal terms. It is arranged in alphabetical order.


Accuse – to say that someone committed an offence.

Acquit – a legal decision that pronounces someone not guilty.

Advocate – a person that speaks in favour of somebody.

Affidavit – a willingly written, typed and printed statement made under an oath to confirm a particular statement. It is usually made to testify that a given fact is real. For example, people do affidavit to show that their date of birth is correct.

Appeal – a request that is usually made after a trial by the party that lost the case. The appeal made to a higher court.

Appellant – a person that makes an appeal.

Appellee – the person who the appeal is made against.

Attorney – a person who has the legal right to step in for another in law.


Barrister – a lawyer who speaks and argue as an advocate in a higher law court.


Caseload – this is the number of cases handled by the court or a lawyer.

Chamber – an office of a judge and his workers.

Cite – to summons a law.

Client – this is a person that seeks help or advice from a lawyer.

Community Service – this is a punishment that a court imposes on a person to work in certain public places or non-governmental organisation without pay. The person may be asked to sweep the street, market or school.

Contract – It is a legal agreement between two or more parties that shows a legal obligation. It can be oral or written. A written contract is most preferable.

Coroner- a legal official who makes enquiries about the cause of death.

Court – a place where law cases are held.

Crime – an illegal act that can be punishable by the law. It can be a violation of the law made.
Criminal – a person that commits a crime.


Damages – This is an amount of money that a defendant pays to a plaintiff. This occurs when the plaintiff wins the case. It is also money that a court orders someone to pay to another person as a punishment for harming, blackmailing them or destroying their property.

Defendant – A person that legal action is brought against or the accused. A defendant can also be a person that defends his or herself in a court of law.

Detective – This is a person whose duty is to discover information about a particular crime that helps in investigating a case.

Dismissal – This is the termination of a case in court after discovering that it does not have enough evidence to proceed.

Discharge – to set a person free.


Evidence – This is anything or information that is used in order to prove that someone is guilty or Innocent. It can be a written note, a document, an audio recording, or a video.

Expungement – This is the process by which criminal records are made invalid such that they can’t be used for any case.


File – is an act of placing a paper in an official custody of a Court. An amount if money is usually paid to file a document. It is known as filing fee.


Guardian – A person that is appointed to take full responsibility for the children especially if they have not come of age. The guardian takes charge especially when both parents are gone. It must no necessarily be a relative.

Guilty – feeling bad for a crime that was committed.


Hearing – In law, a hearing is when a case is being presented and read to the court. The word can not be used by the judiciary but the legislative too.


Injunction – This is an order from the court that prevents the other party from taking action. An injunction can be put on land, a house or any other property.

Interrogation – This is the process of questioning both the plaintiff and defendant to get a fact. This question helps in the discovery of so many hidden truth.


Judge – a person that takes control of the court. He/ She decides over cases in court and keep his punishment. It is a general term used to describe all judicial officers.

Judgement – In law, a court’s final decision resolves a dispute between two or more parties.
Jurist – an expert, one who has gained much knowledge and experience in law. The jurists are those that gather facts in the evidence presented.


Law – a rule that governs the activities and behaviour of the people in order employing lawyers.

Lawmaker – an official that belongs to the legal system whose duty is to create or amend laws

Law school – After studying law as a course in the university and obtaining a degree, law student advance. The advance by going for a one-year training in a school called Law School. Studying law is not complete with attending a law school.

Lawyer – A person who practices law.

Liquidation – is an official order by a court to sell a debtor’s property to settle the creditors.

Litigate – an act of defending one’s self in court.

Litigant – a person that defends himself or her self in court.


Magistrate – someone who is not a lawyer but works as a judge in a local court of law, dealing with less serious crimes.

Magistrate court – is a court that takes decisions on criminal issues that are not serious.

Motion – an oral request that is made by a lawyer to the higher authority. The motion is made to either be in favour or against the other party.


Negligence – This is a failure that occurs due to the reckless nature of the person involved.


Opinion – a judge’s oral or written statement that gives an explanation of a particular judgement.It is very necessary in every case handled especially when it involves many lawyers. The opinion of the majority is taken.


Panel – a group of lawyers who are chosen to listen to a case in a court of law. They are usually three in number.

Per curiam – a Latin word that means for the court.

Petition – an official letter sent to a law court, requesting for a legal case to be considered.

Plaintiff – a person that takes a case to a court for legal judgement.

Plea – is the defendant‘s statement of being guilty or not guilty.

Pro se – a term that means representing one’s self.


Record – a written account of court proceedings. It contains evidence, a plea and anything given to the court as it relates to the case.


Sanction – a penalty that is used to bring compliance to a rule and regulation.

Sentence – This is the punishment pronounced by a judge for a defendant that is guilty of a crime. This is what most people are interested in during a court case.


Testimony – an oral statement made by the witness in during court proceedings. The witness is made to stay in a book and given a Bible to swear to tell the truth. The testimony made in court is very important in a case as it helps in the investigation.


Uphold – a notification that a particular decision in court is correct.


Verdict – is the judge’s decision that a person is guilty or not guilty.


Warrant – a court order to arrest someone or make an investigation.

Witness – a person that testifies in court.

Igbaji Ugabi Chinwendu, from Cross River State, Nigeria. As a Business Educator, he is profoundly interested in teaching and managing business. Started blogging 2010 and officially 2013. He holds the esteemed positions of Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Director at Freemanbiz Communication and Writers King LTD, demonstrating his leadership and expertise in the field.

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