Glossary

 Abstract of Title

A condensed history or summary of all transactions affecting a particular tract of land.

 Acquittal

Legal judgment that a criminal defendant has not been proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt if the charges against him.

 Action

Case, cause, suit or controversy disputed or contested before a court of justice.

 Affidavit

A written statement of facts confirmed by the oath of the party making it, before a notary or other officer having authority to administer oaths.

 Affidavit of Title

A vendor's statement to the effect that title is good and marketable and subject to no defects other than those set out in the Agreement of Purchase and Sale or the Vendor's Deed.

 Agent

One who is permitted to act for or in place of someone else.

 Affirmed

In the practice of the appellate courts, the decree or order is declared valid and will stand as rendered in the lower court.

 Allegation

A claim or statement of what a party intends to prove; the facts as one party claims they are.

 Allege

To claim or declare that something is so.

 Amendment

The correction of an error in any process, pleading, or proceeding at law.

 Annual Meeting

Yearly meeting of shareholders for the purpose of electing shareholders.

 Answer

The formal written statement by a defendant responding to a complaint setting forth the ground for his defense.

 Appeal

A review by a higher court of the judgment or decision of a lower court.

 Appellee

The party against whom the appeal is taken.

 Arraignment

A proceeding in which the criminal defendant is called into court, the indictment is read to him, and he is called on to plead.

 Arrest

Taking physical custody of a person by lawful authority, for the purpose of holding him to answer a criminal charge.

 A.R.S.

ArizonaRevised Statutes

 Articles of Incorporation

Document that legally creates a corporation, filed with the appropriate state governmental agency.

 Assignment

The transfer of a mortgage from one person to another.

 Assumption

The taking over of a mortgage and related obligations. The original borrower sometimes remains liable on the mortgage note.

 Attorney-in-fact

A legal agent.

 Bail

To obtain the release of a person from legal custody by giving surety for his appearance on the day and time appointed.

 Bankruptcy

Federal law that allows individuals, married couples, and businesses to eliminate or restructure their debts when they have financial difficulties. 

 Board of Directors

Elected by the shareholders, the board of directors is the governing body of a corporation.

 Bond

A certificate or evidence of a debt; a written commitment to pay a certain amount of money if certain conditions are not met.

 Bond for Costs

A bond given by a party to secure the eventual payment of the costs of the suit.

 Brief

A written statement of the case, including a summery of the facts, a statement of the questions of law involved, and the arguments and legal authorities upon which the party relies. It serves as each party's principal submission to the appellate court for its decision.

 Bylaws

Rules adopted by a corporation for internal governance. Bylaws are usually included in the articles of incorporation.

 Capias

A writ requiring the marshal to take a defendant into custody.

 C Corporation

A corporation that is taxed at the corporate level rather than the shareholder level.

 Certificate of Existence

The issuance of a certificate of existence or a certificate of authorization shall be conclusive evidence that a corporation's most recent annual report has been delivered as required to the Secretary of State and that a certificate of dissolution or a certificate of withdrawal has not been filed with respect to such corporation.

 Certificate of Good  Standing

A document typically issued by the Office of the Secretary of State indicating that a business entity has complied with all of the state’s filing and registration requirements.

 Certificate of Incorporation

State-granted document acknowledging a corporation’s legal existence and right to function as a corporation.

 Certification Mark

A trade or service mark used to denote that a certain product or service meets certain standards of quality.

 Certified Copy

A duplicate copy of an original certified by an officer as an exact replica of the original.

 Challenge

An objection to the seating of a prospective juror on the jury panel for a trial.

 Challenge for Cause

A challenge to a juror for which some cause or reason is alleged.

 Chain of Custody

The set of procedures to account for the integrity of each urine or blood specimen by tracking its handling and storage from point of specimen collection to final disposition of the specimen. In drug testing, this requires the use of the appropriate drug testing custody form, from the time of collection to receipt by the laboratory.

 Chain of Title

The history of all of the documents that transfer title to a parcel of real property, starting with the earliest existing document and ending with the most recent.

 Peremptory Challenge

A challenge to a juror without alleging any cause or reason; a limited number of peremptory challenges is allowed each side in any case.

 Cite

(1) To command the presence of a person; to notify a person of legal proceedings against him and require his appearance in the court, especially to face contempt proceedings.
(2) To read or refer to legal authorities in an argument or submission to a court. For example, to cite a case is to refer to a particular case in an attempt to persuade the court to be guided by the decision reached in that case.

 Civil Action

Every lawsuit other than a criminal action; an adversary proceeding for the enforcement or protection of a legal right or the redress or prevention of a wrong.

 Clerk of Court

An officer appointed by a court if justice who has charge of the clerical work; keeps the records and seal, issues process, enters judgments and orders, and gives certified copies of documents from the record.

 Closely Held Corporation

A corporation whose shares are not freely traded and are held by a limited number of people.

 Cloud on Title

Any conditions revealed by a title search that adversely affect the title to real estate. Usually clouds on title cannot be removed except by a quitclaim deed, release, or court action.

 Community Property

In some western and southwestern states, a form of ownership under which property acquired during a marriage is presumed to be owned jointly unless acquired as separate property of either spouse.

 Complainant

The party who complaints or sues; one who applies to the Court for legal redress, also called the plaintiff.

 Conformed Copy

An exact copy of a document including an explanation of why certain items could not be copies.

 Conviction

A judgment of guilt against a criminal defendant.

 Consent

Voluntary agreement or approval as to some act or purpose, such as giving a police officer consent, or permission, to search your property.

 Corporate Resolution

Corporate Resolutions record the major decisions taken by the corporation's Shareholders or Board of Directors during a meeting, such as adopting a fictitious business name.

 Corporation

An entity with the legal authority granted by a state to act as a single person distinct from the individual shareholders who make up the corporation. A corporation has the right to issue stock and exist in perpetuity.

 Costs

An amount of money awarded to the successful party (and recoverable from the losing party) solely as reimbursement for certain of the expenses in prosecuting or defending the suit.

Cross-Examination

After a witness has given evidence, the attorney for the opposing party examines or questions him about his testimony to verify or refute it.

 Counter-claim

A claim, which a defendant makes against a plaintiff.

 Court of Appeal

An intermediate federal court, inferior to the U.S. Supreme Court but higher than U.S. District Court. Its function is to review the final decisions of the district courts, is challenged. There is a Court of Appeals for circuit in each of the judicial circuits.

 Cross-Claim

A claim by one party against a co-party (a defendant claiming another defendant, or a plaintiff against another plaintiff) arising out of the original complaint.

 Damages

A monetary compensation, which may be recovered in the courts by a person who has suffered a loss or injury through the unlawful act or negligence of another.

 DBA

Abbreviation for “doing business as”. A formal notice that an individual, company or organization is conducting business under a different name.

 Deed

A written document by which the ownership of land is transferred from one person to another.

 Deed in Lieu of  Foreclosure

A deed given by an owner/borrower to a lender to satisfy a mortgage debt and avoid foreclosure

 Deed in Trust

An instrument that grants a trustee full powers to sell, mortgage, and subdivide a parcel of real estate. The beneficiary controls the trustee's use of these powers under the provisions of the trust agreement.

 Deed of Trust

A legal instrument used to secure a loan on real estate. Foreclosures can be effected more quickly with a Deed of Trust than with a Mortgage.

 Defendant

The person defending or denying; the party against whom relief or recovery is sought in a civil action or suit; the party who is accused in a criminal suit.

 Deposition

An oral statement made by a person before an officer authorized by law to administer oaths. The attorney for the opposition party is notified to attend the deposition where he may cross-examine the deposed party. The deposition may sometimes be used later in the trial, or it may be taken only to obtain discovery.

 Director

A corporate director is one who is appointed or elected to sit on a board and manage the affairs of the corporation or company.

 Disclosure

Something that is made known and that was previously unknown.

 Discovery

The disclosure by one party who needs this information to properly prosecutes or defends the case.

 Dissolution

The cancellation of a contract by the parties, with the effect of nullifying the effect of the contract as though it never existed.

 District Court

Court of the U.S., each having territorial jurisdiction over a judicial district, which may include a whole state or only part of it. The district courts are the trial courts of the Federal Judiciary.

 Diversity of Citizenship

A phrase used with reference to federal jurisdiction, denoting a case in which the district courts have jurisdiction because all the person on one side of the case are citizens of states different from all the persons on the other side. The matter is controversy must also exceed a value of $ 50,000.

 Docket

A formal record. Entered in brief, of the proceedings in a court.

 Document

Generally refers to writings, pictures, maps, etc. Denoted official papers such as deeds, agreements, title papers, receipts and other written instruments used to prove a fact.

 Domicile

A person’s or organization’s fixed, permanent state of incorporation. The state in which the entity filed articles of incorporation.

 Entry of Judgment

Recording the judgment; putting into the docket book a statement of the final judgment and entering copies thereof in the record of the case and judgment book.

 Escrow

A procedure whereby a disinterested third party handles legal documents and funds on behalf of a seller and a buyer.

 Evidence

Any kind of matter, presented at trial through witnesses, records, or documents for the purpose of persuading the court or jury of the correctness of the contentions of the parties.

 Evidence of Title

Document, such as a deed, which demonstrates property ownership.

 Examination

An interrogation or search. To examination of a witness consists of a series of questions asked by a party to the action or his attorney, in order to bring before the court or jury the knowledge which the witness has of the facts or matters in dispute, or probing and sifting the evidence as previously given.

 Execution of Judgment

A writ (order) to the marshal or sheriff requiring him to carry out the judgment of the Court.

 Exhibit

A document, attachment.

 Federal Question

Refers to the jurisdiction given to the federal courts in cases involving the interpretation and application of Acts of Congress, the U.S. Constitution, and treaties.

 FHA

The Federal Housing Administration - an agency of the federal government which insures private loans for financing of new and existing housing and for home repairs under government-approved programs.

 FHLMC (Freddie Mac)

Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation - An affiliate of the Federal Home Loan Bank that creates a secondary market in conventional residential loans and FHA and VA loans by purchasing mortgages from members of the Federal Reserve System and the Federal Home Loan Bank System.

 Fictitious Business Name

A name that does not include the surname of the individual owner and each of the partners or clearly reveal the nature of the business.

 File

To put into files or records of the court; to file a paper is to place it in the official custody of the clerk. The clerk is to endorse upon the paper the date it is received and retain it in record of the case subject to public inspection

 Financing Statement

A form of lien filed by a lender or creditor and registered against the personal property of a debtor. Generally filed when a loan is secured against personal property.

 Foreclosure

Legal process by which a mortgagor of real property is deprived of his interest in that property due to failure to comply with terms and conditions of the mortgage.

 General Partner

The partner responsible for management of a business partnership.

 General Power of Attorney

A legal document that gives a person the power to manage another’s assets and financial affairs.

 General Warranty Deed

A deed which conveys not only all the grantor's interests in and title to the property to the grantee, but also warrants that if the title is defective or has a "cloud" on it (such as mortgage claims, tax liens, title claims, judgments, or mechanic's liens against it) the grantee may hold the grantor liable.

 Grantee

A person who acquires an interest in land by deed, grant or other written instrument.

 Grantor

A person who, by a written instrument, transfers to another, interest in land.

 Habeas Corpus

A writ that is used to bring a prisoner before the Court to determine the legality of his imprisonment. It may also be used to bring a person in custody before the Court to given testimony, or to be prosecuted.

 Hearing

A relatively formal proceeding similar to a trial, with one or more legal issues to be agreed upon or determined.

 Impeach

To impeach a witness is to introduce evidence intended to contradict testimony or to question his creditability.

 Incorporation

The process by which a business receives a charter, allowing it to become a corporation. 

 In Forma Pauperis

In the manner of a pauper. The permission given to a poor person to sue without payment of court fees.

 In Rem

An action in rem is one taken directly against property and has for its object the disposition of property, without reference to who owns the property.

 Indictment

The formal charging of the defendant with a particular crime by a grand jury.

 Injunction

A temporary or permanent order of the court prohibiting the performance of some specific act in order to prevent irreparable damage or injury.

 Interrogatories

Written questions asked by one party and served on an opposing party who must answer them in writing under oath as a discovery device.

 Intervention

A proceeding by which a third party is permitted to enter a lawsuit pending between other parties. He may join the plaintiff in seeking what is asked in the complaint; or with the defendant in resisting the claims of the plaintiff; or may demand some relief adverse to both of them.

 Issue

(1) The disputed point or question in which the parties to a case have narrowed their disagreement; a single material point which is affirmed by one side and denied by the other. When the plaintiff and the defendant have arrived at some point which one affirms an d the other denies, they are said to be "at issue." When the defendant has filed an answer denying all or part of the allegations or the complaint, the "issue has been joined" and the case is ready to be set for trial.
(2) To send out officially (to issue an order)

 Judgment

The official and authentic decision of a Court adjudicating with finality the respective rights and claims of the parties to a suit.

 Default Judgment

A judgment rendered because of the defendant's failure to answer or appear.

 Summery Judgment

Judgment given on the basis of pleadings, affidavits, and exhibits presented for the record without any need for a trial. It is used when there is no dispute as to the fact of the case and one party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.

 Consent Judgment

The provisions and terms of judgment are agreed on the parties and submitted to the court for its sanction and approval.

 Declaratory Judgment

A judgment, which declares the rights and legal relations of the parties of a case.

 Jurisdiction

The power or legal authority of the court to hear and decide a case.

 Jury

A certain number of persons selected according to law and sworn to inquire into matters of fact and declare the truth about matters lay before them.

 Petit Jury

Person impaneled and sworn in a district court, who determine any questions or issue of fact in any civil or criminal action according to the law and the evidence introduces at the trial.

 Grand Jury

Made up of a larger group of persons who is suspected of a crime and determine whether there is sufficient evidence to bring that person to trial.

 Joint Tenancy

A form of co-ownership that gives each tenant an equal undivided ownership in the property, including the right of survivorship.

 Land Contract

A method of real estate financing; a mortgage-holding seller finances a buyer by taking a down payment and subsequent payments in installments, but holds the title until the mortgage is fully repaid.

 Legal Description

A property description, recognized by law, that is sufficient to locate and identify the property without oral testimony.

 Liable

The quality or state of being legally obligated or responsible.

 Lien

A hold, a claim or charge allowed a creditor upon the assets of a debtor.

 Limited Liability

Liability limited by law or by contract. Usually in reference to the liability cap that limits company owners liability to their investment.

 Limited Liability Company  (LLC)

LLCs combine the limited liability protection of a corporation and the pass-through taxation of a sole proprietorship or partnership. The downside to an LLC is that it does not offer the free transferability of ownership, perpetual existence, and the ability to be totally owned by a single individual.

 Limited Liability  Partnership (LLP)

A business relationship in which one partner is not responsible for the negligent acts committed by another partner or by the employees not under that partner’s supervision. LLPs are most common among law firms.

 Limited Partnership

A partnership that is composed of one or more persons who control the business and are personally liable for the partnership’s debts (General Partners) and one or more other persons who contribute capital and share profits but cannot manage the business and are only liable for the amount of their investment (Limited Partners).

 Lis Pendens

Legal notice that a lawsuit is pending. Also called a notice of action.

 Litigant

A party to a lawsuit.

 Litigation

A case, controversy, or lawsuit.

 Local Rules

A particular set of rules for each court governing matters not determined by the Federal Rules of Procedure.

 Mandamus

Literally, "We command." It is a command of a higher court to a lower court or a public officer to perform a lawful duty.

 Mechanic’s Lien

A lien created by statute for the purpose of securing priority of payment for the price or value of work performed and materials furnished in construction or repair of improvements to land, and which attaches to the land as well as the improvements.

 Merger

The union of two or more commercial interests or corporations, usually of similar size.

 Metes and Bounds  Description

Land descriptions found in deeds and other documents traditionally referenced from a rock, or tree, or some natural monument and typically including boundary lengths and directions.

 Minutes

A record of what takes place in court.

 Mistrial

An invalid trial the result of which cannot stand because of some fundamental errors. When a mistrial is declared, the trial must start again from the selection of the jury.

 Moot

A proceeding, which seeks a judgment or ruling on a dispute which does not actually exist. For example, when one party brings a motion to compel the other to answer interrogatories and the other has already answered, the motion is moot.

 Mortgage Lien

The unpaid balance on the mortgage loan.

 Mortgage Note

An instrument used to encumber land as security for a debt. This document gives the mortgage company "in rem" jurisdiction over the mortgagor.

 Mortgagee

A designation for the mortgage lender on lands.

 Mortgagor

A designation for the mortgage borrower on lands.

 MRO

Medical Review Officer- A licensed physician responsible for receiving laboratory results generated by an employer's drug testing program who has knowledge of substance abuse training to interpret and evaluate an individual's confirmed positive test result.

 Name Reservation

Act of holding/reserving a name for use within a State.

 Nolo Contendere

No contest - has the same effect as a plea of guilty, as far as the criminal sentence is concerned, but may not be considered as an admission of guilty for any other purpose.

 Non-profit Corporation

 A corporation that is not formed with the intent to realize a profit, but is established for a religious, charitable, educational, literary or scientific purpose. Qualifying nonprofit corporations will be granted tax-exempt status by both federal and state authorities.

 Note

A written promise to pay a certain amount of money at a certain time or in a certain number of installments. It usually provides for payment of interest and its payment is at times secured by a mortgage.

 Notice

Information or a warning usually given in writing, informing a person of some fact, which it is his legal right to know.

 Notice of Appeal

Notice to the court and to the other parties to the suit that a party intends to exercise his right to appeal. Filing the notice of appeal in the district court is the first step in making the appeal.

 Open-end Loan

A loan where the borrower may add to the principal without renegotiating the terms of the loan.

 Opinion

A formal judicial statement of the legal reasoning upon which the judgment is based.

 Parties

The persons or entities that prosecute or defend a lawsuit.

 Par Value

The face value of securities.

 Patent

The grant of a property right to an inventor, issued by the Patent and Trademark Office. The term of a new patent is usually 20 years from the date on which the application for the patent is filed in the United States Patent and Trademark Office (PTO).

 Plaintiff (or Complainant)

The one who brings the suit, asking for the enforcement of a right or the recovery of relief from a wrong?

 Plat Map

Method of land description that relies on a recorded map of a subdivision, with each deed making reference to the map and the particular lot being conveyed.

 Plea

In a criminal proceeding it is the defendant's declaration in open court, that he is guilty or not guilty -  the defendant's answer to the charges made against him in the indictment or information. 

 Pleading

The formal written statements presented by the parties in civil case - forming the basis for the lawsuit and defining the issues.

 PMM

Purchase money mortgage - A mortgage given by the seller simultaneously with the purchase of real estate to secure the unpaid balance of the purchase price.

 Power of Attorney

A legal way to have one person act on behalf of another.

 Preliminary Examination  (or Preliminary Hearing)  

A hearing before a magistrate judge or judge to determine if there is probable cause to warrant holding a person accused of a crime. It is a procedure to prevent a possible abuse of prosecutorial power.

 Pretrial Conference

Conference among the opposing attorneys and the judge called at the discretion of the court to narrow the issues to be tried and to make a final effort to settle the case without trial.

 Probation

An alternative to imprisonment allowing a person found guilty of an offense to stay in the community, usually under conditions and under supervision of a probation officer. A violation of probation can lead to its revocation and to imprisonment.

 Procedure

The rules for the conduct of a lawsuit.

 Proceeding

The judicial business before the Court or judicial officer; any step or act taken in a lawsuit from the beginning to the executing of the judgment.

 Process

The summons or any other writ, which may be used during the progress of the case.

 Qualify

The process by which a business receives a charter, allowing it to become a corporation in a State other than its Sate of Incorporation.

 Quash

To vacate or void a summons, subpoena, etc.