Legalese Explained

Affidavit: the same as sworn testimony, under oath, taken by an attorney of the opposing party, which is recorded by a court stenographer and counts as factual evidence

The Appeal: the document filed to request a formal review of the judge’s decision or jury’s verdict in a different court and before different judges, usually only on points of law, meaning precisely regulated interpretations of the current law as interpreted by previous decisions within that geographic area

To Appeal: this means that you wish to have the decision overturned, on whatever grounds (also called merits) that the lawyer representing you can find within the case (mistakes by the judge, mistakes in the evidence, mistakes in applying the decisions of previously decided, on similar grounds, cases)

Application: where you submit a document to the court for (1) filing with the previous papers and documents; and (2) thoughtful consideration by the judge overseeing the case

Argue: state your position in front of the judge and/or jury

Complaint: the document which is filed to start the legal proceeding or lawsuit, names the plaintiff(s) and the defendant(s), the grounds of law upon which the case is brought and the equitable (fair) relief sought from the damage(s).

Court: there exist different levels of courts within each country, province, county, city; and then also different types, for smaller and larger charges, criminal or civil, a few people or many (called a class action in that case)

Court a quo: the court in which the decision was handed down, deciding the case’s outcome, the original court where the law suit was filed

Court roll: all the documents and testimony delivered during the hearing or trial, set down by the court stenographer in writing, and includes copies of all evidentiary exhibits, documents, and photographs

Damage(s): the fair compensation of the consequences of the other party’s actions, often expressed in terms of money, because the litigating party wishes to determine how to remedy (fix or repair) the damage(s) done.

Defendant: the person(s) or entity (think company or government department/official acting in his capacity representing the government) against whom the lawsuit or case is brought, or against whom the plaintiff has filed in court

Judgment: the judge’s final decision

Lawsuit: another word for case

Leave: an expensive way of saying ‘please grant us this’

Lodge the record: once the compilation of court documents has been made, these must be filed with the court in which the case is pending

Motion: the request by the lawyer for the judge to consider a point of law; these come in various types as well, and are sometimes required to be preceded by a Notice of Motion so that opposing counsel (the other attorneys) have time to prepare their defense

Notice of appeal: here, the date for the right to argue why the judge chose unwisely or interpreted the law incorrectly

Notice of set down: the court’s official notification of a (new) trial or hearing date

Plaintiff: the original person(s) or entity bringing the case or lawsuit, who have been harmed either physically or mentally

Points of law: meaning precisely regulated interpretations of the current law as interpreted by previous judicial decisions within that geographic area

Proceeding: an expensive word for hearing

Respondent: the opposing party, whether plaintiff or defendant in the original lawsuit, answering the notice by the party bringing the request (for hearing, appeal)