Law School Dictionary

Welcome to the Law School Dictionary. This Dictionary is compiled by Law School Coach, and is intended to define basic terms you will encounter in law school. This is not intended to be a legal dictionary. Instead, you will find the meaning for the most common words that you will encounter during your 1L year of law school.

G - O

Granted Court's ruling upholding a Motion.
Grantee Person named to receive property in Deed.
Grantor Person making a Deed.
Guaranty A promise to pay the debt of another person should that person fail to pay.
Gunner A term used to describe an overly competitive student who spends an inordinate amount of time participating in class discussion.  This term has a negative connotation.
Habeas Corpus A Writ which directs law enforcement officials who have custody of a prisoner to appear in court to help the judge determine whether the prisoner is lawfully in jail.  From the Latin phrase "you have the body."
Headnotes Summaries of points of law contained in an Opinion provided by case law Reporters, generally coded to the text for easy reference.
Heretofore Legalese for "before."
Holding The rule of a case.
Immunity Exemption from something the law requires of citizens.
In Camera In private. 
Inchoate Not completed, partial.
Indictment Written and sworn accusation charging a person with the commission of a crime.
Infant At Common Law, a person under the age of 21, a minor.
In Personam Proceedings instituted against the person
In Rem Proceedings instituted against the thing itself, i.e. naming Real Property itself as a Defendant in an Action.
Interlocutory Order of a court decided during the course of an action and merely temporary or Provisional in nature.
Interrogatories A Discovery device by which written questions are given to a witness who gives sworn answers.
Intestate To die without a Will.
Issue 1) A point or matter of discussion, debate, or dispute. 2) Children. 3) Handing down an Order in a case.
Judgement The final determination by a court of the rights of the parties in conflict before it.
Judicial Notice When a court takes as true certain a certain fact even though neither party has provided Evidence to support that fact.
Jurisdiction 1) The court's power to act. 2) The territorial range of a court's authority. 3) The court's authority over the parties or potential parties to a lawsuit. 
Jurisprudence The philosophy of law.
Jury A group of laypersons appointed by the court to determine a factual Issue.  In a Criminal case the jury will determine whether a Defendant is guilty.
Laches When a party unreasonably neglects to assert a claim, a court can bar the claim in Equity under the doctrine of laches.
Leave The court's permission.
Legalese Slang for the sometimes arcane, convoluted, and specialized jargon of lawyers and legal scholars.
Liable Legally obligated to pay Damages.
Lis Pendens 1) A pending lawsuit. 2) A court's control over property involved in the lawsuit until final Judgment.
Litigant A Party engaged in a lawsuit.
Material Important or necessary.
Majority Rule A principle of law accepted by more than half of the Jurisdictions in question when there is no uniform principle.
Malum in Se Conduct which is Criminal because it is inherently wrong.  From the Latin phrase "wrong in itself."
Malum Prohibitum Conduct which is Criminal because it violates a statute or ordinance. From the Latin phrase "wrong as prohibited."
Mens Rea A guilty mind.
Motion A formal request to a court (orally or by Pleading) that seeks to have the court answer a legal question or take an action.
Negligence Conduct which disregards the proper standard of care to be expected under the circumstances.
Objection 1) The formal registration of protest against the admission of Evidence at trial on the grounds of a legal defect.  2) A statement presented in opposition.
Opinion Written decision of an Appellate court.
Order 1) Action taken by a judge in ruling on a Motion.  2) Direction by a court that something be done by someone connected with a lawsuit.

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