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Law Vocabulary


undefined, object
copy deck
Amicus curiae
Friend of the court brief
Request for judicial review of verdict
Beyond a reasonable doubt
Level of evidence required in civil cases
By a fair preponderance of the evidence
Level of evidence required in criminal cases
Request for review of lower court decision
Class action
Action brought by one person on behalf of himself and all others in his category subject to certain legal standards. (Equal protection issue)
Common law
Case law, judge-made law
De jure
By law (as in legally segregated schools)
In fact; as a situation exists (segregation from housing patterns)
Appellee/respondent – the person against whom charges are being brought or decision is being sought on appeal
En banc
Entire court hears the appeal (at state or federal circuit court level)
Ex punge
Remove from the record
In loco parentis
In place of the parent
Court order requiring something or refraining from doing something
Court order commanding an official duty be done
Opinion, majority
The equivalent of a “verdict” in an appeal. Must be a majority of justices hearing appeal. Written by one justice
Opinion, concurring
Justices who agree with the writer of the majority opinion and who want to add their views
Opinion, dissenting
Justice(s) who disagree with the writer of the majority opinion and who want to add their views
Opinion, per curiam
Unsigned, unanimous opinion
Petitioner/appellant – the person bringing the charges or the appeal
A legal opinion rendered at any level cited by other judges to justify their positions
Prima facie
Literally – “On its Face. For example, enough evidence presented to a Grand Jury to bring an indictment
Send case on appeal back to the lower court for retrying on one or more points of law
Stare decisis
Literally – “Let the decision stand.” Trial court is bound by appellate court decisions (precedents) on a legal question which is raised in the lower court.
Statutory Law
Legislative law as contrasted with judge-made or common law
Tort law
Literally – “A wrong.” Civil wrong or wrongful act, whether intentional or accidental, from which injury occurs to another. Torts include all negligence cases as well as intentional wrongs which result in harm.

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