Legal Term Glossary

General Legal Terms

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Term Definition

A legal document that states what a person wants done with his or her belongings after death


To find a criminal defendant not guilty.


A dispute taken to court to be settled. Same as case, suit and lawsuit when used in the courtroom context.


To decide or settle


Evidence that is properly introduced in a trial.

Adversary System

Method used in the courts of the United States to settle legal disputes. Both individuals in the case tell their story to the judge and/or jury for resolution.


A statement or declaration of facts that has been written down and confirmed by the originator under oath.


To uphold a decision made by a lower court.

Alternative Dispute Resolution

The process of settling a legal dispute without a formal trial.


Written response in a civil case. In it, the defendant admits or denies the allegations of the complaint made by the plaintiff and states any defenses that apply.


An agreement made before marriage that indicates how property will be divided should the couple divorce or a person die.


Legal process used to ask a higher court to review a decision of a lower court.


The person/party appealing the judgment or decision of a court.

Appellate Court

A court having jurisdiction (authority) to hear appeals.


The person against whom the appeal is taken.

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This website has been prepared for general information purposes only. The information on this website is not legal advice. Legal advice is dependent upon the specific circumstances of each situation. Also, the law may vary from state-to-state or county-to-county, so that some information in this website may not be correct for your situation. Finally, the information contained on this website is not guaranteed to be up to date. Therefore, the information contained in this website cannot replace the advice of competent legal counsel licensed in your jurisdiction.