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Legal Term Glossary

Arizona Civil Legal Needs Community Survey

Civil legal organizations in Arizona are seeking your input to increase their ability to meet the civil legal needs of Arizona's lower income residents. Please complete this survey to assist in improving civil legal services in Arizona.

Encuesta de Necesidades Legales Civiles de Arizona

Las organizaciones legales civiles en Arizona buscan su opinión para aumentar su capacidad de satisfacer las necesidades legales civiles de los residentes de bajos ingresos de Arizona. Por favor complete esta encuesta para ayudar a mejorar los servicios legales civiles en Arizona.

General Legal Terms

Search for glossary terms (regular expression allowed)


Term Main definition

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.

Synonyms - case, suit, lawsuit

To decide or settle


Evidence that is properly introduced in a trial.


When a person becomes the legal child of another person and is treated by the law as the biological child of the adoptor.

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 written statement of fact, signed and sworn to in front of a notary or a person who has the right to administer an oath.


To uphold a decision made by a lower court.


Statements against one person which the other person is prepared to prove.

Alternative Dispute Resolution

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

Synonyms - ADR

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.

Synonyms - Premarital Agreement

A request made to a higher court to reverse or modify a decision made by 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.


Arbitration is a dispute resolution system.  In arbitration the disputing individuals each present their side of an issue to an arbitrator who will act like a judge and decide the matter. There are two types of arbitration: binding voluntary arbitration and mandatory non-binding arbitration.

Binding Voluntary Arbitration is a process where the disputing individuals agree to settle their matter privately outside of the public court system using an arbitrator, a professional decision maker that is chosen by one or both of the disputing parties, to decide the dispute. Arbitration does not require the use of court rules or procedures and is viewed as a simplified private court proceeding. Each side will present their case to the arbitrator who will then decide the issue. Once the matter is decided the case is over and in most cases the court will enforce the arbitrators decision.

Mandatory Non-binding Arbitration is a process used by the court system where individuals who meet certain qualifications will have their case decided by a court appointed arbitrator instead of a judge. Decisions made in this type of arbitration are non-binding meaning that either individual may ask for a new trial in trial court.


An attorney selected to hear a case and settle the legal dispute without a formal trial.

Arizona Revised Statutes

Arizona Revised Statutes: Books containing the laws that the Arizona Legislature has enacted.

Synonyms - A.R.S., ARS

Court proceeding in which the defendant stands before the judge to answer criminal charges by entering a plea of guilty or not guilty.