Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

Miscellaneous legal terms - synonyms or related words

abatable

adjective

capable of being abated (=made less extreme or serious)

alienate

verb

legal to give someone something such as property or rights

alienation

noun

legal the process of giving someone something such as property or rights

appealable

adjective

if a legal decision is appealable, a court or other authority can be asked to change it

artificial person

noun

a legal person

assign

verb

legal to give someone the ownership of or rights to property

assignee

noun

someone who is legally given a right or responsibility

assignment

noun

legal the act of giving the ownership of or rights to property to someone

attest

verb

legal to state formally that you believe something is true, correct, or real

automatism

noun

a defence used in criminal cases where the accused's mental state leads them to commit a crime without knowing they are doing it. Insane automatism is when a person is mentally ill and commits the crime. Non-insane automatism is when the accused was temporarily affected, for example while sleepwalking or suffering from a fit or concussion.

bail

noun

legal money that is given to a court when someone is allowed to stay out of prison until their trial. If they do not return for the trial, the court keeps the money

bail bondsman

noun

a person or company that promises to pay the accused's bail money if the accused does not appear at court for their trial

barratry

noun

dishonest encouragement, especially by a lawyer, to start vexatious litigation (=legal action with no purpose except to cause annoyance)

blind trust

noun

an arrangement in which a legal representative controls the money of someone such as a government official, who is not given specific information about how their money is being managed

cancel

verb

to say that a legal agreement or obligation is now ended

cancellation

noun

a decision to end a legal agreement or obligation

cause

verb

used about someone who has done something wrong

cause of action

noun

a fact or set of facts that is sufficient to justify legal action

circuit

noun

legal a regular journey made by a judge to hear court cases in each of the courts of law in a particular area

the Civil Procedure Rules

noun

in England and Wales, the rules of procedure and practice that courts use to administer civil cases

competence

noun

legal the fact of being allowed to have your case judged by a court

competence

noun

the fact of being allowed to be a witness in a court case

consideration

noun

legal something that is promised or given by one party to a contract in return for something promised or given by another party

contributory negligence

noun

the failure of a person who has been injured to take action to avoid or prevent an accident, so that they are considered partly responsible for it

corporeal

adjective

very formallegal relating to physical objects

costs

noun

legal money that someone involved in a court case must give in order to help to pay for the lawyers and the court, usually after they have lost the case

discovery

noun

legal the process of making evidence and other documents available to the people involved in a legal case

employers' liability

noun

the responsibility of employers for the safety of their employees

estop

verb

to prevent someone from doing something, especially from asserting a right in court

estoppel

noun

a principle that prevents a person from asserting matters in court

forfeiture

noun

the loss of a right, a benefit, or something that you own because you have failed to do something or have done something wrong

incorporeal

adjective

legal relating to things that have no physical form

injury

noun

legal harm done to your reputation, career, or feelings by someone or something

injury

noun

a failure to respect your legal rights or property

interrogatory

noun

a written request or question from one party in a legal dispute that must be answered by the other party. An interrogatory is now usually called a request for further information.

invitation to treat

noun

something that indicates that a person is willing to negotiate an offer for something

judicial activism

noun

the principle that judges be allowed to let their their personal and political opinions influence their court decisions

legal person

noun

a legal entity that is not a human being but has many rights and obligations, for example a corporation, a government authority, or an NGO

letters of administration

noun

powers granted by a court that allow someone to administer the property of a person who died without making a will or naming living executors

liability

noun

legal responsibility for causing damage or injury, or for paying something

moot

verb

formallegal to take part in a simulated law case, usually as part of a law student's training

mooting

noun

the activity of taking part in a simulated law case, usually as part of a law student's training

natural person

noun

a human considered as a legal entity

the neighbour principle

noun

the principle that a person must take reasonable care to avoid doing things that could hurt others who are nearby and could be affected

no-fault

adjective

with no regard for who is to blame for an event or situation

notarized

adjective

signed by a notary and therefore official

no win no fee

adjective

a no win no fee agreement is one in which a client pays a lawyer a fee only if the action is successful

nullity

noun

the condition of having no legal effect

occupiers' liability

noun

the responsibility that an owner or occupier of land or buildings has to protect people from harm in those places

principal

noun

legal a person or organization that has someone to represent them in legal and business matters

privilege

noun

legal a situation in which lawyers, doctors, and other professional people are legally allowed to keep their discussions with people secret

privity of contract

noun

a principle that states that a contract can only give rights to or force obligations on someone if they are a party to the contract

promissory estoppel

noun

a principle that allows a person to receive the benefit of a promise made even if a legally binding contract does not exist

remedy

noun

legal a solution to a disagreement

repudiatory

adjective

relating to or consisting of a refusal by someone to do something they are legally obliged to do, for example honour an agreement or pay a debt

reversion

noun

legal the process by which a place returns to a previous owner or government

revert to

legal if property reverts to its previous owner, it is returned to that owner

right of audience

noun

the right of a lawyer to appear and conduct proceedings in court on behalf of their client

said

adjective

mentioned earlier

satisfaction

noun

legal the action of doing something that is legally necessary

specific performance

noun

the completion of contractual obligations, enforced by a court order when payment of money would not compensate the other party

surety

noun

someone who agrees to pay money if you do not go to court when you should, or if you do not pay money that you owe

surety

noun

money that someone gives to make sure that someone else will appear in court or pay money that they owe

tenancy

noun

British a permanent position a barrister is given in a set of chambers

tort

noun

an action that harms someone and for which you can be judged legally responsible although it is not a crime

tortious

adjective

relating to a tort or punishable as a tort

tortiously

adverb

in a way that is tortious

vexatious litigant

noun

in England and Wales, someone who has often taken people to court in the past for no reason other than to cause annoyance. A person classified as a vexatious litigant has to get permission from a judge to start a new legal action.

vicarious liability

noun

the situation where one person is held legally responsible for the actions of another person, for example when an employer is responsible for the acts of an employee. Vicarious liability is often referred to as employers' secondary liability.

voidability

noun

the state of being voidable

writ

noun

an official document that tells someone to do something or to stop doing something

be of sound mind

to not be mentally ill

beyond (a/all) reasonable doubt

to a degree that the law considers to be satisfactory for making a decision

enjoin someone from something

to legally order someone not to do something

give someone notice

legal to tell someone officially that you intend to do something

keep the peace

legal to avoid or prevent noisy or violent behaviour in public

the burden of proof

the responsibility of proving that something is true in a court of law

the injured party

someone who has not been treated fairly

the innocent party

someone who has been harmed by the wrong action of another person

the spirit of the law

the real meaning or intention of a law, even if the way it is written does not express this

with menaces

if someone tries to get money with menaces, they threaten to harm someone unless they get the money that they want

BuzzWord

deep learning

a form of machine learning which incorporates the use of neural networks

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary

snap election

a general election … that is called earlier than expected

add a word

Blog

A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog
Macmillan learn live love play