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Lawyer Lingo: Widespread Regulation Jargon Deciphered



Over tons of of years, legal professionals and judges appear to have developed a language of their very own, rife with Latin phrases you possibly can’t decipher with out these ninth-grade notes you misplaced after the ultimate. This secret language provides authorized professionals a sure dramatic mystique that may be intimidating, horny, and, as each regulation pupil is aware of, annoying to be taught.

What Do These Phrases Imply? 

1. Objection

“Objection” is used to protest when an opposing lawyer asks an inappropriate query of a witness. A lawyer may object when a witness makes a press release that has nothing to do with the query at hand.

2. Sustained

If a decide “sustains” an objection, she or he is agreeing with it, telling the lawyer who requested the query to drop it and transfer on.

3. Overruled

When a decide overrules an objection, he’s telling the witness to go forward and reply the query.

4. Withdrawn

A less-embarrassing phrase for “I take it again!”

5. Rebuttal

A comeback supported by proof. For example, if the prosecutor states {that a} bloody candlestick was present in Professor Plum’s research, the protection would possibly provide the rebuttal that the professor had offered the candlestick in query to an vintage seller the earlier week.

6. Prima Facie

Prima facie is Latin for “at first look” or “on its face,” and in legalese it refers to a scenario the place somebody appears responsible. One of many good issues about our authorized system is that even once you look responsible, the system is meant to look extra carefully and offer you an opportunity to defend your self.

For instance, in a “prima facie” case, a jury is likely to be offered with the proof of your handgun discovered on the scene of your husband’s homicide, and everybody would count on you to be indicted primarily based on that proof—at the very least till the deadly bullet was proven to have been fired from the gun of the policeman who “found” the crime!

7. Plea Cut price

That is when the prosecution and the protection work out a deal, with the decide’s approval, during which the defendant pleads responsible in trade for one thing. For instance, in the event you rob a liquor retailer and get caught, you would possibly plead responsible in trade for a brief sentence, saving everybody the difficulty of going via a trial. The defendant may surrender details about different crimes or criminals in trade for a lenient sentence.

8. Adjournment

An adjournment is a suspension or delay of the whole trial till a later date. This typically occurs when new and shocking proof is launched that modifications the course of the trial.

9. Habeas Corpus

Habeas corpus is Latin for “you’ve got the physique,” which sounds ominous, however it’s truly one of the basic rights of a citizen. When a writ of habeas corpus is offered to a decide, it implies that somebody who has imprisoned one other individual has to point out the authorized foundation for that imprisonment.

In different phrases, the regulation of habeas corpus is what prevents police and jail officers from locking individuals up with out attempting to point out they’ve finished something improper.

10. Recess

A recess is a brief break from a trial (to not be confused with an adjournment, which is an extended break from a trial). Sadly, most courthouses would not have adjoining playgrounds, so legal professionals are inclined to spend recesses doing no matter they should do to proceed the trial.

This text was written by Melissa Woodson, the neighborhood supervisor for @WashULaw on behalf of CAREEREALISM-Accredited Associate, 2tor – an education-technology firm that companions with Washington College in St. Louis to supply a premier LLM diploma. In her spare time, she enjoys working, cooking, and making half-baked makes an attempt at coaching her canine.

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