MALFEASANCE:To act in an unlawful way. Wrongdoing on the part of someone who knows what they’re doing IS WRONG. This is really true is done by someone in the government or public official.

MANDAMUS (Latin term meaning “WE COMMAND”): This is when a court gives an order THAT MUST BE FOLLOWED.

MESNE PROFITS: When someone makes money on someone else’s land while living on it illegally. The money they make on the land (such as farming, etc…) must go to the owner of that land.

MIRANDA RIGHTS: These are rights people are told when they are arrested in the United States. These rights include: 1. THE RIGHT TO AN ATTORNEY (one will be given to you if you can’t afford one) and 2. A RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT (you don’t have to talk to the police). The name of this law comes from a man named ERNESTO MIRANDA. Ernesto Miranda was forced into admitting a crime. When he went to trial, the Judge decided his confession was not legal because he was not told of his rights.

MISAPPROPRIATION: When someone high up uses money that is not theirs for their own personal use and gain.

MORATORIUM: When an action is stopped by the court for a short period of time. An example would be a court granting a Moratorium for a person that has creditors hounding them. When that person gets enough money to pay the creditors, then the court will lift the MORATORIUM.

NONFEASANCE: Failure to do an act when you have a duty to do so.

NUDUM PACTUM (Latin term meaning “NAKED PROMISE“): A contract that doesn’t stand up in court.

NEGOTIABLE INSTRUMENT: A signed document that gives instructions to pay a person a certain amount of money either now or in the future.

NEXT FRIEND: A person selected by the court to act on behalf of another person. An example would be a child if they do not have an adult to speak for them.

NOVATION: Getting rid of an old or existing contract for a new one. Also, whatever was said in the old contract does not matter anymore because the new one has taken over.

OBITER DICTUM: When a Judge says something that has nothing to do with the court decision.

OLIGARCHY: This means “Rule by a Few”. This is when a government is ruled by a few rich people.

OMNIBUS HEARING: This is when A Judge tells a criminal what they are being charged with. At an “OMNIBUS HEARING”, the Judge has to make sure the evidence against that person is Legal and that they have an Attorney for their case.

ONUS PROBANDI (Latin term meaning “BURDEN OF PROOF”): This means whoever takes legal action against someone must have facts. They must also prove those facts correct.

PARENS PATRIAE (Latin term meaning “PARENT OF HIS COUNTRY”): If a child is abused or neglected in a care facility or half-way house, the state can get a “PARENS PATRIAE” by means of the court. The child would then be taken care of physically by the state.

PARTIAL VERDICT: This is when a Jury finds a Defendant both guilty of SOME charges and not guilty of OTHER charges.

PORT NUMBER: A PORT NUMBER is a number that is  given to identify different services, actions, applications and software that is sent over the Internet (also called “NETWORK PORTS“).

PREAMBLE: This is an opening statement of a Law Document. It explains the reason why a Law is being passed, who the Law affects and why it may affect them.

PRIMA FACIE (Latin term meaning “AT FIRST LOOK”): This means a person has SO MUCH EVIDENCE AGAINST THEM IN A COURT CASE, that they seem guilty even before the trial!

PRIVITY OF CONTRACT: A contract that tells the people who are named inside of it that they can sue each other. They cannot sue anyone outside of the contract.

PRO BONO (Latin term meaning “FOR PUBLIC GOOD”): Any type of work that is done for free or without charge.

QUANTUM MERUIT (Latin term meaning “AS MUCH AS DESERVED”): A legal document that tells a person how much they must pay someone for how much work is done. No more and no less.

QUASI-CONTRACT (Latin term meaning “AS IF”): This is a contract created by the court to help a person that is being taken advantage of. If an Employer doesn’t agree to pay his worker for ALL THE WORK HE DOES, then the worker can go to court. At court, the Judge can issue a “QUASI-CONTRACT” that tells the Employer he MUST PAY HIS WORKER FOR ALL THE WORK DONE.

QUID PRO QUO (Latin term meaning “IF I GIVE YOU THIS, THEN YOU GIVE ME THAT”): When someone wants or gets something in return for something else. An example would be if a person wanted your car, you will give him your car, but, only if he gives you his boat!

QUO WARRANTO (Latin term meaning “BY WHAT WARRANT?“): This is A LEGAL RIGHT you have to ask a police officer “WHY ARE YOU ARRESTING ME or “BY WHAT MEANS”.

RACKETEERING: To make a business out of crime. For example, if a person has a business of loaning money but charging really high interest rates, that is RACKETEERING.

RATIO DECIDENDI (Latin term meaning “THE REASON FOR THIS DECISION”): This is when a Judge makes a decision about a certain type of court case and from then on, all court cases similar to that one must have the SAME VERDICT MADE on it. For example, at one time it was against the law for People of Color to go to the same schools as White People. Eventually a Judge got rid of that law and said that was discrimination. Now any court case that involves racial discrimination must go by that original court decision.

RECIDIVIST: A person who commits crime again and again. They also call this type of person a repeat offender.

RECUSATION: When a Judge or Lawyer removes himself from a Case because they might be related or involved with someone from the case (such as someone on the Jury, A Plaintiff or Defendant).

RECTIFICATION: Changes or corrections done to documents by the Court System.

REDIRECT EXAMINATION: When a person gets on the witness stand and tells the Court information he did not tell his Lawyer. After he tells the court the new info, his Lawyer starts to question him so that he can explain what he meant by his new testimony.

REMAND: When a High Court Case is sent back to Trial or to a Lower Court. This can also mean when a person is sent back into jail (they call that “REMANDED INTO CUSTODY”).

REMITTITUR: When a Judge reduces a high lawsuit amount. For example, if a person hurt his leg at a store and then sues for $1 Billion Dollars, this is way too much money. If a Jury awards that person $1 Billion dollars, the Judge (as a REMITTITUR) can ORDER THE JURY TO LOWER THAT HIGH AMOUNT.

RES IPSA LOQUITUR (Latin term meaning “THE THING SPEAKS FOR ITSELF”): When a person causes injuries because he is negligent. For example, a restaurant owner is told he has a mouse problem but willfully does nothing about it. When a customer gets sick because of mouse droppings in the food, the customer sues the Restaurant and wins. The reason why he wins is because the Owner refused to fix the problem.


SEQUESTER: This is when a Jury is not allowed outside. The reason why the court does this is because they don’t want the jury to base the verdict on anything they may see or hear outside of the courtroom.

SEQUESTRATION: When the court takes away someone’s property because they have not paid their creditors.

STATION HOUSE BAIL: If a person gets arrested for a crime that is not serious, they can pay their own bail at the police station.

STARE DECISIS (Latin Term meaning “LET THE DECISION STAND”): This is when the Law takes a decision or verdict made on a court case and uses it for ALL COURT CASES THAT ARE JUST LIKE IT. It becomes like a Law or Rule.

TANGIBLE ASSET: Anything of value that you can physically touch. This includes cars, jewelry, television sets, computers, etc…

TESTAMENTARY CAPACITY: When a person is mentally able to sign a will and understand it. It also means they understand how the will pertains to them.

TORT LAW: A TORT can mean anything that “hurts” or “wrongs” someone. This can mean physical assault, wrongful death or cheating someone.


UNDER COLOR OF LAW: This is when a Police Officer pretends to do something lawful but is really doing a crime. An example would be if a Police Officer stopped an African American driver for speeding (even though they were not speeding) just because they were black.

UNLAWFUL ASSEMBLY: When 3 or more people gather around (usually in the street) so they can cause fear and start a protest. This is how some riots are started.

USUFRUCT: Using property you don’t own and enjoying benefits from it. For example, a person can rent a house and plant fruit trees around it. If they sell the fruit for money, their benefiting from the property even though they don’t own it.

USURY: This is when a bank or mortgage company charges high and illegal interest rates.

VICARIOUS LIABILITY: When someone is held responsible for another person’s crime. An example would be if a business owner was taken to jail because one of his employees was selling drugs on the job.

VOLENTI NON FIT INJURIA (Latin term meaning “TO A WILLING PERSON, INJURY IS NOT DONE”): This means if you are willing to do something that might hurt you, then you cannot sue if you DO GET HURT. For example, if you go Skydiving and get hurt or even killed, you (or your family) can not sue the Skydiving Company because you knew the dangers beforehand.

One thought on “LAW DEFINITIONS M-Z

  1. Jacque

    Hello to every one, the contents present at this web site are
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