Terms Used In Florida Statutes > Chapter 26 - Circuit Courts
Abandoned property: means all tangible personal property that does not have an identifiable owner and that has been disposed on public property in a wrecked, inoperative, or partially dismantled condition or has no apparent intrinsic value to the rightful owner. See Florida Statutes 705.101
Affidavit: A written statement of facts confirmed by the oath of the party making it, before a notary or officer having authority to administer oaths.
Affirmed: In the practice of the appellate courts, the decree or order is declared valid and will stand as rendered in the lower court.
Agent: means a person granted authority to act for a principal under a power of attorney, whether denominated an agent, attorney in fact, or otherwise. See Florida Statutes 709.2102
Allegation: something that someone says happened.
Amendment: A proposal to alter the text of a pending bill or other measure by striking out some of it, by inserting new language, or both. Before an amendment becomes part of the measure, thelegislature must agree to it.
Annuity: A periodic (usually annual) payment of a fixed sum of money for either the life of the recipient or for a fixed number of years. A series of payments under a contract from an insurance company, a trust company, or an individual. Annuity payments are made at regular intervals over a period of more than one full year.
Another state: means a state of the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, or any territory or insular possession subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. See Florida Statutes 709.2102
Appeal: A request made after a trial, asking another court (usually the court of appeals) to decide whether the trial was conducted properly. To make such a request is "to appeal" or "to take an appeal." One who appeals is called the appellant.
Appellate: About appeals; an appellate court has the power to review the judgement of another lower court or tribunal.
Architect: means a person or firm that is authorized to practice architecture pursuant to chapter 481 or a general contractor who provides architectural services under a design-build contract authorized by…. See Florida Statutes 713.01
Assets: (1) The property comprising the estate of a deceased person, or (2) the property in a trust account.
Attachment: A procedure by which a person's property is seized to pay judgments levied by the court.
Bankruptcy: Refers to statutes and judicial proceedings involving persons or businesses that cannot pay their debts and seek the assistance of the court in getting a fresh start. Under the protection of the bankruptcy court, debtors may discharge their debts, perhaps by paying a portion of each debt. Bankruptcy judges preside over these proceedings.
Beneficiary: A person who is entitled to receive the benefits or proceeds of a will, trust, insurance policy, retirement plan, annuity, or other contract. Source: OCC
Broker-dealer: means a broker-dealer registered with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission or the Commodity Futures Trading Commission if the broker-dealer is acting in that capacity. See Florida Statutes 709.2102
Chambers: A judge's office.
Chief judge: The judge who has primary responsibility for the administration of a court but also decides cases; chief judges are determined by seniority.
Clerk of court: An officer appointed by the court to work with the chief judge in overseeing the court's administration, especially to assist in managing the flow of cases through the court and to maintain court records.
Codicil: An addition, change, or supplement to a will executed with the same formalities required for the will itself.
Commencement of the improvement: means the time of filing for record of the notice of commencement provided in…. See Florida Statutes 713.01
Commercial unit: means such a unit of goods as by commercial usage is a single whole for purposes of lease and division of which materially impairs its character or value on the market or in use. See Florida Statutes 680.1031
Common law: The legal system that originated in England and is now in use in the United States. It is based on judicial decisions rather than legislative action.
Community covenant or restriction: means any agreement or limitation contained in a document recorded in the public records of the county in which a parcel is located which:
(a) Subjects the parcel to any use restriction that may be enforced by a property owners' association; or
(b) Authorizes a property owners' association to impose a charge or assessment against the parcel or the parcel owner. See Florida Statutes 712.01
Complaint: A written statement by the plaintiff stating the wrongs allegedly committed by the defendant.
Consumer lease: means a lease that a lessor regularly engaged in the business of leasing or selling makes to a lessee who is an individual and who takes under the lease primarily for a personal, family, or household purpose if the total payments to be made under the lease contract, excluding payments for options to renew or buy, do not exceed $25,000. See Florida Statutes 680.1031
Contract: A legal written agreement that becomes binding when signed.
Contract: means an agreement for improving real property, written or unwritten, express or implied, and includes extras or change orders. See Florida Statutes 713.01
Contract price: means the amount agreed upon by the contracting parties for performing all labor and services and furnishing all materials covered by their contract and must be increased or diminished by the price of extras or change orders, or by any amounts attributable to changes in the scope of the work or defects in workmanship or materials or any other breaches of the contract; but no penalty or liquidated damages between the owner and a contractor diminishes the contract price as to any other lienor. See Florida Statutes 713.01
contractor: includes an architect, landscape architect, or engineer who improves real property pursuant to a design-build contract authorized by…. See Florida Statutes 713.01
Conviction: A judgement of guilt against a criminal defendant.
Corporation: A legal entity owned by the holders of shares of stock that have been issued, and that can own, receive, and transfer property, and carry on business in its own name.
Counterclaim: A claim that a defendant makes against a plaintiff.
Covenant or restriction: means any agreement or limitation contained in a document recorded in the public records of the county in which a parcel is located which subjects the parcel to any use or other restriction or obligation. See Florida Statutes 712.01
Damages: Money paid by defendants to successful plaintiffs in civil cases to compensate the plaintiffs for their injuries.
Decedent: A deceased person.
Deed: The legal instrument used to transfer title in real property from one person to another.
Defendant: In a civil suit, the person complained against; in a criminal case, the person accused of the crime.
Discovery: Lawyers' examination, before trial, of facts and documents in possession of the opponents to help the lawyers prepare for trial.
Dismissal: The dropping of a case by the judge without further consideration or hearing. Source:
Donee: The recipient of a gift.
Dower: A widow
Durable: means , with respect to a power of attorney, not terminated by the principal's incapacity. See Florida Statutes 709.2102
Electronic: means technology having electrical, digital, magnetic, wireless, optical, electromagnetic, or similar capabilities. See Florida Statutes 709.2102
Electronic funds transfer: The transfer of money between accounts by consumer electronic systems-such as automated teller machines (ATMs) and electronic payment of bills-rather than by check or cash. (Wire transfers, checks, drafts, and paper instruments do not fall into this category.) Source: OCC
Engineer: means a person or firm that is authorized to practice engineering pursuant to chapter 471 or a general contractor who provides engineering services under a design-build contract authorized by…. See Florida Statutes 713.01
Equitable: Pertaining to civil suits in "equity" rather than in "law." In English legal history, the courts of "law" could order the payment of damages and could afford no other remedy. See damages. A separate court of "equity" could order someone to do something or to cease to do something. See, e.g., injunction. In American jurisprudence, the federal courts have both legal and equitable power, but the distinction is still an important one. For example, a trial by jury is normally available in "law" cases but not in "equity" cases. Source: U.S. Courts
Evidence: Information presented in testimony or in documents that is used to persuade the fact finder (judge or jury) to decide the case for one side or the other.
Executor: A male person named in a will to carry out the decedent
Extradition: The formal process of delivering an accused or convicted person from authorities in one state to authorities in another state.
Extras or change orders: means labor, services, or materials for improving real property authorized by the owner and added to or deleted from labor, services, or materials covered by a previous contract between the same parties. See Florida Statutes 713.01
Foreclosure: A legal process in which property that is collateral or security for a loan may be sold to help repay the loan when the loan is in default. Source: OCC
Forgery: The fraudulent signing or alteration of another's name to an instrument such as a deed, mortgage, or check. The intent of the forgery is to deceive or defraud. Source: OCC
Fraud: Intentional deception resulting in injury to another.
furnish: when used in connection with the words "labor" or "services" or "materials" means performance or furnishing by the lienor or by another for him or her. See Florida Statutes 713.01
Furnish materials: means supply materials which are incorporated in the improvement including normal wastage in construction operations; or specially fabricated materials for incorporation in the improvement, not including any design work, submittals, or the like preliminary to actual fabrication of the materials; or supply materials used for the construction and not remaining in the improvement, subject to diminution by the salvage value of such materials; and includes supplying rental equipment, but does not include supplying handtools. See Florida Statutes 713.01
Gift: A voluntary transfer or conveyance of property without consideration, or for less than full and adequate consideration based on fair market value.
Goods: means all things that are movable at the time of identification to the lease contract, or are fixtures (s. See Florida Statutes 680.1031
Grantor: The person who establishes a trust and places property into it.
Guardian: A person legally empowered and charged with the duty of taking care of and managing the property of another person who because of age, intellect, or health, is incapable of managing his (her) own affairs.
Improve: means build, erect, place, make, alter, remove, repair, or demolish any improvement over, upon, connected with, or beneath the surface of real property, or excavate any land, or furnish materials for any of these purposes, or perform any labor or services upon the improvements, including the furnishing of carpet or rugs or appliances that are permanently affixed to the real property and final construction cleanup to prepare a structure for occupancy; or perform any labor or services or furnish any materials in grading, seeding, sodding, or planting for landscaping purposes, including the furnishing of trees, shrubs, bushes, or plants that are planted on the real property, or in equipping any improvement with fixtures or permanent apparatus or provide any solid-waste collection or disposal on the site of the improvement. See Florida Statutes 713.01
Improvement: means any building, structure, construction, demolition, excavation, solid-waste removal, landscaping, or any part thereof existing, built, erected, placed, made, or done on land or other real property for its permanent benefit. See Florida Statutes 713.01
Incapacity: means the inability of an individual to take those actions necessary to obtain, administer, and dispose of real and personal property, intangible property, business property, benefits, and income. See Florida Statutes 709.2102
Indictment: The formal charge issued by a grand jury stating that there is enough evidence that the defendant committed the crime to justify having a trial; it is used primarily for felonies.
Injunction: An order of the court prohibiting (or compelling) the performance of a specific act to prevent irreparable damage or injury.
Installment lease contract: means a lease contract that authorizes or requires the delivery of goods in separate lots to be separately accepted, even though the lease contract contains a clause "each delivery is a separate lease" or its equivalent. See Florida Statutes 680.1031
Intangible property: Property that has no intrinsic value, but is merely the evidence of value such as stock certificates, bonds, and promissory notes.
Inter vivos: Transfer of property from one living person to another living person.
Intestate: Dying without leaving a will.
Jurisdiction: (1) The legal authority of a court to hear and decide a case. Concurrent jurisdiction exists when two courts have simultaneous responsibility for the same case. (2) The geographic area over which the court has authority to decide cases.
Knowledge: means a person has actual knowledge of the fact, has received a notice or notification of the fact, or has reason to know the fact from all other facts and circumstances known to the person at the time in question. See Florida Statutes 709.2102
Laborer: means any person other than an architect, landscape architect, engineer, surveyor and mapper, and the like who, under properly authorized contract, personally performs on the site of the improvement labor or services for improving real property and does not furnish materials or labor service of others. See Florida Statutes 713.01
Law enforcement officer: means any person who is elected, appointed, or employed full time by any sheriff, any municipality, or the state or any political subdivision thereof; who is vested with authority to bear arms and make arrests; and whose primary responsibility is the prevention and detection of crime or the enforcement of the penal, criminal, traffic, or highway laws of the state. See Florida Statutes 705.101
Lawsuit: A legal action started by a plaintiff against a defendant based on a complaint that the defendant failed to perform a legal duty, resulting in harm to the plaintiff.
Lease: A contract transferring the use of property or occupancy of land, space, structures, or equipment in consideration of a payment (e.g., rent). Source: OCC
Lease: means a transfer of the right to possession and use of goods for a term in return for consideration, but a sale, including a sale on approval or a sale or return, or retention or creation of a security interest is not a lease. See Florida Statutes 680.1031
Lease agreement: means the bargain, with respect to the lease, of the lessor and the lessee in fact as found in their language or by implication from other circumstances including course of dealing or usage of trade or course of performance as provided in this chapter. See Florida Statutes 680.1031
Lease contract: means the total legal obligation that results from the lease agreement as affected by this chapter and any other applicable rules of law. See Florida Statutes 680.1031
Lender: means any person who loans money to an owner for construction of an improvement to real property, who secures that loan by recording a mortgage on the real property, and who periodically disburses portions of the proceeds of that loan for the payment of the improvement. See Florida Statutes 713.01
Lienor giving notice: means any lienor, except a contractor, who has duly and timely served a notice to the owner and, if required, to the contractor and subcontractor, as provided in…. See Florida Statutes 713.01
Litigation: A case, controversy, or lawsuit. Participants (plaintiffs and defendants) in lawsuits are called litigants.
Local government: means the board of county commissioners of a county or the commission or council of any municipality in the county. See Florida Statutes 705.101
Lost property: means all tangible personal property which does not have an identifiable owner and which has been mislaid on public property, upon a public conveyance, on premises used at the time for business purposes, or in parks, places of amusement, public recreation areas, or other places open to the public in a substantially operable, functioning condition or which has an apparent intrinsic value to the rightful owner. See Florida Statutes 705.101
Lot: means a parcel or a single article that is the subject matter of a separate lease or delivery, whether or not it is sufficient to perform the lease contract. See Florida Statutes 680.1031
Materialman: means any person who furnishes materials under contract to the owner, contractor, subcontractor, or sub-subcontractor on the site of the improvement or for direct delivery to the site of the improvement or, for specially fabricated materials, off the site of the improvement for the particular improvement, and who performs no labor in the installation thereof. See Florida Statutes 713.01
Obligation: An order placed, contract awarded, service received, or similar transaction during a given period that will require payments during the same or a future period.
Owner: means a person who is the owner of any legal or equitable interest in real property, which interest can be sold by legal process, and who enters into a contract for the improvement of the real property. See Florida Statutes 713.01
Parcel: means any real property that is subject to any covenant or restriction of a property owners' association. See Florida Statutes 712.01
Partnership: A voluntary contract between two or more persons to pool some or all of their assets into a business, with the agreement that there will be a proportional sharing of profits and losses.
Per stirpes: The legal means by which the children of a decedent, upon the death of an ancestor at a level above that of the decedent, receive by right of representation the share of the ancestor
person: includes individuals, children, firms, associations, joint adventures, partnerships, estates, trusts, business trusts, syndicates, fiduciaries, corporations, and all other groups or combinations. See Florida Statutes 1.01
Person: includes the singular or plural, natural or corporate, private or governmental, including the state and any political subdivision or agency thereof as the context for the use thereof requires or denotes and including any property owners' association. See Florida Statutes 712.01
Personal property: All property that is not real property.
Plaintiff: The person who files the complaint in a civil lawsuit.
Pleadings: Written statements of the parties in a civil case of their positions. In the federal courts, the principal pleadings are the complaint and the answer.
political subdivision: include counties, cities, towns, villages, special tax school districts, special road and bridge districts, bridge districts, and all other districts in this state. See Florida Statutes 1.01
posting: means placing the document referred to on the site of the improvement in a conspicuous place at the front of the site and in a manner that protects the document from the weather. See Florida Statutes 713.01
Power of attorney: A written instrument which authorizes one person to act as another's agent or attorney. The power of attorney may be for a definite, specific act, or it may be general in nature. The terms of the written power of attorney may specify when it will expire. If not, the power of attorney usually expires when the person granting it dies. Source: OCC
Power of attorney: means a writing that grants authority to an agent to act in the place of the principal, whether or not the term is used in that writing. See Florida Statutes 709.2102
Precedent: A court decision in an earlier case with facts and law similar to a dispute currently before a court. Precedent will ordinarily govern the decision of a later similar case, unless a party can show that it was wrongly decided or that it differed in some significant way.
Present value: means the amount as of a date certain of one or more sums payable in the future, discounted to the date certain. See Florida Statutes 680.1031
Presently exercisable general power of appointment: means , with respect to property or a property interest subject to a power of appointment, power exercisable at the time in question to vest absolute ownership in the principal individually, the principal's estate, the principal's creditors, or the creditors of the principal's estate. See Florida Statutes 709.2102
Probable cause: A reasonable ground for belief that the offender violated a specific law.
Probate: Proving a will
Property: means anything that may be the subject of ownership, whether real or personal, legal or equitable, or any interest or right therein. See Florida Statutes 709.2102
Prosecute: To charge someone with a crime. A prosecutor tries a criminal case on behalf of the government.
Public property: means lands and improvements owned by the Federal Government, the state, the county, or a municipality and includes sovereignty submerged lands located adjacent to the county or municipality, buildings, grounds, parks, playgrounds, streets, sidewalks, parkways, rights-of-way, and other similar property. See Florida Statutes 705.101
Purchase: includes taking by sale, lease, mortgage, security interest, pledge, gift, or any other voluntary transaction creating an interest in goods. See Florida Statutes 680.1031
Real property: Land, and all immovable fixtures erected on, growing on, or affixed to the land.
Real property: means the land that is improved and the improvements thereon, including fixtures, except any such property owned by the state or any county, municipality, school board, or governmental agency, commission, or political subdivision. See Florida Statutes 713.01
Record: means information that is inscribed on a tangible medium or that is stored in an electronic or other medium and is retrievable in perceivable form. See Florida Statutes 709.2102
Remainder: An interest in property that takes effect in the future at a specified time or after the occurrence of some event, such as the death of a life tenant.
Rescission: The cancellation of budget authority previously provided by Congress. The Impoundment Control Act of 1974 specifies that the President may propose to Congress that funds be rescinded. If both Houses have not approved a rescission proposal (by passing legislation) within 45 days of continuous session, any funds being withheld must be made available for obligation.
Restitution: The court-ordered payment of money by the defendant to the victim for damages caused by the criminal action.
Right of survivorship: The ownership rights that result in the acquisition of title to property by reason of having survived other co-owners.
Root of title: means any title transaction purporting to create or transfer the estate claimed by any person which is the last title transaction to have been recorded at least 30 years before the time when marketability is being determined. See Florida Statutes 712.01
Settlement: Parties to a lawsuit resolve their difference without having a trial. Settlements often involve the payment of compensation by one party in satisfaction of the other party's claims.
Sign: means having present intent to authenticate or adopt a record to:
Site of the improvement: means the real property which is being improved and on which labor or services are performed or materials furnished in furtherance of the operations of improving such real property. See Florida Statutes 713.01
Sole ownership: The type of property ownership in which one individual holds legal title to the property and has full control of it.
Statute: A law passed by a legislature.
Statute of limitations: A law that sets the time within which parties must take action to enforce their rights.
Sub-subcontractor: means a person other than a materialman or laborer who enters into a contract with a subcontractor for the performance of any part of such subcontractor's contract, including the removal of solid waste from the real property. See Florida Statutes 713.01
Subcontractor: means a person other than a materialman or laborer who enters into a contract with a contractor for the performance of any part of such contractor's contract, including the removal of solid waste from the real property. See Florida Statutes 713.01
Subpoena: A command to a witness to appear and give testimony.
Summons: Another word for subpoena used by the criminal justice system.
Supplier: means a person from whom a lessor buys or leases goods to be leased under a finance lease. See Florida Statutes 680.1031
Testator: A male person who leaves a will at death.
Third person: means any person other than the principal, or the agent in the agent's capacity as agent. See Florida Statutes 709.2102
Title transaction: means any recorded instrument or court proceeding that affects title to any estate or interest in land and that describes the land sufficiently to identify its location and boundaries. See Florida Statutes 712.01
Tort: A civil wrong or breach of a duty to another person, as outlined by law. A very common tort is negligent operation of a motor vehicle that results in property damage and personal injury in an automobile accident.
Trial: A hearing that takes place when the defendant pleads "not guilty" and witnesses are required to come to court to give evidence.
Trustee: A person or institution holding and administering property in trust.
Venue: The geographical location in which a case is tried.
Verdict: The decision of a petit jury or a judge.
writing: includes handwriting, printing, typewriting, and all other methods and means of forming letters and characters upon paper, stone, wood, or other materials. See Florida Statutes 1.01