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.
Answer: The formal written statement by a defendant responding to a civil complaint and setting forth the grounds for defense.
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.
Arraignment: A proceeding in which an individual who is accused of committing a crime is brought into court, told of the charges, and asked to plead guilty or not guilty.
Attorney-in-fact: A person who, acting as an agent, is given written authorization by another person to transact business for him (her) out of 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
Case law: The law as laid down in cases that have been decided in the decisions of the courts.
Charity: An agency, institution, or organization in existence and operating for the benefit of an indefinite number of persons and conducted for educational, religious, scientific, medical, or other beneficent purposes.
Chief judge: The judge who has primary responsibility for the administration of a court but also decides cases; chief judges are determined by seniority.
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.
Complaint: A written statement by the plaintiff stating the wrongs allegedly committed by the defendant.
Conviction: A judgement of guilt against a criminal defendant.
County board: means the board of county commissioners in counties not under township organization, and the board of supervisors in counties under township organization, and the board of commissioners of Cook County. See Illinois Compiled Statutes 5 ILCS 70/1.07
Dependent: A person dependent for support upon another.
Deposition: An oral statement made before an officer authorized by law to administer oaths. Such statements are often taken to examine potential witnesses, to obtain discovery, or to be used later in trial.
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:
Docket: A log containing brief entries of court proceedings.
Donor: The person who makes a gift.
Entitlement: A Federal program or provision of law that requires payments to any person or unit of government that meets the eligibility criteria established by law. Entitlements constitute a binding obligation on the part of the Federal Government, and eligible recipients have legal recourse if the obligation is not fulfilled. Social Security and veterans' compensation and pensions are examples of entitlement programs.
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
Escrow: Money given to a third party to be held for payment until certain conditions are met.
Executor: A male person named in a will to carry out the decedent
Fair market value: The price at which an asset would change hands in a transaction between a willing, informed buyer and a willing, informed seller.
Fiduciary: A trustee, executor, or administrator.
Fraud: Intentional deception resulting in injury to another.
Freedom of Information Act: A federal law that mandates that all the records created and kept by federal agencies in the executive branch of government must be open for public inspection and copying. The only exceptions are those records that fall into one of nine exempted categories listed in the statute. Source: OCC
Germane: On the subject of the pending bill or other business; a strict standard of relevance.
Grand jury: agreement providing that a lender will delay exercising its rights (in the case of a mortgage,
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.
In forma pauperis: In the manner of a pauper. Permission given to a person to sue without payment of court fees on claim of indigence or poverty.
Indemnification: In general, a collateral contract or assurance under which one person agrees to secure another person against either anticipated financial losses or potential adverse legal consequences. Source: FDIC
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.
Intangible property: Property that has no intrinsic value, but is merely the evidence of value such as stock certificates, bonds, and promissory notes.
Interrogatories: Written questions asked by one party of an opposing party, who must answer them in writing under oath; a discovery device in a lawsuit.
Joint committee: Committees including membership from both houses of teh legislature. Joint committees are usually established with narrow jurisdictions and normally lack authority to report legislation.
Judgement: The official decision of a court finally determining the respective rights and claims of the parties to a suit.
Liabilities: The aggregate of all debts and other legal obligations of a particular person or legal entity.
Litigation: A case, controversy, or lawsuit. Participants (plaintiffs and defendants) in lawsuits are called litigants.
Month: means a calendar month, and the word "year" a calendar year unless otherwise expressed; and the word "year" alone, is equivalent to the expression "year of our Lord. See Illinois Compiled Statutes 5 ILCS 70/1.10
Oversight: Committee review of the activities of a Federal agency or program.
Petty offense: A federal misdemeanor punishable by six months or less in prison. Source: U.S. Courts
Plea: In a criminal case, the defendant's statement pleading "guilty" or "not guilty" in answer to the charges, a declaration made in open court.
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.
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
Probable cause: A reasonable ground for belief that the offender violated a specific law.
Probate: Proving a will
Probation: A sentencing alternative to imprisonment in which the court releases convicted defendants under supervision as long as certain conditions are observed.
Probation officers: Screen applicants for pretrial release and monitor convicted offenders released under court supervision.
Public defender: Represent defendants who can't afford an attorney in criminal matters.
Public law: A public bill or joint resolution that has passed both chambers and been enacted into law. Public laws have general applicability nationwide.
Quorum: The number of legislators that must be present to do business.
Real property: Land, and all immovable fixtures erected on, growing on, or affixed to the land.
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.
Service of process: The service of writs or summonses to the appropriate party.
Site: means a not-for-profit organization,
public body, church, charitable organization, or individual agreeing to accept community service from offenders and to report on the progress of ordered or required public or community service to the court or to the authorized diversion program that has referred the offender for public or community service. See Illinois Compiled Statutes 705 ILCS 405/5-105
Temporary restraining order: Prohibits a person from an action that is likely to cause irreparable harm. This differs from an injunction in that it may be granted immediately, without notice to the opposing party, and without a hearing. It is intended to last only until a hearing can be held.
Tenancy by the entirety: A type of joint tenancy between husband and wife that is recognized in some States. Neither party can sever the joint tenancy relationship; when a spouse dies, the survivor acquires full title to the property.
Testify: Answer questions in court.
Testimony: Evidence presented orally by witnesses during trials or before grand juries.
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.
Uniform Commercial Code: A set of statutes enacted by the various states to provide consistency among the states' commercial laws. It includes negotiable instruments, sales, stock transfers, trust and warehouse receipts, and bills of lading. Source: OCC