Duhaime's Law Dictionary

A
Legal definitions for terms and concepts beginning with A

A fortiori
Latin: with all the more force.
Agency
A fiduciary relationship between one person (a principal) and another (an agent) that the agent shall act on the principal's behalf.
Agenda
A term of parliamentary law and procedure referring to a program, written notice and order of business at an upcoming meeting.
Agender
short def here
Agent
A person who has received the power to act on behalf of another, binding that other person as if he or she were themselves making the decisions.
Age of Majority
An age generally specified by statute, at which time, upon an individual is given the full gamut of legal rights and responsibilities generally available to an adult of sound mind.
Aggravated Damages
Damages awarded by a court to reflect the exceptional harm done to a plaintiff of a tort action.
Aggression
Unjustified use of force against the territorial integrity of another state.
Agistment
The contract of pasturing one's animals with another.
Agnatio
Latin: members of a group having a common male ancestor.
Agreement in Principle
An agreement as to the terms of some future contract.
Aircraft
An object used for flight through the air.
Air Law
The law of aircraft, their passengers and cargo, and their transit above states and other governed territory.
Air of Reality Test
A pre-requisite test against which a proposed defence to a criminal charge is weighed; that any proposed defence must at least have an evidential foundation.
Akathisia
Psychomotor restlessness.
Alea jacta est
Latin: the die is cast.
Aleatory Contract
Civil law: a contract which depends on an uncertain event.
Alia Enormia
Latin: The catch-all phrase in trespass pleadings to refer to all such other harms and damages that may have been caused by the alleged trespasser other than those specified.
Alibi
A defence to a criminal charge to the effect that the accused was elsewhere than at the scene of the alleged crime.
Alien
A citizen of a state in transit, working, residing or otherwise within the territory of another state.
Alienate
To sell or otherwise dispose of property.
Alieni juris
Latin: under the legal authority of another.
Alimony
An amount given to one spouse from another while they are separated.
Aliunde
Latin: otherwise.
Alley
A right of way to serve a limited neighborhood for local convenience and not for general passage.
Alliance
A military treaty between two or more states, providing for a mutually-planned offensive, or for assistance in the case of attack on any member.
Allision
A collision between a moving vessel and a stationary object.
Allodial
Land ownership that is unfettered, outright and absolute.
Allonge
A piece of paper which has been attached to a contract, a check or any promissory note, on which to add signatures because there is not enough room on the main document.
Alluvion
The gradual increase of land by the action of water such as by tides or currents.
Alopecia
Hair loss.
al Qaeda
A terrorist organization, nominally Islamic, and originally based in Afghanistan.
Alternative Dispute Resolution
Also known as 'ADR'; methods by which legal conflicts and disputes are resolved privately and other than through litigation in the public courts, usually through one of two forms: mediation or arbitration.
Alternative Measures
Canada; a much lighter disposition of a criminal charge regarding an adult accused who would be prepared to plead guilty and which does not result in a criminal record or incarceration but instead usually results in a mild penalty such as community service, an apology to the victim or counseling.
Alternative Medicine
Holistic health care; medical care that is outside of mainstream medical practice and not benefiting from a solid base of research or regulatory control.
Alzheimer's
A degenerative disease of the brain of unknown origin resulting in destruction of brain tissue and deterioration in brain function.
Amalgamation
The merging of two things together to form one, such as the amalgamation of different companies to form a single company.
Ambassador
The highest ranked diplomat assigned to the sending state's embassy in another state, usually at the receiving state's capital city.
Ambidexter
A lawyer who purports to act for both sides.
Ambiguity
Where a word or phrase is capable of two or more meanings and which, in the context, raises doubt or uncertainty as to which is intended.
Ambulance Chaser
One who follows up cases of accident and tries to induce the injured party to bring suit for damages.
Ambulatory
Something which is mobile or not cast in stone; which can be changed.
Ambush Interview
An unfair, deceptive or manipulative journalism practise of select use of interviews so as to create deceitful impressions.
Amend
To change, to revise; to formally change a statement on the record or the wording of a written document, such as a statute.
Amicus Curiae
Latin: friend of the court.
Amnesty
A general pardon extended by the government to those persons facing prosecution for, or convicted of specified criminal offences.
Anarchy
Absence of law.
Anchorage
The temporary imobolization of a vessel near land through the use of some fixing of the boat to the land under the water bed.
Ancient Lights
An opening through which light has flowed uninterrupted for twenty years and which can, in some circumstances, support a claim for nuisance if blocked.
Ancillary Relief
Secondary relief claimed by a litigant which is subordinate or subservient to a principal claim.
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