Duhaime's Law Dictionary

C
Legal definitions for terms and concepts beginning with C

Civil War
Armed conflict by identifiable faction(s) within a nation which threatens or has broken down an existing government, law and order.
Clandestine
Something purposely kept from the view or knowledge of others either in violation of the law or to conduct or conceal some illegal purpose.
Class Action
When different persons combine their lawsuits into one opposed to a common defendant, because the facts are sufficiently similar.
Clayton's Case
An English case which established a presumption that monies withdrawn from a money account are presumed to be debits from those monies first deposited; first in, first out.
Clean Hands
A maxim of the law to the effect that any person, individual or corporate, that wishes to ask or petition a court for judicial action, must be in a position free of fraud or other unfair conduct.
Clear Days
Full and complete days.
Client-Solicitor Privilege
A right that belongs to the client of a lawyer that the latter keep any information or words spoken to him during the provision of the legal services to that client, strictly confidential.
Closed Adoption
An adoption of a child in which the relinquishing parent surrenders his or her parental rights to unknown parties.
Closed Shop
A place of employment where the employer hires only union members.
Coastal Trading
Trade transit of a vessel along the coast, from one port to another within the territorial limits of a single nation.
Cockfighting
Roosters fitted with metal spurs placed in a small ring to fight until one of them is no longer able to stand.
Co-debtor
One of two or more debtors who are primarily liable to the same debt.
Co-debtor Stay
A stay upon the debt enforcement or collection upon a co-debtor.
Code Duello
A rough code on the conduct of a a duel.
Codicil
An amendment to an existing will.
Cognates
Relations through the mother.
Cognovit
Latin: confession. Used in the common law to refer to a pleading in which a claim is confessed.
Collaborative Law
A family law dispute resolution encouragement process set in writing which includes a promise to negotiate in good faith, to engage in the exchange of private and confidential information on a without prejudice basis, and a motivational commitment that the participating lawyers or law firms would withdraw if the negotiations fail.
Collaborative Law Participation Agreement
The contract which creates and triggers the formal engagement in the collaborative law process, designed to encourage the settlement of a family law dispute outside of litigation.
Collateral
Property which has been committed to guarantee a loan.
Collateral Descendant
A descendant that is not direct, such as a niece or a cousin.
Collateral Source Rule
A tortfeasor is not allowed to deduct from the amount he or she would be held to pay to the victim of the tort, any goods, services or money received by that victim from other 'collateral' sources as a result of the tort (eg. insurance benefits).
Collective Bargaining
Trade agreement negotiation between an employer and a person(s) representative of a larger unit of employees, to govern hiring, work, pay and dispute resolution.
Collective Bargaining Agreement
A contract on hiring, working conditions and dispute resolution between an employer and a union, the latter representing employees of a defined group.
Collision
An accidental contact between two or more vehicles or ships which causes damage.
Collusion
A secret agreement between two or more persons, who seem to have conflicting interests, to abuse the law or the legal system, deceive a court or to defraud a third party.
Colour of Right
A good faith assertion of a proprietary or possessory right to a thing.
COLREGS 1972
Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, 1972; an international set of standard navigation rules to prevent collisions at sea.
Comitatus
Latin: a contract of personal services between a land lord and his men.
Comity
A principle of international law, that one state, to the greatest extent possible, recognize the legislative, executive or judicial acts of another.
Commercial Arbitration
Arbitration of a dispute as to a trade transaction for the supply or exchange of goods or services.
Commission
A formal group of experts brought together on a regular or ad hoc basis to debate matters within that sphere of expertise, and with regulatory or quasi-judicial powers such as the ability to license activity in the sphere of activity or to subpoena witnesses.
Commissioner of Oath
A formal appointment or commission governments give to individuals empowering them to certify the oath of another upon documents, such as affidavits.
Committee
A term of parliamentary law which refers to a body of one or more persons appointed by a larger assembly or society, to consider, investigate and/or take action on certain specific matters.
Commodity
A fungible, tradeable thing, good, product, interest including money or negotiable instruments.
Commodum Ex Injuria Sua Nemo Habere Debet
Latin: a wrongdoer should not be enabled by law to take any advantage from his actions.
Commonality
A feature of a group of people seeking to be certified for a class action, that there are questions of law and fact common to the prospective group (class).
Common Area
Those areas of multi-owner real property which are for the exclusive use of all individual owners.
Common Carrier
A carrier who accepts to transport goods or passengers indiscriminately.
Common Enemy Doctrine
A rule that landowners can dispose of unwanted surface water in any way they see fit, without liability for resulting damage to one's neighbor.
Common Fund
A fund recovered by a litigant or lawyer for the benefit of persons other than himself or his client, and that litigant or lawyer then entitled to a reasonable attorney's fee from the fund as a whole.
Common Interest Privilege
A privilege which protects defamatory statements if made in good faith to an individual with an interest in the statement.
Common Land
Land that, ownership notwithstanding, is available for the use and enjoyment of all, or for the use or enjoyment of a class of persons.
Common Law
Judge-declared law. Law which exists and applies to a group on the basis of customs and legal precedents developed over hundreds of years in Britain.
Common Law Malice
A species of malice relevant to defamation proceedings, which focuses on the defendant's feelings towards the plaintiff, and which may give rise to punitive damages.
Common Law Marriage
An ancient form of marriage, by consent and consummation but otherwise recognized in the common law.
Common Law Relationship
Two unmarried persons living together as though married.
Common Law Trademark
Ownership of a mark used in commerce which is asserted because of use and not by the fact of registration.
Common Nuisance
A public nuisance; an unreasonable interference with a right common to the general public.
Common Pleas
A court to resolve civil disputes between private citizens and not otherwise involving the Crown.
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