Duhaime's Law Dictionary

C
Legal definitions for terms and concepts beginning with C

Common Scold
The now extinct offence of an angry woman who, by brawling and wrangling amongst her neighbours, disturbs the public peace.
Common Share
The basic share in a corporation.
Commorientes
Two or more persons dying at about the same time, usually in the same event, but in circumstances in which it is impossible to determine the order of death.
Communis Error Facit Jus
Latin: Common error makes right.
Communism
A utopian state of government where specified property or means of production are owned by the state and not citizens or persons, and which may also provide for a form of equal distribution of national production.
Community Custody
The serving of part of an offender's confinement served in the community while the offender is strictly monitored.
Community Law
The law of the European Union as established by treaties and cases of the EU courts.
Community of Interest
A term of class action law; a requirement for certification, that members of the proposed group represent a community of interests.
Community Property
A marriage property legal term; property acquired or owned during a marriage or, where recognized, a marriage-like relationship, and which belongs, notwithstanding title, as in a partnership and as tenants in common (“hence “community”), to each spouse equally and subject to division on that basis in the event of separation or divorce.
Commutation
The reduction of a sentence by the government.
Companion Animal
An animal that serves as a domestic pet.
Company
A legal entity, allowed by legislation, which permits a group of people, as shareholders, to apply to the government for an independent organization to be created, which can then focus on pursuing set objectives, and empowered with legal rights which are usually only reserved for individuals, such as to sue and be sued, own property, hire employees or loan and borrow money.
Comparative Negligence
An tort law analysis which considers the negligence of the victim and which may lead to a reduction of the award against the defendant, proportionate to the contribution of the victim’s negligence.
Compassionate Care Leave
Paid or unpaid leave to care or support a gravely ill family member.
Compensatory Damages
Damages that compensate the injured victim for injuries actually endured.
Competency
An individual's ability to understand the nature and object of legal proceedings being presented, and to consult with counsel.
Competitive Injury
A price difference designed to harm competition.
Complementarity
The co-existence of two or more equally authoritative systems or sources of law.
Complete Diversity
A jurisdictional requirement of US district courts; that that all persons on one side of the controversy be citizens of different states than all persons on the other side.
Complete Preemption
American constitutional law; the conversion of a state law cause of action into a federal claim.
Complicated Design Evidence
Circumstantial proof of deliberation in a first degree murder case, that in the absence of evidence of planning, the complicated manner of the crime shows that the murder could not have been spur-of-the-moment.
Complicity
Accountable for a criminal offense committed by another due to previous knowledge of other's crime.
Compound Interest
Interest paid on both principal and previously accumulated interest and added to the principal for purposes of future calculations of interest.
Compromise Agreement
An agreement to settle a previously existing claim with a substituted performance.
Compurgation
The defence to a crime, or answer to a civil claim, perfected by the relevant oaths of the defendant and a number of supporters.
Conciliation
A form of alternate dispute resolution (ADR) in which a neutral third-party hears both sides and then issues a non-binding suggested resolution.
Concubinage
Civil law term for an unmarried couple living nonetheless as husband and wife or, where same-sex relationships are recognized by law, such similar cohabitation relationships.
Concurrent Estates
Property interests owned by two or more persons at the same time.
Concurrent Sentence
A sentence which runs with another.
Condign
As regards to punishment for crime; appropriate, fitting, deserved.
Conditional Discharge
A sentence of a person found guilty of a crime in which upon completion of specified actions by the accused, no criminal record issues as regards the offense for which a conditional discharge was granted.
Conditional Sentence
A sentence of a person convicted of a crime which allow that person to serve his sentence whilst continuing to reside within his/her community, subject to supervision and reporting, and fully recoverable in the event of breach of those conditions.
Condition Precedent
A contractual condition that suspends the coming into effect of a contract unless or until a certain event takes place.
Condition Subsequent
A condition in a contract that causes the contract to become invalid if a certain event occurs.
Condominium
A unit or defined portion of ownership in real property, similar to an apartment.
Condonation
Obvious or implied forgiveness.
Conduct Unbecoming
Conduct on the part of a certified professional that is contrary to the interests of the public served by that professional, or which harms the standing of the profession in the eyes of the public.
Cone of Silence
An oath by a solicitor or other employee in a law firm not to disclose any information in regards to a previous client otherwise placing that lawyer or employee in a conflict of interest with other clients of the same law firm.
Confederation
A loose association of states in which a central, subordinate and limited government structure is created for some common purpose, except in Canada where it is used to describe a federal system in which the central government is not so subordinate to the provincial or regional governments.
Confession
A statement made by a person suspected or charged with a crime, that he (or she) did, in fact, commit that crime.
Conflict of Interest
A personal interest that conflicts with a public or fidiciary interest.
Conflict of Laws
A specialized branch of law which resolves cases which have an element of conflicting foreign law.
Confrontation Clause
The constitutional guarantee in the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution which requires that an accused person have the right to be confronted with the witnesses against him.
Confusion
Civil law: grounds for extinguishing a contractual obligation when creditor and debtor become the same person.
Congenital
Existing at birth.
Congress
Collectively, the Senate and the House of Representatives of the government of the United States of America.
Connivance
Secretly privy or accessory to the act of another.
Conquest
The acquisition of territory by force of arms.
Consanguinity
Common blood, descendants of a same common ancestor.
Conscientious Objector
Someone with a firm, fixed, and sincere objection to participation in war in any form or the bearing of arms, by reason or religious, moral or ethical training and belief.
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