Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Duhaime's Law French Dictionary

The multitude of still-extant and seemingly out-of-place legal words which permeate the common law, derived from the imposition of the French language upon the English courts after the Norman conquest.

Autrefois Acquit
Previously acquitted; an accused cannot be tried for a crime because the record shows he has already been subjected to trial for the same conduct and was acquitted.
Bailiff
A person acting with legal authority in the seizure of personal property; and, also, the official in each courtroom who attends to security within.
Cestui Que Trust or Cestui Que Use
Latin: the beneficiary of a trust.
Cy-pres
As near as may be.
Dehors
French for outside. In the context of legal proceedings, it refers to that which is irrelevant or outside the scope of the debate.
Escheat
Where property is surrendered to the government upon the death of the owner, because there is nobody to inherit the property.
Feme Covert
French: a married woman.
Feme Sole
French: an unmarried woman.
Force Majeure
French for an act of God; an inevitable, unpredictable act of nature, not dependent on an act of man.
Law French
The original language of the English courts after the Norman conquest.
Parole
A conditional release from incarceration during which a prisoner promises to heed certain conditions (usually set by a parole board) and submit to the supervision of a parole officer.
Per Tout Et Non My
French: as to the whole and not just a part.
Profit à Prendre
A servitude which resembles an easement and which allows the holder to enter the land of another and to take some natural produce such as mineral deposits, fish or game, timber, crops or pasture.
Tort
The body of the law which allows an injured person to obtain compensation from the person who caused the injury.
Voir Dire
A mini-hearing held during a trial on the eligibility of prospective jurors or the admissibility of contested evidence.

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