Duhaime's Law Dictionary

D
Legal definitions for terms and concepts beginning with D

Deliberate Indifference
Ignoring a situation known to exist.
Deliberative
The private and candid give-and-take of a consultative or policy development process by a public agency.
Deliberative Process Privilege
A freedom of information exemption as regards documents or records created during and within a government agency's internal decision-making process.
Deliberative Secrecy
The intentional concealment of the process of cogitating, consulting or other private methods of arriving at a judicial decision.
Delict
A civil law term which imposes liability on a person who causes injury to another, or for injury caused by a person or thing under his custody.
Delirium
A sudden onset of acute confusion and hyperactivity.
Delivered Pricing
A distribution arrangement which discriminates on the basis of geographic criteria.
Delusion
A firm yet irrational belief and which may affect an individual's capacity to contract.
Demand Letter
A letter from a lawyer, on behalf of a client, that demands payment or some other action, which is allegedly due or in default.
Démarche
A word coined by the diplomatic community and referring to a strongly worded warning by one country to another and often, either explicitly or implicitly, with the threat of military consequence.
Dementia
A chronic impairment of cognitive and intellectual functioning including memory impairment, which interferes with the activities of daily living.
Demesne
Land held by a noble under the English feudal system, in absolute ownership.
De Minimis Non Curat Lex
Latin: a common law principle whereby judges will not sit in judgment of extremely minor transgressions of the law.
Democracy
A form of government in which the people freely govern themselves; where the executive (or administrative) and law-making (or legislative) power is given to persons chosen by the population; the free people.
Demonstrative Evidence
Tangible evidence tendered in court through a witness.
Demurrage
A term of transportation law which refers to the damages payable to a carrier as compensation for lost time.
Demurrer
A mostly obsolete motion put to a trial judge after the plaintiff has completed his or her case, in which the defendant, while not objecting to the facts presented, and rather than responding by a full defence, asks the court to reject the petition right then and there because of a lack of basis in law or insufficiency of the evidence.
Denaturalization
The revocation of citizenship, usually followed by deportation.
De Non Apparentibus Et De Non Existentibus Eadem Est Ratio
Latin: What is not juridically presented cannot be judicially decided.
De Non Sane Memorie
Latin: of insane memory.
De Novo
Latin: new.
Denunciation
A principle of sentencing in criminal law; that the sentence send a clear message to the general public that the offence is serious and the punishment just.
Deodand
An object that has been involved in some personal injury, is forfeit to the government.
Depecage
(USA) The process of cutting up a case into individual issues, each subject to a separate choice-of-law analysis.
Dependent Indian Community
(USA) Any area validly set apart for the use of the Indians under the superintendence of the Government.
Deponent
A person who gives evidence verified by oath, as within an affidavit.
Deportation
The removal of a foreign national under immigration laws for reasons such as illegal entry or conduct dangerous to the public welfare.
Deposition
The official statement by a witness taken in writing (as opposed to testimony which where a witnesses give their perception of the facts verbally).
Depraved Heart Murder
Where an individual under circumstances evincing a depraved indifference to human life, recklessly engaged in conduct which created a grave risk of death to another person, and thereby caused the death of another person.
Depravity of Mind
A degree of moral turpitude and psychical debasement associated with a crime such as repeated and excessive acts of physical abuse or unreasonably brutality or outrageously and wantonly vile, horrible, and inhuman.
Depreciation
An accounting procedure in which the cost or other recorded value of a fixed asset less estimated residual value (if any) is distributed over its estimated useful life in a systematic and rational manner.
Derelict
Property that has been abandoned; especially in maritime law: a ship that is floundering or in peril and which the crew has been abandoned without hope for recovery or with no intention of saving the ship or of returning thereto.
Dereliction
The enlarging of land adjacent to water by the gradual retreat of the water line.
Derivative Action
A class action brought for a wrong done to a corporation.
Derivative Work
Intellectual property (copyright): a work that builds on, or reassembles, with some degree of originality, existing works.
Descendant
Those person who are born of, or from children of, another are called that person’s descendants.
Design Patent
A patent on ornamental or aesthetic features of a device.
Desuetude
The exceptional doctrine of judicial abrogation of a criminal statute where there has been a long period of non-enforcement.
Detention
The exercise of an element of physical constraint of an individual.
Deterrence
A principle or objective of sentencing a person guilty of a crime which ensures that the punishment is sufficient to deter the guilty person, and others, from committing the same crime.
Detinue
A common law action similar to conversion and also involving the possession of property by the plaintiff may also ask for damages for the duration of the possession.
Devastavit
Latin for 'he has wasted.'
Devise
The transfer or conveyance of property by will, usually in reference to real property.
Dexamethasone
an anti-inflammatory steroid.
Dhimmi
Muslim law: non-Muslims.
Dicta or Dictum
Latin: saying.
Dictatorship
A form of government with a single person as decision-maker; a single ruler.
Dies Dominicus Non Est Juridicus
Latin: Sunday is not a day for judicial or legal proceedings.
Diffused Surface Water
Water that is on the surface of land because of rain, melting snow or floods.
Digital Executor
An executor tasked by the will-maker to deal with and wrap-up digital accounts of the deceased such as Facebook and the like.
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