Duhaime's Law Dictionary

M
Legal definitions for terms and concepts beginning with M

M
Ancient common law: the symbol branded on the thumb of persons convicted of manslaughter.
Machine Gun
A firearm which can shoot more than one shot without having to be reloaded and by single function of the trigger.
Maiden Assize
Historically, a criminal court hearing at which no prisoner was sentenced to death, but more recently, a court hearing at which no prisoner was in jail awaiting trial on a criminal charge.
Mailbox Rule
A contract law exception that makes a mailed acceptance of an offer valid as of posting.
Maill
Scots law: rent.
Mainprize
The taking of a person into friendly custody.
Maintenance
The obligation of one person to contribute, in part or in whole, to the cost of living of another person.
Maladministration
Abuse of power by public officers.
Mala Fides
Latin: bad faith.
Malfeasance
Doing something which is illegal.
Malice
Spite or ill-will.
Malicious Prosecution
An intentional tort which redresses losses flowing from an unjustified prosecution.
Malum in se
Latin: something wrong in itself.
Malum prohibitum
Latin: wrong because prohibited.
Man of war
A vessel under military (naval or navy) command.
Mandamus
A writ which commands an individual, organization (eg. government), administrative tribunal or court to perform a certain action, usually to correct a prior illegal action or a failure to act in the first place.
Mandate Rule
An inferior court has no power or authority to deviate from the mandate issued by an appellate court.
Mania
An abnormally elevated mood state.
Manifest Abuse of Discretion
An American standard of judicial review: discretion exercised improvidently or thoughtlessly and without due consideration.
Man on the Clapham Omnibus
Phrase coined by English courts in negligence cases, to refer to the reasonable person.
Manslaughter
Unlawful killing of a human being without malice or deliberation.
Mansuetae Naturae
Latin: animals which are now generally domestic, presumed gentle and readily tamed, such as dogs, cats, cows and horses.
Manumission
The act of freeing a slave.
Mareva Injunction
A temporary injunction that freezes the assets of a party pending further order or final resolution by the Court.
Marital Property
Property acquired by either of two spouses while they are married together.
Maritime Law
A specialized body of law particular to transportation by water.
Maritime Lien
A lien which attaches to a ship and its cargo.
MARPOL 73/78
Acronym for the international treaty for the prevention of pollution from ships, 1973, as modified in 1978.
Marriage
The voluntary union for life of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others.
Marriage Agreement
An agreement between two persons in anticipation of or during the marriage, and in regards to rights and responsibilities as they may flow from the relationship.
Marriage Brokerage Contract
A contract of introduction to unwed persons, payment due and payable upon marriage.
Marriage Contract
A contract between prospective husband and wife, or during the marriage, and which settles in whole or in part, their respective rights and obligations as regards the marriage.
Marriage of Convenience
A marriage entered into not for love and mutual affection but in order to facilitate immigration.
Marshalling
If a creditor has access to two sources of payment, he shall take his payment out of that fund upon which another creditor has no access or lien.
Martial Law
The suspension of regular government and habeas corpus or the reliance of military law enforcement.
Mary Carter Agreement
A partial settlement to litigation where some defendants settle by accepting a term of which is a loan by the settling defendant to the plaintiff, to be repaid by any monies recovered from the remaining defendant(s).
Massachusetts Trust
A unique way to organize a business where the property is bought by, or transferred to, a trustee (such as a trust company) and the trustee issues trust units, which the investors, or their designates, hold as beneficiaries.
Master
A partly-empowered superior-level court judge, used mostly for interlocutory and procedural civil hearings.
Material Reciprocity
A format of international agreements wherein a host state agrees to extend to foreign nationals the same legal rights that the foreign government extends to its own citizens inside its state.
Matrimonial
Of or relating to the state of being married; of marriage.
Matrimonial Asset
An asset owned by one or both of two persons who are married to one another which, upon the application of one of the spouses to a court, is subject to division between them.
Matrimonial Debt
A debt contracted during a marriage and for which both spouses are equally liable, regardless of who contracted the debt or who is directly liable for it.
Matrimonial Property
Property owned by one or both of two persons who are married to one another which, upon the application of one of the spouses to a court, is subject to division between them.
Matrimony
The legal state of being married.
Mayhem
Violently depriving another person of a body part to render less effective that person's defence of self.
McDonnell Douglas Framework
A preliminary legal requirement to proving employment discrimination: that the adverse employment decision which is complains of was more likely than not motivated by discrimination.
McKenzie Friend
A lawyer who steps up in court and assists a lay litigant as a friend of the court.
MCMI - Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory
A test to assess specific personality characteristics including emotional factors.
McMorris Evidence
Evidence of past violence by a victim of crime.
Mea Culpa
Latin: I am guilty.
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