Duhaime's Law Dictionary

S
Legal definitions for terms and concepts beginning with S

Socage
A term of the feudal land ownership system which referred to the tenure which was exchanged for certain goods or services which were not military in nature.
Socialism
A form or system of government which champions the equal sharing of land and equal return of the product of the land and industry to all citizens.
Society
A group of people formed as a separate organization and which has as a stated purpose some charitable or benevolent purpose either in regards to the public at-large or in regards to the common interests of the members, and which operates as nearly as possible at cost.
Sociopath
An individual unable to respond to and operate within the rules of society
Sodomy
Synonymous with buggery and referring to unnatural sex acts, including copulation, either between two persons of the same sex or between a person and an animal (the latter act is known as bestiality).
SOLAS - Safety of Life at Sea Treaty
International treaty promoting the safety of life at sea.
Sole Proprietorship
A business by a single individual which is not formally organized and for which the individual and the business are indistinguishable in law.
Solicitor
A lawyer that restricts his or her practice to the giving of legal advice and preparation of formal legal documents, and does not normally litigate.
Solicitor and Client Costs
An award of all costs associated with litigation.
Solicitor and Own Client Costs
One of the most punitive awards of costs, requiring a party to pay the other's legal bill.
Solicitor's Lien
A lawyer’s right to retain client’s document and property pending payment of the lawyer’s bill.
Solidary Obligation
Civil law: a legal relationship where one or more of several debtors are each liable to pay the entire amount, or one or more of several creditors each able to collect the whole.
Son Of A Bitch
A derogatory and possibly defamatory reference to another person suggesting that they are of substandard lineage.
Soring of Horses
The intentional infliction of a sore upon a horse to affect their gait.
Sovereign
Has two meanings. The first one is a technical word for the monarch (king or queen) of a particular country as in the Sovereign of England is Queen Elizabeth. The other meaning of the word is to describe the supreme legislative powers of a state: that they are totally independent and free from any outside political control or authority over their decisions.
Sovereignty
A state's ability to legislate without legal limitation save as set by themselves and the reach of international law.
Spam
Unsolicited email transmitted through the Internet.
Special Costs
A scale of costs generally equivalent to solicitor and client costs and also approaching complete indemnity to the successful litigant.
Special Damages
Damages capable of precise calculation such as out-of-pocket expenses and loss of earnings.
Special Jury
A jury drawn to certain specifications given the alleged complexities of the matter to be tried.
Special or Extraordinary Expense
A term of art in Canadian family support law referring to outside-of-the-ordinary expenses related to the care and upkeep of a child.
Special prosecutor
A private lawyer who temporarily and on a case-by-case basis only, investigates or manages the prosecution in lieu of the public prosecutor.
Special Resolution
A vote on a resolution presented to a corporate body which has obtained the assent of a number of the members present greater than a majority.
Specific Deterrence
Deterrence, as an objective of sentencing, which is fit to a particular offender.
Specific Intent
A state of mind that exists when the circumstances indicate the offender actively desired the prescribed criminal consequences to follow his act or failure to act.
Specific Performance
A remedy in the event of breach of contract, whereby the Court orders a party found in breach of his/her contractual obligations to perform their specific duty as set out in the contract.
Speech
The expression of an idea in circumstances where it is likely that the message would be understood.
Spendthrift Trust
US law: a trust which in design prevents a beneficiary from depleting the trust funds, or from his creditors demanding payment therefrom.
Spite Fence
A fence built not to any beneficial purpose but, rather, to annoy a neighbor.
Split Custody
A child custody decision which results in the splitting up of the children; that legal custody of one or more of the children is with the father, and that of one or more of the other children are with the mother.
Spoliation
The intentional destruction of relevant evidence when litigation is existing or pending.
Spousal Abuse
The physical or emotional abuse of a spouse.
Spousal Support
Payments to an ex-spouse which are temporary or indefinite, lump sum or periodic, designed to pool and share the income of both spouses for that period of time necessary for the lower-income spouse to become economically self-sufficient.
Spouse
To be married or as if married.
Spring
A concentrated flow of water coming from under the ground.
Springing Power of Attorney
A power of attorney which becomes legally effective on the occurrence of an event (such as incapacity).
Sprinkling Trust
Discretion given to a trustee to distribute income from a trust fund disproportionately between beneficiaries.
Spy / Spies
A person who acts clandestinely or on false pretenses to endeavour to obtain information of or within another state with the intention of communicating or selling it to others.
Stab Wound
A bodily injury caused by a knife or other sharp or pointed instrument.
Standard
The technical or performance specifications in regards to a product.
Standard of Review
The applicable threshold of an appeallable error; often distinguishable as between questions of law, of fact, or mixed questions of fact and law.
Standing
The ability to sue and speak to the Court on a controversy based on personal interest in the outcome.
Standing Committee
Committees which have a continued existence; that are not related to the accomplishment of a specific, once-only task as are ad hoc or special committees.
Standing Order
The rules of procedure of deliberative assemblies in the English parliamentary tradition.
Stand Your Ground
A popularized name for the use of deadly force to repel an attack, and subsequent criminal and civil immunity.
Star Chamber
An elitist, secretive and abusive court convened from time to time by British kings from at least King Henry VII (1457-1509) to 1640.
Stare Decisis
Latin: stay with what has been decided.
Starr
Medieval English law term for legal transactions involving a Jewish person.
State
Groups of people which have acquired international recognition as an independent country and which have a population, a common language and a defined and distinct territory.
State Immunity
A principle of international law which exempts a State from prosecution or suit for the violation of the domestic laws of another state.
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