Duhaime's Law Dictionary

W
Legal definitions for terms and concepts beginning with W

Wager of Law
An ancient English law defence to a claim of contractual debt.
Wages
Compensation for work or services.
Wagner Act
The informal name of the National Labor Relations Act of the United States of America (NLRA).
Waiver
An intentional relinquishment or abandonment of a known right or privilege.
Waiver By Conduct
The abandonment of a right implied from a person's conduct.
Wallace Damages
Increased damage award in a wrongful dismissal case because of the manner in which the dismissal was handled by the employer.
Want of Prosecution
An application to a judge to dismiss a law suit alleging that the litigant has inexcusably delayed moving the litigation along and that under the circumstances, the litigation ought to be dismissed.
Waqf
Muslim law: property dedicated to charitable purposes.
War
The use of violence and force between two or more states to resolve a matter of dispute.
War Crimes
Excessive brutality during war, in contravention of an international treaty or convention.
Warrant
A document giving a person legal authority to do a certain thing.
Warranty
A guarantee given on the performance of a product or the doing of a certain thing.
War Treason
Acts committed within the lines of a belligerent as are harmful to him and are intended to favour the enemy.
Washerwoman Syndrome
Changes in the skin condition that result from being immersed in water.
Waste
The abuse, destruction or permanent change to property by one who is merely in possession of it as in the case of a tenant or a life tenant.
Waterboarding
A criminal investigation interrogation technique whereby a person suspected of having or withholding relevant information is blindfolded and bound on their back, sometimes with the face covered with porous or nonporous material, and subjected to water poured over their mouth and nose such as to simulate drowning and to thus, under duress, elicit information.
Watercourse
A stream usually flowing in a particular direction, in a definite channel, having a bed or banks, though it need not flow continually.
Watered Stock
Shares in a corporation which is stated to be, or issued as fully paid but which in fact, has not been paid for.
Waterway
A body of water on which navigation is practicable and practiced.
Weapon
An instrument of combat; something to fight with - used or designed to injure or kill.
Weapon of Mass Destruction
Device designed to kill humans through the use of atomic or nuclear energy or the release of chemicals, poisons, biological agents or radioactivity.
Wedlock
Being married.
Welsh Mortgage
A unique, now archaic species of common law mortgages where a person collects rents or profits in regards to specified real property, until the loan and any interest, is paid off.
Wergeld
A fine set for injury or death of certain animals or person and upon which, the perpetrator was required to pay to the family of the deceased. Also spelled wergild.
Wharf
A platform elevated over the surface of the water to receive or disembark passengers or merchandise from vessels.
Whiplash
Soft tissue (nerves and muscles) damage to the neck or lower brain area, often caused by a rear-end motor vehicle collision.
Whistleblower
An employee who reports a supervisor or an employer's legal violations or wrongdoings.
Widow's Quarantine
A reprieve given to a widow after the death of her husband giving her 40-day exclusive occupancy of the spousal home, estate notwithstanding.
Wild Animal
Animals that, as a matter of common knowledge, are naturally ferocious, unpredictable, dangerous, mischievous, or not by custom devoted to the service of mankind at the time and in the place in which it is kept; ferae naturae.
Wild Horse Annie Act
A 1959 American law that sought to restrict the use of motorized vehicles by cowboys rounding-up wild horses on public land.
Wildlife
Animals living in their natural habitat and not within the possession or control of humans.
Will
A written statement, usually signed, made by an individual, which directs the distribution of their property when they die.
Willfully
Acting voluntarily, deliberately and intentionally.
Wire-tapping
An electronic surveillance device which secretly listens in and records conversations held over a phone line.
Witchcraft
According to law books of the Middle Ages, the act of invoking evil spirits or consulting, covenanting with, entertaining, employing, feeding, or rewarding any evil spirit.
Witenagemote
An assembly of local elders in medieval England.
Withdrawal
A cancellation of a statement of defence or counterclaim by a defendant.
Without Prejudice
A reservation made on a statement suggesting that it cannot be used against the publishing party in future dealings or litigation.
With Prejudice
A statement or order that is conclusive between the parties as to the dispute between them.
Witness
A person who perceives an event (by seeing, hearing, smelling or other sensory perception).
Wobbler
An offense known to American criminal law which offers to the district attorney the option of charging as a misdemeanor or as a felony.
Wolfing
The killing of wildlife by the use of poison, especially wolves.
Women's Court
An in camera court set up to hear cases involving women.
Words of Limitation
Words in a conveyance or in a will which set the duration of an estate.
Words of Purchase
Also known as words of substitution; words which describe what should happen to a gift if the person first named is no longer alive when it takes effect.
Workers' Compensation
A public benefit scheme in which qualified workers who are injured in the workplace, receive compensation, commensurate with their degree of injury, regardless of fault.
World Wide Web
The aggregate of active web sites forming and available through and on the Internet.
Wreck
An abandoned vessel, or something abandoned off a vessel, which is either afloat, stranded, aground or sunken.
Writ
An official court document, signed by a judge or bearing an official court seal, which commands the person to whom it is addressed, to do something specific.
Written Submissions
A document intended for the court which summarizes the relevant facts, the law and a proposed analysis to bring to the two, on behalf of a litigant.
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