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Legal definitions for terms from Damages to Dilatory Plea

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Damages
A cash compensation ordered by a court to offset losses or suffering caused by another’s fault or negligence.
Damnum Absque Injuria
Latin: harm absent a wrong.
Damnum Injuria Datum
Latin: wrongful injury to the property of another.
Dance Hall
A public hall devoted to dancing and for which admission is not based on personal selection or invitation.
Danegeld
An English tax initially intended to pay for national defence against the Danes.
Dangerous Driving
The operating of a motor vehicle in a manner which has as one of its inherent qualities the exposure of the public to harm or injury.
Dangerous Offender
A person convicted of serious crimes and who is likely to re-offend.
Danger to Society
Where an offender would engage in conduct, the consequences of which would be grave or serious for society.
Day
A consecutive period of 24 hours.
Deadbeat Dad
A father who ignores a Court order to pay child support.
Dead Donor Rule
A custom of medical-legal ethics that vital organs should only be transplanted from dead patients.
Deadly Force
Force which creates a substantial risk of causing death or serious bodily injury.
Death
Irreversible cessation of circulatory and respiratory functions and of all functions of the entire brain, including the brain stem.
Death Duties
Tax payments due to the state, incurred and payable as a result of the death of the tax-payer.
Death Penalty
A sentence of death imposed on a convicted criminal.
De Bene Esse
To take something for what it is worth, such as evidence collected for the time being, in the absence of, but in anticipation of, litigation, admissibility to be determined when such thing is sought to be used against another at trial.
Debenture
A document which creates or acknowledges a debt or loan.
De Bonis Non
Latin: assets not yet administered.
Debt
An amount of money due and payable, from one person to another.
Debtor
A person who owes money, goods or services to another, the latter being referred to as the creditor.
Decedent
An individual who has died.
Deceit
Willful or reckless misrepresentation or concealment of material facts with an intent to mislead.
Deceptive Trade Practice
An intentional act or omission in the course of trade or commerce that has the tendency or capacity to mislead or create the likelihood of deception.
Decertification
A vote by members of a collective bargaining unit to dissociate from the incumbent union.
Declaration of War
An explicit warning from one state to another, in the form either of a reasoned intent to commence hostilities or of an ultimatum which carries the same result.
Decree
A decision or order of government or judicial body.
Decree Absolute
The name given to a final and conclusive court order after the condition of an interim or intervening order (decree nisi) is met.
Decree Nisi
A provisional decision of a court which does not have force or effect until a certain condition is met such as another petition brought before the court or after the passage of a period time.
Dedimus Potestatem de Attornato Faciendo
Latin: to substitute an attorney.
Deed
A binding promise to do something or certifying a transaction which adheres to required legal rituals such as a seal or form of signature.
Deem
To accept a document or an event as conclusive of a certain status in the absence of evidence or facts which would normally be required to prove that status.
De Facto
Latin: in fact.
Defalcation
1. Defaulting on a debt or other obligation such to account for public or trust funds. Usually used in the context of public officials. 2. The setting-off of two debts owed between two people by the agreement to a new amount representing the balance.
Defamation
An attack on the good reputation of a person, by slander or libel.
Defamatory Libel
Deliberate publication of defamatory lies which the publisher knows to be false.
Default Judgment
An order of the Court striking a claim because no appearance, answer, reply or defence has been filed within the applicable deadlines.
Defeasance
A side-contract which contains a condition which, if realized, could defeat the main contract.
Defence of Habitation
The right to use lethal force to prevent a felony committed within a person's home.
Defendant
The individual, company or organization who defends a legal action taken by a plaintiff and against whom the court has been asked to order damages or specific corrective action redress some type of unlawful or improper action alleged by the plaintiff.
Defense Attorney or Defence Counsel
Lawyers who represent persons facing criminal charges.
Deficient
USA constitutional law: the substandard performance of an attorney.
De Fide et Officio Judicis non Recipitur Quaestio, sed de Scientia Sive sit Eror Juris sive Facti
Latin: The bona fides and honesty of purpose of a judge cannot be questioned, but his decision may be impugned for error of law or of fact.
Defile
To corrupt the integrity of a thing.
Defunct Company
A corporation which has been cancelled by the jurisdiction which initially created it.
Dehors
French for outside. In the context of legal proceedings, it refers to that which is irrelevant or outside the scope of the debate.
De injuria sua propria absque tali causa
Latin: of his own wrong (or injury) without any other cause.
De Jure
Latin: of the law.
Delegatus Non Potest Delegare
Latin: a delegate cannot delegate.
Deliberate
An act which is neither sudden nor rash and for which an individual considered the probable consequences beforehand.
Deliberate Ignorance
Willful blindness to criminal activity.
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.
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.
Dilatory Plea
A formal challenge which questions not the cause of action, but the propriety of the suit, or the mode in which the remedy is sought.

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