Jargon Buster: Court A – E

People get called to court for all manner of reasons, it could be for something as serious as committing a criminal offence or something such as jury service. Whatever the reason, there’s a lot of specialist vocabulary that gets banded around in a court room and if you’re going to give a fair judgement, win your case or defend yourself effectively then you need to know what’s going on.

Accused: The person who has been charged with an offense

Alleged: Used when an offence has not yet been proved

Appeal: A review. If any party are unhappy with the judgement it can be taken a court of superior influence for review

Appellant: The party that chooses to take an appeal to a higher court

Bail: Used when someone is released from custody under a written agreement of terms which states a future date and time that they are to appear in court

Breach: A term used to describe the breaking of a law, right, contract or duty

Contract: An agreement – written or verbal – between two or more people that is legally enforceable

Court Order: A command, made by the judge, during a case

Custody: The legal imprisonment of a criminal

Damages: Money awarded by the court to the innocent party because of harm caused by the negligence of another

Detention: The legal detention of a person in custody

Dismissal: No trial (this is generally used when a defendant pleads guilty or wherever there’s not enough evidence)

Divorce: The ending or dissolution of a marriage by the court

Equity: A branch of civil law which deals with the inadequate or inappropriate use of money as a remedy

Estate: Property owned by a person at the time of their death

Eviction: Lawfully reclaiming a house or land from another person

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