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Legal Dictionary

Legal Terms & Definitions

Actual fraud

Definition: fraud committed with the actual intent to deceive and thereby injure another
compare constructive fraud in this entry


Definition: a proceeding in which a case is brought before a higher court for review of a lower court’s judgment for the purpose of convincing the higher court that the lower court’s judgment was incorrect

Best evidence rule

Definition: a rule of evidence: in order to prove what is said or pictured in a writing, recording, or photograph the original must be provided unless the original is lost, destroyed, or otherwise unobtainable

Civil assault

Definition: an assault considered as a tort rather than as a crime

Common-law copyright

Definition: copyright in common law protecting unpublished works (Works created after January 1, 1978, are protected by statutory rather than common-law copyright while unpublished.)

Common-law lien

Definition: a lien under common law giving a creditor (as a bailee) in possession of the property the right to retain possession until payment of the amount due

Common-law marriage

Definition: a marriage that is without a ceremony and is based on the parties’ agreement to consider themselves married. Also on their cohabitation for a period and their public recognition of the marriage ( Most jurisdictions no longer allow this type of marriage to be formed, although they may recognize such marriages formed prior to a certain date or formed in a jurisdiction that does permit common-law marriages.)

Direct estoppel

Definition: estoppel by judgment barring the relitigation of issues litigated by the same parties on the same cause of action


Definition: any act, expression, omission, or concealment calculated to deceive another to his or her disadvantage

Fraud in law

Definition: fraud that is presumed to have occurred in light of the circumstances irrespective of intent to deceive

Fraud in the factum

Definition: fraud in which the deception causes the other party to misunderstand the nature of the transaction in which he or she is engaging esp. with regard to the contents of an instrument (as a contract or promissory note)

Fraud on the court

Definition: fraud involving conduct that undermines the integrity of the judicial process (as by improperly influencing a judge, jury, or other court personnel)

Intrinsic fraud

Definition: fraud (as by the use of false or forged documents, false claims, or perjured testimony) that deceives the trier of fact and results in a judgment in favor of the party perpetrating the fraud

Irrevocable power of attorney

Definition: a power of attorney that cannot be revoked by the principal

Libel per se

Definition: libel that is actionable without the plaintiff introducing additional facts to show defamation or claiming special damages

Mail fraud

Definition: fraud committed by use of the postal service esp. as described in title 18 section 1341 of the U.S. Code

Quid pro quo sexual harassment

Definition: sexual harassment in which the satisfaction of sexual demands is made the condition of job benefits or continued employment or is used as the basis for employment decisions regarding the individual

Personal injury

Definition: a person sustains injuries that can be physical, mental, and financial as a result of the negligence of others

Product liability

Definition: the responsibility of a manufacturer or vendor of goods to compensate for injury caused by defective merchandise that it has provided for sale

Slander of title

Definition: a false and malicious written or spoken public statement disparaging a person’s title to property that causes harm for which special damages may be awarded

Tort reform

Definition: change or alteration of laws imposing civil liability for torts esp. to limit liability for punitive damages

Toxic tort

Definition: a tort in which there is personal injury or property damage due to exposure to toxic substances

Trust de son tort

Definition: Anglo-French de son tort (demesne) from his or her (own) wrongful act

Wire fraud

Definition: fraud committed by using a means of electronic communication (as a telephone)

Wrongful death

Definition: the taking of the life of an individual resulting from the willful or negligent act of another person or persons.


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