Lawyers and legal professionals are infamous for their use of complex terms and phrases that are challenging for non-legal people to comprehend. This kind of language is often referred to as ‘legal jargon.’ To make these complicated terms more understandable to the everyday person, Altrincham solicitors are sharing their expertise and knowledge to demystify some of the most common legal terms.
One frequently used legal term is ‘litigation.’ Litigation is a term often thrown around in lawyerly circles, referring to the process of taking a case through court. It doesn’t necessarily mean a full-blown court trial – litigation can also refer to the process of legal disputes settled outside of court or even before a lawsuit is filed.
‘Liability’ is another term familiar to anyone who has dealt with legal matters at some point. Liability refers to a person’s responsibility in a situation. If someone is found ‘liable’ for something, it means they have been legally identified as responsible for causing damage or harm.
‘Mitigation’ is another term that often pops up in legal conversations. To mitigate, in a legal context, means to attempt to reduce the severity of something. For instance, in a case involving damages, a defendant may try to solicitors altrincham prove that they took steps to mitigate (or limit) the harm done.
In contracts and commercial law, the phrase ‘force majeure’ makes a frequent appearance. This French term translates to ‘superior force’ and is used in contracts to refer to events that are beyond the control of parties involved, such as natural disasters. Essentially, it frees both parties from liability or obligation when an extraordinary event or circumstance prevents one or both parties from fulfilling the contract.
Moving away from contractual law, a term that often confuses many is ‘prima facie.’ This Latin phrase means ‘at first look’ or ‘on its face’. In legal terms, something that is prima facie is taken as correct until proven otherwise.
In the realm of family law, ‘ancillary relief’ is a term commonly encountered. This UK-specific phrase refers to financial support that one spouse must pay to the other after a divorce or separation, as decided by the court.
‘Caveat emptor’ is another Latin phrase used in property law. It means ‘let the buyer beware’ and is used to remind potential purchasers that they have a responsibility to make sure a property they are buying is in good condition.
In criminal law, ‘mens rea’ and ‘actus reus’ are common terms. ‘Mens rea’ refers to the mental element of a crime, i.e., the intention to commit it. On the other hand, ‘actus reus’ refers to the physical act of committing a crime.
Finally, a concrete understanding of one of the most commonly used legal terms, ‘precedent,’ is important. Precedent refers to a legal case that establishes a rule or principle that courts follow when deciding subsequent cases with similar issues or facts.
Legal jargon can often seem like a completely different language, but with the explanation from Altrincham solicitors, these common legal terms can become more friendly and less intimidating. With this knowledge, you will be better prepared to navigate through any legal procedure or case. Although not an exhaustive list by any means, it serves as a valuable primer for those who wish to understand legal terminology. Remember, though, that while this clarification is useful, always consult a legal professional for advice pertinent to your specific situation. A solid understanding of legal jargon offers an edge, but it is no substitute for professional legal counsel.