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Glossary of Legal Terms


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Select the first letter of the word from the list above to jump to appropriate section of the glossary.

- E -

Elements of a crime -Specific factors that define a crime which the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt in order to obtain a conviction: (1) that a crime has actually occurred, (2) that the accused intended the crime to happen, and (3) a timely relationship between the first two factors.

Eminent Domain- The power of the government to take private property for public use through condemnation.

En Banc- All the judges of a court sitting together. Appellate courts can consist of a dozen or more judges, but often they hear cases in panels of three judges. If a case is heard or reheard by the full court, it is heard en banc.

Encyclopaedia- A book or series of books arranged alphabetically by topics containing information on areas of law, including citations to support the information.

Enjoining -An order by the court telling a person to stop performing a specific act.

Entity- A person or legally recognized organization.

Entrapment- The act of inducing a person to commit a crime so that a criminal charge will be brought against him.

Entry- A statement of conclusion reached by the court and placed in the court record.

Environment- The conditions, influences, or forces which affect the desirability and value of property, as well as the effect on people's lives.

Environmental Protection (EPA) -A federal agency created to permit coordinated and environment effective governmental action to preserve the quality of the . Agency

Equal Protection of the Law -The guarantee in the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that all persons be treated equally by the law.

Equity- Justice administered according to fairness; the spirit or habit of fairness in dealing with other persons.

Escheat- The process by which a deceased person's property goes to the state if no heir can be found.

Escrow- Money or a written instrument such as a deed that, by agreement between two parties, is held by a neutral third party (held in escrow) until all conditions of the agreement are met.

Esquire- In the United States the title commonly appended after the name of an attorney. In English law a title of dignity next above gentleman and below knight. Title also given to barristers at law and others. Abbreviated: Esq.

Estate- A person's property.

Estate tax- Generally, a tax on the privilege of transferring property to others after a person's death. In addition to federal estate taxes, many states have their own estate taxes.

Estoppel -An impediment that prevents a person from asserting or doing something contrary to his own previous assertion or act.

Ethics- Of or relating to moral action and conduct; professionally right; conforming to professional standards.

Evidence- Information presented in testimony or in documents that is used to persuade the fact finder (judge or jury) to decide the case for one side or the other.

Exceptions- Declarations by either side in a civil or criminal case reserving the right to appeal a judge's ruling upon a motion. Also, in regulatory cases, objections by either side to points made by the other side or to rulings by the agency or one of its hearing officers.

Exclusionary Rule- The rule preventing illegally obtained evidence to be used in any trial.

Execute- To complete; to sign; to carry out according to its terms.

Executor -A personal representative, named in a will, who administers an estate.

Exempt property -All the property of a debtor which is not attachable under the Bankruptcy Code or the state statute.

Exhibit -A document or other item introduced as evidence during a trial or hearing.

Exonerate- Removal of a charge, responsibility, or duty.

Ex parte -On behalf of only one party, without notice to any other party. For example, a request for a search warrant is an ex parte proceeding, since the person subject to the search is not notified of the proceeding and is not present at the hearing.

Ex parte proceeding- Action Circumstances which render a crime less aggravated, heinous, or reprehensible than it would otherwise be.

Expungement -The process by which the record of criminal conviction is destroyed or sealed.

Extradition -The surrender of an accused criminal by one state to the jurisdiction of another.

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 - F -

Fair market value - The value for which a reasonable seller would sell an item of property and for which a reasonable buyer would buy it.

Family law - Those areas of the law pertaining to families, i.e., marriage, divorce, child custody, juvenile, paternity, etc.

Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) - A federal agency which regulates air commerce to promote aviation Administration safety.

Federal Bureau of (FBI) - A federal agency which investigates all violations of federal Investigation laws.

Federal Communications (FCC) - A federal agency which regulates interstate and foreign Commission communications by wire and radio.

Federal Deposit Insurance (FDIC) - An agency which insures deposits in banking institutions in Corporation the event of financial failure.

Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service - An agency which provides mediators to assist in labour-management disputes.

Federal Register - A daily publication which contains federal administrative rules and regulations.

Federal Supplement - Books which gives the government certain control and power to regulate discharge of pollutants into the nation's waters in an effort to achieve clean waters.

Federal Unemployment Tax - A tax levied on employers based on employee wages paid. (FUTA tax)

Felony - A serious criminal offence. Under federal law any offence punishable by death or imprisonment for a term exceeding one year.

Fiduciary - A person or institution who manages money or property for another and who must exercise a standard care imposed by law, i.e., personal representative or executor of an estate, a trustee, etc.

File - To place a paper in the official custody of the clerk of court/court administrator to enter into the files or records of a case.

Filing Fee - The fee required for filing various documents.

Finding - Formal conclusion by a judge or regulatory agency on issues of fact. Also, a conclusion by a jury regarding a fact.

Food and Drug (FDA) - A federal agency which sets safety and quality standards for Administration food, drugs, cosmetics, and household substances.

Foreclosure - A court proceeding upon default in a mortgage to vest title in the mortgagee.

Forfeiture - A cancellation. A legal action whereby a contract purchaser following default loses all his interest in the property.

Fraud - A false representation of a matter of fact which is intended to deceive another.

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