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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.

- G -

 

Garnishment - A legal proceeding in which a debtor's money, in the possession of another (called the garnishee) is applied to the debts of the debtor, such as when an employer garnishes a debtor's wages.

General jurisdiction - Refers to courts that have no limit on the types of criminal and civil cases they may hear.

Good time - A reduction in sentenced time in prison as a reward for good behaviour. It usually is one third to one half of the maximum sentence.

Government Printing Office - The federal agency in charge of printing, binding, and selling of all government communications.

Grand Jury - A jury of inquiry whose duty it is to receive complaints and accusations in criminal matters and if appropriate issue a formal indictment.

Grantor - The person who sets up a trust. Also referred to as "settlor."

Grievance - In labour law a complaint filed by an employee regarding working conditions to be resolved by procedural machinery provided in the union contract. An injury, injustice, or wrong which gives ground for complaint.

Guardian - A person appointed by will or by law to assume responsibility for incompetent adults or minor children. If a parent dies, this will usually be the other parent. If both die, it probably will be a close relative.

Guardianship - Legal right given to a person to be responsible for the food, housing, health care, and other necessities of a person deemed incapable of providing these necessities for himself or herself.

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 - H -

Habeas corpus - The name of a writ having for its object to bring a person before a court.

Harmless error - An error committed during a trial that was corrected or was not serious enough to affect the outcome of a trial and therefore was not sufficiently harmful (prejudicial) to be reversed on appeal.

Headnote - A brief summary of a legal rule or significant facts in a case, which along with other head notes, precedes the printed opinion in reports.

Hearing - A formal proceeding (generally less formal than a trial) with definite issues of law or of fact to be heard. Hearings are used extensively by legislative and administrative agencies.

Hearsay -- Statements by a witness who did not see or hear the incident in question but heard about it from someone else. Hearsay is usually not admissible as evidence in court.

Hostile witness - A witness whose testimony is not favourable to the party who calls him or her as a witness. A hostile witness may be asked leading questions and may be cross-examined by the party who calls him or her to the stand.

Hung jury - A jury whose members cannot agree upon a verdict.

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