Legal Terminology Notes | Study Current Affairs & General Knowledge - CLAT

CLAT: Legal Terminology Notes | Study Current Affairs & General Knowledge - CLAT

The document Legal Terminology Notes | Study Current Affairs & General Knowledge - CLAT is a part of the CLAT Course Current Affairs & General Knowledge.
All you need of CLAT at this link: CLAT

Importance of Legal Terminology 

  • As aspiring lawyers, you must be familiar with some words commonly used in the legal context. 
  • Your aim of learning the meanings of words under your vocabulary course may be to better your writing skills or to improve your understanding of the English language and various writings. 
  • Your aim of learning the meaning of words and phrases under legal vocabulary should be quite different. 
  • The purpose of enhancing your legal vocabulary is to realize the legal applicability of certain concepts and to build a good foundation beforehand for the teachings you shall receive in the course of your law school career.

Terms with 'A'

  • Adjournment Motion: A motion moved by a member in a legislature when it is desired to draw the attention of the executive to a matter of urgent public importance or interest.
  • Adult Suffrage: It is the right of voting in political elections granted to every adult person male or female, without distinction of caste, creed, colour, or holding of any property or qualification, etc.
  • Alibi: The plea that the person charged with a crime was somewhere else when the crime was committed.
  • Abet: To encourage someone to commit a crime.
  • Abeyance: This law is in abeyance.
  • Abrogate: To end.
  • Affirm: To state that you will tell the truth, but without swearing an oath.
  • Affray: Public fight, which frightens other people.
  • Amnesty: Often for political crimes, given to several people at the same time. 
  • Anarchy: Absence of law and order because the government has lost control or because there is government.
  • Ante: Which has taken place earlier or before.
  • Appellant: A person who appeals or who goes to a higher court to ask it to change a decision or a sentence imposed by a lower court.
  • Apportion: To share out in proportion.
  • Assignment: Legal transfer of a property or of a right.
  • Attachment: Holding a debtor’s property to prevent it from being sold until debts are paid.
  • Attest: To sign in the presence of a witness who also signs as evidence that the signature is real.
  • Attorn: To Transfer.
  • Autopsy: Examination of a dead person to see what was the cause of death.
  • Aver: To make a statement or an allegation in pleadings.
  • Award: Decision, which settles a dispute.
    Try yourself:
    The term Assignment means:
    View Solution

Terms with 'B'

  • Bicameral: Having or consisting of two legislative chambers.
  • Bye-Laws: These are special rules and regulations made by any company or corporation for carrying on its affairs, but they must neither contrivance the powers conferred by the Parliament nor the laws of the land.
  • Bail: Releasing an arrested person from custody after payment has been made to a court as a guarantee that the person will return to face trial.
  • Bailment: Transfer of goods by someone (the bailor) to someone (the bailee) who holds them until they have to be returned to the bailor (as when leaving a coat in a cloakroom or at the cleaner’s).
  • Bailiff: GB person employed by the court, whose responsibility is to see that documents are served.
  • Bankrupt: Who has been declared by a court not to be capable of paying his debts and whose affairs are put into the hands of a trustee.
  • Beneficiary: Person who has left the property in a will.
  • Bicameral: Which has two chambers or houses.
  • Bigamy: It is a noticeable offence of going through a marriage ceremony to someone when you are still married to someone else.
  • Blasphemy: The crime of ridiculing or denying God or religion in a scandalous way.
  • Bona-fides: Good faith or in good faith.
  • Borough: Town, which has been incorporated.
    Borough council = representatives elected to run a borough.
  • Borstal: Center where a young offender was sent for training if he had committed a crime, which would normally be punishable by a prison sentence.
  • Bourgeois: Middle class or referring to the class of businessmen and professional people.
  • Breach: Failure to carry out the terms of an agreement.
  • Breath Test: A test where a person’s breath is sampled to establish the amount of alcohol he has drunk.
  • Brief: Details of a client’s case prepared by his solicitor and given to the barrister who is going to argue the case in court.
  • The burden of Proof: Duty to prove that something which has been alleged in court is True.
    Try yourself:The term Borstal means:
    View Solution

Terms with 'C'

  • Censure Motion: means a motion of no-confidence in a government of a group in power.
  • Copyright: The exclusive right of an author in his literary or artistic work. It is vested in the author for a period of sixty years.
    Legal Terminology Notes | Study Current Affairs & General Knowledge - CLAT
  • Court Martial: A court of military or naval officers to try persons for breach of military discipline according to military discipline, according to military law.
  • Caveat: Warning.
  • Caveat Emptor: Let the buyer beware.
  • Citation: Quotation of a legal case.
  • Clemency: Pardon or mercy.
  • Coalition: Group of two more political parties who come together to form a government.
  • Codicil: Document executed in the same way as a will, making additions or changes to an existing will.
  • Coercion: Forcing someone by pressure to commit a crime or do some act.
  • Clemency: Bringing together the parties in a dispute so that the dispute can be settled.
  • Condominium: Rule of a colony or protected territory by two or more countries together.
  • Condone: To forgive.
  • Conjugal: Referring to marriage.
  • Consortium: Group of different companies which work together on one project.
  • Contingency: Possible state of emergency when decisions will have to be taken quickly.
  • Conversion: Tort of dealing with a person’s property in a way that is not consistent with that person’s rights over it.
  • Corroborate: To prove evidence that has already been given.
  • Counterfeit: False or imitation.
  • Countermand: (To countermand an order =) to say that order must not be carried out.
  • Coup: Rapid change of government which removes one government by force and replaces it with another.
  • Covenant: Agreement or undertaking to do something or not to do something.
  • Curriculum Vitae: Summary of a person’s life story showing details of calculation and work experience.

    Try yourself:What is the term for f'orcing someone by pressure to commit a crime or do some act.'
    View Solution

Terms with 'D'

  • Decree: The award or decision of a court or arbitrator.
  • Deed: Legal document which has been signed, sealed, and delivered by the person making it.
  • Defamation: Act of injuring someone’s reputation by maliciously saying or writing things about him.
  • Defeasance: A clause says a contract or bond.
  • Defraud: To trick someone so as to obtain money illegally.
  • Delegate: A person who is elected by others to put their case at a meeting.
  • Delinquency: The act of committing a crime, usually a minor crime.
  • Demagogue: Leader who is able to support the people by exciting their feeling and prejudices.
  • Deponent: Person who makes a statement under oath or by affidavit.
  • Depose: To state under oath.
  • Detinue: Tort of wrongfully holding goods that belong to someone else.
  • Dictum: Saying or statement made by a judge.
  • Digest: Book which collects summaries of court decisions together, used for reference purposes by lawyers.
  • Discharge: Ending of a contract by performing all the conditions of the contract.
  • Dishonour: To refuse to pay a cheque.

Try yourself:Give the meaning of Detinue
View Solution

Terms with 'E'

  • Earnest: Money paid as a down payment to show one’s serious intention to proceed with a contract.
  • Easement: Right which someone has to use land belonging to someone else, such as for a path.
  • Embezzle: To use illegally.
  • Executor: Someone who is appointed by a person making his will who will see that the terms of the will are carried out.
  • Expunge: To remove.
  • Extort: To get money or promises or a confession from someone.
  • Extradite: Acting as a trustee for someone else or being in a possible of trust.

Terms with 'F'

  • Fiduciary: Acting as a trustee for someone else or being in a possible trust.
  • Freehold: Absolute right to hold land.

Terms with 'G'

  • Genocide: The wilful extermination of a minority or a religious community or race by mass killing or by passing repressive measures.
  • Gratuitous: Free or with no money being offered.

Terms with 'H'

  • Hire Purchase: System of buying something by paying a sum regularly each month until you own it completely.
  • Holograph: Document written by hand holograph will.
  • Homicide: Killing of person.
  • Horse-trading: Bargaining between political parties or politicians or members of a committee to obtain a general agreement for something.
  • House of lords: Upper House of the British Parliament made up of hereditary lords, life peers, leading judges, and bishops. House Judicial Committee of the House of Lords = Highest court of appeal in both civil and criminal cases in England and Wales.
  • House of Representative: Lower house of the congress of the United States made up of 435 elected members.
  • Hypothecation: Using property such as securities as collateral for a loan, but not transferring legal ownership to the lender.
    Try yourself:
    What is the legal term used for using property such as securities as collateral for a loan, but not transferring legal ownership to the lender.
    View Solution

Terms with 'I'

  • In-Camera: In private, with no members of the public permitted to be present.
  • Incorporeal: Which is not physical or which cannot to touched.
  • Indemnity: Statement of liability to pay compensation for wrong in a transaction to which you are a party.
  • Indictment: A written statement of the details of the crime with which someone is charged in the crown court.
  • Infringe: To Break a law or a right.
  • Injunction: Court order compelling someone to stop doing something or not to do something.
  • Interim: Temporary or not final.
  • Interlocutory: Temporary or provisional or happening at a court hearing which takes place before a full trial.
  • Intestate: To die without making out a Will.
  • Impeachment: It means accusing a high official like the president of India, Supreme Court Judge, etc. Of disloyally to the country and corruption and trying him in the Parliament according to a procedure set by law.

Terms with 'J'

  • Jeopardy: To be in jeopardy = to be in danger of punishment or of harm.
  • Jetsam: Cargo, which is thrown off a sinking ship.
  • Jurisprudence: Study of the law and the legal system.
  • Jurist: Person who has specialized in the study and practice of law.
  • Juror: Member of a jury.
  • Jury: Group of twelve citizens who are sworn to decide whether someone is guilty or not guilty on the basis of the evidence they hear in court.
  • Jus: Law or right.

Terms with 'K'

  • Kickback: Illegal commission paid to someone who helps in a business deal.

Terms with 'L'

  • Letters Patent: A document under the seal of the government authorizing an individual or body to do some act or enjoy some privilege.
  • Laissez-faire: Political theory where a government does nothing to control the Economy.
  • Larceny: Crime of stealing goods that belong to another person.
  • Launder: To transfer illegal or stolen money into an ordinary bank account, usually by a complex process to avoid detection.
  • Libel: Written and published or broadcast statement which damages someone’s character.
  • Lien: Legal right to hold someone’s goods and keep them until a debt has been paid.
  • Lockout: Exclusion of employees by their employer from their place of work until certain terms are agreed to.

Terms with 'M'

  • Mandamus: We command.
  • Magna Carta: The great Charter of England, granted by King John is called Magna Carta. “It provides that” no man, shall be taken or imprisoned nor will he pass upon him or condemn him but by lawful judgment.
  • Matricide: Murder of one’s mother.
  • Moot case: Legal case to be discussed on its own, to establish a precedent.

Terms with 'N'

  • Next Friend: Person who brings an action on behalf of a minor.
  • Notary Public: Lawyer who has the authority to witness and draw up certain documents, and so make them official.
  • Novation: Transaction in which a new contract is agreed by all parties to replace an existing contract.

Terms with 'O'

  • Ombudsman: An official who investigates complaints by the public against government departments.

Terms with 'P'

  • Perjury: Making a false statement on oath.
  • Proxy: One who acts for another.
  • Palimony: Money which a court orders a man to pay regularly to a woman with whom he has been living and from whom he has separated.
  • Pilfer: To steal small objects or small amounts of money.
  • Plagiarism: Copying the text of a work created by someone else and passing it off as your own.
  • Plaintiff: Person who starts action against someone in the civil courts.
  • Plea Bargaining: An arrangement where the accused pleads guilty to some charges and the prosecution drops other charges.
  • Pluralism: System allowing different political.
  • Polygraph: Lie detector, a machine, which tells if a person is lying by recording physiological changes which take place while the person is being interviewed.
  • Power of Attorney: Official power which gives someone the right to act on someone’s behalf in legal matters.
  • Preamble: First words in an official document.
  • Precedent: Something which has happened earlier than the present, and which can be a guide as to what should be done in the present case.
  • Preclude: To forbid or to prevent.
  • Pre-emption: Right to the first refusal to purchase something before it is sold to someone else.
  • Prerogative: Special right, which someone has.
  • Probate: Legal acceptance that a document, especially a will, is valid.
  • Prorata: At a rate, which changes according to the importance of something.
  • Prorogation: End of a session of parliament.
  • Prosecute: To bring to court to answer a criminal charge.
  • Purview: General scope of an act of parliament.
  • Prorogue: An act of ending of a session. It is the discretion of the President and the Governor.

Terms with 'Q'

  • Question Hour: The list of the business before the House of Legislature is given to the members in advance. Generally, the first hour of each sitting is “Question Hour”. The Government gives replies to the question already sent by the members. The members are entitled to get more information through “Supplementary Question”. The main purpose of the “Question Hour” is to seek information and draw the attention of the Government to issues of public importance. After the “Question Hour, the agenda is taken up”.
  • Quorum: The minimum number of people who have to be present at a meeting to make it valid.
  • Quo Warranto: By what authority.

Terms with 'R'

  • Rule of Law: This means that all persons are equal in the eye of law without any distinction of status, colour, caste, and sex and that the government cannot exercise any arbitrary powers.
  • Ratify: To approve officially.
  • Redeem: To pay back all the principal and interest on a loan or debt.
  • Referendum: Type of vote, where a whole population is asked to vote on a single question.
  • Repudiate: To refuse to accept.
  • Rescind: To annual or to cancel.
  • Restitution: Given back, the return which has been illegally obtained.

Terms with 'S'

  • Sedition: Doing acts or speech tending to bring the government into hatred or contempt and encourage civil disorder.
  • Summons: A writ of a court commanding the attendance of a witness at a specified time and place.
  • Seriatim: One after the other in order.
  • Snap General Election: This means a general election, which is called for suddenly. This happens in a democratic regime when a duly installed majority government finds it difficult to deal with an extraordinary situation and wants the electorate to give a fresh verdict on its programs and policies.
  • Snap Poll: A snap poll means a sudden election to a legislature held at short notice before the expiry of its full term. A midterm poll also means the same thing, even if an election is ordered many months after the middle of a legislature’s usual five-year span. But it was the surprise dissolution of the Lok Sabha in 1971 and the election ordered soon afterward that has given wide currency to the expression “snap poll”.
  • Statue: Established written law, especially an Act of Parliament.
  • Splinter Group: Quite often parties have within them certain groups, which can be referred to as splinter groups. They are groups of people who differ from the main body in their approach views or strategy.
  • Starred and Unstarred Questions: When asking questions members of Parliament may ask for either oral or written answers. Questions to which oral answers are required are marked with an asterisk and are known as Starred Questions. Questions requiring written replies are unstarred Questions.
  • Subpoena: Court order requiring someone to appear in court.
  • Subrogation: Legal principle whereby someone stands in the place of another person and acquires that person’s rights and is responsible for that person’s liabilities.
  • Sue: To take someone to court or to start legal proceedings against someone to get compensation for a wrong.
  • Suit: Civil legal proceedings or lawsuits.
  • Summon: To call someone to come.
    Try yourself:Making a false statement on the oath is called?
    View Solution

Terms with 'T'

  • Tort: Civil wrong done by one person to another and entitling the victim to claim damages.
  • Treason: A notifiable offence, the crime of betraying one’s country, usually by helping the enemy in time of war.
  • Treaty: Written legal agreement between countries.

Terms with 'U'

  • Uncrossed Cheque: Cheque which may be exchanged for cash anywhere.
  • Unliquidated Damages: Damages, which are not for a fixed amount of money but are awarded by a court as a matter of discretion.
  • Unicameral: Having only one House in a law-making body.

Terms with 'V'

  • Veto: Ban or order not to allow something to become law, even if it has been passed by a parliament.
  • Vice Versa: Reverse position.
  • Vexatious: Annoying, done in order to annoy.
  • Vote on Account: Usually, a Vote on the account is taken for a sum equivalent to one-sixth of the expenditure for the entire year in respect of demands for grants. As a convention, it is passed by the Lok Sabha without any discussion.
  • Vote of No-Confidence: It implies that the legislature feels that the Council of Ministers is not working properly and deserves to be removed from office. It has lost the confidence of the legislature. If such a proposal is passed, the Council of Ministers resigns.

Terms with 'W'

  • Warrant: A legal document, issued by a competent authority to give power of arrest and detention before trial, seizure of property, or search or search of house and buildings.
  • Writ: A written command by the High Court or the Supreme Court directing the State or the court to act or abstain from acting in some way.
  • Waiver: Voluntarily giving up or removing the conditions.
  • Warrant: Official document from a court, which allows someone to do something.
  • White-Collar Crime: Crimes committed by business people or office workers.
  • Writ: Legal document, which begins as action in the High court.
  • Whip: An important party official, entrusted with the responsibility of organizing disciplined voting according to the party directions and ensuring attendance of the party members on a specific occasion.
  • White Paper: A detailed policy statement issued by a government with regard to a matter of considerable public importance.

Terms with 'Z'

  • Zero-based Budgeting: It is an improvement over traditional budgeting and not a substitute for it. It examines critically regularly and systematically the assumptions of the traditional budget. The budgeted item is treated each year at the zero base level as if it was non-existent in the past.
  • Zero Hour: The period following the question hour. It generally begins at 12.00 and lasts till 1.00 p.m. Officially, it is used to raise various issues of public importance without prior notification to the minister.
    Try yourself:
    Explain the term 'Writ'
    View Solution

The document Legal Terminology Notes | Study Current Affairs & General Knowledge - CLAT is a part of the CLAT Course Current Affairs & General Knowledge.
All you need of CLAT at this link: CLAT

Download free EduRev App

Track your progress, build streaks, highlight & save important lessons and more!

Related Searches

mock tests for examination


Viva Questions


Extra Questions


Legal Terminology Notes | Study Current Affairs & General Knowledge - CLAT


Important questions




shortcuts and tricks




video lectures


Semester Notes


past year papers




Objective type Questions


Sample Paper




Legal Terminology Notes | Study Current Affairs & General Knowledge - CLAT


Legal Terminology Notes | Study Current Affairs & General Knowledge - CLAT




study material


Previous Year Questions with Solutions




practice quizzes