Category Archives: Legal Language and Legal Writing

Need and Importance of Legal Language

Words are the essential tools of the law. In the study of law, language has great importance; cases turn on the meaning that judges ascribe to words, and lawyers must use the right words to effectuate the wishes of their clients. It has been said that you will be learning a new language when you study law, but it’s actually a bit more complicated. There are at least four ways in which you encounter the vocabulary of law.
Learning new words
that you probably have not encountered before. These words and phrases have meaning only as legal terms. Words or phrases such as res judicata, impleader, executory interest, demurrer and mens rea,oblige students to acquire some new vocabulary. Learning the meaning of these words is essential to understand any case or discussion which uses them.
Some recognizable words take on different or new meanings when used in the law.
Malice, for example, when used in the law of defamation, does not mean hatred or meanness; it means “with reckless disregard for the truth.” Similarly, “consideration” in contract law, has nothing to do with thoughtfulness; it means something of value given by a party to an agreement. When a party is “prejudiced” in the law it usually means that the party was put at some disadvantage, not that the party is bigoted. “Fixtures” in property law are much more than bathroom and kitchen equipment. There are many words like this in the law, and students must shake loose their ordinary understanding of a word to absorb its legal meaning. Words that have distinct or specialized meanings in the law are sometimes called “terms of art.”
Words whose meaning expands, contracts or changes, depending on the context or the place in which it is used.
In one context (divorce, for example), a person may be considered a “resident” of a state if she has lived there for 6 months. In another context (getting a driver’s license) a person may be considered a “resident” after just a few days. In one state, a person may be said to “possess” a firearm if it is within his/her reach in an auto. In another state, that person might have to be in control of the firearm to be considered in possession of it. Thus, the same word can have a different meaning depending on what question is being asked, and where it is being asked.
Legal doctrine, and act as shorthand terms for complex concepts.
The terms “unfair competition,” “due process of law,” “foreseeable,” and “cruel and unusual punishment” are a few examples. These terms have been subject to interpretation by judges in many cases over long periods of time, and there is little hope of finding a clear and concise definition that can serve in all contexts.
Finally, students need to develop a heightened respect for linguistic precision. Because the meaning of words is so crucial to the craft of lawyering, students will be expected to use words carefully and precisely. You will learn, for example, that there are legally significant differences between “Sally lives in the United States,” “Sally resides in the United States,” “Sally is domiciled in the United States,” and “Sally is a citizen of the United States.” Even grammar and punctuation can be crucial: a person who leaves $50,000 “to each of my children who took care of me,” has a different intention than a person who leaves $50,000 “to each of my children, who took care of me.” The lawyer drafting the will needs to know how to wield that comma, or better yet, how to avoid any confusion in the first place.
Once you have learned the legal meanings of words, you are expected to use them with precision. Substituting one for another can result in serious errors and misunderstandings. The legal meanings of words constitute the common language of lawyers and judges, who rely on this language to communicate efficiently and effectively.


System for Citing Documents in Written Work
(a) Various systems of citation
(Numeric System, Harvard System, Harvard Law Review Association System and
Indian Practice)
A “citation” is the way you tell your readers that certain material in your work came from another source. It also gives your readers the information necessary to find that source again, including:
• information about the author
• the title of the work
• the name and location of the company that published your copy of the source
• the date your copy was published
• the page numbers of the material you are borrowing
Giving credit to the original author by citing sources is the only way to use other people’s work without plagiarizing. But there are a number of other reasons to cite sources:
• citations are extremely helpful to anyone who wants to find out more about your ideas and where they came from
• not all sources are good or right — your own ideas may often be more accurate or interesting than those of your sources. Proper citation will keep you from taking the rap for someone else’s bad ideas
• citing sources shows the amount of research you’ve done
• citing sources strengthens your work by lending outside support to your ideas
Not at all. On the contrary, citing sources actually helps your reader distinguish your ideas from those of your sources. This will actually emphasize the originality of your own work.
Whenever you borrow words or ideas, you need to acknowledge their source. The following situations almost always require citation:
• whenever you use quotes
• whenever you paraphrase
• whenever you use an idea that someone else has already expressed
• whenever you make specific reference to the work of another
• whenever someone else’s work has been critical in developing your own ideas.
This depends on what type of work you are writing, how you are using the borrowed material, and the expectations of your instructor.
First, you have to think about how you want to identify your sources. If your sources are very important to your ideas, you should mention the author and work in a sentence that introduces your citation. If, however, you are only citing the source to make a minor point, you may consider using parenthetical references, footnotes, or endnotes.
There are also different forms of citation for different disciplines. For example, when you cite sources in a psychology paper you would probably use a different form of citation than you might in a paper for an English class.
Finally, you should always consult your instructor to determine the form of citation appropriate for your paper. You can save a lot of time and energy simply by asking “How should I cite my sources,” or “What style of citation should I use?” before you begin writing.
In the following sections, we will take you step-by-step through some general guidelines for citing sources.
The first time you cite a source, it is almost always a good idea to mention its author(s), title, and genre (book, article, or web page, etc.). If the source is central to your work, you may want to introduce it in a separate sentence or two, summarizing its importance and main ideas. But often you can just tag this information onto the beginning or end of a sentence. For example, the following sentence puts information about the author and work before the quotation:
Milan Kundera, in his book The Art of the Novel, suggests that “if the novel should really disappear, it will do so not because it has exhausted its powers but because it exists in a world grown alien to it.”
You may also want to describe the author(s) if they are not famous, or if you have reason to believe your reader does not know them. You should say whether they are economic analysts, artists, physicists, etc. If you do not know anything about the author, and cannot find any information, it is best to say where you found the source and why you believe it is credible and worth citing. For example,
In an essay presented at an Asian Studies conference held at Duke University, Sheldon Geron analyzes the relation of state, labor-unions, and small businesses in Japan between 1950s and 1980s.
If you have already introduced the author and work from which you are citing, and you are obviously referring to the same work, you probably don’t need to mention them again. However, if you have cited other sources and then go back to one you had cited earlier, it is a good idea to mention at least the author’s name again (and the work if you have referred to more than one by this author) to avoid confusion.
Citation styles differ mostly in the location, order, and syntax of information about references. The number and diversity of citation styles reflect different priorities with respect to concision, readability, dates, authors, publications, and, of course, style.
There are also two major divisions within most citation styles: documentary-note style and parenthetical style. Documentary-note style is the standard form of documenting sources. It involves using either footnotes or end notes, so that information about your sources is readily available to your readers but does not interfere with their reading of your work.
Professor Scott asserts that “environmental reform in Alaska in the 1970s accelerated rapidly as a pipeline expansion.”: (Scott 1999,23)
This is generally considered an abbreviated form of citation, and it does not require footnotes or endnotes, although it does require the equivalent of a “Works Cited” page at the end of the paper. It is easier to write, but might interfere with how smoothly your work reads.
With so many different citation styles, how do you know which one is right for your paper? First, we strongly recommend asking your instructor. There are several factors which go into determining the appropriate citation style, including discipline (priorities in an English class might differ from those of a Psychology class, for example), academic expectations (papers intended for publication might be subject to different standards than mid-term papers), the research aims of an assignment, and the individual preference of your instructor.
If you are a teacher or instructor, you may also wish to distribute examples of plagiarism and legitimate citation, and then go over the differences together with your classes. This will clarify some of the common misconceptions about plagiarism and reduce the likelihood of “honest mistakes,” while at the same time showing how serious you are about the issue.
If you want to learn more about using a particular citation style, we have provided links to more specific resources below.
Harvard system (author and date)
In the text use the surname(s) of the author(s) and the year of publication.
References should then be listed alphabetically by author at the end of the work, with the year of publication placed immediately after the author’s name.
• When referencing more than one work by the same author you can distinguish between them by adding letters after the year eg (Turner, 1998a) and (Turner, 1998b)
• When citing a particular quote put quotation marks around the quotation. You must include the page number(s) of the quotation, e.g. Treatments for cancer “can disrupt economic and social function” (Fallowfield 1990, p. 92).
Only use direct quotations when necessary. It is usually preferable to re-word (paraphrase) information.
Example of Harvard referencing
A typical piece of text might read:
Searcy and Whatley (1984) also found evidence for functions in Thermoplasma. They do not seem to form de novo in the cytoplasm (Opperdoes and Michels 1989; Tabak and Diestel 1989). This is symbiant-like behaviour, but there is no trace of a genome in microbodies.
The reference list would arrange references in alphabetical order of author, e.g.
• OPPERDOES, F. R. and P.A.M. MICHELS, 1989. Biogenesis and evolutionary origin of peroxisomes. In: J. M. TAGER, Organelles in Eukaryotic Cells. New York: Plenum, pp.5-10.
• SEARCY, D. G. and F. R. WHATLEY, 1984. Thermoplasma acidophilum cell membrane. Zentralblatt fur Bakteriologie Mikrobiologie und Hygiene 1 Abteilung Originale, C3, 245-257.
• TABAK, H. F. and B. DIESTEL, 1989. Biogenesis of peroxisomes. In: J. M. Tager, Organelles in Eukaryotic Cells. New York: Plenum, pp.5-10.
When referencing more than one author the first author is listed by surname first, followed by their initials. The second author is listed by initials first, followed by surname.
Notice that when using the Harvard system, the year of publication is positioned after the author names.
Numeric system
In the Numeric system of referencing, numbers inserted in the text refer to a numerical sequence of references at the end. The first reference is numbered 1, the second 2, and so on. The numbers can be written in superscript or in brackets
• When citing a particular quote put quotation marks around the quotation. You must include the page number(s) of the quotation, e.g. Treatments “can disrupt economic and social function” (2, p. 92).
Only use direct quotations when necessary. It is usually preferable to re-word (paraphrase) information.
Example of numeric referencing
A typical piece of text might read:
Searcy and Whatley1 also found evidence for functions in Thermoplasma. They do not seem to form de novo in the cytoplasm2,3. This is symbiant-like behaviour, but there is no trace of a genome in microbodies1.
The reference list would give each reference in numerical order:
1. SEARCY, D G. and F. R. WHATLEY. Thermoplasma acidophilum cell membrane. Zentralblatt fur Bakteriologie Mikrobiologie und Hygiene 1 Abteilung Originale, 1984, C3, 245-257.
2. OPPERDOES, F. R. and P. A. M. MICHELS. Biogenesis and evolutionary origin of peroxisomes. In: J. M. Tager, Organelles in Eukaryotic Cells. New York: Plenum, 1989, pp. 5-10.
3. TABEK, H. F. and B. DIESTREL. Biogenesis of peroxisomes. In: J. M. TAGER, Organelles in Eukaryotic Cells New York: Plenum, 1989, pp. 5-10
When referencing more than one author the first author is listed by surname first, followed by their initials. The second author is listed by initials first, followed by surname.
Notice that the year of publication has now been positioned towards the end of the reference for books and before the volume, part/issue and page number details for journals.
(b) First Footnote References
(Books, Journal, Electronic sources etc.)
Footnotes are notes placed at the bottom of a page. They cite references or comment on a designated part of the text above it. For example, say you want to add an interesting comment to a sentence you have written, but the comment is not directly related to the argument of your paragraph. In this case, you could add the symbol for a footnote. Then, at the bottom of the page you could reprint the symbol and insert your comment. Here is an example:
This is an illustration of a footnote.1 The number “1” at the end of the previous sentence corresponds with the note below. See how it fits in the body of the text?
1 At the bottom of the page you can insert your comments about the sentence preceding the footnote.
When your reader comes across the footnote in the main text of your paper, he or she could look down at your comments right away, or else continue reading the paragraph and read your comments at the end. Because this makes it convenient for your reader, most citation styles require that you use either footnotes or end notes in your paper. Some, however, allow you to make parenthetical references (author, date) in the body of your work. See our section on citation styles for more information.
Footnotes are not just for interesting comments, however. Sometimes they simply refer to relevant sources — they let your reader know where certain material came from or where they can look for other sources on the subject. To decide whether you should cite your sources in footnotes or in the body of your paper, you should ask your instructor or see our section on citation styles.
Whenever possible, put the footnote at the end of a sentence, immediately following the period or whatever punctuation mark completes that sentence. Skip two spaces after the footnote before you begin the next sentence. If you must include the footnote in the middle of a sentence for the sake of clarity, or because the sentence has more than one footnote (try to avoid this!), try to put it at the end of the most relevant phrase, after a comma or other punctuation mark. Otherwise, put it right at the end of the most relevant word. If the footnote is not at the end of a sentence, skip only one space after it.
The only real difference is placement — footnotes appear at the bottom of the relevant page, while end notes all appear at the end of your document. If you want your reader to read your notes right away, footnotes are more likely to get your reader’s attention. Endnotes, on the other hand, are less intrusive and will not interrupt the flow of your paper.
Sometimes you may be asked to include these — especially if you have used a parenthetical style of citation. A “works cited” page is a list of all the works from which you have borrowed material. Your reader may find this more convenient than footnotes or end notes because he or she will not have to wade through all of the comments and other information in order to see the sources from which you drew your material. A “works consulted” page is a complement to a “works cited” page, listing all of the works you used, whether they were useful or not.
(c) Subsequent Footnote References and other Terms used in the Footnotes.
Following Terms shall be explained:
Ibidem/Idem, Supra, Infra, Et.seq., Op.cit., Loc. cit., Cf., See, See also,
See generally, But see, contra, In re etc.
Ibid. (Latin, short for ibidem, meaning “in the same place”) is the term used to provide an endnote or footnote citation or reference for a source that was cited in the preceding endnote or footnote. This is similar in meaning to idem (meaning something that has been mentioned previously; the same), abbreviated Id., which is commonly used in legal citation.[1] To find the ibid. source, one must look at the reference preceding it.
Ibid. may also be used in the Harvard (name-date) system for in-text references where there has been a close previous citation from the same source material.[2][3]The previous reference should be immediately visible, e.g. within the same paragraph or page. Many academic publishers now prefer that “ibid.” should not be given in italics, as it is a commonly found term.[4]
Notice that ibid. is an abbreviation where the last two letters of the word are not present; thus, it commonly takes a period (full stop) in both American and British usage, as do all abbreviations.
[Latin, Below, under, beneath, underneath.] A term employed in legal writing to indicate that thematter designated will appear beneath or in the pages following the reference.
West’s Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
prep. Latin for “below,” this is legal shorthand to indicate that the details or citation of a case will come later on in the brief. Infra is distinguished from supra which shows that a case has already been cited “above.” The typical language is Jones v. McLaughlin, infra, meaning the exact citation of the case, including volume and page number, will follow later in the document. (See: citation, cite)
[Latin, Above; beyond.] A term used in legal research to indicate that the matter under current consideration has appeared in the preceding pages of the text in which the reference is made.
West’s Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
(sooh-prah) Latin for “above,” in legal briefs and decisions it refers to the citation of a court decision which has been previously mentioned. Thus a case when first cited will be referred to as Guinn v.United States, (1915) 238 U. S. 347, meaning it can be found in volume 238 of the United States Reports (of the Supreme Court) at page 347 and was decided in 1915. The next time the case is cited as Guinn v. United States, supra.
Et Seq.
An abbreviation for the Latin et sequentes or et sequentia, meaning “and the following.”
The phrase et seq. is used in references made to particular pages or sections of cases, articles,regulations, or statutes to indicate that the desired information is continued on the pages or in the sections following a designated page or section, as “p. 238 et seq.” or “section 43 et seq.”
The abbreviation et seq. is sometimes used to denote a reference to more than one following pageor section.
op. cit. abbreviation. a Latin phrase meaning in the work already cited, used when referring to a text, especially a legal, academic, or otherwise authoritative text.
The abbreviation is used in an end note or footnote to refer the reader to a previously cited work, standing in for repetition of the full title of the work.[1] Op. cit. thus refers the reader to the bibliography, where the full citation of the work can be found, or to a full citation given in a previous footnote. Op. cit. should never therefore be used on its own, which would be meaningless, but most often with the author’s surname,[1] or another brief clue as to which work is referred to. For example, given a work called The World of Salamanders (1999) by Jane Q. Smith, the style would typically be “Smith op. cit.”, usually followed by a page number, to refer the reader to a previous full citation of this work (or with further clarification such as “Smith 1999, op. cit.” or “Smith, World of Salamanders, op. cit.”, if two sources by that author are cited). Given names or initials are not needed unless the work cites two authors with the same surname, as the whole purpose of using op. cit. is economy of text. For works without an individually named author, the title can be used, e.g. “CIA World Fact Book, op. cit.” As usual with foreign words and phrases, op. cit. is typically given in italics. The variant Loc. cit., an abbreviation of the Latin phrase loco citato meaning “in the place cited”,[1] has been used for the same purpose but also indicating the same page not simply the same work; it is now rarely used or recognized.
The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition, considers that op. cit. and loc. cit. are “rightly falling into disuse”, and “instead uses the short-title form”,[1] e.g. the form World of Salamanders, to use the example above.[2] Various different styles call for other alternatives, such as a reference to the author’s surname and publication year, e.g. “Smith 1999”.
Op. cit is contrasted with ibid., an abbreviation of the Latin adverb ibidem, meaning “in the same place; in that very place”[3][4] which refers the reader to the title of the work in the preceding footnote. The easily confused idem (sometimes abbreviated id.), the Latin definitive pronoun meaning “the same”[5] is also used on occasion (especially in legal writing) within footnotes, and is a stand-in for the last-cited author, rather than title.[5] The Latin adverb supra, meaning “above” means simply “see above” and can therefore be somewhat imprecise.
Loc. cit. (Latin, short for loco citato, meaning “in the place cited”) is a footnote or endnote term used to repeat the title and page number for a given work (and author). Loc. cit. is used in place of ibid. when the reference is not only to the work immediately preceding, but also refers to the same page.
The abbreviation cf. (short for the Latin: confer, meaning “compare”) is used in writing to refer the reader to other material to make a comparison with the topic being discussed.
See also may refer to:
• Citation signal, reference formats which often appear in technical, scientific, and legal documents
• cf., an abbreviation for confer, meaning “compare” or “consult”
“See” indicates that the cited authority supports, but does not directly state, the proposition given. Used similarly to no signal, to indicate that the proposition follows from the cited authority. It may also be used to refer to a cited authority which supports the proposition. For example, before 1997 the IDEA was silent on the subject of private school reimbursement, but courts had granted such reimbursement as “appropriate” relief under principles of equity pursuant to 20 U.S.C. § 1415(i)(2)(C ). See Burlington, 471 U.S. at 370, 105 S.Ct. 1996 (“[W]e are confident that by empowering the court to grant ‘appropriate’ relief Congress meant to include retroactive reimbursement to parents as an available remedy in a proper case.”); 20 U.S.C. § 1415(i)(2)(C ) (“In any action brought under this paragraph, the court … shall grant such relief as the court determines is appropriate.”).
See also[edit]
This indicates that the cited authority constitutes additional material which supports the proposition less directly than that indicated by “see” or “accord”. “See also” may be used to introduce a case supporting the stated proposition which is distinguishable from previously-cited cases. It is sometimes used to refer readers to authorities supporting a proposition when other supporting authorities have already been cited or discussed. A parenthetical explanation of the source’s relevance, after a citation introduced by “see also”, is encouraged. For example, ” … Omitting the same mental element in a similar weapons possession statute, such as RCW 9.41.040, strongly indicates that the omission was purposeful and that strict liability was intended. See generally State v. Alvarez, 74 Wash. App. 250, 260, 872 P.2d 1123 (1994) (omission of “course of conduct” language in criminal counterpart to civil antiharassment act indicated “Legislature consciously chose to criminalize a single act rather than a course of conduct.”) aff’d, 128 Wash.2d 1, 904 P.2d 754 (1995); see also State v. Roberts, 117 Wash.2d 576, 586, 817 P.2d 855 (1991) (use of certain statutory language in one instance, and different language in another, evinces different legislative intent) (citing cases).” Source: State v. Anderson, 141 Wash.2d 357, 5 P.3d 1247, 1253 (2000).
Main article: Cf.
From the Latin confer (“compare”), this signals that a cited proposition differs from the main proposition but is sufficiently analogous to lend support. An explanatory parenthetical note is recommended to clarify the citation’s relevance. For example, it is precisely this kind of conjecture and hair-splitting that the Supreme Court wanted to avoid when it fashioned the bright-line rule in Miranda. Cf. Davis, 512 U.S. at 461 (noting that where the suspect asks for counsel, the benefit of the bright-line rule is the “clarity and ease of application” that “can be applied by officers in the real world without unduly hampering the gathering of information” by forcing them “to make difficult judgment calls” with a “threat of suppression if they guess wrong”).
See generally[edit]
This signal indicates that the cited authority presents background material relevant to the proposition. Legal scholars generally encourage the use of parenthetical explanations of the source material’s relevance following each authority using “see generally”, and this signal can be used with primary and secondary sources. For example, it is a form of “discrimination” because the complainant is being subjected to differential treatment. See generally Olmstead v. L. C., 527 U.S. 581, 614, 144 L. Ed. 2d 540, 119 S. Ct. 2176 (1999) (Kennedy, J., concurring in judgment) (the “normal definition of discrimination” is “differential treatment”).
This signals that the cited authority directly contradicts a given point. Contra is used where no signal would be used for support. For example: “Before Blakely, courts around the country had found that “statutory minimum” was the maximum sentence allowed by law for the crime, rather than the maximum standard range sentence. See, e.g., State v. Gore, 143 Wash.2d 288, 313-14, 21 P.3d 262 (2001), overruled by State v. Hughes, 154 Wash.2d 118, 110 P.3d 192 (2005); contra Blakely, 124 S.Ct. at 2536-37.”
But see[edit]
The cited authority contradicts the stated proposition, directly or implicitly. “But see” is used in opposition where “see” is used for support. For example: “Specifically, under Roberts, there may have been cases in which courts erroneously determined that testimonial statements were reliable. But see Bockting v. Bayer, 418 F.3d at 1058 (O’Scannlain, J., dissenting from denial of rehearing en banc).”
But cf.[edit]
The cited authority contradicts the stated proposition by analogy; a parenthetical explanation of the source’s relevance is recommended. For example: But cf. 995 F.2d, at 1137 (observing that “[i]n the ordinary tort claim arising when a government driver negligently runs into another car, jury trial is precisely what is lost to a plaintiff when the government is substituted for the employee”).
“But” should be omitted from “but see” and “but cf.” when the signal follows another negative signal: Contra Blake v. Kiline, 612 F.2d 718, 723-24 (3d Cir. 1979); see CHARLES ALAN WRIGHT, LAW OF FEDERAL COURTS 48 (4th ed. 1983)
In re is a Latin phrase meaning “in the matter of.” When in re appears in the title of a court case, it means that the judicial proceeding may not have formally designated adverse parties or is otherwise uncontested. The use of in re refers to the object or person that is the primary subject of the case.
(d) Preparation of Bibliography
A bibliography is a list of all of the sources you have used in the process of researching your work. In general, a bibliography should include:
• the authors’ names
• the titles of the works
• the names and locations of the companies that published your copies of the sources
• the dates your copies were published
• the page numbers of your sources (if they are part of multi-source volumes)
An annotated bibliography is the same as a bibliography with one important difference: in an annotated bibliography, the bibliographic information is followed by a brief description of the content, quality, and usefulness of the source.
Sometimes you may be asked to include these — especially if you have used a parenthetical style of citation. A “works cited” page is a list of all the works from which you have borrowed material. Your reader may find this more convenient than footnotes or endnotes because he or she will not have to wade through all of the comments and other information in order to see the sources from which you drew your material. A “works consulted” page is a complement to a “works cited” page, listing all of the works you used, whether they were useful or not.
Well, yes. The title is different because “works consulted” pages are meant to complement “works cited” pages, and bibliographies may list other relevant sources in addition to those mentioned in footnotes or endnotes. Choosing to title your bibliography “Works Consulted” or “Selected Bibliography” may help specify the relevance of the sources listed.
(e) Abbreviations
(i) Common abbreviations used in footnotes and general legal writings
(ii) Abbreviation used for Indian and foreign legal periodicals
Term or phrase Literal translation Definition and use English pronunciatio
a fortiori
from stronger An a fortiori argument is an “argument from a stronger reason”, meaning that because one fact is true, that a second related and included fact must also be true. /ˌeɪ fɔːrtiˈoʊraɪ/, /ˌeɪ fɔːrʃiˈoʊraɪ/
a mensa et thoro
from table and bed Divorce a mensa et thoro indicates legal separation without legal divorce. /ˌeɪ ˈmɛnsə ɛt ˈθoʊroʊ/
a posteriori
from later An argument derived from subsequent event. /ˌeɪ ˌpɒstiːri.oʊraɪ/
a priori
from earlier An argument derived from previous event. /ˌeɪ praɪ.oʊraɪ/
a quo from which Regarding a court below in an appeal, either a court of first instance or an appellate court, known as the court a quo. /ˌeɪ ˈkwoʊ/
ab extra from outside Concerning a case, a person may have received some funding from a 3rd party. This funding may have been considered ab extra. /ˌæb ˈɛkstrə/
ab initio
from the beginning “Commonly used referring to the time a contract, statute, marriage, or deed become legal. e.g The couple was covered ab initio by her health policy.”[1]
/ˌæb ɪˈnɪʃi.oʊ/
absque hoc
without this “Presenting the negative portion of a plea when pleading at common by way a special traverse.”[1]
Actori incumbit onus probatio
on the plaintiff rests the proving The burden of proof falls to the plaintiff, claimant, or petitioner according to Roman law.
actus reus
guilty act Part of what proves criminal liability (with mens rea).
/ˌæktəs ˈriː.əs/
ad coelum
to the sky Abbreviated from Cuius est solum eius est usque ad coelum et ad infernos which translates to “[for] whoever owns [the] soil, [it] is his all the way [up] to Heaven and [down] to Hell.” The principle that the owner of a parcel of land also owns the air above and the ground below the parcel. /ˌæd ˈsiːləm/