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How often have we read legal terms and wondered what they meant? Well, fear no more, here is a list of legal terms and a layman?s explanation of their meaning.
Ab initio: from the beginning
Actus reus: the guilty act, a factor that is needed for criminal liability
Ad valorem: according to value, example, tax which is ad valorem
Adjournment sine die: adjourned without a date set
Amicus curiae: a friend of the court, a person who is not party or professional witness to the case, that assists the court with information
Bona fide: in good faith
Caveat emptor: let the buyer beware
Ex facie: on the face of it
Ex parte: by one party, means a case that is heard or a decision given without the presence of the other party
In camera: a hearing or proceeding that is conducted in private without the presence of the public
In futuro: in the future
Inter alia: amongst others
Locus standi: the right to appear and be heard by the court
Mala fide: bad faith
Mandamus: an order by the court ordering related officials to perform some administrative duty
Mens rea: guilty mind, one of the requirements for a crime to be committed
Quantum meruit: meaning "what one has earned". In the context of contract law, it means something along the lines of "reasonable value of services rendered"
Ratio decidendi: reason for the decision, the reason as to why the court decided
Res judicata: a matter that has been finally decided by the court and cannot be adjudicated again
Stare decisis: judicial precedent, where courts are generally bound by the prior decision of other courts
Sub judice: under judicial consideration by the court and therefore prohibited from public discussion elsewhere
Okay ? now that you are armed with a decent vocabulary of Latin legal terms. Go out and impress!
If not, just confuse ... that works too.