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Questions tagged [legal-terms]

Use this when questioning the meaning of legal terms.

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99 votes
6 answers
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Why do many "No Trespassing" signs say "POSTED"?

Many "no trespassing" signs say "POSTED" in large letters at the top. Why? Obviously, the sign is posted; that's the whole purpose of a sign. To me, it makes as much sense as ...
Someone's user avatar
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45 votes
13 answers
10k views

Is "legalese" a thing in languages other than English?

The idea of legalese needs little introduction. An archaic professional jargon that has developed in the English-speaking world over hundreds of years, it has been largely preserved and sustained by ...
Robert Columbia's user avatar
30 votes
7 answers
8k views

Does "statistically significant" have a specific legal meaning?

I occasionally write expert opinions as a statistician or econometrician for legal cases in the United States. On a few different cases, I have been hired to determine whether a given sample should be ...
NickCHK's user avatar
  • 403
23 votes
4 answers
4k views

Is a sign that only says "POSTED", nothing else, sufficient to be understood as "No Trespassing"?

In 2014 I hiked in the Adirondack Mountains, New York, United States of America. The trail passed a sign that had a single word on it: "POSTED". There was no other text on the sign either ...
gerrit's user avatar
  • 1,386
21 votes
3 answers
7k views

Pretending to be from the "Freedom to Breathe Agency": impersonating an officer?

There's a woman going around claiming to be from the federal "Freedom to Breathe Agency", telling store workers that they can personally be sued for telling customers that they need to wear ...
Matthew Cline's user avatar
19 votes
1 answer
3k views

What is the significance of “moral turpitude”?

Ellis, Chesebro and Powell have all asked the court to state their crimes were not ones of “moral turpitude”. What is the significance of that expression and why is it so important to them?
Simd's user avatar
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19 votes
3 answers
77k views

If an adult is raped by a minor, is it statutory rape?

Say an adult is raped by a minor, and does not give legally applicable consent regardless of knowledge of age of the minor. Do statutory rape charges against the adult still apply?
TheEnvironmentalist's user avatar
17 votes
5 answers
6k views

Is the term "evil" defined in law?

An infamous clause found occasionally in software licenses is: The Software shall be used for Good, not Evil. This clause has been discussed in many places, including Software Engineering Stack ...
Robert Columbia's user avatar
17 votes
3 answers
7k views

Why are there so many YouTube to MP4 and MP3 download websites online when it is illegal?

If it is illegal to download videos and audios from YouTube due to copyright reasons, why are there so many YouTube to MP4 and MP3 download websites online? For example, https://freevideotomp3.com/, ...
PedroD's user avatar
  • 321
16 votes
4 answers
8k views

Is it illegal to ask someone to commit a misdemeanor? What is this called?

In my Googling, I learned that (at least in most of the U.S.) a defendant cannot be an accessory to a misdemeanor. What about someone just nagging and insisting on it?
Frungi's user avatar
  • 301
16 votes
6 answers
9k views

What does it mean to "pirate" a game, app, or other digital resource?

I've heard the term "pirate" many times before, but I have never really understood it. How do people do it and why?
Sphinx the riddle master's user avatar
15 votes
5 answers
11k views

Is "Innocent until proven guilty" merely a cliche used in legal dramas?

A comment on this site says: Who says "Innocent until proven guilty"? That's a lame cliche for legal dramas. Is this true? Or is the phrase "Innocent until proven guilty" found ...
Jen's user avatar
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15 votes
5 answers
6k views

Is it considered a breach of confidentiality if data is uploaded to a website which only makes that data available to the uploader?

I'm a developer working at a company that handles sensitive banking information and recently, I've had troubles organising my code and thus posted it in a private repository on Github, which only I ...
ratouney's user avatar
  • 153
15 votes
8 answers
6k views

Is there a common name for lawyers and judges?

Lawyers and Judges, for as different as their roles may be, still work in the same system, and share many skills, even if their jobs involve vary different application of said skills. Thus, I'm ...
Tirous's user avatar
  • 489
14 votes
1 answer
2k views

What does a default judgement mean in the Alex Jones case

NPR ran a story about the judgment against Alex Jones by parents of Sandy Hook victims. Below is an excerpt (emphasis mine) Judge Maya Guerra Gamble in Austin, home of Infowars, entered default ...
sevensevens's user avatar
  • 1,525
14 votes
1 answer
3k views

What does "circumstantial evidence" mean in criminal procedure?

What does the term "circumstantial" or "circumstantial evidence" mean in a legal context, particularly in regard to criminal law? How is it different from other kinds of evidence. ...
David Siegel's user avatar
14 votes
2 answers
4k views

What does the long underscore in United States case citations stand for?

United States court cases are commonly cited like this: Obergefell v. Hodges, 576 U.S. ___ (2015) So... what is "___" here?
user556's user avatar
  • 141
13 votes
5 answers
2k views

Is "legalese" necessary?

I've noticed large corporations use language in their legal documents that sounds very different than how a normal person would speak. Is there a point to using legalese or is old fashioned plain ...
AlexP's user avatar
  • 665
13 votes
2 answers
1k views

What is it called when a country's laws apply to its citizens outside the country?

Suppose that a European country X (e.g. Germany) has a law against adults sleeping with people under the age of 16. Such a law, in this instance, would apply to anyone in German territory. But ...
Libra's user avatar
  • 6,498
13 votes
2 answers
3k views

What's the legal term for a law or a set of laws which are realistically impossible to follow in practice?

As an example, at one point during New York's COVID vaccination campaign Governor Cuomo issued the following rules: If you vaccinate someone who is not eligible, you're getting a huge fine If you don'...
JonathanReez's user avatar
  • 4,565
13 votes
1 answer
5k views

What do the different abbreviations after lawyer names mean?

There are numerous. I'm looking for anyone that could list them and answer what all mean and what they entail. For example, ESQ, P.A., PLLC, etc.
LeanMan's user avatar
  • 319
12 votes
4 answers
13k views

What exactly is a "title of nobility" under the US Constitution?

Article 1, sections 9 & 10 of the US constitution prohibit granting titles of nobility by the federal government or the states. What exactly is a title of nobility for these purposes? Why is (say) ...
Jason Baker's user avatar
11 votes
4 answers
8k views

Equivalent of "illegal" for violating civil law

If "illegal" is typically used for criminal law, what adjective or adjectives are generally used for breaking civil law?
Brett Zamir's user avatar
11 votes
3 answers
3k views

What is a municipal court?

I am studying for a Master's in Legal Translation. (I am French) I need to understand what a "municipal court" is. Is it like our "Tribunal de Police" for speeding on the road, ...
MLD Traduction's user avatar
11 votes
2 answers
3k views

What is the nature and purpose of the UK highway code?

What type of instrument is a "code"? There seems to be an underlying statute, the Road Traffic Act, that it implements but what is the purpose of having a separate code?
JosephCorrectEnglishPronouns's user avatar
11 votes
2 answers
307 views

How basic were Senator Kennedy's questions to Matthew Spencer Petersen?

The recent hearing of the candidates for district court judge sparked some media attention as President Trump's candidate, Matthew Spencer Petersen, could not answer (video here) some law-specific ...
pat3d3r's user avatar
  • 213
10 votes
4 answers
4k views

How does Australia split its legal profession?

I just got an interesting edit suggestion to my recent question by someone who just registered (perhaps for the purpose of this edit suggestion). It proposes that "lawyer" is replaced with &...
Greendrake's user avatar
  • 27.6k
10 votes
2 answers
5k views

Can a computer program agree to Terms of Service?

Most service providers have Terms of Service that people or entities need to agree to before legally using their services. On another question I had, arguments were made that you needed to be a person ...
Digital fire's user avatar
  • 5,489
10 votes
2 answers
4k views

What is the definition of a troll in the legal context?

Most commonly one hears the term in the context of the phrase "copyright troll," but what is the essence of a legal "troll"?
JosephCorrectEnglishPronouns's user avatar
10 votes
3 answers
3k views

How to interpret or parse this confusing 'NOT' and 'AND' legal clause

In the following legal clause: They shall not confer the right to attend any meeting of members and to exercise one vote for every share held. Does the NOT negates both ANDs as in: They shall ...
Anthony's user avatar
  • 629
10 votes
1 answer
4k views

Why is a lawsuit a "suit"?

Where does the term "law suit" for a legal case come from? It seems to perhaps only be used to refer to civil cases, however. Also, is it a purely American (USA) term or does it also find ...
TylerDurden's user avatar
10 votes
1 answer
857 views

What is the "preamble" to a ballot measure called?

Oregon ballot measures have this basic format (this particular one is an initiative for a constitutional amendment, but referendums [referenda?] are similar, as are measures for regular legislation): ...
Someone's user avatar
  • 17k
10 votes
1 answer
2k views

Meaning of 'Gift of Residue' section of a will

This section is in a family member's will: Gift of Residue I give my Residuary Estate to the said [Full Name] absolutely and if [Name] shall fail to obtain a vested interest leaving issue who survive ...
Elliveny's user avatar
  • 203
10 votes
3 answers
2k views

What is stare decisis?

I know in general that stare decisis effectively means that once a court rules on a law that other courts can use that decision when considering their cases. But why is that the case, how is it ...
Chad's user avatar
  • 528
9 votes
2 answers
5k views

Which security is the social security number about?

Everywhere online this seems to be a given, no source even attempts to explain it: If the social security number is about identifying an individual/citizen/taxpayer, why is it not called social ...
csstudent1418's user avatar
9 votes
3 answers
3k views

Are laws written logically and rigorously?

Are laws written logically and rigorously in law books? For example, do texts of laws specifically use "if and only if" instead of the more frequently used but less logically correct "...
user107952's user avatar
9 votes
6 answers
2k views

Legal/jurisprudential term to refer to any evidence that can be interpreted either way

Some time back, I had read a specific phrase used to refer to situations where some "evidence" can be interpreted either way. For example: Person A dies in a hospital and a syringe is found ...
info_seekeR's user avatar
9 votes
2 answers
3k views

What do people mean when they say "This Court"?

When reading some old court transcripts, I find that some of the lawyers argue, "This court has found in the past..." What exactly do they mean by "this court"? Are they referring ...
AlanSTACK's user avatar
  • 2,060
9 votes
2 answers
1k views

What are "equity" and "equitable remedies"?

What is equity and/or an equitable remedy? How does it relate to the common law?
Jen's user avatar
  • 59.4k
9 votes
1 answer
5k views

What is the origin and history of the term "grand theft auto"?

This comes from an English Language Lerner's Stack Exchange question, the current answers to which are lacking in historical/legal analysis of the term. What is the origin of the legal phrase "grand ...
R.M.'s user avatar
  • 360
8 votes
2 answers
914 views

What was the significance of the word "ordinary" in "lords of appeal in ordinary"?

The law lords of the House of Lords were formally known as the lords of appeal "in ordinary". Most of that phrase other than the final bit is self explanatory but the use of the word "...
John Jacob Jingle's user avatar
8 votes
1 answer
1k views

Difference between "dismissed with prejudice" vs. "res judicata"?

What are the differences and similarities between the two? How are they used in the USA? Thanks.
HelloDarkWorld's user avatar
8 votes
1 answer
1k views

Extradition without treaties?

I came across some new reports about Japanese scammers being extradited from Thailand. But my research seems to suggest that no extradition treaties exist between the two countries as of now. From ...
Eddie Kal's user avatar
  • 411
8 votes
1 answer
2k views

How is an animal defined as in rule 286 of the UK highway code?

This came up in the comments thread of this question so it was suggested to ask it. Is a fly an animal? Perhaps it must be one that is kept and thus keepable as chattel?
JosephCorrectEnglishPronouns's user avatar
7 votes
2 answers
3k views

Copyright in copyleft licence?

Is the copyright mentioned in GPL v3 used just for the sake of defining the word? (It's not copyrighted, but the word encompasses the same actions that would violate the copyright if it was ...
Martin's user avatar
  • 79
7 votes
3 answers
1k views

Looking for a law textbook that defines legal terms

Are there law textbooks that define legal terms? I would be very interested in such a book. I am a mathematician who likes terms to be defined precisely. I am sure in law classes, legal terms are ...
user107952's user avatar
7 votes
3 answers
3k views

How is “R v. Smith” pronounced?

Is it “Are and smith”? “Rex/Regina and smith”? “The king/queen and smith”? What is the typical convention?
TylerDurden's user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
5k views

Law case title convention: Why sometimes not "Plaintiff v. Defendant"?

Quoted from this page: Plaintiff v Defendant - the "v" is pronounced "and" in civil cases and "against" in criminal cases However, I've seen a few cases not following this rule. For example, Bell ...
xuhdev's user avatar
  • 1,140
7 votes
2 answers
1k views

Does the term “significant value” in general have an amount associated with it?

In relation to estate handling, the Petition for Letters of Administration form I’m filling out seems really vague about “other assets of significant value”. Some things make sense like boats, cars, ...
Sam Washburn's user avatar
7 votes
3 answers
322 views

Will Stack Exchange EU terms still apply to Britain now that BREXIT has finished?

Background Information Britain has recently finished BREXIT (after years of painstaking decision making about pretty much nothing) and I was wondering whether Stack Exchange's EU specific terms still ...
Daemon Beast's user avatar

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