Common Legal Terminology

Acquittal -
A jury verdict that a criminal defendant is not guilty, or the finding of a judge that the evidence is insufficient to support a conviction.
Active Judge -
A judge in the full-time service of the court. Compare to senior judge.
Administrative Office of the United States Courts (AO) -
The federal agency responsible for collecting court statistics, administering the federal courts’ budget, and performing many other administrative and programmatic functions, under the direction and supervision of the Judicial Conference of the United States.
Admissible -
A term used to describe evidence that may be considered by a jury or judge in civil and criminal cases.
Adversary Proceeding -
A lawsuit arising in or related to a bankruptcy case that begins by filing a complaint with the court, that is, a “trial” that takes place within the context of a bankruptcy case.
Affidavit -
A written or printed statement made under oath.
Affirmed -
In the practice of the court of appeals, it means that the court of appeals has concluded that the lower court decision is correct and will stand as rendered by the lower court.
Alternate Juror -
A juror selected in the same manner as a regular juror who hears all the evidence but does not help decide the case unless called on to replace a regular juror.
Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) -
A procedure for settling a dispute outside the courtroom. Most forms of ADR are not binding, and involve referral of the case to a neutral party such as an arbitrator or mediator.
Amicus Curiae -
Latin for “friend of the court.” It is advice formally offered to the court in a brief filed by an entity interested in, but not a party to, the case.
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All terms and definitions on this page are from (April 13, 2020)