Common Legal Terminology

Answer -

The formal written statement by a defendant in a civil case that responds to a complaint, articulating the grounds for defense.

Appeal -

A request made after a trial by a party that has lost on one or more issues that a higher court review the decision to determine if it was correct. To make such a request is “to appeal” or “to take an appeal.” One who appeals is called the “appellant;” the other party is the “appellee.”

Appellant -

The party who appeals a district court’s decision, usually seeking reversal of that decision.

Appellate -

About appeals; an appellate court has the power to review the judgment of a lower court (trial court) or tribunal. For example, the U.S. circuit courts of appeals review the decisions of the U.S. district courts.

Appellee -

The party who opposes an appellant’s appeal, and who seeks to persuade the appeals court to affirm the district court’s decision.

Arraignment -

A proceeding in which a criminal defendant is brought into court, told of the charges in an indictment or information, and asked to plead guilty or not guilty.

Article III Judge -

A federal judge who is appointed for life, during “good behavior,” under Article III of the Constitution. Article III judges are nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate.

Assets -

Property of all kinds, including real and personal, tangible and intangible.

Assume -

An agreement to continue performing duties under a contract or lease.

Automatic Stay -

An injunction that automatically stops lawsuits, foreclosures, garnishments, and most collection activities against the debtor the moment a bankruptcy petition is filed.

All terms and definitions on this page are from uscourts.gov/glossary (April 13, 2020)