A Study of Frequently Used (and some not so frequently) Legal Terms

Source: Black’s Law Dictionary, First through Eighth Editions

last updated on 04/02/2008


These are some choice words and phrases I found particularly interesting, so I transcribed them directly from various law dictionaries, with particular interest in those terms needed to understand sovereignty and the common law in today's courts.  Underlined words contain links to other words and terms within this page, and some links off site. (except that last one!)  Any personal notes from me will be in Red. Hey, better than marking up my own law dictionaries, don't you agree?  Enjoy!



Acquiescence.  A silent appearance of consent.  Failure to make any objections.  Submissions to an act of which one had knowledge.


Acquiescence, estoppel by.  Acquiescence is a species of estoppel. An estoppel arises where a party aware of his rights sees other party acting upon mistaken notion of his rights.  Injury accruing from one's acquiescence in another's action to his prejudice creates "estoppel".  Lebold v. Inland Steel Co., C.C.A.Ill., 125 F.2d 369, 375.  Passive conduct on the part of one who has knowledge of the facts may be the basis of estoppel.  Winslow v. Burns, 47 N.M. 29, 132 P.2d 1048, 1050.  It must appear that party to be estopped was bound in equity and good concience to speak and that party claiming estoppel relied upon acquiescence and was misled thereby to change his position to his prejudice.  Sherlock v. Greaves, 106 Mont. 206, 76 P.2d 87, 91.  See also estoppel.  If a party fails to object to a fact or set of facts, he has acquiesced to that fact or set of facts, and is estopped from addressing those facts in the future.


Action.  Term in its usual legal sense means a suit brought in a court; a formal complaint within the jurisdiction of a court of law.

        Common Law Actions are such as will lie, on the particular facts, at common law, without the aid of a statute.  (also called "Actions at Law")

        Statutory Actions are such as can only be based upon the particular statutes creating them.  Contrast Common law actions.

        Action in Equity.  Action in which person seeks equitable relief as distinguished from damages.

Affirmative Defense.  In pleading, matter constituting a defense; new matter which, assuming the complaint to be true, constitutes a defense to it.  Under the Fed. Rules of Civil Procedure, and also under most state Rules, all affirmative defenses must be raised in the responsive pleading (answer); such defenses include accord and satisfaction, assumption of risk, contributory negligence, duress, estoppel, etc.  See Fed.R. Civil P. 8(c).  Estoppel by Acquiescence is an affirmative defense.


Appearance.  A coming into court as a party to a suit, either in person or by attorney, whether as a plaintiff or defendant.  The formal proceeding by which a defendant submits himself to the jurisdiction of the court.  The voluntary submission to a court's jurisdiction.  An appearance may be either general or special; the former is a simple and unqualified or unrestricted submission to the jurisdiction to the court, the latter a submission to the jurisdiction for some specific purpose only, not for all the purposes of the suit.  A special appearance is for the purpose of testing the sufficiency of the service or the jurisdiction of the court;  a general appearance is made where the defendant waives defects of service and submits to the jurisdiction.  Insurance Co. of North America v. Kunin, 175 Neb. 260, 121 N.W.2d 372, 375, 376.  Appearance as a defendant is a voluntary submission to the jurisdiction.  Once it is made, without restriction, the defendant has tacitly agreed to the law of the case.


Assumpsit.  /as-ump-sit/ - Lat. He undertook; he promised; A common law form of action which lies for the recovery of damages for the non-performance of a parole or simple contract; or a contract that is neither of record or under seal.  A liberal and equitable action, applicable to almost every case where money has been received which in equity and good conscience ought to be refunded; express promise is not necessary to sustain action, but it may be maintained whenever anything is received or done from the circumstances of which the law implies a promise of compensation.  The action of assumpsit differs from trespass and trover, which are founded on a tort, not upon a contract; from covenant and debt, which are appropriate where the ground of recovery is a sealed instrument, or special obligation to pay a fixed sum; and from replevin, which seeks the recovery of specific property, if attainable, rather than of damages.


Assumptit for money had and receivedIs of equitable character and lies, in general, whenever defendant has received money which in equity and good conscience he ought to pay to the plaintiff.


Citizen.  “Citizens” are members of a political community who, in their associated capacity, have established or submitted themselves to the dominion of a government for the promotion of their general welfare and the protection of their individual as well as collective rights.  Herriott v. City of Seattle, 81 Wasg.2d 48, 500 P.2d 101.109  We The People created government.  Government created "Citizens."  For those who wish to govern themselves, as in a Republican government, "One of the People" is how you refer to yourself, not Citizen, and certainly not "Sovereign Citizen" which is an oxymoron.  That is like saying "I am a King but also a subject."


Civil Law.  The body of law which every particular nation, commonwealth, or city has established peculiarly for itself; more properly called “municipal” law, to distinguish it from the “law of nature, and from international law.  Civil Law is Citizen law.  Although some civil laws are helpful, most infringe on the rights of the citizens.


Common Law.  As distinguished from law created by the enactment of legislatures, the common law comprises the body of those principles and rules of action relating to the government and security of persons and property, which derive their authority solely from usages and customs of immemorial antiquity, or from the judgments and decrees of the courts recognizing, affirming, and enforcing such usages and customs; and in this sense, particularly the ancient unwritten law of England.  As a compound adjective “common-law” is understood as contrasted with or opposed to “statutory,” and sometimes also to “equitable or to “criminal.”  Common Law is the opposite of statutory, criminal, or equity law.  Most statutes do not regard the rights of a people.  This is why under statutory jurisdiction, you can go to jail for not wearing a seatbelt, even though you have not injured anyone.


Common Lawyer.  A Lawyer learned in the common law.  This term is now generally obsolete.


Common-law action.  Action governed by common law, rather than statutory, equitable, or civil law.  Nearly all courts in America, state AND FEDERAL, must hear common law actions, being courts of record.  Click Here to see my page on Courts of Record.


Competent.  Duly qualified; answering all requirements; having sufficient ability or authority; possessing the requisite natural or legal qualifications; able; adequate; suitable; sufficient; capable; legally fit.


Constitutional Court.  A court named or described and expressly protected by Constitution, or recognized by name or definite description in Constitution. (e.g. Supreme Court, as provided for in Art III, Sec. 1 of U.S. Const.) in contrast to legislatively created courts. Commonly referred to as "Article III" court in reference to U.S. Constitution.


Corpus Delicti.  (kor-pus-del-ik-ty) The body of a crime.  The body (material substance) upon which a crime has been committed, e.g., the corpse of a murdered man, the charred remains of a house burned down.  In a derivative sense, the objective proof or substantial fact that a crime has been committed.  The "corpus delicti" of a crime is the body, foundation, or substance of the crime, which ordinarily includes two elements: the act and the criminal agency of the act.  State v. Edwards, 49 Ohio St.2d 31, 358 N.E.2d 1051, 1055.


Counterclaim.  A counterclaim may be any cause of action in favor of one or more defendants or a person whom a defendant represents against one or more plaintiffs, a person whom a plaintiff represents or a plaintiff and other persona alleged to be liable.  A Counterclaim or original Declaration in response to an action brought against a Sovereign is the only remedy in which the Sovereign may control the law of the case, and challenge jurisdiction of an action brought against him.  You must convert yourself from a Defendant into a Plaintiff.  Nothing done under the common law will work if you are a defendant, because any papers filed as a defendant, whether it be a motion or pleading, are considered to be agreements with the law of the case as declared by the person who brought the first action against you.


Court.  The person and suit of the sovereign;  the place where the sovereign sojourns with his regal retinue, wherever that may be.

Surprise!!! The court is YOU AND YOUR CASE, as one of the people in a republic.  If you file a case as a Petitioner, or file any motion or pleading as a defendant, you are asking the court officer known as a "judge" to act as the court, giving him discretion to judge the law AND the facts, which should be YOUR JOB!


Court of Law.  A court proceeding according to the course of the common law and governed by it rules and principles, as contrasted with a "court of equity."


Court of Equity.  A court which has jurisdiction in equity, which administers justice and decides controversies in accordance with the rules, principles, and precedents of equity, and which follows the forms and procedure of chancery; as distinguished from a court having the jurisdiction, rules, principles, and practice of the common lawEquity courts have been abolished in all states that have adopted Rules of Civil Procedure.  The difference between a court of equity and a court of law is non-existent.  The court is the same.  It is the relief you demand which determines whether the court will be an equity court, or a court at law.  Relief in equity is typically one of specific performance or an injunction.  Relief in (common) law is typically damages for injury, or restoration of property.


Court of Record.  A "court of record" is a judicial tribunal having attributes and exercising functions independently of the person of the magistrate designated generally to hold it, and proceeding according to the course of common law, its acts and proceedings being enrolled for a perpetual memorial.  Jones v. Jones, 188 Mo.App. 220, 175 S.W. 227, 229; Ex parte Gladhill, 8 Metc. Mass., 171, per Shaw, C.J.  See, also, Ledwith v. Rosalsky, 244 N.Y. 406, 155 N.E. 688, 689.  Click Here for my page on Courts of Record.


Declaration.  In common law pleading, the first of the pleadings on the part of the plaintiff in an action at law, being a formal and methodical specification of the facts and circumstances constituting his cause or action.  It commonly comprises several sections of divisions, called “counts,” and its formal parts follow each other in this general order: Title, venue, commencement, cause of action, counts, and conclusion.  The declaration, at common law, answers to the “libel” in the ecclesiastical and admiralty law, the “bill” in equity, the “petition” in civil law, and “complaint” in code and rule pleading, and the “count” in real actions.  The term “complaint” is used in federal courts and in all states that have adopted Rules of Civil Procedure.

The Declaration describes generally how a Common Law Action is laid out on paper.


Defendant.  The person defending or denying; the party against whom relief or recovery is sought in an action or suit or the accused in a criminal case.


DemurrerAn allegation of a defendant, which, admitting the matters of fact alleged by complaint or bill (in an equity action) to be true, shows that as they are therein set forth they are insufficient for the plaintiff to proceed upon or to oblige the defendant to answer.  The Federal Rules equivalent to a general demurrer is a motion to dismiss "for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted."  Do not try to demur unless you agree to all of the facts, and dispute the law only.


Erie v. Tompkins.  The landmark case holding that in any action in the federal court, except as to matters governed by the U.S. Constitution and Acts of Congress, the law to be applied in any case is the law of the State in which the federal court is situated.  This case overruled Swift v. Tyson, which held that there was a body of federal general common law to be applied in such cases.


Estoppel. "Estoppel" means that party is prevented by his own acts from claiming a right to detriment of other party who was entitled to rely on such conduct and has acted accordingly. Graham v. Ashbury, 112 Ariz. 184, 540 P.2d 656, 658.  An estoppel arises when one is concluded and forbidden by law to speak against his own act or deed.  Gural v. Engle, 128 N.J.L. 252, 25 A.2d 257, 261.  An inconsistent position, attitude or course of conduct may not be adopted to loss or injury of another.  Brand v. Farmers Mut. Protective Ass'n of Texas, Tex.Civ. app., 95 S.W.2d 994, 997.  See Restatement, Agency, Second §8B.  Estoppel is a bar or impediment which precludes allegation or denial of a certain fact or state of facts, in consequence of previous allegation or denial or conduct or admission, or in consequence of a final adjudication of the matter in a court of law.  It operates to put party entitled to its benefits in same position as if "estoppel" where one of two innocent persons must suffer, he whose acts occasioned loss must bear it.  Buxbaum v. Assicurazioni Generali, 175 Misc. 785, 25 N.Y. S.2.d 357, 360; Sackenreuther v. Winston, Tex. Civ.App., 137 S.W.2d 93, 96.  Elements or essentials of estoppel include change of position of parties so that party against whom estoppel is invoked has received a profit or benefit or party invoking estoppel has changed his position to his detriment.


Estoppels at common law are sometimes said to be of three kinds: (1) by deed; (2) by matter of record; (3) by matter in pais.  The first two are also called legal estoppels, as distinguished from the last kind, known as equitable estoppels.  Under rules of practice in most states, and in the federal courts, estoppel is an affirmative defense which must be pleaded.  Fed.R.Civil P.8(c).


Estoppel in pais.  The doctrine by which a person may be precluded by his act or conduct, or silence when it is his duty to speak, from asserting a right which he otherwise would have had.  Mitchelll v. McIntee, 15 Or.App. 85, 514 P.2d 1357, 1359.  See also equitable estoppel.


Equity. Justice administered according to fairness as contrasted with the strictly formulated rules of common law.  It is based on a system of rules and principles which originated in England as an alternative to the harsh rules of common law and which were based on what was fair in a particular situation.  One sought relief under this system rather than in courts of law.  Equity is a body of jurisprudence, or field of jurisdiction, differing in its origin, theory, and methods from the common law; though procedurally, in the federal courts and most state courts, equitable and legal rights and remedies are administered in the same court.  So federal and state courts still have to hear actions under the common law rules.  A system of jurisprudence collateral to, and in some respects independent of "law"; the object of which is to render the administration of justice more complete, by affording relief where the courts of law are incompetent to give it, or to give it with effect, or by exercising certain branches of jurisdiction independently of them.  Equity is where the party demanding relief is demanding something that a court of law cannot do, such as compel specific performance of the parties, like forcing one to file a tax return.


Federal common law.  A body of decisional law developed by the federal courts.  The application of this body of common law is limited by the Erie doctrine and by the Rules of Decision Act, which provides that except for cases governed by the Constitution, the treaties of the United States, or acts of Congress, federal courts are to apply state law.  Areas in which federal common law have been developed include federal "proprietary" interests, admiralty and foreign relations.  Erie R. Co. v. Tompkins, 304 U.S. 64, 58 S.Ct. 817, 82 L.Ed. 1188 See also Erie v. Tompkins; Rules of Decision Act; Swift v. Tyson case.  Federal common law is not common law at all, but an attempt to impose statutory law upon the parties who want to proceed according to common law in a federal court.  "Proprietary" interests are those cases in which common law would prove injurious to the United States if there weren't statutes to protect them.


Federal Rules Act.  Act of 1934 granting U.S. Supreme Court power to adopt Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.  See 28 U.S.C.A. §§2071, 2072.  Additional powers to prescribe rules is provided for by 28 U.S.C.A.  § 2075 (Bankruptcy Rules), § 2072 (Evidence Rules) and 28 U.S.C.A. §§ 2071-2074 for other procedural rules for cases in U.S. district or courts of appeals.


Fraud Order.  A name given to orders issued by the postmaster general, for preventing the use of the mails as an agency for conducting schemes for obtaining money or property by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, etc.   The fraud order is issued to the postmaster of the office through which the person affected by it receives his mail.  It forbids the postmaster to pay any postal money order to the specified person, and instructs the postmaster to return all letters to the senders if practicable, or if not, to the dead letter office, stamped in either case with the word "fraudulent."  The method of testing the validity of the fraud order is to apply to the federal court for an injunction to restrain the postmaster from executing it.  The decision of the postmaster general is not the exercise of a judicial function; if he exceeds his jurisdiction, the party injured may have relief in equity.  Degee v. Hitchcock, 229 U.S. 162, 33 S.Ct. 639, 57 L.Ed. 1135.


Going to the country.  When a party, under the common law system of pleading, finished his pleading by the words "and of this he puts himself upon the country," this was called "going to the country."  It was the essential termination of a pleading which took issue upon a material fact in the preceding pleading.


Government: Republican government.  One in which the powers of sovereignty are vested in the people and are exercised by the people, either directly, or through representatives chosen by the people, to whom those powers are specifically delegated.  In re Duncan, 139 U.S. 449, 11 S.Ct. 573, 35 L.Ed. 219; Minor v. Happersett, 88 U.S. (21 Wall.) 162, 22 L.Ed. 627.  "Either directly, or through representatives..." means that as a sovereign, one of the people retains the power to make laws directly, subject only to his fellow sovereigns. (jury of his peers)


In rem.  A technical term used to designate proceedings or actions instituted against the thing, in contradistinction to personal actions, which are said to be in personam.  An "action in rem" is a proceeding that takes no cognizance of owner but determines right in specific property against all of the world, equally binding on everyone.  Flesch v. Circle City Excavating & Rental Corp., 137 Ind.App. 695, 210 N.E.2d 865, 868.  It is true that, in a strict sense, a proceeding in rem is one taken directly against property, without reference to the title of individual claimants; but, in a larger and more general sense, the terms are applied to actions between parties, where the direct object is to reach and dispose of property owned by them, or of some interest therein.  Such are cases commenced by attachment against the property of debtors, or instituted to partition real estate, foreclose a mortgage, or enforce a lien.


Interloper.  Persons who interfere or intermeddle into business to which they have no right.  Persons who enter a country or place to trade without license.  One who meddles in affairs which are none of his business and for which he has no responsibility; an intruder; an intermeddler.  Encroachment on rights of others.  All defendants in equity are considered to be interlopers by the court, and are treated with little or no respect by judges.  Click Here to see Maxims of Equity on Wikipedia, in particular "Equity will not suffer a wrong without a remedy."


Judge.  An officer so named in his commission, who presides in some court; a public officer, appointed to preside and administer the law in a court of justice.


Judge De Facto.  One who holds and exercises the office of a judge under color of lawful authority and by a title valid on its face, though he has not full right to the office, as where he was appointed under an unconstitutional statute, or by a usurper of the appointing power, or has not taken an oath of office.


Judicial Act.  An act which involves exercise of discretion or judgment.  It is also defined as an act by court or magistrate touching the rights of parties or property brought before it (the court) or him (the magistrate) by voluntary appearance, or by prior action of ministerial officers.  Rendition or pronouncement of a judgment is a judicial act, and entry thereof a ministerial act.  Peoples Electric Co-op. v. Broughton, 191 Okl. 229, 127 P.2d 850 853; But if there are matters requiring exercise of court's discretion, entry of decree is a judicial act.  Stewart v. Superior Court in and for Los Angeles County, 3 Cal.App.2d 702, 40 P.2d 529.


Law of the Case.  Instructions.  It has been held that instructions are the "law of the case" where appealing defendant accepted instructions as correct, Aetna Life Ins. Co. v. McAdoo, C.C.A.Ark., 115 F.2d 369, 370; where such were approved on former appeal and given at second trial, Whitehead v. Stith, 279 Ky. 556, 131 S.W.2d 455, 460; where instructions were not challenged in any manner or in any particular, New York Life Ins. Co. v. Stone, C.C.A.Mass., 80 F.2d 614, 616; Codd v. New York Underwriters Ins. Co., 19 Wash.2d 671, 144 P.2d 234, 237; where no objections or exceptions taken, Miller v. Mohr, 198 Wash. 619, 89 P.2d 807, 814; Chancellor v. Hines Motor Supply Co., 104 Mont. 603, 69 P.2d 764, 769.  The sovereign speaks the law into existence when he files his Declaration.  If there is a state or federal statute that is in agreement with your law, you can adopt it as your own.  If the defendant does not object to the law as decreed by the Plaintiff, then he agrees, and jurisdiction is established on the court record by both (a) his appearance, and (b) his failure to object.


Lex loci. /leks lowsay/. The law of the place.  This may be of several descriptions but, in general, lex loci is only used for lex loci contractus (q.v.).  The "lex loci" furnishes the standard of conduct, Russ v. Atlantic Coast Line R. Co., 220 N.C. 715, 18 S.E.2d 130, 131; it governs as to all matters going to the basis of the right of action itself, State of Maryland, for Use of Joynes, v. Coard, 175 Va. 571, 9 S.E.2d 454, 458.  The substantive rights of parties to action are governed by "lex loci" or law of the place where rights were acquired or liabilities incurred.


Lex loci contractus. /leks losay kontraktes/ Used sometimes to denote the law of the place where the contract was made, and at other times to denote the law by which the contract is to be governed. (i.e. place of its performance), which may or may not be the same as that of the place where it was made.  The earlier cases do not regard this distinction.  Pritchard v. Norton, 106 U.S. 124, 1 S.Ct. 102, 27 L.Ed. 104; Hayward v. LeBaron, 4Fla. 404; Scudder v. Bank, 91 U.S. 406, 23 L.Ed. 245.


Magistratus. Lat.  In the civil law, a magistrate.  A judicial officer who had the power of hearing and determining causes, but whose office properly was to inquire into matters of law, as distinguished from fact.  See Trier of Fact.   All judges are magistrates.  Not all magistrates are judges though, since a magistrate is a title which encompasses many public offices.


Ministerial Act. One which a person or board performs in a given state of facts in a prescribed manner in obedience to the mandate of legal authority without regard to or the exercise of his or their own judgment upon the propriety of the act being done.  State Tax Commission of Utah v. Katsis, 90 Utah 406, 62 P.2d 120, 123; Gibson v. Winterset Sommunity School Dist., 258 Iowa 440, 138 N.W.2d 112, 115.


Motion.  An application made to a court or judge for purpose of obtaining a rule or order directing some act to be done in favor of the applicant.  State v. James, Mo., 347 S.W.2d 211, 216.  It is usually made within the framework of an existing action or proceeding and is ordinarily made on notice, but some motions may be made without notice.  One without notice is called an Ex Parte notice.  A motion is a request, either oral, or written, for the judge to do some act for the requester.  However, a court can issue its own orders "Sua Sponte" or, "on its own motion," as well.  Don't forget who the court really is.


Notary Public.  A public officer whose function it is to administer oaths; to attest and certify, by his hand and official seal, certain classes of documents, in order to give them credit and authenticity in foreign jurisdictions; to take acknowledgements of deeds and other conveyances, and certify the same; and to perform certain official acts, chiefly in commercial matters, such as the protesting of notes and bills, the noting of foreign drafts, and marine protests in cases of loss or damage.  One who is authorized by the state or federal government to administer oaths, and to attest to the authenticity of signatures.  Notaries can act as witness between two parties having a dispute as to a particular fact or set of facts, and can record the default of the party who refuses to object to a given set of facts.  This is one way legal estoppel can be established.


Natural Law.  This expression, "natural law," or jus naturale, was largely used in the philosophical speculations of the Roman jurists of the Antoine age, and was intended to denote a system of rules and principles for the guidance of human conduct which, independently of enacted law or the systems peculiar to any one people, might be discovered the rational intelligence of man, and would be found to grow out of and conform to his nature, meaning by that word his whole mental, moral and physical constitution.  The point of departure for this conception was the Stoic doctrine of a life ordered "according to nature," which in its turn rested upon the purely supposititious existence, in primitive terms, of a "state of nature;" that is, a condition of society in which men universally were governed solely by a rational and consistent obedience to the needs, impulses, and promptings of their true nature, such nature being as yet un-defaced by dishonesty, falsehood, or indulgence of the baser passions.  In ethics, it consists in practical universal judgments which man himself elicits.  These express necessary and obligatory rules of human conduct which have been established by the author of human nature as essential to the divine purposes in the universe and have been promulgated by God solely through human reason.


Order.  Direction of a court or judge made or entered in writing, and not included in a judgment.  An application for an order is a motion.  See Show Cause Order.


Person.  In general usage, a human being (i.e. natural person), though by statute, term may include labor organizations, partnerships, associations, corporations, legal representatives, trustees in bankruptcy, or receivers.  Scope and delineation of term is necessary for determining those to whom Fourteenth Amendment of Constitution affords protection since this Amendment expressly applies to "person." A corporation is a "person" within the meaning of Fourteenth Amendment equal protection and due process provisions of United States Constitution.  The term "persons" in statute relating to conspiracy to commit offense against United States, or to defraud United States, or any agency, includes corporation.  Still think you are a person?  Might as well call yourself "One of the people," just to avoid confusion.


Petitioner.  One who brings a petition to a court, officer, or legislative body.  In legal proceedings begun by petition, the person against whom action or relief is prayed, or who opposes the prayer of the petition, is called the "respondent."  The one who starts an equity proceeding or the one who takes an appeal from judgment.  Petitioners ask permission from judges to judge their cases.


Plaintiff. A person who brings an action; A person who seeks remedial relief for an injury to rights; it designates a complainant.


Plea. The first pleading on the part of the defendant.  In the strictest sense, the answer which the defendant in an action at law made to the plaintiff's declaration, and in which he set up matter of fact as defense, thus distinguished from a demurrer, which interposed objection on grounds of law.  This term is vital to understanding the common law, because a plea is considered an acceptance of the law of the case as declared by the Plaintiff.  Once you agree to the law of the case, you may only defeat your opponent by the facts.  In traffic cases, there is the arraignment process, wherein the accused is asked "How do you plea?"  You have 3 choices: guilty, not guilty, or no contest.  All three choices are traps, because all three agree with the law of the case.  Plea = Pleading = Submission to the Law of the Case.


Preside.  To occupy the place of authority as of president, chairman, moderator, etc.   To direct, control or regulate proceedings as chief officer, moderator, etc.  To possess or exercise authority.  To preside over a court is to "hold it",- to direct, control, and govern it as the chief officer.  A judge may "preside" whether sitting as a sole judge or as one of several judgesPreside does not necessarily mean to "judge" anything brought before a court of record.  Preside means to govern the courtroom process and procedure.


Puberty.  The earliest age at which persona are capable of begetting or bearing children.  In the civil and common law, the age at which one became capable of contracting marriage.  It was in boys fourteen, and in girls twelve years. Most state statutes try to make themselves an injured party when marriage takes place at this age.  It is called statutory rape.  This is where statutes attempt to interfere with individual rights.  Not that I condone marriage at this age, but you get the idea.


Saving to suitors clause.  That provision in 28 U.S.C.A. 1333(1) which gives the U.S. District Courts original jurisdiction, "exclusive of the courts of the state" of any civil case of admiralty or maritime jurisdiction, "saving to suitors in all cases all other remedies to which they are otherwise entitled."  The "saving to suitors" clause of the section of the Judiciary Act implementing constitutional provision extending federal judicial powers to cases of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction means that a suitor asserting an in personam admiralty claim may elect to sue in a "common law" state court through an ordinary civil action, and in such actions, the state courts must apply the same substantive law as would be applied had the suit been instituted in admiralty in a federal court.  Shannon v. City of Anchorage, Alaska, 478 P.2d 815, 818.


Show Cause Order.  An order decree, execution, etc., to appear as directed, and present to the court such reasons and considerations as one has to offer why a particular order, decree, etc., should not be confirmed, take effect, be executed, or as the case may be.


Statutory.  That which is introduced or governed by statutory law, as opposed to the common law or equity.  Thus a court is said to have statutory jurisdiction when jurisdiction is given to it in certain matters by act of the legislature.  There you have it.  Statutes are made in opposition of the law.  Statutes are not law.  Statutes represent the will of the legislatures.


Statutory Law.  That body of law created by acts of the legislature in contrast to constitutional law and law generated by decisions of courts and administrative bodies.

"In contrast to," means "as opposed to" or "distinguished from."  Statutes are made to oppose the law.  Let's say you don't wear your seatbelt.  A statute can say that legal fictions, such as the State, are injured by you not wearing your seatbelt, and require that you give money to the State, for injuring it.  See how Statutes work?  Don't you wish we had more and more of them now?


Substantive rights.  A right to the equal enjoyment of fundamental rights, privileges and immunities; distinguished from procedural right.


Sui Juris. /su-way-jur-es/ - Latin, meaning "Of his own right"; possessing full social and civil rights; not under any legal disability, or the power of another, or guardianship.  Having the capacity to manage one's own affairs; not under any legal disability to act for one's self.  This term, in my opinion, is thrown around a lot, mostly by those who are not Sui Juris.


Suit.  A generic term, of comprehensive signification, referring to any proceeding by one person or persons against another person or persons in a court of justice in which the plaintiff pursues, in such court, the remedy which the law affords him for the redress of an injury.

Suits or proceedings at law or in chancery:  Suits instituted or carried or in substantial conformity with the forms and modes prescribed by the common law or by the rules in chancery excluding cases instituted and carried on solely in accordance with statutory provisions.

Suitor. A party to a suit or action in court; a litigant.


Trespass.  An unlawful interference with one's person, property, or rights.  At common law, trespass was a form of action brought to recover damages for any injury to one's person or property or relationship with another.


        Trespass on the case.  The form of action, at common law, adapted to the recovery of damages for some injury resulting to a party from the wrongful act of another, unaccompanied by direct or immediate force, or which is the indirect or secondary consequence of defendant's act.  Commonly called, by abbreviation, "Case."


Tribunal. - The seat of a judge;  The place where he administers justice.  The whole body of judges who compose a jurisdiction; a judicial court; the jurisdiction which the judges exercise.


Trier of Fact.  Term includes (a) the jury and (b) the court when the court is trying an issue of fact other than one relating to the admissibility of evidence.


Trover.  In common-law practice, the action of trover (or trover and conversion) is a species of action on the case, and originally lay for the recovery of damages against a person who had found another's goods and wrongfully converted them to his own use.  Subsequently the allegation of the loss of the goods by the plaintiff and the finding of them by the defendant was merely fictitious, and the action became the remedy for any wrongful interference with or detention of the goods of another.  In form a fiction; in substance, a remedy to recover the value of goods or chattels wrongfully converted by another for his own use.  Common-law form of action to recover value of goods or chattels by reason of an alleged unlawful interference with possessory right of another, by assertion or exercise of possession of the chattels, which is adverse and hostile to rightful possessor.  Such remedy lies only for wrongful appropriation of goods, chattels, or personal property which is specific enough to be identified.