10 Common Legal Terms Every Paralegal Needs to Know

Law is a confusing and intimidating language for a layman. To understand and comprehend the language is a whole new difficulty. Lawyers and law firms do not consider this and employ legal words on a whim on a layman. Lawyers use these words easily because they learn them over their years in law school and practice it in their regular professional lives. These legal terms is legalese. When you approach a transcription company, legal transcribers also use these words and prepare your transcript. While they are absolutely aware of what they are doing, you might be clouded on this subject matter. Without any more ado, let us explain a few important terms that can help you connect with your lawyers or legal transcribers without feeling overwhelmed.

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Actus reus 

This translates to guilty act in Latin and refers to any action that constitutes a crime. For example, the act of taking away your friend’s property illegally can be an actus reus of theft.

Eminent domain 

This is when the government takes acquisition of private property and uses for public convenience. This happens mostly when there are Government plants or buildings coming up in a certain place. The authorities compensate the  owner of private building with a sum of money before taking over the private place. This is also called as compulsory acquisition or compulsory purchase.

Habeas corpus 

This word is translated to Latin and means ‘you shall have the body’. In legal terms, this is obviously not the literal translation. Habeas corpus is a court order where public authorities are ordered to bring a detained person to the court on the hearing day. This is to decide the legality of that person’s detention. This can mostly happen in cases where children are not shown to either of the parents and might have to be present in the court for a certain validation. It prevents all the public authorities from detaining kids or individuals without a valid reason.

Injunction 

Injunction refers to any person who is ordered by the court either to do something by compulsion or refrain from doing something.  This is a serious term where the judge would ask a person to comply with his rules, failing which he can be imprisoned or be subjected to fines and penalties. Injunction is mostly done for criminals to follow a particular rule.

Litigation 

This is the most common word we hear from lawyers or legal transcribers. Litigation is a process where a case is bought and argued in the court. This is also compared to an alternative term called dispute resolution or mediation where the problem in hand can be solved without any serious legal proceedings.

Precedent 

Preceding case or precedent is where a similar previous case regulates legal questions or facts in the present case. This will help in solving the case. Certain types of precedents are binding, which means that not only does the precedent help in deciding the case, the court must apply and follow the precedent set.

Acquit

This is when a person is being found of not doing any mistakes. Basically, not being guilty or charged of any malpractice. This is usually used by the jury or judge and determines that there was not enough evidence to convict beyond a reasonable doubt.

Locus standi 

It translates to the ‘place of standing’ in Latin. It mainly refers to the right or capacity of bringing a particular action in front of the judge or the court. If a person does not have a locus standi, the court will easily neglect the seriousness of the person and not begin to consider the substance that the person can bring to this case. 

Pleadings 

Another easy and well-known common word is pleadings. This is a written statement that is submitted by all the parties in the case to the court stating facts, happenings and the truth. Pleading helps with you case and supports your events in a written format.  The most common types of pleadings are the statement of claim, defence, reply and counterclaim.

Lasting power of attorney 

This is an important word that not many might be aware of. A legal document that lets someone who is over 21 years old to appoint more than one person to make his/her decisions and act on behalf of that concerned person in an event where the person might not be in the mental capacity to do so.

Legal Transcription companies in the USA are well learned about these legal terminologies and provide a variety of services relating to these. Scripts Complete is a hands-on service that helps you in finding the best legal audio transcription services and legal document transcription services. We provide a 24-hour turnaround time on all your legal documents. All our legal transcription services follow confidentiality and security.

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