The Law is Latin

There are quite a few legal terms that only make sense to lawyers. And as an attorney, there are plenty of terms that I still have to look up because I can’t remember what the obscure Latin phrase means.


So, to help you out, I have put some common legal terms and their definitions below:


·         Res Ipsa Locquitor-The thing speaks for itself. This is used in negligence cases where it can’t be proven who is at fault, but it is obvious from the circumstances. i.e. being hit by a barrel that fell from a barrel factory.


·         Collateral Estoppel-This doctrine prevents re-litigation of an issue that was previously decided. For example, if a judge in a previous case ruled that your contract was invalid, you would be collaterally estopped from suing for breach on the same contract.


·         Res Judicata-This doctrine prevents re-litigation of a case. When a case has already been litigated, it cannot be brought before the court again. Has to be the same parties and the same causes of action.


·         Caveat Emptor-Buyer Beware. This is the principle that the buyer alone is responsible for checking the quality and suitability of goods before a purchase is made.


·         Ab initio-From the start.


·         Bona fide-In good faith.


·         Per se-By itself.


·         Pro se-for himself, without an attorney.


·         Prima facie-on is face. For example, the plaintiff needs to make its prima facie case, or it will be dismissed. Thus, on its face it must look like the case is in the plaintiff’s favor.


·         Quantum Meruit-In contract law, a quasi-contractual remedy that permits partial reasonable payment for an incomplete piece of work (services and/or materials), assessed proportionately, where no price is established when the request is made. Also a civil remedy when there is no contract, but where money has been exchanged but the goods were not delivered.


I hope this helps and if you ever have any terms you need definitions for or a better understanding of, please do not hesitate to contact me.


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