Glossary of Legal Terms L
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LEASE: a lease can have a number of meanings. Sometimes it is the agreement entered into between the owner of a land, building, or part of a building (the landlord) and the person who wishes to rent it from him (the tenant) and which sets out the terms of the occupation- rent, rights, extent of the property, etc. Also, it can be the name given to the actual document entered into between a landlord and tenant. Alternatively, a lease can be an agreement by one person for the hire of goods or machinery from another person in return for the payment of a hire charge.
LEGACY: a legacy is a gift in a will of money or personal property.
LEGAL AID: where a person is unable to bear the costs of a legal action, whether or not commenced by them, then they may be eligible to have all or part of their costs paid for by the government or by legal services program in the community.
LETTER BEFORE ACTION: a letter before action is a letter sent to someone informing them that unless they take certain steps (e.g. repay a debt, vacate land, cease a particular activity or return property) then legal proceedings will be commenced against them.
LIBEL: a libel is a written defamation (see earlier).
LICENSE: a license is a right granted to a person or company to exercise rights over or in connection with something owned by another. Thus, for example, a license could be granted to enter land, to use a trademark, to carry out a mechanical or chemical process or simply to use goods owned by another. The key feature of a license is that it is a right, usually limited by time to use something which continues to be owned by someone else, rather than the transfer to a person of the thing or the full rights to it.
LIEN: a lien is the right to retain possession (but not ownership) of something until something else, such as a payment for work, carried out to the thing as been made. For example, if you took your watch to be repaired, the jeweler would have a lien over that watch until such time as you had paid the bill for the repair.
LIFE INTEREST: a life interest is, as the name implies, an interest which a person has in something for the duration of their life. An example would be if you lived in a property with someone, that person might on their death, grant you a life interest in the property; that is to say you would be entitled to remain there for your life but could not sell the property nor leave it in your will to a third party.
LIMITED DIVORCE: establishes certain legal responsibilities while the parties are separated but does not end the marriage. See Annotated Code of Maryland, Family Law Article, Section 7-102.
LITIGATION: litigation is the process in which a person or company becomes involved when they go to court.