Glossary of Legal Terms R
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q S T U V W
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RATIO DECIDENDI (RAY she oh DES ih DEN dye): principle or rule of law on which a court decision is based.
REAL EVIDENCE: physical evidence that plays a direct part in incident in question, as opposed to oral testimony.
REAL PROPERTY: land, anything growing on the land, and anything erected on or attached to the land.
REASONABLE DOUBT: state of mind which jurors cannot say they feel confident that an individual is guilty of crime charged.
REASONABLE PERSON: hypothetical person who sensibly exercises qualities of attention, knowledge, intelligence, and judgment. Used as legal standard to determine negligence.
REBUTTAL: evidence which disproves evidence introduced by the other party.
RECEIVER: a receiver is the person appointed by the court or a creditor to administer the financial and business affairs of a debtor, typically one who is bankrupt or insolvent.
RECIDIVISM (reh SID ih vizm): relapse into former type of behavior, as when an individual relapses into criminal behavior. A habitual criminal is a recidivist.
RECONCILIATION: married people getting back together.
RECORD: official documents, evidence, transcripts, etc., of proceedings in a case.
RECUSAL: process by which a judge excuses him/herself from hearing a case.
RECUSATION: plea by which defendant requests judge hearing his/her trial excuse him/herself from case.
RE-DIRECT EXAMINATION: opportunity to question witnesses after cross-examination regarding issues brought up during the cross-examination. Compare rehabilitation.
REDRESS: to set right; to remedy; to compensate.
REFEREE: person appointed by a court to assist with certain proceedings, such as taking testimony.
REFERRAL: process by which a juvenile case is introduced to court, agency, or program where needed services can be obtained.
REHABILITATION: reexamining a witness whose credibility has suffered during cross-examination to restore that witness' credibility. Compare re-direct examination.
REHEARING: another hearing of case by same court in which suit was originally heard.
REJOINDER: defendant's answer to the plaintiff's reply.
RELEVANT EVIDENCE: evidence that tends to prove or disprove a matter at issue.
REMAND: to send a case back to court where originally heard for further action. Also, to send an individual back into custody after a preliminary examination.
REMEDY: means by which right or privilege is enforced or violation of right or privilege is prevented, redressed, or compensated. Also called relief.
REMITTITUR (reh MID uh dur): judge's reduction of damages awarded by jury.
REMOVAL: transfer of state case to federal court for trial.
REPLEVIN (reh PLEV in): action for recovery of a possession wrongfully taken.
REPLICATION: plaintiff's reply to defendant's plea, answer, or counterclaim.
REPLY: plaintiff's response to defendant's argument, counterclaim, or answer. Plaintiff's second pleading.
RESIDUARY ESTATE: All the property contained in your probate estate except for property to pay your debts and property that has been bequeathed to particular persons. Thus your residuary estate includes the rest of your real estate and the rest of your personal property.
REST: when one side finishes presenting evidence in a trial.
RESTITUTION: return of something to its rightful owner. Also, giving the equivalent for any loss, damage, or injury.
RESTRAINING ORDER: order prohibiting someone from harassing, threatening, contacting or even approaching another individual.
RESTRICTIVE COVENANT: a restrictive covenant is a term in a contract which prevents someone from doing something during and often for a period following the termination of a contract, for example, working for a competitor. The court will always look at the reasonableness of such term when asked to enforce it and at the respective bargaining strengths of the parties at the time at which it was entered in to.
RETAINER: act of a client in hiring an attorney. Also denotes fee client pays when retaining attorney.
RETURN: report to judge of action taken in executing writ issued by judge, usually written on the back of the writ. Also, the action of returning the writ to court.
REVERSE: higher court setting aside lower court's decision.
REVERSIBLE ERROR: error sufficiently harmful to justify reversing judgment of lower court. Also called prejudicial error. Compare harmless error.
REVOCABLE TRUST (REV uh cuh b'l): trust that grantor may change or revoke.
REVOKE: to cancel or nullify a legal document.
ROYALTY: a payment made in return for being permitted to exercise a right owned by another person. Most commonly it is allied to the payment made by a publisher or record producer to the author of a book or performer of a piece of music, but it can apply equally to a payment made for producing something by a patented process.
RULE OF COURT: rules governing how a given court operates.
RULES OF EVIDENCE: standards governing whether evidence is admissible.