What the Words Mean in Learning about the Law

From Clicklaw Wikibooks

Fundamentals of law and criminal and civil law[edit]

adjudicator
Someone who makes a formal judgment on a disputed matter, such as a judge in a court.
appeal
Ask a higher court to overturn a lower court's decision.
arrest
Take someone into custody by legal authority.
confidential
Something that is meant to be kept a secret from non-approved people.
cross-examine
To question an opposing party’s witness in order to challenge or clarify their testimony in a court proceeding.
discrimination
The practice of treating one person or group differently from another in an unfair way.
elected
Chosen by popular vote to fill a position, usually political.
equality
A situation where people are treated the same way despite their cultural, social or economic differences.
federal
Matters or institutions that deal with the whole country where different provinces or states also have their own institutions and responsibilities.
guilty
Found to be responsible for a wrongdoing.
innocent
Found to be not responsible for a wrongdoing.
judgment
A decision on a dispute. In law, it is a decision by a court on a contested matter.
jurisdiction
The right to use an official power to make legal decisions, or the area where this right exists.
Legislative Assembly
The group of individuals who, meeting in regular session, have the power to pass laws provincially. In Canada, each province has a legislative assembly whose members are elected by popular vote at general elections.
mediator
Someone who tries to bring parties in dispute to a mutual agreement or resolution.
municipal government
The government for a local area, usually a city or a district.
parole
The release of a prisoner before his or her full sentence is served on a promise of good behavior in future.
politicians
People who involve themselves in matters related to governing a territory.
punishment
The penalty given to a wrongdoer.
regulate
Control or supervise by means of rules and regulations.
representatives
People chosen to act and speak on behalf of a wider group.
responsibilities
The things one is required to do or not do as part of a legal obligation, a job or a role.
rights
Legal or moral entitlement to have or do something.
social services
Services provided by the government or other organizations for the benefit of the community.
trial
A court procedure to examine the evidence in a disputed matter, whether criminal or civil, to arrive at a legal judgment.
tribunals
Official legal forums set up to decide or pass judgment on disputed matters.
young offenders
Criminal offenders who are 12 years or older and 18 years or younger. Among other things, they are subject to less severe sentences than adults, and their names are generally not publicized. For certain serious offences, youths aged 14-18 can be tried and sentenced as adults.

Family law[edit]

adultery
Sex between someone who is married and someone who is not their spouse.
agreement
A written contract that sets out how spouses have agreed to deal with things like parenting, support, and property.
Child's best interests
A legal test used in family law cases to decide what would best protect your child's: physical, psychological, and emotional safety; security; and well-being.
Child Support Guidelines
The amount of money the person who is paying support must pay. The amount depends on how many children you have. The Guidelines are online on CanLII.
collaborative family law
A situation that involves two or more people working together, usually with lawyers, to reach an agreement or end a dispute.
common-law relationship
A relationship that is considered to be marriage-like because the couple has lived together for at least two years.
consent order
A court order that both spouses agree to.
contact
The time that a person who is not a guardian spends with the child. This person could be a parent who does not have guardianship or another relative, like a grandparent.
contract
An agreement that the law can enforce.
contribute
To give or supply in common with others; to help bring about something better.
court order
An order or decision made by a law court.
custom
Something that is done by people in a particular society because it is traditional.
dispute resolution
A process in which two people work through their family law issues with a trained professional, like a mediator.
divorce
The legal ending of a marriage.
duty counsel
Lawyers who work at the courthouse. They can give you advice about your family case.
enforcement
When people are made to obey a rule, law etc.
excluded property
Any property that is not considered family property.
family debts
Debts that you take on during your relationship that you still owe on the date you separate. They can also be debts you take on after your separation date to maintain family property.
family property
Family property is everything either you or your spouse own together or separately on the date you separate.
final order
A court order that does not have a time limit. It is permanent.
guardian
A person who has the right to make decisions about a child, such as:
  • where the child will live or go to school,
  • the sort of medical and dental care the child will receive, and
  • what religion the child will be raised in.
guardianship
The position of being legally responsible for a child.
impartial
Not involved in a particular situation, and therefore able to give a fair opinion or piece of advice.
interim order
A temporary court order. It has a time limit. You can get an interim order when you need to make decisions right away.
intention
A plan to do something.
mediator
A person that tries to end a dispute between people by discussion.
parental responsibilities
The responsibility of guardian(s) is to make decisions about the child’s life. These can include decisions about daily care, as well as larger ones about health care, education, religious upbringing, etc.
parenting arrangements
Arrangements made for parental responsibilities and parenting time in a court order or agreement between guardians.
parenting time
The time that a guardian has with a child under an order or agreement.
permission
To allow someone to do something.
protection order
A court order made to protect someone from violence.
relocate
Move out of the area, move to another place.
responsibility
Something a person must do.
separation
A situation in which a married couple or common-law couple agree to live apart.
spouse
A married person or a person in marriage-like relationship.
temporary
For a limited time only.

Young people and the law[edit]

anonymously
You do not have to give your name, for example, when you phone a help line.
confidential
When information is confidential, the person you tell is not allowed to tell anyone else about it.
contribute
To help bring about something better.
court order
An order or decision made by a law court.
custom
Something that is done by people in a particular society because it is traditional.
discipline
To punish someone in order to keep order and control.
discrimination
Treating someone differently from other people in a way that is unfair.
mistreated
To treat badly, to abuse.
permission
To allow someone to do something.
responsibility
Something a person must do.
sentence
The punishment a person receives after being found guilty of or pleading guilty to committing a crime.
young offender
Criminal offenders who are 12 years or older and 18 years or younger.
youth record
A record of a young person's involvement in Canada's youth justice system.

Elder law[edit]

advance directive
Instructions to your representative or to your doctor about what kind of health care you want and don't want if you have a serious medical condition. Sometimes called a "living will."
alternate attorney
An alternate person who can manage your financial, business and legal matters if your attorney cannot.
attorney
A person you appoint to manage financial, business and legal matters for you.
confidential
Will not be shared with anyone else, e.g., confidential information.
designated agencies
Agencies that have a legal responsibility to look into reports of adult abuse and neglect.
donor
The person who gives power of attorney to someone to manage.
enduring power of attorney
A power of attorney that continues if you become mentally incapable.
enhanced representation agreement
Gives authority to your representative to make personal and health care decisions for you, possibly including end-of-life decisions.
estate
Everything that is left when you die.
executor
The person you appoint in your will to distribute your estate when you die. The executor carries out your instructions.
financial, business and legal matters
The time that a person who is not a guardian spends with the child. This person could be a parent who does not have guardianship or another relative, like a grandparent.
limited power of attorney
A power of attorney for a specific action, with a time limit.
mental capacity
The ability to understand decisions and make them.
mental incapacity/mentally incapable
Not having the ability to understand decisions and make them. Someone who cannot understand decisions and make them is mentally incapable.
mistreatment
Treating someone badly.
misuse
Using something in the wrong way.
power of attorney
A legal document that allows an attorney to manage your financial, business and legal matters for you.
representation agreement
A legal document that allows the person you name as your representative to make personal and health care decisions for you.
revoke
Cancel, end.
specific
Particular, distinct.
springing power of attorney
A power of attorney that takes effect only when a particular event has taken place.
standard representation agreement
Gives limited authority to your representative to make some health and routine financial decisions for you.
will
A written legal document that contains your instructions about what happens to your estate when you die.

Working in BC[edit]

appeal
A formal request to a court or to someone in authority asking for a decision to be changed.
averaging agreement
Agreements that permit hours of work to be averaged over a period of one, two, three or four weeks. Employees may agree to work up to 12 hours in a day, averaging 40 hours in a week, without being paid overtime.
collective agreement
An agreement between employers and employees which regulates the terms and conditions of employment in their workplace.
collective bargaining
A process of negotiation between the employer and employees aimed at reaching agreements.
compensation
Money paid to someone because they have suffered injury or loss (i.e. loss of employment), or because something they own has been damaged.
criminal record
A record of a person's criminal history.
dispute resolution
When someone solves a problem, argument, or difficult situation.
double-time
A rate of pay equal to double the standard rate.
entitlements
Things you have a right to under a law.
excludes
Keeps something or someone out of an agreement or situation.
inspector
A person whose job is to check that something is satisfactory and that rules are being obeyed.
layoff
Temporary or permanent termination of employment.
overtime
The amount of time someone works beyond their normal working hours.
pregnancy leave
A leave of absence for an expectant or new mother for the birth and care of the baby.
reference
A person who provides information about your character and abilities.
regulations
These are rules that say how a particular law should work in practice.
statutory holiday
A public holiday legislated either through federal, or a provincial or territorial government. Most workers can take the day off with regular pay.
terminate
To end. For example, if you are terminated you no longer have a job.

Renting a home[edit]

appeal
A formal request to a court or to someone in authority asking for a decision to be changed.
compensation
Money paid to someone because they have suffered a loss (e.g. the landlord is evicting a tenant in order to renovate the place, or tear it down, or move in).
criminal record
A record of a person’s criminal history.
dispute resolution
When someone solves a problem, argument, or difficult situation.
eviction
To tell someone legally that they must leave the house they are living in.
evidence
Facts or signs that show clearly that something exists or is true.
fixed-term tenancy (lease)
A tenancy agreement where the tenant agrees to live somewhere for a certain amount of time, such as 1 year.
giving notice
Give written notice to the landlord that you want to move out.
inspector
A person whose job is to check that something is satisfactory and that rules are being obeyed.
landlord
A person who owns property and rents or leases it to another person.
lease
A contract for the temporary use or occupation of an apartment or house in exchange for payment of rent.
month-to-month tenancy
A tenancy agreement with no fixed term.
regulations
These are rules that say how a particular law should work in practice.
rent
The amount of money the tenant pays the landlord each month for the right to live in the landlord’s property.
rent increase
An increase in a tenant’s rent.
Residential Tenancy Act
The law that says what tenants and landlords can and cannot do.
Residential Tenancy Branch
The government department in charge of tenant-landlord law.
security deposit
An amount of money that you give to a landlord before you rent a house or apartment, and that is returned to you after you leave if you have not damaged the property.
tenancy agreement
A form signed by the tenant and landlord saying what they agree to.
tenant
A person who pays rent to occupy the landlord’s house or apartment.
welfare
Welfare also referred to as social assistance or income assistance is government-managed funding for the basic necessities of life for those who cannot earn an income. An applicant for welfare must apply for the funding through the Ministry of Social Development. A self-serve assessment tool is available at www.eia.gov.bc.ca/bcea.htm.
This information applies to British Columbia, Canada. Last reviewed for legal accuracy by People's Law School, 2013.



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