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Litigation
- A lawsuit is a proceeding by a party or parties against another in the civil court of law. The archaic term "suit in law" is found in only a small number of laws still in effect today. The term "lawsuit" is used in reference to a civil action brought by a plaintiff (a party who claims to have incurred loss as a result of a defendant's actions) requests a legal remedy or equitable remedy from a court. The defendant is required to respond to the plaintiff's complaint. If the plaintiff is successful, judgment is in the plaintiff's favor, and a variety of court orders may be issued to enforce a right, award damages, or impose a temporary or permanent injunction to prevent an act or compel an act. A declaratory judgment may be issued to prevent future legal disputes. A lawsuit may involve dispute resolution of private law issues between individuals, business entities or non-profit organizations. A lawsuit may also enable the state to be treated as if it were a private pa ...
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Declaratory Judgment
A declaratory judgment, also called a declaration, is the legal determination of a court that resolves legal uncertainty for the litigants. It is a form of legally binding preventive by which a party involved in an actual or possible legal matter can ask a court to conclusively rule on and affirm the rights, duties, or obligations of one or more parties in a civil dispute (subject to any appeal). The declaratory judgment is generally considered a statutory remedy and not an equitable remedy in the United States, and is thus not subject to equitable requirements, though there are analogies that can be found in the remedies granted by courts of equity.''Samuels v. Mackell'', 401 U.S. 66, 70 (1971) (“Although the declaratory judgment sought by the plaintiffs was a statutory remedy rather than a traditional form of equitable relief, the Court made clear that a suit for declaratory judgment was nevertheless ‘essentially an equitable cause of action,’ and was ‘analogous to ...
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Common Law
In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent, judge-made law, or case law) is the body of law created by judges and similar quasi-judicial tribunals by virtue of being stated in written opinions."The common law is not a brooding omnipresence in the sky, but the articulate voice of some sovereign or quasi sovereign that can be identified," ''Southern Pacific Company v. Jensen'', 244 U.S. 205, 222 (1917) (Oliver Wendell Holmes, dissenting). By the early 20th century, legal professionals had come to reject any idea of a higher or natural law, or a law above the law. The law arises through the act of a sovereign, whether that sovereign speaks through a legislature, executive, or judicial officer. The defining characteristic of common law is that it arises as precedent. Common law courts look to the past decisions of courts to synthesize the legal principles of past cases. ''Stare decisis'', the principle that cases should be decided according to consistent principled rules so ...
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Erie Doctrine
The ''Erie'' doctrine is a fundamental legal doctrine of civil procedure in the United States which mandates that a federal court called upon to resolve a dispute not directly implicating a federal question (most commonly when sitting in diversity jurisdiction, but also when applying supplemental jurisdiction to claims factually related to a federal question or in an adversary proceeding in bankruptcy) must apply state substantive law. The doctrine follows from the Supreme Court landmark decision in ''Erie Railroad Co. v. Tompkins'' (1938). The case overturned '' Swift v. Tyson'', which allowed federal judges sitting in a state to ignore the common law local decisions of state courts in the same state in diversity actions. Scope There are two main objectives of the ''Erie'' decision: (1) to discourage forum shopping among litigants, and (2) to avoid inequitable administration of the laws. Broadly speaking, the second objective is sometimes referred to as "vertical unifo ...
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Complaint
In legal terminology, a complaint is any formal legal document that sets out the facts and legal reasons (see: cause of action) that the filing party or parties (the plaintiff(s)) believes are sufficient to support a claim against the party or parties against whom the claim is brought (the defendant(s)) that entitles the plaintiff(s) to a remedy (either money damages or injunctive relief). For example, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) that govern civil litigation in United States courts provide that a civil action is commenced with the filing or service of a pleading called a complaint. Civil court rules in states that have incorporated the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure use the same term for the same pleading. In Civil Law, a “complaint” is the first formal action taken to officially begin a lawsuit. This written document contains the allegations against the defense, the specific laws violated, the facts that led to the dispute, and any demands made by t ...
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Adversarial System
The adversarial system or adversary system is a legal system used in the common law countries where two advocates represent their parties' case or position before an impartial person or group of people, usually a judge or jury, who attempt to determine the truth and pass judgment accordingly. It is in contrast to the inquisitorial system used in some civil law systems (i.e. those deriving from Roman law or the Napoleonic code) where a judge investigates the case. The adversarial system is the two-sided structure under which criminal trial courts operate, putting the prosecution against the defense. Basic features As an accused is not compelled to give evidence in a criminal adversarial proceeding, they may not be questioned by a prosecutor or judge unless they choose to be; however, should they decide to testify, they are subject to cross-examination and could be found guilty of perjury. As the election to maintain an accused person's right to silence prevents any examination ...
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United States
The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 states, a federal district, five major unincorporated territories, nine Minor Outlying Islands, and 326 Indian reservations. The United States is also in free association with three Pacific Island sovereign states: the Federated States of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau. It is the world's third-largest country by both land and total area. It shares land borders with Canada to its north and with Mexico to its south and has maritime borders with the Bahamas, Cuba, Russia, and other nations. With a population of over 333 million, it is the most populous country in the Americas and the third most populous in the world. The national capital of the United States is Washington, D.C. and its most populous city and principal financial center is New York City. Pale ...
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Defendant
In court proceedings, a defendant is a person or object who is the party either accused of committing a crime in criminal prosecution or against whom some type of civil relief is being sought in a civil case. Terminology varies from one jurisdiction to another. In Scots law, the terms "accused" or "panel" are used instead in criminal proceedings and "defender" in civil proceedings. Another term in use is "respondent". Criminal defendants In a criminal trial, a defendant is a person accused ( charged) of committing an offense (a crime; an act defined as punishable under criminal law). The other party to a criminal trial is usually a public prosecutor, but in some jurisdictions, private prosecutions are allowed. Criminal defendants are often taken into custody by police and brought before a court under an arrest warrant. Criminal defendants are usually obliged to post bail before being released from custody. For serious cases, such as murder, bail may be refused. Defendants must ...
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Legal Remedy
A legal remedy, also referred to as judicial relief or a judicial remedy, is the means with which a court of law, usually in the exercise of civil law jurisdiction, enforces a right, imposes a penalty, or makes another court order to impose its will in order to compensate for the harm of a wrongful act inflicted upon an individual. In common law jurisdictions and mixed civil-common law jurisdictions, the law of remedies distinguishes between a legal remedy (e.g. a specific amount of monetary damages) and an equitable remedy (e.g. injunctive relief or specific performance). Another type of remedy available in these systems is declaratory relief, where a court determines the rights of the parties to action without awarding damages or ordering equitable relief. The type of legal remedies to be applied in specific cases depend on the nature of the wrongful act and its liability. In the legal system of the United States, there exists a traditional form of judicial remedies that se ...
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Court Of Law
A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to adjudicate legal disputes between parties and carry out the administration of justice in civil, criminal, and administrative matters in accordance with the rule of law. In both common law and civil law legal systems, courts are the central means for dispute resolution, and it is generally understood that all people have an ability to bring their claims before a court. Similarly, the rights of those accused of a crime include the right to present a defense before a court. The system of courts that interprets and applies the law is collectively known as the judiciary. The place where a court sits is known as a venue. The room where court proceedings occur is known as a courtroom, and the building as a courthouse; court facilities range from simple and very small facilities in rural communities to large complex facilities in urban communities. The practical authority given to the ...
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Court
A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to adjudicate legal disputes between parties and carry out the administration of justice in civil, criminal, and administrative matters in accordance with the rule of law. In both common law and civil law legal systems, courts are the central means for dispute resolution, and it is generally understood that all people have an ability to bring their claims before a court. Similarly, the rights of those accused of a crime include the right to present a defense before a court. The system of courts that interprets and applies the law is collectively known as the judiciary. The place where a court sits is known as a venue. The room where court proceedings occur is known as a courtroom, and the building as a courthouse; court facilities range from simple and very small facilities in rural communities to large complex facilities in urban communities. The practical authority given to th ...
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Court Order
A court order is an official proclamation by a judge (or panel of judges) that defines the legal relationships between the parties to a hearing, a trial, an appeal or other court proceedings. Such ruling requires or authorizes the carrying out of certain steps by one or more parties to a case. A court order must be signed by a judge; some jurisdictions may also require it to be notarized. Content The content and provisions of a court order depend on the type of proceeding, the phase of the proceedings in which they are issued, and the procedural and evidentiary rules that govern the proceedings. An order can be as simple as setting a date for trial or as complex as restructuring contractual relationships by and between many corporations in a multi- jurisdictional dispute. It may be a final order (one that concludes the court action), or an interim order (one during the action). Most orders are written, and are signed by the judge. Some orders, however, are spoken orally by the j ...
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Civil Procedure
Civil procedure is the body of law that sets out the rules and standards that courts follow when adjudicating civil lawsuits (as opposed to procedures in criminal law matters). These rules govern how a lawsuit or case may be commenced; what kind of service of process (if any) is required; the types of pleadings or statements of case, motions or applications, and orders allowed in civil cases; the timing and manner of depositions and discovery or disclosure; the conduct of trials; the process for judgment; the process for post-trial procedures; various available remedies; and how the courts and clerks must function. Differences between civil and criminal procedure In most cases, criminal prosecutions are pursued by the state in order to punish offenders, although some systems, such as in English and French law, allow private citizens to bring a private prosecution. Conversely, civil actions are initiated by private individuals, companies or organizations, for their own benefi ...
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