Some Common Legal Terms Explained

  • 1. Affidavit- Affidavit is a sworn statement made by a party, in writing, in the presence of an oath commissioner or a notary public. Affidavits are used as evidence in court proceedings.
  • 2. Arbitration- Arbitration serves as a method for two parties to resolve a dispute through a private dispute resolution procedure instead of going to court.
  • 3. Attestation- Attestation is authentication of a signature by an authorized person, who could be an oaths commissioner or a notary public.
  • 4. Cognisable offense- Cognisable offense means a police officer has the authority to make an arrest without a warrant and to start an investigation with or without the permission of a court.
  • 5. Contempt of court- A party wilfully disobeying an order of a court can be held in contempt of that court.
  • 6. Pro bono- The term generally refers to legal services that are rendered by a professional either for free or at a significantly reduced cost to the client with low income.
  • 7. Prima facie- Prima facie is a term that refers to evidence before trial which is sufficient to prove the case unless there is substantial contradictory evidence shown at trial.
  • 8. Suo moto- The Court may take action on its own when facts requiring legal intervention reach its notice. The Court is then said to be acting suo moto.
  • 9. Vakhalatnama- Document by which an advocate is authorized to represent a party in court. It contains details regarding the authority of the lawyer.