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  • Alliance

    A military treaty between two or more states, providing for a mutually-planned offensive, or for assistance in the case of attack on any member.
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  • Allodial

    A kind of land ownership that is unfetterred, outright and absolute. It is the opposite of the feudal system and supposes no obligation to another (ie. a lord).
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  • Allonge

    A piece of paper which has been attached to a contract, a check or any promissory note, on which to add signatures because there is not enough room on the main document.
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  • Alternative dispute resolution

    Also known as "ADR"; methods by which legal conflicts and disputes are resolved privately and other than through litigation in the public courts, usually through one of two forms: mediation or arbitration. It typically involves a process much less formal than the traditional court process and includes the appointment of a third-party to preside over a hearing between the parties. The advantages of ADR are speed and money: it costs less and is quicker than court litigation. ADR forums are also private. The disadvantage is that it often involves compromise.
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  • Alternatives to Bankruptcy

    the area of law that focuses on debtor assistance other than Bankruptcy (see bankruptcy).
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  • Amalgamation

    The merging of two things together to form one such as the amalgamation of different companies to form a single company.
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  • Ambassador

    A citizen that has been officially asked by their country to live in another country in order to legally represent it. For example, the USA has sent ambassadors to live, and represent the USA, in almost all other countries.
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  • Ambulatory

    Something which is not cast in stone; which can be changed or revoked, such as a will.
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  • Amend

    To change, to revise, usually to the wording of a written document such as legislation.
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  • Amicus curiae

    Latin: friend of the court. Refers more specifically to persons asking for permission to intervene in a case in which they are neither plaintiff or defendant, usually to present their point of view (or that of their organization) in a case which has the potential of setting a legal precedent in their area of activity. This is common, for example, in civil rights cases and, in some instances, can only be done with the permission of the parties or the court.
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  • Animus contrahendi

    Latin: an intention to contract.
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  • Annulment

    To make void; to cancel an event or judicial proceeding both retroactively and for the future. Where, for example, a marriage is annulled, it is struck from all records and stands as having never transpired in law. This differs from a divorce which merely cancels a valid marriage only from the date of the divorce. A marriage annulled stands, in law, as if never performed.
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  • Antedate

    To date back; retroactively. To date a document to a time before it was written.
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  • Antenuptial

    An event or document which pre-dates a marriage. For example, an "antenuptial agreement" is one which is signed before marriage. A antenuptial gift is a gift given by one spouse to the other before marriage.
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  • Anti-trust

    (USA)"Anti-trust" legislation is designed to prevent businesses from price-setting or other secret collaboration which circumvents the natural forces of a free market economy and gives those engaging in the anti-trust conduct, a covert competitive edge. Also known as "anti-combines" or "competition" legislation.
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  • Antitrust & Trade Regulation

    the area of law that protects trade and commerce from unlawful restraints and monopolies or unfair business practices.
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  • Appeal

    To ask a more senior court or person to review a decision of a subordinate court or person. In some countries such as Canada, the USA and Australia, appeals can continue all the way up to the Supreme Court, where the decision is final in that it can no longer be appealed. That is why it is called "supreme" (although, in Australia the supreme court is called the High Court).
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  • Appellate Law

    the area of law relating to appeals to higher courts of law.
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  • Apportionment

    The division and distribution of something into proportionate parts; to each according to their share. For example, if a court ordered apportionment of a contract, the party would be required to perform only to a extent equal to the performance of the other side.
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  • Appurtenance

    Something that, although detached, stands as part of another thing. An attachment or appendage to something else. Used often in a real estate context where an "appurtenance" may be, for example, a right-of-way over water, which, although physically detached, is part of the legal rights of the owner of another property.
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