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Legal Dictionary

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  • Labor & Employment Law

    this area of the law encompasses a wide variety of issues like Pension Plans, Retirement, Occupational Safety & Health Regulations, Affirmative Action and Sexual Harassment. Employment lawyers can show businesses how to reduce their risk of employment litigation and how to comply with state and local laws. Employment lawyers can also help protect workers when their rights are being violated. Often an employment lawyer will concentrate on representing either workers or employers.
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  • Laches

    A legal doctrine whereby those who take too long to assert a legal right, lose their entitlement to compensation. When you claim that a person's legal suit against you is not valid because of this, you would call it "estoppel by laches".
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  • Landlord

    A land or building owner who has leased the land, the building or a part of the land or building, to another person.
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  • Landlord/Tenant

    an area of the law dealing with the relationship between the owner of property and the person(s) renting or leasing that property from the owner.
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  • Larceny

    An old English criminal and common law offense covering the unlawful or fraudulent removal of another's property without the owner's consent. The offense of theft now covers most cases of larceny. But larceny is wider than theft as it includes the taking of property of another person by whatever means (by theft, overtly , by fraud, by trickery, etc.) if an intent exists to convert that property to one's own use against the wishes of the owner.
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  • Law

    All the rules of conduct that have been approved by the government and which are in force over a certain territory and which must be obeyed by all persons on that territory (eg. the "laws" of Australia). Violation of these rules could lead to government action such as imprisonment or fine, or private action such as a legal judgement against the offender obtained by the person injured by the action prohibited by law. Synonymous to act or statute although in common usage, "law" refers not only to legislation or statutes but also to the body of unwritten law in those states which recognize common law.
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  • Lawyer

    A person that has been trained in the law and that has been certified to give legal advice or to represent others in litigation. Also known as a "barrister & solictor" or an attorney.
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  • Leading question

    A question which suggests an answer; usually answerable by "yes" or "no". For example: "Did you see David at 3 p.m.?" These are forbidden to ensure that the witness is not coached by their lawyer through his or her testimony. The proper form would be: "At what time did you see David?" Leading questions are only acceptable in cross-examination or where a witness is declared hostile
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  • Lease

    A special kind of contract between a property owner and a person wanting temporary enjoyment and use of the property, in exchange for rent paid to the property owner. Where the property is land, a building, or parts of either, the property owner is called a landlord and the person that contracts to receive the temporary enjoyment and use is called a tenant.
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  • Leasehold

    Real property held under a lease.
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  • Legal custody

    A child custody decision which entails the right to make, or participate in, the significant decisions affecting a child's health and welfare (compare with physical custody and joint custody).
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  • Legal Ethics & Professional Responsibility

    the area of law that involves the principles of conduct governing an individual or a group, specifically the legal industry.
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  • Legal Father

    a man who is recognized by law as the male parent
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  • Legislation

    Written and approved laws. Also known as "statutes" or "acts." In constitutional law, one would talk of the "power to legislate" or the "legislative arm of government" referring to the power of political bodies (eg: house of assembly, Congress, Parliament) to write the laws of the land.
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  • Liability

    Any legal obligation, either due now or at some time in the future. It could be a debt or a promise to do something. To say a person is "liable" for a debt or wrongful act is to indicate that they are the person responsible for paying the debt or compensating the wrongful act.
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  • Libel

    Defamation by writing such as in a newspaper or a letter.
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  • Liberal construction

    A form of construction which allows a judge to consider other factors when deciding the meaning of a phrase or document. For example, faced with an ambiguous article in a statute, a liberal construction would allow a judge to consider the purpose and object of a statute before deciding what the article actually means.
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  • License

    A special permission to do something on, or with, somebody else's property which, were it not for the license, could be legally prevented or give rise to legal action in tort or trespass. A common example is allowing a person to walk across your lawn which, if it were not for the license, would constitute trespass. Licenses are revocable at will (unless supported by a contract) and, as such, differs from an easement (the latter conveying a legal interest in the land). Licenses which are not based on a contract and which are fully revocable are called "simple" or "bare" licenses. A common example is the shopping mall to which access by the public is on the basis of an implied license.
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  • Lien

    A property right which remains attached to an object that has been sold, but not totally paid for, until complete payment has been made. It may involve possession of the object until the debt is paid or it may be registered against the object (especially if the object is real estate). Ultimately, a lien can be enforced by a court sale of the property to which it attached and then the debt is paid off from the proceeds of the sale.
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  • Life estate

    A right to use and to enjoy land and/or structures on land only for the life of the life tenant. The estate reverts back to the grantor (or to some other person), at the death of the person to whom it is given. A property right to last only for the life of the life tenant is called the estate "pur sa vie." If it is for the duration of the life of a third party, it is called an estate "pur autre vie". The rights of the life tenant are restricted to conduct which does not permanently change the land or structures upon it.
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