Personal Injury Attorney Longwood, FL
Lawyers, prosecutors, legal writers, the judge, and other members of the court regularly use Latin words and phrases when they talk or in their documents. The reason is that the legal system of ancient Rome has greatly influenced the legal system of many western countries, including the U.S.
At one point, Rome conquered a majority of Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa. This is even where the famous motto “divide et impera” (divide and conquer) stems from. While they were conquering nations, they had another goal that included teaching the local people how to act, think, and be like a Roman.
Over many years, the Roman Empire eventually fell, but left their legal system in place. England and the U.S. still use a variation of Roman law, also known as common law. This is why so many legal professionals have an admiration for Latin legal phrases (and the fact that you cannot graduate from law school without knowing them).
Knowing what is being said or written can be very useful, and also help you to make the right choices. This goes without saying that if you don’t understand something, you should ask a Longwood, FL personal injury attorney.
Common Legal Latin Terms and Phrases
Alibi – At another place. If a court is asking you whether or not you have an alibi, you will need to provide a location that you were at when a crime happened. This could prove that you are not guilty.
Alias – At another time. The term alias is commonly used today to refer to another name that people use to conceal their true identity.
Per se – By itself or as such. Per se is used as a casual term in conversations. For example, “I didn’t call her rich, per se. I said that she had a lot of money to spend.”
Ad Litem – For the suit. A court may appoint a lawyer ad litem, or as a matter of law, for a party with interest in a case, but are unable to represent themselves (i.e. incapacitated adult or a minor).
Amicus Curiae – Friend of the court. If there exists a party who is not part of a proceeding, but has an interest in the case, the party could ask the court to file an amicus curiae brief. This does not carry legal weight, but could help the court to resolve an issue based on the perspective they offer.
Habeas Corpus – That you have the body. A habeas corpus is considered to be a recourse in law through which a party can report unlawful imprisonment to a court, public official, or attorney general. This can be followed by a request that the court order a custodian to the party, who will bring him or her to court to determine whether or not the detention is lawful.
In Camera – In a chamber. If a personal injury attorney is requesting something to be reviewed in camera, it will be done in the judge’s chamber and away from a jury or another party.
In Forma Pauperis – In the manner of a pauper. If a party is unable to pay for their court costs, they might plead in forma pauperis to have them waived.
In Re – In the matter of. A common term used in court cases. For example, In re Estate of Doe.
Pro Bono – For the public good. A Longwood, FL lawyer who does pro bono work may be volunteering their legal services for a good cause.
Pro Se – For oneself. When a person chooses to represent themselves in court, without a lawyer, they are considered to be a pro se litigant.
Sua Sponte – Voluntarily. If an action is taken by the court, without a prior motion or request from the parties involved, it is considered to be sua sponte.
Quasi – As if. A popular term used by lawyers, it can be added to another word or phrase to argue that one thing is similar to another. For example, “technically it might not have been an illegal act of discrimination, it was still quasi-discrimination.”
Additional Latin Legal Terms to Know
- Ad hoc – For a specific purpose
- Corpus Delicti – Material evidence included in a criminal case
- In Loco Parentis – In place of the parents
- Per Diem – By the day, or done daily
- Affidavit – A sworn statement
- Bona Fide – In good faith
The aforementioned is not exhaustive. If you’re feeling confused about a Latin term used in a court proceeding or on a legal document, you should consult a personal injury attorney Longwood, FL knows from David & Philpot, PL to ensure you understand it’s meaning.