iCrederity resource center

Screening & Risk mitigation Glossary*

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Absentia: Absent; proceedings without the defendant present.

Abstract of Title: A chronological summary of all official records and recorded documents affecting the title to a parcel of real property.

Accomplice: A partner in a crime and A person who knowingly and voluntarily participates with another in a criminal activity.

Acknowledgment: A statement of acceptance of responsibility. 2. The short declaration at the end of a legal paper showing that the paper was duly executed and acknowledged.

Acquit, Acquittal: A finding of not guilty by a judge or jury.

Action: Case, cause, suit, or controversy disputed or contested before a court of justice.

Ad litem: A Latin term meaning for the purpose of the lawsuit. For example, a guardian "ad litem" is a person appointed by the court to protect the interests of a minor or legally incompetent person in a lawsuit.

Additur: An increase by a judge in the amount of damages awarded by a jury.

Adjudication: Judgment rendered by the court after a determination of the issues.

Administrator: 1. One who administers the estate of a person who dies without a will. 2. A court official.

Admissible evidence: Evidence that can be legally and properly introduced in a civil or criminal trial.

Admonish: To advise or caution. For example the Court may caution or admonish counsel for wrong practices.

Adversary system: The trial method used in the U.S. and some other countries. This system is based on the belief that truth can best be determined by giving opposing parties full opportunity to present and establish their evidence, and to test by cross-examination the evidence presented by their adversaries. All this is done under the established rules of procedure before an impartial judge and/or jury.

Affidavit: A written statement of facts confirmed by the oath of the party making it, before a notary or officer having authority to administer oaths. For example, in criminal cases affidavits are often used by police officers seeking to convince courts to grant a warrant to make an arrest or a search. In civil cases, affidavits of witnesses are often used to support motions for summary judgment.

Affidavit of defense: A plea in absentia in infraction and misdemeanor cases.

Affidavit of insolvency: A detailed form signed by the defendant, under oath, attesting to his/her indigency (inability to pay for private legal counsel)

Affirmative defense: Without denying the charge, the defendant raises circumstances such as insanity, self-defense or entrapment to avoid civil or criminal responsibility.

Affirmed: In the practice of appellate courts, the word means that the decision of the trial court is correct.

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