Christine Lovatt

We sometimes use legal terms in our crosswords, because they are useful words to know. While I hope you are never involved in a lawsuit, you probably are familiar with some of the words below:

The plaintiff is the person who brings a case against another in a court of law.

The defendant is the person who is being accused by the plaintiff.

The litigant is a person involved in a court case, either plaintiff or defendant.

The appellant is the person or party that makes an appeal to a higher court.

An affidavit is a written declaration made under oath.

A subpoena is a court order compelling the appearance of a person at a trial to testify and to produce documents.
If properly issued and disobeyed, the disobedient person could be in contempt of court.

Prima facie means a showing of sufficient evidence to initially establish a petitioner’s case. If such a case is made out, the opposing party is then required to respond; if not, the case will be dismissed.

Prima facie is Latin for ‘at first sight’. A writ is a written court order to do or refrain from doing something. A tort is a civil wrong where one person unreasonably interferes with the rights of another.

Frivolous and vexatious generally mean different things, but in a legal sense, they are typically grouped together as they relate to the same basic concept of a complaint or claim not being brought in good faith.

A frivolous complaint is one that has no serious purpose or value. A frivolous claim is often one about a matter so trivial that investigation would be disproportionate in terms of time and cost.

A vexatious complaint is one that is specifically being pursued to simply harass, annoy or cause financial cost to the recipient.

The legal world has different meanings for ordinary words. A lawsuit is not what a lawyer wears to work but a claim brought to a law court for adjudication. While we might call something we admire ‘incredible’ it’s not a good thing in the court, it means ‘not believable, a lie’. Being credible is much better. A party is not a fun social gathering but the people involved in a court case.

Damages is a noun meaning ‘money to be paid as compensation to a person for injury, loss, etc’.

In Britain, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, crimes are divided into summary and indictable offences. A summary offence is considered less serious, can be tried by a magistrate alone and incurs a shorter sentence or smaller fine than an indictable offence. In USA, crimes are divided into misdemeanour and felony.

“At his best, man is the noblest of all animals; separated from law and justice he is the worst.”
– Aristotle

Happy Puzzling!