Legal words explained

To assist or encourage someone to commit a crime.
To be present when the crime is committed.
Accused person
A person who has been charged with a crime. Also known as a defendant.
To find someone 'not guilty' on a charge in a criminal case.
A finding that an accused person is not guilty of a charge.
Act of Parliament 
A written law made by parliament, also called statute or legislation.
Any processing in a court.
Actus reus 
A guilty act [Latin]
Voluntary acts or omissions which constitute a crime.
Ad hoc 
For this purpose, and often used in the sense of "impromptu".
To postpone a court hearing to another time or day.
To determine an issue or dispute in a judicial manner.
Generally a person who directs or manages the affairs of another.
In Probate actions, a person appointed by the court to administer an estate which lacks an executor.
Admiralty jurisdiction 
Jurisdiction over maritime matters, including damage to ships and cargoes, collisions at sea and seafarers wages. A distinguishing feature of this jurisdiction is that it allows an aggrieved person to lodge an action in rem which is an action directed against the property in question, usually a ship.
Admissible evidence 
Evidence which may be received, or be capable of being received in a court or tribunal for the purpose of proving a fact at issue. See also Rules of evidence.
The legal process by which a child becomes the child of the adopting parent and ceases to be the child of any person who was its parent before the adoption.
A person who has attained 18 years of age and is considered to be of full legal capacity.
The legal practitioner or person presenting a case to a court or tribunal on behalf of one of the parties involved.
A written statement where the contents are sworn or affirmed to be true. It is used in court as evidence.
Affidavit of service 
A document provided by process server after they have successfully served documents to someone. This affidavit is signed by the server and details the time, date, manner of service, identity of the person served and other details of the job. If a party in the case claims to not have been notified of pending legal action, the affidavit of service can be presented to prove otherwise.
A promise to tell the truth in court. An oath has religious significance and an affirmation does not.
Age of consent
The age at which a person is judged capable in law of consenting to sexual intercourse.
The age at which persons may marry without parental approval.
A person authorised to act on behalf of another (the principal).
Agreed facts 
Often in written form, a statement of facts agreed to by all parties that will not be disputed.
A false or assumed name.
An assertion, still to be proved, made by a party in a legal proceeding.
The certificate of a taxing officer stating costs allowed. [L: it is allowed]
In a criminal trial, the opportunity for the convicted person, after pronouncement of the verdict, to comment as to why the court should not impose its penalty.
Alternative counts 
In an information, indictment or presentment an alternative description of the same offence. The alternative count is generally for a less serious offence than the one in the main count.
Alternative verdict 
A verdict of guilty in respect of an offence other than that with which the accused was charged, eg manslaughter for murder.
Amicus curiae 
A person, usually a barrister, with no personal interest in the proceedings who is permitted to argue a point of law or fact before the court, usually on behalf of some party indirectly interested.
The review of the decision of a lower court by a higher court. If an appeal is successful, the higher court can change the lower court’s decision.  
A rehearing, as the result of such an application.
The coming to court as a party to an action, either in person or through a legal representative.
A party who appeals against a judicial decision which is not in that person’s favour.
Relating to appeals; having power to decide appeals.
See also: Appeal
A person applying for a court order.
To call a prisoner to the court to answer the charge in the indictment.
A debt owing after the time for payment; examples include unpaid rent, unpaid interest and unpaid maintenance.
The process by which a court is able to seize a person’s money or property for the purpose of ensuring that a judgment can be satisfactorily rendered.
The act of witnessing, eg that a document has been signed.
An inability to control physical reflexes, produced by some external cause. It is a criminal defence because the act of the accused person is not voluntary.
An internal examination of the body of a deceased person or any process which involves taking samples from the inside of the body.
Autrefois acquit 
A plea that the prisoner has already been tried for and acquitted of the same offence [French:  formerly acquitted]
The procedure that allows a person who has been charged with an offence to be released from police control or prison from the time of the charge until the hearing of the case. Courts can add conditions to bail.
An administrative officer performing the functions of a sheriff in connection with a lower court, including serving and executing court processes.
A notional partition isolating the bench and the front row of counsel’s seats from the rest of the court.
The collective body of barristers.
To destroy or end a right by preventing or blocking a legal action from being brought in its defence.
Bar table 
The table in a courtroom at which the advocates sit.
A legal practitioner whose main function is to act as an advocate in court.
A collective term for judges.
The place in court where the judges sit.
Bench warrant 
A warrant for arrest issued by a court. Generally used for non-appearance of a prisoner on bail and authorises their arrest and appearance before the court.
Bill of costs 
A solicitor’s account of costs incurred on the client’s behalf.
Bona fide 
In good faith; with sincerity [Latin]
A formal undertaking, such as a contract under seal, which binds a person to pay a sum of money in default of fulfilling some condition or acknowledges the existence of a debt.
An undertaking by an offender to be of good behaviour for a certain period.
Burden of proof
(in the law of evidence)
The duty of one party (usually the party bringing the proceedings against another) to make out the case against the other party and to provide to the court that the case has been established.
Subordinate legislation, generally at the local government level and having effect only within the area of responsibility of the responsible body.
The reading out in court of a list of cases yet to be dealt with in order that hearing dates may be arranged.
Case law
Principles of law established by judicial decisions rather than by legislation. Also known as common law.
Case management 
A process whereby the court assumes responsibility for the progress of cases through pre-trial stages in order to ensure the best use of court resources.
Cause list 
A daily list of matters for hearing.
Cause of action 
The circumstance or combination of circumstances giving rise to a right to bring a legal action.
A legal notice lodged with the appropriate court or authority to prevent further steps being taken in certain processes (eg granting of probate) until the claim of the caveator has been determined. (Latin: Let him beware)
One who lodges a caveat.
Certified copy 
A copy of a document, endorsed by a person with authority to do so as being a true copy of the original.
That part of the court for the use of judges or other court officials.
Offices occupied by barristers.
A statement that gives the details of a crime an accused person is claimed to have committed.
Choose in possession 
An item of intangible personal property which is capable of physical possession by the owner and which is capable of transfer by delivery.
Circuit court 
A court in a regional centre, to which judges travel on a regular basis.
The quotation of an authority in legal argument.
A reference to the report of a case, comprising the year, an abbreviation of the relevant series of law reports, and the page number.
Civil action 
A court case usually involves private disputes between people or between organisations. Examples include disputes over a contract, or might deal with personal relationships such as marriage.he quotation of an authority in legal argument.
Civil law 
Law pertaining to matters between private citizens (as distinct from criminal law, administrative law or industrial law), as in civil proceedings, civil remedy, civil wrong.
Civil litigants 
Parties in a civil action.
Closed court 
A court from which the public has been excluded.
A document which may add to, alter or revoke a will in some way.
To consign to custody in an institution.
To send to a higher court for trial by jury.
Committal proceedings 
A hearing in a Magistrates' Court that decides whether someone charged with a serious criminal offence should face trial in a higher court. It is also known as a preliminary examination.
Common law 
The unwritten law based on court decisions and customs, as distinct from statute law.
Common seal 
The official seal of a corporation, used to authenticate documents issued in the name of the corporation.
One who makes a complaint.
Information in written form giving details of an alleged criminal offence. This is a means by which summary and committal proceedings may be commenced.
The bringing together of parties in dispute with the aim of settling prior to the court being involved. Mainly civil matters.
Concurrent sentence 
A sentence to be served at the same time as another sentence.
In criminal law a statement admitting guilt concerning the charge, whether made formally, ie by pleading guilty, or informally, out of court.
To agree to or approve something.
Consent judgment 
A judgment effected by agreement of the parties.
Contempt of court 
Disobedience to or open disrespect of a court or legislature, its rules or orders, or conduct likely to prejudice a hearing. In some jurisdictions sanctions are provided by statute. In others a tribunal may be able to punish contempt of its authority as a consequence of its status as a superior court of record.
Contest mention hearing 
A hearing in which parties can try to reach agreement on some matters before a full criminal hearing is held.
Contest the application
To say that you do not agree with or accept the application.
A finding that an accused is guilty of the crime charged.
In the presence of.
A judicial officer presiding over the Coronial Division of the Magistrates Court. Coroners investigate reportable deaths as well as certain fires and explosions.
The sums of money which the successful party is entitled to recover for reimbursement of particular expenses incurred in litigation.
A barrister, barristers (collectively).
In criminal procedure, a paragraph in an indictment charging one distinct offence.
A substantive claim made by a defendant against the plaintiff, capable of grounding an independent action, but dealt with for the sake of convenience in the proceedings initiated by the plaintiff.
A judicial tribunal.
Court of appeal 
A State court exercising the Supreme Court’s appellate jurisdiction in civil matters.
Court of Criminal Appeal 
A State court exercising the Supreme Court’s appellate jurisdiction in criminal matters.
Court of record 
A court the proceedings of which are made part of a permanent record, and which has the power to punish contempt.
Court of summary jurisdiction 
A Magistrates Court exercising primarily criminal jurisdiction.
Court order 
A direction issued by a Magistrate requiring a person or organisation to do or not do something. An order may be either interim or final.
A person or entity to whom a sum of money is due from another (the debtor).
Of or pertaining to crime; pertaining to criminal as opposed to civil law.
A person convicted of a crime.
Cross examination 
The interrogation of one party’s witness by the opposing party.
Crown Solicitor 
The government solicitor.
Added one to another, as in cumulative sentences.
(In family law) the right to have, and the responsibility to make decisions concerning, the daily care and control of a child.
(In relation to choses in possession) a physical holding not amounting  to possession.
(In criminal law) imprisonment; being taken into control by a police officer, an officer of the court, etc.
Pecuniary compensation for damage suffered, as paid by the person causing it or awarded by a court in a civil law proceeding.
Days of grace 
Additional days allowed for the doing of some act after the expiry of the original time limit.
A sum of money due from one person or entity to another.
A person or entity who owes a sum of money to another (the creditor).
The determination, usually in the form of a reasoned statement, reached by a court or tribunal after hearing a case or an issue in dispute. A statement of opinion or recommendation, or observations on the side which do not go to the essence of the matter, may not be a decision. The existence of a decision may determine whether an appeal or review of tribunal proceedings is available.
A statement asserting facts, as in declarations of deceased persons.
A declaratory judgment.
Failure to perform an act legally required, especially failure on the part of a defendant to give notice of intention to take part in legal proceedings.
Default judgment 
A judgment given by the court against the defendant in the defendant's absence. For example when the defendant didn't appear at the hearing or has failed to lodge a defence.
In pleading, the formal contesting of the plaintiff’s statement of claim or the prosecutor’s case by the defendant or the accused.
A legally recognised justification or excuse, eg provocation, as a defence to murder.
Collectively, the defendant and the legal agents of the defendant.
To contest a criminal charge or civil claim.
A person who has been charged with a criminal offence or against whom a civil lawsuit has been brought.
A traditional form of pleading in reply, alleging that the opponent’s plea was misconceived in law.
A statement under oath, taken down in writing for use in subsequent court proceedings.
A decision.
Dietrich application 
Named after a High Court case where a party named Dietrich argued successfully for a stay of halt of action against him on the grounds that he was poor and would not be able to fund an adequate defence and therefore would not receive a fair trial.
A judge’s instruction to the jury on a matter of law.
The administrative function and process of a tribunal to ensure that hearings are expeditiously and justly conducted. The power to give such directions is either expressly conferred by statute or arises from a tribunal's power to regulate its proceedings and procedure.
Directions conference 
A pre-trial hearing held in order to expedite settlement and/or streamline the case about to be heard, in which the parties identify all points of contention and points upon which agreement has been reached.
Directions hearing 
Brief hearing in front of a Magistrate or Commissioner. It is a chance for the Magistrate or Commissioner to discuss the progress of the appeal and give 'directions' to the parties
(before a hearing or trial) The production by one party, at the request of the other, of a list all documents currently or formerly in the party’s possession relating to the case.
The stand in which the accused is placed.
Double probate 
A second grant of probate made to one or more of the other executors named in the will who did not initially apply for a grant of probate.
Director of Public Prosecutions.
Duces tecum 
You will bring with you [Latin]
The process of selecting potential jurors to sit on a criminal trial.
The process by which the law seeks to deter breach of statutes, regulations, rules of common law, awards and agreements by individuals and/or organisations. Enforcement takes place when proceedings are taken to penalise persons who might have disobeyed the law or an award.
Forfeiture of a guarantee.
Data tending to support or prove a fact at issue in judicial proceedings.
Ex gratia 
Out of grace; as a matter of favour (of a payment made without any admission of legal liability). [Latin]
Ex officio 
By virtue of office [Latin]
Ex parte 
On the application of one party to an action in the absence of the other. [Latin]
Ex parte decision 
A decision made by the Magistrate if you did not appear in court.
The formal interrogation in a court or tribunal of a person bound by oath or affirmation to answer truthfully.
A person appointed by a testator in his/her will to carry out the provisions of the will.
A material object displayed in court to illustrate or amplify verbal evidence.
The delivery by one state to another of a person subject to criminal proceedings in the receiving state.
Family Court of Australia 
A federal court operative since 1976 and exercising jurisdiction over family law under the provisions of the Family Law Act 1975.
Federal Court of Australia 
A superior court of record and a court of law and equity established by the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976.
Final order 
Is made after a magistrate hears the application. Final orders may be consented to by both parties or a magistrate can decide the orders that should be made. A final order will be in place for such period of time as consented to or ordered. This is usually 12 months, but can be longer.
The determination of a factual issue, as a result of judicial inquiry.
In criminal law, a sum of money payable to the Crown by an offender as punishment.
For mention only 
A short hearing.
Full bench 
A sitting of a court or tribunal consisting of more than one judge.
Full Court 
An appellate or reference court constituted by not less than a prescribed quorum of judges sitting together.
Functus officio 
Having discharged his duty. The phrase is used of an agent or official who, having performed his/her function, has no further authority in a matter [Latin].
General gaol delivery 
Appearance of all prisoners in gaol for arraignment on the first day of each month.
Grant of representation 
Authority to administer a deceased person’s estate, given by an appropriate court. A grant of probate is made to an executor nominated by the deceased in a will, but where for one reason or another there is no executor to act for the deceased, letters of administration are granted to an administrator.
A binding promise made by one person to ensure that another person carries out their legal obligations. The person making the promise is called a guarantor.
One who gives a guarantee; a surety.
Someone who is legally responsible for taking care of another person or their property.
Guardian ad litem 
A person appointed to stand in the place of a minor (or other under legal disability) made party to a suit.
Legally responsible for a criminal offence.
A general term for the presentation of a matter before a tribunal.
Hung jury 
A jury unable to reach a verdict.
In camera 
In private, ie, in a judge’s private room or in a closed court.
Indictable offence 
A more serious crime, triable by jury. In contrast to summary offence.
A formal written accusation charging a person with an offence to be tried by jury.
A document by means of which criminal proceedings may be initiated in a magistrate’s court, stating the details of the alleged criminal conduct.
A formal hearing conducted in court by a coroner, to establish how a person died and the cause of their death. Inquests are sometimes held to establish the cause and origin of a fire or explosion.
(of a solicitor) To request a barrister to present a particular case in court and to furnish him/her with the information and material necessary to do so.
Interim (temporary) order 
A temporary court order that stays in place only until a court can make a decision on the issue at a full hearing; temporary order can be cancelled, dismissed or becomes final.
Interim; temporary or provisional, pending determination or final judgment.
A written question on a relevant issue, submitted by one of the parties in a civil proceeding to the other before the trial, requiring a written response. Interrogatories are part of the discovery process.
Without having left a valid will, or having left a will which does not dispose entirely of one’s property.
The inclusion of several clauses of action or of several parties in a single proceeding.
Justice of the Peace.
A judicial officer whose function is to adjudicate on matters brought before a court for decision. In Australia, only those who preside over intermediate or superior courts are generally classified as judges. The title of Judge is applied to judges of the intermediate courts, while the title of justice is reserved for judges of the superior state courts and all federal courts.
The court’s decision as to the rights of parties in an action brought before it, sometimes including the reasoning and any interpretation of phrases in legislation or awards which led the judge to the decision.
Judgment by default 
Judgment against a defendant who fails to take the steps necessary to bring a defence before the court of otherwise respond.
Judgment creditor 
A person or organisation that a debt is owed to.
Judgment debt 
The amount of money that a court has ordered a debtor to pay The party ordered to pay it is the judgment debtor and the party to whom it is owed is the judgment creditor.
Judgment debtor 
Anyone who owes money that the court has ordered them to pay as part of a legal judgment.
The power of a State to legislate and enforce its laws.
The power or authority of a court to exercise judgment (over some matter).
The territory over which such power is exercised.
A member of the jury.
A body of 12 persons without legal experience, chosen at random from the general community, and given the responsibility of determining questions of fact on the basis of evidence presented in criminal trials on indictment.
Kangaroo court 
A derogatory term for a hearing that is judicial or quasi-judicial in form in which the person ‘on trial’ will not get a fair hearing.
The process of making or enacting laws.
A law or a body of laws enacted, including not only acts of parliament but also delegated legislation.
A type of security over property. Under a legal lien, the creditor has the right to retain possession of a debtor’s property until the debt is paid. Where the property retained is connected with the debt owed, the lien is a particular lien; where there is no connection, the lien is a general lien. An equitable lien, however, may exist irrespective of possession and arises by operation of law rather than by express agreement, conferring on the creditor rights over certain property of the debtor.
Litigant in person (self-represented litigant) 
A person who does not have a lawyer to appear for them in court and who presents their case to the court themselves.
Civil action by one party against another.
A judicial officer presiding over a court of the lowest tier (ie with summary criminal jurisdiction and a limited civil jurisdiction).
Magistrates Court 
An inferior court presided over by a magistrate. It usually has summary criminal jurisdiction and a limited civil jurisdiction but may also have a special jurisdiction when sitting as a Youth Court, Coroner’s Court or industrial magistrates' court.
Maintenance order 
A court order for payment of money towards the support of a spouse of child.
A legally qualified officer of a Supreme Court, empowered to perform auxiliary judicial duties.
A way of resolving a dispute outside the court system. An independent person (a mediator) helps the disputing parties come to agreement. Mediators do not decide the outcome of the dispute. They help the parties think about the issues and best outcome. Parties may choose to use mediation instead of going to court. The court may order the parties to go to mediation as a way of avoiding a court hearing.
Mens rea 
(in the analysis and definition of criminal offences) the requisite mental constituent of a particular crime. [Latin]
A trial without legal effect because some fundamental error in the proceedings.
An application or request to a court, generally made orally by a party in open court.
My learned friend 
The phrase customarily used by counsel when referring to opposing counsel in court.
Native title 
Title to land based on traditional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island law and custom. In 1992, the High Court of Australia recognised that Murray Islanders were entitled "as against the whole world, to possession, occupation, use and enjoyment of the lands of the Murray Islands" (see Mabo v Queensland [No 2] 919920 175 CLR1). This meant that Australia could no longer be regarded as terra nullius at the time of colonisation. The extent of the native title of a group of indigenous people depends upon that group’s particular customs and traditions. Native title can be lost in a number of ways, including the indigenous people losing their connection with the land, Crown grants of freehold title, and other grants which are inconsistent with its existence.
Next friend 
A person appointed to stand in the place of a plaintiff who is a minor, or otherwise under legal disability.
No case 
In civil or criminal proceedings, a submission by one party that the other party has failed to establish a prima facie case. Such a submission, if successful, results in dismissal of the case.
Nolle prosequi 
A decision by the state or by a plaintiff, in criminal or civil proceedings respectively, not to proceed with all or part of a case. [Latin]
Non-parole period 
That part of a prison sentence before the expiry of which a prisoner cannot be released on parole. The non-parole period is, however, subject to remission for good behaviour.
Not guilty 
The plea to a criminal charge where the accused wants to put the prosecution to the task of proving his/her guilt. A verdict of "not guilty" signifies the prosecution’s failure to establish the accused’s guilt beyond reasonable doubt.
A promise to tell the truth in court. An oath has religious significance and an affirmation does not.
A crime. The word is especially associated with crimes created by statute and capable of being dealt with summarily.
Opening address 
Counsel’s introductory speech to the court, in which the party’s case and evidence to be adduced in support are outlined.
The command or direction by a court or tribunal.
Out of court settlement 
The private settlement of litigation.
The conditional release of a prisoner before the expiration of the sentence.
Part heard 
This means that the case has begun.
(in pleadings) details of a claim or defence.
A person or organisation directly involved in a court case, including a person or organisation that has brought the case before a court or who is defending claims made against them.
Payment into court 
One of the accepted methods of out-of-court settlement of legal proceedings, entailing payment by the defendant into an account maintained by the court of an amount estimated by the defence as adequate to satisfy the plaintiff’s claim. The plaintiff’s acceptance of the amount before the trial effectively disposes of the action.
Per se 
By itself. A wrong is actionable per se if it can be sued upon without showing that it has caused actual damage. [Latin]
Personal service 
The delivery of a writ etc, by leaving it in the presence of the person to be served and drawing his/her attention to its nature.
Perverse verdict 
A verdict of a jury unreasonable in the light of the evidence; or contrary to the judge’s direction on a point of law.
A person who brings a civil action.
A contention put forward by one party in answer to the accusation of the other party, eg a plea of not guilty in a criminal case.
To make a plea in a civil or criminal proceeding.
Post mortem 
Meaning ‘after death’, used to describe any examination of a deceased person by a qualified pathologist, and also to describe the report written by the pathologist after they have finished their examinations (the post mortem report).
A form requesting a court officer to issue or prepare some document. [Latin: bid or order]
Prasad direction 
An invitation to a jury by a judge to find the accused not guilty prior to hearing the defence case. The jury is entitled to decline the invitation and elect to continue the trial. At any time thereafter during the defence case, should it wish to do so, the jury can unanimously find the defendant not guilty.
Pre-tiral hearing 
A conference between opposing counsel for the purpose of narrowing down the issues and to seek agreement on which matters should be presented at the trial.
Presiding judicial officer 
A justice of the Supreme Court, judge of the District Court, master or magistrate. The senior member of a panel of judicial officers is sometimes called the President.
Prima facie 
At first appearance. [Latin]
Prima facie case 
A court case supported by evidence capable of establishing it to the satisfaction of a jury in the absence of any evidence from the opposing side.
A defendant who has been placed into custody or on bail.
Privileged will 
A will made by a privileged testator (ie one in whose case the usual formalities of writing, witnesses, signature etc are waived). Statutes of different jurisdictions define privileged testators as members of the armed forces on actual military service and seamen when at sea.
A document issued by the court certifying that a will has been proved as valid, and authorising the executor named in the will to administer the estate. An executor may not begin to administer an estate until probate has been granted.
Probate jurisdiction 
Jurisdiction over grants of representation of the estates of deceased persons, and ancillary matters.
As an alternative to imprisonment of offenders, freedom under supervision, conditional on good behaviour.
A general term for civil or criminal cases.
Process server 
A process servers principal job is to deliver or “serve” legal documents to a defendant or person involved in a court case.
That which establishes the existence or non-existence of an alleged fact.
The institution and conduct of criminal proceedings against an accused.
(in a criminal trial) the side prosecuting as opposed to the defence.
Proving a will 
Having a will accepted as genuine in order to obtain a grant of representation.
Public Trustee 
A statutory corporation sole, authorised to perform the functions of executor, administrator and trustee.
Queen's Counsel (a member of the senior of the two grades of barrister); No longer granted in Tasmania.
To set aside, cancel.
Rex (the King) or Regina (the Queen), ie the Crown (in the context of prosecutions by the state).
Evidence called to rebut or destroy the effect of prior evidence.
Tendency to relapse into criminal behaviour.
An obligation, acknowledged before a court or magistrate, to pay a debt, appear in court, be of good behaviour, etc.
Individual physical locations of business offices of the Courts.
To recommit or readmit an accused to custody or to bail respectively, pending further court proceedings.
A document filed at the Probate Registry signed by either the executor or administrator renouncing his right and title to a grant of representation.
The sealing in the probate jurisdiction of a grant of representation which was issued by another court outside of the probate jurisdiction.
A party called to answer legal proceedings by petition or appeal, including a party responding to an application or notification of an industrial dispute lodged with an industrial tribunal.
A new trial, ordered in certain circumstances by a court of appeal.
Right of challenge 
Each accused person and the Crown has the right to challenge the selection of up to three jurors before they take their seats in the jury box, without giving any reason, by simply saying ‘challenge’.
The determination by the court of the penalty to be imposed on a convicted person.
The process of sending or giving court documents to a party after they have been filed, in accordance with the rules of court. Service ensures that all parties have received the documents filed with a court.
To resolve a lawsuit without a final court judgment, by negotiation between the parties.
An officer with responsibility for the service of process, the enforcement of civil judgments and the provision of juries.
Sine die 
Without appointing a day on which to reconvene. [Latin]
Written evidence stating facts.
Stay of proceedings 
The permanent or temporary discontinuance of an action, by order of the court.
An order requiring a person to go to court on a particular date and time to give evidence, or to produce a document to the Court, or do both things.
To initiate an action in civil law against another person or body for a perceived wrong.
Summary jurisdiction 
The jurisdiction, exercised by a magistrate’s court, to try persons accused of minor criminal offences without a jury.
Summary offence 
A minor criminal offence triable before a magistrate without a jury. In contrast to indictable offence.
Summing up 
A judge’s review of the evidence and explanation of the law relevant to the case for the benefit of the jury before they retire to consider their verdict.
A formal document issued by a court which says someone must appear in court on the date stated in the document.
A person who agrees to pay money if a defendant fails to comply with the conditions of bail; or fails to appear in court as required.
Suspended sentence 
A sentence pronounced but not carried into effect, as long as the offender does not offend again within a given period.
Taxation of costs 
Scrutiny and adjustment by a court officer of costs claimed to have been incurred in litigation.
The maker of a will.
An officer of a higher court whose function is to maintain order in the courtroom. In Tasmania Tipstaffs are called Attendants.
Trustee company 
A company authorised by statute or by its own constitution to act as a trustee, executor or administrator, as required.
Under oath 
Refers to a witness having sworn to tell the truth. This can be done by swearing on a bible, Koran etc. Alternatively a person can choose to make an Affirmation.
A formal promise to a court to act or to refrain from acting in a particular manner.
Voir Dire 
A hearing by the judge in the course of, but apart from, the main trial (and in the absence of the jury where the trial is by jury), in order to settle a question raised by either party concerning any fact which has to be assumed for the purposes of the trial proper, eg the hostility, expertise, or competence of witnesses, or the voluntariness of confessions. It is sometimes called the "trial within a trial".
Written authority to do some act, eg to carry out a search or make an arrest.
In criminal law a document issued by an official, usually a judge or magistrate, authorising that a person be arrested and brought before a court.
A legal document by which a person, the testator, makes provision for an executor to be appointed to administer his/her estate after his/her death. The executor will discharge any liabilities of the testator and distribute the property as directed to the beneficiaries specified in the will.
A person who has information (called "evidence") which may be useful in the proceedings of a case being heard in a court. Giving evidence is also sometimes referred to as "testifying"
X rated 
A rating given by the Office of Film and Literature Classification to a film that may be viewed by people aged over 18 years.
Youth Court 
A special court in each Australian state and territory with jurisdiction over offences committed by children and young persons up to the age of 17 or 18. The trial is summary, without a jury, in a closed court.
Zone of interest test 
A form of standing by which any person may bring a lawsuit even though that person may not have a proprietary, economic, or statutory interest