Questions about the strange language of legalese.

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26
votes
18answers
7k views

A verb that means “to prove someone is guilty of a crime”

Preface: I don't think there is a single-word (verb) that expresses the concept I am asking for, in which case I'd settle for the least ambiguous and most common phrase or idiom that describes the ...
1
vote
1answer
13k views

What does 'back-stopping' mean?

We have a tender document, and it lists how the offer should be proposed. Basically this is split into 3 sections: Rationale Strategy Details of Proposal Under section 2., there is this clause: ...
1
vote
2answers
9k views

“In” or “At” sole discretion

We're drafting some legal stuff, and our lawyer used this phrasing... ...whether any particular enhancement is to be categorized as such shall be made in the sole reasonable discretion of ...
3
votes
3answers
361 views

Expression for the advantage of being in possession of disputed goods in a civil suite?

Some time (years?) ago I saw (In fact it might have been in a comic, possibly Zits.) an expression/proverb that basically said that being in possession of a disputed goods meant that a civil law ...
0
votes
3answers
87 views

A word for evidence used to tell if someone has been in your room

I know there's an actual word for this. I used to know the word, but I've lost it. The word describes a category of methods that someone uses to detect if someone has been in a room, or opened a ...
1
vote
2answers
25 views

This contract clause […] that I have this-and-that right

This contract clause [...] that I have this-and-that right. which of the following can I use instead of the [...]? "says"? "stipulates"? "dictates"? "mandates"? something else?
3
votes
4answers
4k views

Your signature vs your mark

Is there a difference between your 'signature' and your 'mark'? One of the comments on this post on Bruce Schneier's blog claims there is: This might be out of date in these days of 100% literacy ...
0
votes
0answers
41 views

What is special about Anglo-French legal usage of [the] infinitive as a noun?

I was reading the etymology of attainder (n.), when I saw its reference to: use of French infinitives as nouns, especially in legal language, see waiver. waiver (n.) [<--] [...] Other ...
0
votes
2answers
76 views

A change of wording is needed (Solved) [closed]

In a legal document I am having to edit certain specific phrases, though I have managed to do most I am stuck on a way to change the wording of the phrase "[Company Name] hereby appoints" and ...
1
vote
2answers
264 views

What do you call a document whereby someone promises to pay back borrowed money?

I am translating a legal document from Persian into English. It is a loan certification thereby the borrower promises to return the borrowed money in specified period of time. It has two paragraphs in ...
0
votes
0answers
29 views

Etymology of 'to distrain'

[ODO:] {verb} [with object] {Law} 1. Seize (someone’s property) in order to obtain payment of rent or other money owed [Etymology:] Middle English: from Old French destreindre, from Latin ...
1
vote
1answer
57 views

Usage of “scienter” [closed]

"Scienter" is most commonly used as a noun in the following contexts: "Whether the corporation acted with scienter in defrauding investors." (In this case, it appears to be the object of the ...
1
vote
4answers
361 views

Formal alternative to the phrase 'Not taken seriously' [closed]

I'm writing a legal essay and the sentence is For example, a young person’s reluctance to seek redress, and that youth are often not taken seriously, their words often not repeated in court rooms. ...
1
vote
1answer
38 views

Verb to speak about legal right [closed]

I have been thinking about it and I was wondering if there is single verb (or maybe a phrase) in English which can describe the attribution of legal rights to someone. Is there a specific verb used to ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

What's the term/word for a legal case without merit?

What's the term/word for a legal case without merit? There's something more technical than "fraudulent" or "groundless"... can't pinpoint it.
5
votes
6answers
513 views

A suitable word for seizing a property

When a court orders for taking control of a property or real estate by the government in exchange of money, what is the best word for the court action? For example: The court maintains that his ...
10
votes
4answers
288 views

Does the word “and” always mean a logical (boolean) operation?

For a simple phrase like "macaroni and cheese" it's clear you want both macaroni and cheese, not one or the other. But as more and more words are added, I've noticed a tendency to begin to read "and" ...
1
vote
2answers
67 views

Usage of word “withheld” [closed]

I'm reading this one website insurance of employees and got confused. The employee's portion of the insurance contribution is withheld from the employee's pay So does it mean, the employee's ...
1
vote
1answer
130 views

Which synonyms for “stated” can I use in a legal context? [closed]

In our law essays we are often required to quote different judges. It becomes really monotonous to use the word "stated" all the time. I have also used "advocated" and "declared". Are there any other ...
10
votes
6answers
867 views

Why does legal English sometimes repeat the antecedent noun after “which”?

Here's a standard English sentence: The folder which is missing from the principal's office contained the answers to today's exam. (Separate question, discussed elsewhere I'm sure, whether it ...
1
vote
2answers
111 views

“Licensed” vs. “registered” [closed]

I found these terms while doing some research about insurance: Agents must usually be licensed in the province or territory in which they do business. Brokers must usually be registered in ...
0
votes
1answer
68 views

Right meanings of 'form'?

When legal decision-makers like Justice Peckham, who are actually ... making a policy or political choice act as if there were no choice to be made—when they treat a policy choice as simply ...
-1
votes
2answers
55 views

“In cases where” vs. “in the event”

In cases where either party is unable to perform the contracted obligation... In the event either party is unable to perform the contracted obligation... Which phrase is preferable and ...
0
votes
2answers
33 views

How to parse 'of whom any one of you the aforesaid A, B, C, D, etc. we will shall be one'?

In the block quote below, I bolded everything excerpted from Etymonline for 'quorum {noun}'. Everything else (ie the annotations) originates from: p 469 , The Justice of the Peace and Parish Officer, ...
0
votes
0answers
29 views

We have also assigned you, and every two or more of you

In the block quote below, I bolded everything excerpted from Etymonline for 'quorum {noun}'. Everything else (ie the annotations) originates from: p 469 , The Justice of the Peace and Parish Officer, ...
2
votes
1answer
138 views

(if any) meaning in legal context

What does 'if any' mean in the legal context below? When the Registrar receives under subsection 33(1), 34(1) or 35(1) or (2) an application or notice (as the case may be) from the payee or payer of ...
5
votes
3answers
19k views

What's the word Copyright and `(C)' mean?

In the lines: Copyright (C) 1994 Tom Copyright (C) 1995, 1996 Cruise Copyright (C) 1997, 1998 Louis Here, what's the original meaning of "Copyright"? And why the mark "(C)"? And, what is ...
0
votes
1answer
65 views

Do “ensure” and “assure” invoke legal obligations?

Not sure where else to put this as I did not see a StackExchange for legal questions. Will gladly remove if someone can suggest a more appropriate place. We are submitting a proposal in response to ...
1
vote
0answers
64 views

How to rationalise the legal definition of 'to procure'?

How can I resolve the contradictions below? What's the right derivation? I already understand and so ask NOT about the definition, below which I want to burrow. I heed the Etymological Fallacy. ...
0
votes
4answers
346 views

What do you call a document that doesn't need a signature?

Is there a term describing a document that doesn't need to be signed in order to be valid? Edit after several answers and comments: An electronic banking system can generate documents for a user to ...
0
votes
1answer
36 views

What a pronoun should one use: “you” or “yours”? [duplicate]

This document sets out the rights and responsibilities of [you || yours], the Company, and the concerned third parties. If "the Client's rights" can be rephrased to "the rights of Client", then, ...
1
vote
3answers
142 views

What kind of structure with a relative pronoun is this?

As Lord Esher once noted, ‘Any proposition the result of which would be to show that the common law of England is wholly unreasonable and unjust cannot be part of the common law of England.’ ...
0
votes
1answer
125 views

Is there the term “majour fource” in English? [closed]

A person from the legal department replaced "major force" with "majour fource" in a document. I wanna know if this spelling has any background in the English language or is a typo.
6
votes
4answers
16k views

Does 'should' imply an unquestionable command?

My question is prompted by a question on the programmers.stackexchange: This may be a duplicate of another question here on english.stackechange, but the answers given to that question did not ...
0
votes
4answers
99 views

“About which” in legal English

How can I say "about which" in legal English (using some word akin to "herein" and "therewith")? For example, I would like to say "John Smith was born on April 1, about which there was made a record," ...
2
votes
3answers
138 views

Figurative meaning of 'suit' - 1615 UK?

Source: p 105, The Law of Contract, 5 ed (2012), by O’Sullivan and Hilliard It is encapsulated in the difficult seventeenth-century language of Lampleigh v Braithwait (1615): A mere ...
-2
votes
2answers
468 views

Meaning of Without Prejudice [closed]

What does the term "without prejudice" mean in a legal sense (ie near your signature or credentials on a document or contract - binding or not) as opposed to the non-legal meaning? EDIT: Just ...
0
votes
1answer
490 views

What does “Payment with return”?

I'm just working on translating document from English to Polish. The document is called "Account Transcript" and it is from US Internal Revenue Service. Transactions table at the bottom contain ...
29
votes
12answers
8k views

Do the words “jail” and “prison” refer to different things?

In everyday speech, the terms jail and prison are used interchangeably in many situations. However, my understanding is that, at least in the US, they actually refer to slightly different things. For ...
0
votes
1answer
45 views

Archaic meaning of 'procure' - 1615 UK

Source: p 105, The Law of Contract, 5 ed (2012), by O’Sullivan and Hilliard It is encapsulated in the difficult seventeenth-century language of Lampleigh v Braithwait (1615): A mere ...
2
votes
2answers
179 views

Etymology of legal meaning of 'dispositive'

Since Prof. Eugene Volokh has observed its counterintuitiveness, what's an intuitive derivation? Prof. Eugene Volokh: One way of remembering this is by looking at the stem, which turns out to be ...
2
votes
1answer
97 views

use of distainer office, distrainment proceedings, etc

Is "distainer office, distrainment proceedings, distrain order, ..." correct? Even this spell checker highlights these words as incorrect. Some translations use execution office, executor's office, ...
1
vote
1answer
110 views

Term for organization being sponsored — “sponsee”? [duplicate]

I have seen a few sponsorship agreements and in one of them the term "sponsee" was used to define the organization being sponsored. The context was a company who sponsors a local team. The agreement ...
2
votes
2answers
182 views

Help in demystifying the meaning of 2 sentences from an academic journal article!

1.) This is basically an english translation of a section of a Hittite Law code: "If someone wounds a man and makes him ill, he shall nurse him. He shall give a man in his place who will work in his ...
1
vote
6answers
100 views

A general term for standards, legislation, handbooks, etc.?

What is a general word or phrase that could encompass the class of documents called standards (i.e. ISO, ANSI, BS, etc.), legislation, laws, handbooks, style guides, manuals, etc.? Basically, all ...
0
votes
1answer
132 views

Who is a “person who makes notary action”?

A notary is a person who certifies documents. Who is "a person who makes notary action"? Is that the notary or the customer who asked for his documents to be certified? I got this phrase from a local ...
2
votes
2answers
175 views

“right of say” — legal term? poor translation?

I'm looking at a political document where Country A is saying Country B has no right of say over Area C. A cursory search did not turn up a legal term but I do not have an adequate legal dictionary ...
3
votes
1answer
220 views

This long sentence is ambiguous, and difficult for me to understand [closed]

I got this sentence Property value litigation is no different than any other type of litigation where experts are used in that expert opinions are fair game for attack by the opposing side in ...
0
votes
1answer
102 views

What does commute/commutation mean in this context?

I am trying to understand the following sentence from a legal document. Can anyone explain me what 'commutation' means? Immovable property presently sold is free and clear of all seigniorial ...
2
votes
2answers
72 views

Notarial Deed Translation from Canadian English

I have to translate an English document from Quebec into Polish language. However, there is one sentence that I cannot understand: As the whole now subsists with all its rights members and ...