Difficult Words and Expressions in Legal Transcription

Difficult Words and Expressions Legal TranscriptionLegal documents are difficult to understand mainly because of the complex terminology involved. Long sentences and complex terminology make legal transcription more challenging than other types of transcription. Lawyers usually utilize general transcription services to ascertain that they have the transcripts of various court proceedings and other legal recordings on time. Moreover, this also ensures accuracy of the information transcribed. Is it necessary to have a professional service transcribe your legal recordings? In most instances that is a sensible decision because professional transcriptionists understand various legal terms and expressions and provide insightful transcription.

Now let us look at some difficult legal terms that pose a challenge especially when the dictator has a difficult accent or when the audio recording is not clear:

  • Alternate juror: A juror selected just as a regular juror who hears all the evidence but does not help decide the case unless invited to replace a regular juror.
  • Amicus curiae: Latin for “friend of the court.” It is advice formally offered to the court in a brief filed by someone interested in, but is not a party to the case.
  • Arbitration: A method of alternative dispute resolution in which the disputing parties agree to accept the decisions of an arbitrator.
  • Article III judge: A federal judge who is appointed for life, during “good behavior,” under Article III of the Constitution. Article III judges are nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate.
  • Assignment: The transfer of legal rights from one person to another.
  • Bankruptcy: It refers to the process governed by the federal law to help people who cannot or will not pay their bills.
  • Bench trial: A trial without a jury, in which the judge serves as the fact-finder.
  • Bifurcation: Splitting a trial into two parts – liability phase and penalty phase.
  • Burden of proof: The duty to prove disputed facts. In civil cases, this is the responsibility of a plaintiff whereas in criminal cases, the government has the burden of proving the defendant’s guilt.
  • Certiorari: The order of a court so that it can review the proceedings and decisions in the lower court.
  • De facto: Latin, which means “in fact” or “actually.” Something that exists in fact but not as a matter of law.
  • De jure: Latin, meaning “in law.” It signifies something that exists by operation of law.
  • De novo: Latin, meaning “anew.” A trial de novo is a completely new trial.
  • En banc: French, meaning “on the bench.” All judges of an appellate court sitting together to hear a case, as opposed to the regular disposition by panels of three judges.
  • Escrow: The deed of a property will be in escrow (in pending), until the completion of the real estate transaction.
  • Foreclosure: This is when a borrower cannot repay a loan and the lender seeks to sell the property.
  • Habeas corpus: Latin, meaning “you have the body.” A habeas corpus writ generally is a judicial order forcing law enforcement authorities to produce a prisoner they are holding, and to justify the prisoner’s continued confinement.
  • Immunity: Exemption from a legal duty or penalty.
  • Implied warranty: A guarantee imposed by law in a sale.
  • In camera: Latin, meaning in a judge’s chambers or outside the presence of a jury and the public. In private.
  • Intestate: To die without a will.
  • Motion in Limine: A pretrial motion requesting the court to proscribe the other side from presenting, or even referring to, evidence on matters said to be so highly detrimental that no steps taken by the judge can prevent the jury from being overly influenced.
  • Nolo contendere: No contest. This type of plea has the same effect as a plea of guilty, as far as the criminal sentence is concerned, but may not be considered as an admission of guilt for any other purpose.
  • Petit jury or trial jury: A group of citizens who listen to the evidence presented by both sides at trial and determine the facts in dispute.
  • Pro se: A person who represents himself in a court alone without the help of the lawyer.
  • Quash: To cancel out or declare invalid.
  • Sanction: A penalty or other type of enforcement used to bring about compliance with the law or with rules and regulations.
  • Slander: Defamatory oral statements or gestures.
  • Subpoena: An order compelling a person to appear in court or produce documents.
  • Suvoir Dire: It refers to speaking the truth.

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