A crime punishable by death.
The heading of a pleading or case file, indicating the parties, the court, case number and other pertinent information.
A complete collection of every document filed in court in a case.
The law as established in previous court decisions. A synonym for legal precedent. Akin to common law, which springs from tradition and judicial decisions.
The number of cases handled by a judge or a court.
A legal claim or action.
The offices of a judge and his/her staff.
The removal of an action to another jurisdiction for legal reasons.
The chapter of the Bankruptcy Code providing for “liquidation,” that is, the sale of a debtor’s nonexempt property and the distribution of the proceeds to creditors. In order to be eligible for Chapter 7, the debtor must satisfy a “means test.” The court will evaluate the debtor’s income and expenses to determine if the debtor may proceed under Chapter 7.
A person appointed in a Chapter 7 case to represent the interests of the bankruptcy estate and the creditors. The trustee’s responsibilities include reviewing the debtor’s petition and schedules, liquidating the property of the estate, and making distributions to creditors. The trustee may also bring actions against creditors or the debtor to recover property of the bankruptcy estate.
The chapter of the Bankruptcy Code providing for reorganization of municipalities (which includes cities and towns, as well as villages, counties, taxing districts, municipal utilities, and school districts).
A reorganization bankruptcy, usually involving a corporation or partnership. A Chapter 11 debtor usually proposes a plan of reorganization to keep its business alive and pay creditors over time. Individuals or people in business can also seek relief in Chapter 11.
The chapter of the Bankruptcy Code providing for adjustment of debts of a “family farmer” or “family fisherman,” as the terms are defined in the Bankruptcy Code.
The chapter of the Bankruptcy Code providing for the adjustment of debts of an individual with regular income, often referred to as a “wage-earner” plan. Chapter 13 allows a debtor to keep property and use his or her disposable income to pay debts over time, usually three to five years.
A person appointed to administer a Chapter 13 case. A Chapter 13 trustee’s responsibilities are similar to those of a Chapter 7 trustee; however, a Chapter 13 trustee has the additional responsibilities of overseeing the debtor’s plan, receiving payments from debtors, and disbursing plan payments to creditors.
The chapter of the Bankruptcy Code dealing with cases of cross-border insolvency.
The judge who has primary responsibility for the administration of a court; chief judges are determined by seniority.
A group of numbers and letters used to locate a previously decided case in a law casebook. Ex. 15 N.Y. 2d 500 –
A creditor’s assertion of a right to payment from a debtor or the debtor’s property.
A lawsuit in which one or more members of a large group, or class, of individuals or other entities sue on behalf of the entire class. The district court must find that the claims of the class members contain questions of law or fact in common before the lawsuit can proceed as a class action.
The court officer who oversees administrative functions, especially managing the flow of cases through the court. The clerk’s office is often called a court’s central nervous system.
A way to solve legal problems without going to court. Both sides have a lawyer but they agree not to go to court.
Property that is promised as security for the satisfaction of a debt.
The power of a court to order a person to a correctional institution, mental hospital or juvenile reformatory.
The legal system that originated in England and is now in use in the United States, which relies on the articulation of legal principles in a historical succession of judicial decisions. Common law principles can be changed by legislation.
A special condition the court imposes that requires an individual to work – without pay – for a civic or nonprofit organization.
A determination by the court that a person is legally fit and qualified to give evidence.
A written statement that begins a civil lawsuit, in which the plaintiff details the claims against the defendant.
Opinion of a judge or justice of an appellate court which is in agreement with the decision rendered by another judge for the same or different reasons.
Prison terms for two or more offenses to be served at the same time, rather than one after the other. Example: Two five-year sentences and one three-year sentence, if served concurrently, result in a maximum of five years behind bars.
Approval of a plan of reorganization by a bankruptcy judge.
Prison terms for two or more offenses to be served one after the other. Example: Two five-year sentences and one three-year sentence, if served consecutively, result in a maximum of 13 years behind bars.
A bankruptcy case filed to reduce or eliminate debts that are primarily consumer debts.
Debts incurred for personal, as opposed to business, needs.
An act done with the intent to embarrass, hinder or obstruct a court from the administration of justice. Direct contempt is an act done in the presence of the court. Indirect contempt is the wilful disobedience of a court order.
A claim that may be owed by the debtor under certain circumstances, e.g., where the debtor is a cosigner on another person’s loan and that person fails to pay.
An agreement between two or more people that creates an obligation to do or not to do a particular thing.
A judgment of guilt against a criminal defendant.
Legal advice; a term also used to refer to the lawyers in a case.
Claim presented by a defendant in opposition to those claims asserted by the plaintiff.
Government entity authorized to resolve legal disputes. Judges sometimes use “court” to refer to themselves in the third person, as in “the court has read the briefs.”
A person who makes a word-for-word record of what is said in court, generally by using a stenographic machine, shorthand or audio recording, and then produces a transcript of the proceedings upon request.
An allegation in an indictment or information, charging a defendant with a crime. An indictment or information may contain allegations that the defendant committed more than one crime. Each allegation is referred to as a count.
A person to whom or business to which the debtor owes money or that claims to be owed money by the debtor.
Generally refers to two events in individual bankruptcy cases: (1) the “individual or group briefing” from a nonprofit budget and credit counseling agency that individual debtors must attend prior to filing under any chapter of the Bankruptcy Code; and (2) the “instructional course in personal financial management” in chapters 7 and 13 that an individual debtor must complete before a discharge is entered. There are exceptions to both requirements for certain categories of debtors, exigent circumstances, or if the U.S. trustee or bankruptcy administrator have determined that there are insufficient approved credit counseling agencies available to provide the necessary counseling.
The questioning by a party or his/her attorney of another party or a witness called by another party.