Court basics you need to know

By: Erin Thomas


Plaintiff- a person who brings a case against another in a court of law.

Defendant- an individual, company, or institution sued or accused in a court of law.

Complaint- a statement that a situation is unsatisfactory or unacceptable.

Summons- an order to appear before a judge or magistrate, or the writ containing it.

Pleadings- a formal statement of the cause of an action or defense.

Pretrial Conference- A proceeding held before an official trial, to clarify points of law and facts.

Mediation- intervention in a dispute in order to resolve it.

Arbitration- The settling of disputes between two parties by an impartial third party.

Trial- a formal examination of evidence before a judge, and typically before a jury, in order to decide guilt in a case of criminal or civil proceedings.

Preponderance of evidence- the greater weight of the evidence required in a civil lawsuit for the trier of fact to decide in favor of one side or the other.

Verdict- a decision on a disputed issue in a civil or criminal case or an inquest.

Appeal- make a serious or urgent request, typically to the public.