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Words to be Familiar with when Going Through Court

Words Words Words to Know Know Know

plaintiff- this is the person bringing a case into a court of law

defendant- this is the person accused of a crime in the case

complaint- the document that starts the process of a person being accused of a crime or felony

summons- a writ (or order) to appear in front of a judge

pleadings- this defines the issues to be discussed in the case. (If you are the plaintiff, make sure you put everything you want mentioned in this!)

pretrial conference- typically used more so in civil than criminal charges, but it is a meeting that discusses the pleadings of the case and defines the issues that will be put in front of the court

mediation- this is a way of resolving a dispute between two parties, and typically involves a third party known as the mediator

arbitration- this is when a third person known as an arbitrator is hired to settle a dispute

trial- this is when evidence is examined in front of a judge and jury, witnesses speak, etc to determine whether or not the defendant is guilty.

preponderance of evidence- this is the greater weight of evidence required in a civil lawsuit to decide in favor of one side or the other

verdict- a decision on an issue in a civil or criminal court case

appeal- this is when you decide to try to get a higher court to hear your case because you do not agree with the decisions made by a lower court

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