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Legal Jargon: Not a Conspiracy

All specialized professions have their specific set of jargon and legal jargon is no exception. Although people not working in the legal field may feel that legal jargon is only a way to confuse and overwhelm them, the reality is less conspiratorial. With specialized knowledge comes a host of terms and concepts that are not a part of everyday speech. The vocabulary of law professionals becomes a jargon—a set of words, a small language—that is completely understood by everyone within the system and simply unknown by the rest of the world. It is not hard to understand legal terms most of the time. All you need is a little explanation.

The Meanings of Legal Jargon

In some instances, legal jargon actually involves commonly used and understood words that in a legal context have a different meaning. This possibility for double meaning is important because the general public may sometimes think they understand the words, but the real meaning of the words is something different as part of legal jargon. In legal conversation and especially documents, every word is important, so a single misunderstanding can be a serious problem. Here are a few of the more common legal jargon words that you might hear in the future.

An affidavit is a formal statement written by someone who swears on oath that it is true. It is often used in legal proceedings. Ancillary relief is a general term that refers to court orders applying to financial matters. For example, a judge ordering a defendant to pay money to a victim is ancillary relief. A Decree Absolute is the final court decision ending a marriage in divorce court. Domicile essentially refers to the country where a person is living with the intention of it becoming a permanent home. An injunction is an emergency ruling that prevents or requires an immediate action. Obviously for as many categories of law that exist, there are hundreds or thousands of examples of jargon. These are only some of the possibilities. To find out the meanings of other legal jargon, check out Internet sites or dictionaries specifically related to legal jargon.

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