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Forty-Four (44) Vocabulary and Expressions Used in a Court of Law

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The Court of Law is a court that hears cases and decides them on the basis of statutes or the common law. A statute is a law that is passed by a parliament, council, etc. and formally written down. Below are forty- four vocabulary used in a Court of Law context.

1. Courtroom

The place or room in which a court of law meets.The court proceedings take place here.

The courtroom


2. Charge

An official claim made by the police that somebody has committed a crime.

He will face a charge of murder.

3. Circumstantial Evidence

Evidence containing information and details that strongly suggest that something is true but do not prove it. This evidence relies on an inference to connect it to a conclusion of a fact— such as a fingerprint at the scene of a crime.

4. Cross-examine

To question somebody carefully and in a lot of detail about answers that they have already given.

The accused was cross-examined for over three hours.

5. Chambers

A hall in a public building that is used for formal meetings.

6. Committal Bundles

These are documents relating to a case.

7. Capital Offence

An offense that is punishable by death penalty.

8. Case File

A collection of documents and evidence relating to a particular legal case.

9. Court Proceedings

Court proceedings means any court proceeding conducted during the course of the prosecution of a crime committed against a child victim, including pretrial hearings, trial, sentencing, or appellate proceedings.

10. Convict (Noun)

A person who has been found guilty of a crime and sent to prison.

The convict is now serving his last year of sentence.

Convict (Verb)

Declare ( someone) to be quilty of a criminal offence by the verdict of a jury or the decision of a judge in a court of law.

11. Law

The whole system of rules that everyone in a country must obey.


Break the law, against the law, within the law, by law, above the law, etc.

12. Lawyer

A person who is trained and qualified to advise people about the law. He or she represents people in court, and writes legal documents.

13. Lose a Case

To be defeated in a court of law.

14. Lose an Appeal

This is when an appellate court upholds its verdict.

15. Litigation

The process of making or defending a claim in a court.

16. Magistrate

An official who acts as a judge in the lowest courts of law.


To come up before the magistrates.

17. Judge

A person in a court who has the authority to decide how criminals should be punished or to make legal decisions.

18. The Chief Justice

The most important judge in a court.

19. The Attorney General

The most senior legal officer in some countries or states.

20. Offence

An illegal act.


A capital Offence, criminal/serious/minor/sexual, etc. offence.

21. Plaintiff

A person who makes a formal complaint against somebody in a court.



22. Respondent

A person who is accused of something.

23. The Accused

A person who is on trial for commiting an offence.

24. Witness

A person who gives evidence in court.


Defence/prosecution/ witness

25. Evidence

The information that is used in court to try to prove something.

Give evidence

26. Direct Evidence

Evidence that directly links a person to a crime, without the need of any inference (for example, they were seen committing the crime).

27. Arbitrator

A person who is chosen to settle a disagreement.

28. Advocate

A person who defends somebody in court

29. Sentence

The punishment given by a court.

30. Jail Term

A term of imprisonment imposed by a court.

31. Jail/Gaol

A prison.

32. Drop Charges

If the case is not strong or the evidence provided is not sufficient, the prosecution party can drop charges levelled at the accused.

33. Felony

A serious crime such as murder, rape,etc.

34. Appeal Against a Sentence/ Judgement

An appeal is a request made to a higher court to review and change the decision of the original court.

35. Grounds for Appeal

A “ground” is a legal term that means the reason for the appeal. You cannot appeal a court decision simply because you are unhappy with the outcome; you must have a legal ground to file the appeal.

36. Gavel

A small hammer with which a judge, or the chair of a meeting hits a surface to call for attention or order.



37. Peruke

A wig or periwig, worn by the judges.

A Wig


38. Exhibit

A thing that is used in court to prove that somebody is guilty or not guilty.

39. Make a Ruling

An authoritative decision or pronouncement, especially one made by a judge.

40. Imprisonment

The state of being imprisoned; captivity

41. Sue

Institute legal proceedings against (a person or institution), typically for redress.

42. Determine a Case

Making a decision on the case. To officially decide whether the accused is guilty or not.

43. Hear a Case

When a judge or a court of law hears a case, or evidence in a case, they listen to it officially in order to make a decision about it

44. Decide in Favour of

To rule favourably for someone or something

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