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Glossary


Lapsed gift
A gift made in a will to a person who has died prior to the will-maker’s death.
Larceny
Obtaining property by fraud or deceit.
Law
The combination of those rules and principles of conduct promulgated by legislative authority, derived from court decisions and established by local custom.
Law clerks
Persons trained in the law who assist judges in researching legal opinions.
Leading question
A question that suggests the answer desired of the witness. A party generally may not ask one’s own witness leading questions. Leading questions may be asked only of hostile witnesses and on cross-examination.
Legal aid
Professional legal services available usually to persons or organizations unable to afford such services.
Leniency
Recommendation for a sentence less than the maximum allowed.
Lesser included offense
Any lesser offense included in the statute under the original charge.
Letters of administration
Legal document issued by a court that shows an administrator’s legal right to take control of assets in the deceased person’s name.
Letters testamentary
Legal document issued by a court that shows an executor’s legal right to take control of assets in the deceased person’s name.
Liable
Legally responsible.
Libel
Published words or pictures that falsely and maliciously defame a person. Libel is published defamation; slander is spoken.
Lien
A legal claim against another person’s property as security for a debt. A lien does not convey ownership of the property, but gives the lienholder a right to have his or her debt satisfied out of the proceeds of the property if the debt is not otherwise paid.
Limine
A motion requesting that the court not allow certain evidence that might prejudice the jury.
Limited jurisdiction
Refers to courts that are limited in the types of criminal and civil cases they may hear. For example, traffic violations generally are heard by limited jurisdiction courts.
Lis pendens
A pending suit. Jurisdiction, power, or control which courts acquire over property in a suit pending action and until final judgment. Notice of Lis Pendens: A notice filed on public records for the purpose of warning all persons that the title to certain property is in lititation, and that they are in danger of being bound by an adverse judgment. The notice is for the purpose of preserving rights pending litigation.
Litigant
A party to a lawsuit. Litigation refers to a case, controversy, or lawsuit.
Living trust
A trust set up and in effect during the lifetime of the grantor. Also called inter vivos trust.