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Glossary of Legal Terms Index


Glossary of Legal Terms – D

Damages: The amount of money ordered by the court to be paid by one party to the other as a way of compensation in a law suit.

Debenture: A sealed document showing that a debt is owed and will be paid, often creating an enforceable charge.

Debt consolidation: Combining and repaying severaldebts to a single creditor.

Deceased: A person who has died.

Decree: An order or judgement made by a court.

Decree Absolute: A court order giving final granting of the dissolution or divorce of a marriage.

Decree Nisi: A provisional court order for granting of divorce or disslution of a marriage.

Decree of Nullity: A court order stating that a particular ceremony of marriage was invalid.

Deed: A formally signed, sealed and delivered written record.

De facto: In fact.

Defamation: Public statement which is an attack on a persons reputation, slander or libel.

Default: Failure to fulfil a contractual or legal duty.

Defendant: person accused and charged with a criminal offence on trial in a court.

De novo: Fresh, starting again.

Debenture: Any document issued by a corporation evidencing or securing a loan.

Deceit: An action in tort for fraudulent misrepresentation.

Decree: A court order.

Deed: A written document signed, sealed and delivered or expressed to be a deed.

Deed Poll: A deed by one party only.

Default: To fail to carry out a duty or obligation.

Defendant: The person against whom a legal action is brought.

De-Jure: Latin for ‘by law’ or ‘by right’ legitimate or legal.

Del credere agent: An agent for the sale of goods who guarantees price and/or title.

Demurrer: Defendants procedural response alledging that, even if the plaintiffs’ accusationw were true, there is no need for the defence to go any further on the grounds that the defendant has nothing to answer.

Deport: To expel a person deemed undesirable or to transport and banish a criminal.

Deposition: A written sworn testimony taken either in or out of court used to gather information before trial.

Deposit: Payment of money by way of:

1. an earnest

2. part payment or

3. evidence of good faith

Detainer: Holding persons or property unlawfully or against their will.

Devise: To transfer ownership of real estate by way of a will and testimony.

Disbar: To revoke authority of a barrister to practice.

Disclaimer: Renunciation or rejection of a claim, property or right document.

Dismissal: A court order which ends a defence or a claim before the trial begins, or is in progress but no verdict has been made.

Dissolution: Terminating of a marriage contract, to cancel a contract or to terminate a corporation.

Divest: To take away.

Dividend: payment of a share of profits for shareholders. Payment by an insurance company to relevant policy holders or payment to a creditor to settle bankruptcy.

Donatio mortis causa: A gift given in anticipation of the giver’s death.

Duress: Use of improper or undue pressure to persuade person/s to do some act.

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