Glossary of Legal Terms – N
Naturalisation: Process which a foreigner to a country has to go through to become a citizen.
Negligence: Failure to give the standard of care to a person which would normally be expected.
Negotiable: Transferable from one person to another person.
Negotiable instrument: A written document that represents an unconditional promise to pay a specified amount of money upon the demand of its owner. Examples include cheque’s and promissory notes. Negotiable instruments can be transferred from one person to another, as when you write “pay to the order of” on the back of a cheque and turn it over to someone else.
Negotiate: To bargain with another person over something.
Next of kin: The closest relatives as defined by law.
No-fault divorce: Any divorce in which the spouse who wants to split up does not have to accuse the other of any wrongdoing, but can simply state that the couple no longer gets along or the marriage is beyond reconciliation.
No-fault insurance: The payment of compensation irrespective of blame or who is at fault.
Nolle prose qui: Latin meaning ‘we will no longer prosecute’.
Nolo: Latin meaning ‘I choose not to’.
Nominal damages: A small amount of money awarded by a court as a compensation for violation of rights.
Non compos mentis: Latin meaning ‘not having mastery of one’s mind’. To be insane.
Nonfeasance: Failure to carry out or perform a duty which is required.
Notary Public: A licensed public officer who can administers oaths, certify documents and perform other specified functions. A notary public’s signature and seal is required to authenticate the signatures on many legal documents.
Novation: To substitute a new contract for an old one.
Nuisance: Something which interferes with the use of property by being irritating, offensive, obstructive or dangerous. Nuisances include a wide range of conditions, from a chemical plant’s noxious odours to a neighbour’s dog barking. The former would be a “public nuisance,” one affecting many people, while the other would be a “private nuisance,” limited to making your life difficult, unless the dog was bothering others. Lawsuits may be brought to abate (remove or reduce) a nuisance.
Nulla Bona: Latin meaning ‘no goods’.