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54 Cards in this Set

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A decision by an appellate court to uphold the judgment of a lower court.
Affirm
Any method of resolving a legal conflict other than litigation, such as: negotiation, arbitration, mediation, mini-trials, and summary jury trials.
Alternative dispute resolution
The party who appeals a lower court decision to a higher court.
Appellant
Any court in a state or federal system that reviews cases that have already been tried.
Appellate court
The party opposing an appeal from a lower court to a higher court.
Appellee
A form of alternative dispute resolution in which the parties hire a neutral third party to hear their respective arguments, receive evidence, and then make a binding decision.
Arbitration
The written legal argument that an attorney files with an appeal court.
Brief
The allocation of which party must prove its case. In a civil case, the plaintiff has the burden of proof to persuade the factfinder of every element of her case. In a criminal case, the government has the burden of proof.
Burden of proof
Formal notice from the United States Supreme Court that it will accept a case for review.
Certiorari, writ of
An attorney's request, during voir dire, to excuse a prospective juror because of apparent bias.
Challenge for cause
A method of litigating a civil lawsuit in which one or more plaintiffs (or occasionally defendants) seek to represent an entire group of people with similar claims against a common opponent.
Class action
A pleading, filed by the plaintiff, providing a short statement of the claim.
Complaint
A claim made by the defendant against the plaintiff.
Counter-claim
During a hearing, for a lawyer to question an opposing witness.
Cross-examination
Court order awarding one party everything it requested because the opposing party failed to respond in time.
Default judgment
The person being questioned in a deposition.
Deponent
A form of discovery in which a party's attorney has the right to ask oral questions of the other party or of a witness. Answers are given under oath.
Deposition
During a hearing, for a lawyer to question his own witness.
Direct examination
The decision by a court to instruct a jury that it must find in favor of a particular party because, in the judge's opinion, no reasonable person could disagree on the outcome.
Directed verdict
A stage in litigation, after all pleadings have been served, in which each party seeks as much relevant information as possible about the opposing party's case.
Discovery
Law governing the proof offered during a trial or formal hearing. These rules limit the questions that may be asked of witnesses and the introduction of physical objects.
Evidence, rules of
A mistake made by a trial judge that concerns a legal issue as opposed to a factual matter. Permitting too many leading questions is a legal error; choosing to believe one witness rather than another is a factual matter.
Error of law
A witness in a court case who has special training or qualifications to discuss a specific issue and who is generally permitted to state an opinion.
Expert witness
One of the two main types of civil cases that a United States district court has the power to hear. It involves a federal statute or a constitutional provision.
Federal question jurisdiction
A ruling made by a trial court which an appeals court determines was legally wrong but not fatal to the decision.
Harmless error
A method of administrative agency procedure incorporating some elements of formal and some elements of informal rulemaking, typically involving a limited public hearing with restricted rights of testimony and cross-examination.
Hybrid rulemaking
"In the judge's chambers," meaning that the judge does something out of view of the jury and the public.
In camera
The explanation given by a judge to a jury, outlining the jury's task in deciding a lawsuit and the underlying rules of law the jury should use in reaching its decision.
Instructions or charge
A form of discovery in which one party sends to an opposing party written questions that must be answered under oath.
Interrogatory
"Judgment notwithstanding the verdict." A trial judge overturns the verdict of the jury and enters a judgment in favor of the opposing party.
Judgment non obstante verdicto (n.o.v.)
The power of a court to hear a particular dispute, civil or criminal, and to make a binding decision.
Jurisdiction
The process of resolving disputes through formal court proceedings.
Litigation
The process of using a neutral person to aid in the settlement of a legal dispute. A mediator's decision is non-binding.
Mediation
A form of alternative dispute resolution in which the parties present short versions of their cases to a panel of three "judges."
Mini-trial
An appellate court order changing a lower court ruling
Modify
A formal request that a court take some specified step during litigation. A motion to compel discovery is a request that a trial judge order the other party to respond to discovery.
Motion
To terminate a lawsuit, often on procedural grounds, without reaching the merits of the case.
Motion to dismiss
The administrative agency charged with overseeing labor law.
National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)
During voir dire, a request by one attorney that a prospective juror be excused for an unstated reason
Peremptory challenge
The documents that begin a lawsuit: the complaint, the answer, the counter-claim and reply.
Pleadings
The level of proof that a plaintiff must meet to prevail in a civil lawsuit. It means that the plaintiff must offer evidence that, in sum, is slightly more persuasive than the defendant's evidence.
Preponderance of the evidence
A federal statute prohibiting federal agencies from divulging to other agencies or organizations information about private citizens.
Privacy Act
A form of discovery in which one party demands that the other furnish original documents or physical things, relating to the suit, for inspection and copying.
Production of documents and things
A court order limiting one party's discovery.
Protective order
The level of proof that the government must meet to convict the defendant in a criminal case. The factfinder must be persuaded to a very high degree of certainty that the defendant did what the government alleges.
Reasonable doubt
The power of an appellate court to return a case to a lower court for additional action.
Remand
A pleading, filed by the plaintiff in response to a defendant's counterclaim.
Reply
The power of an appellate court to overrule a lower court and grant judgment for the party that had lost in the lower court.
Reverse
The power of an administrative agency to issue regulations.
Rulemaking
The power of a trial court to terminate a lawsuit before a trial has begun, on the grounds that no essential facts are in dispute.
Summary judgment
A form of alternative dispute resolution in which a small panel of jurors hears shortened, summarized versions of the evidence.
Summary jury trial
Any court in a state or federal system that holds formal hearings to determine the facts in a civil or criminal case.
Trial court
The decision of the factfinder in a case.
Verdict
The process of selecting a jury. Attorneys for the parties and the judge may inquire of prospective jurors whether they are biased or incapable of rendering a fair and impartial verdict.
Voir dire