United States Court of Appeals Courts which hear appeals from federal district courts, bankruptcy courts, and tax courts.
United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces Court which hears appeals from court marshal decisions .
United States Court of Claims Court which hears actions against the U.S. Government.
United States Court of Customs & Patent Appeals Court which hears appeals from all U.S. customs courts.
United States Court of International Trade Court which hears cases concerning federal tariff laws.
United States District Courts Courts which try both criminal and civil actions and admiralty cases.
United States Magistrate Judge Courts given authority by 28 U.S.C. s 636. This court hears all preliminary criminal matters, but does not conduct felony trials, and any pretrial civil matters referred by the district court. If all parties consent, criminal misdemeanor and civil trials can be heard by this court.
United States Marshal’s Service Agency which serves civil and criminal process in federal courts.
United States Reports Publication of court decisions of the United States Supreme Court.
United States Supreme Court The highest court in the land, established by U.S. Constitution.
Unlawful detainer A detention of real estate without the consent of the owner or other person entitled to its possession.
Unliquidated debt Remaining not determined; unassisted or unsettled; in dispute as to the proper amount.
Unsecured debts In bankruptcy, debts such as open accounts at department stores for which the debtor has not pledged collateral to guarantee payment.
Usury Extraction of interest on a loan above the maximum rate permitted by statute.
Vacate To set aside.
Venire A writ summoning persons to court to act as jurors.
Venue Authority of a court to hear a matter based on geographical location.
Verdict A conclusion, as to fact or law that forms the basis for the court’s judgment.
Veterans’ Administration (VA) The federal agency which administers a system of benefits for veterans and their dependents.
Visa An official endorsement on a document or passport denoting that the bearer may proceed.
Void Invalid; a void agreement is one for which there is no remedy.
Voidable Capable of being declared invalid; a voidable contract is one where a person may avoid his obligation, as a contract between an adult and a minor.
Voir dire The preliminary examination made in court of a witness or juror to determine his competency or interest in a matter. Literally, to speak the truth.
Voluntary bankruptcy A proceeding by which a debtor voluntarily asks for a discharge of his debts under the Bankruptcy Code.
Wage Earner’s Plan Also, Chapter 13. A chapter of the Bankruptcy Code which allows a debtor to file a wage earner’s plan for payment of a percentage of his debts from future earnings.
Waiver Intentionally given up right.
Waiver of immunity A means authorized by statute by which a witness, before testifying or producing evidence, may relinquish the right to refuse to testify against himself or herself, thereby making it possible for his or her testimony to be used against him or her in future proceedings.
Warrant Most commonly, a court order authorizing law enforcement officers to make an arrest or conduct a search. An application seeking a warrant must be accompanied by an affidavit which establishes probable cause by detailing the facts upon which the request is based.
Warranty A promise that a proposition of fact is true.
Warranty deed A deed which guarantees that the title conveyed is good and its transfer rightful.
Water rights The right to use water.
Will A legal declaration that disposes of a person’s property when that person dies.
Withholding A tax deducted from a salary, wage, or other income on behalf of the government at the time of payment of wages to the person who pays it.
With prejudice A declaration which dismisses all rights. A judgment barring the right to bring or maintain an action on the same claim or cause.
Without prejudice A declaration that no rights or privileges of the party concerned are waived or lost. In a dismissal these words maintain the right to bring a subsequent suit on the same claim.
Witness One who personally sees or perceives a thing; one who testifies as to what he has seen, heard, or otherwise observed.
Words and Phrases Legally Defined A set of books in dictionary form which lists judicial determinations of a word or phrase.
Worker’s compensation A state agency which handles claims of workers injured on their jobs.
Writ A judicial order directing a person to do something.
Writ of certiorari An order issued by the Supreme Court directing the lower court to transmit records for a case for which it will hear on appeal.
Writ of execution An order of the court evidencing debt of one party to another and commanding the court officer to take property in satisfaction of the debt.
Writ of garnishment An order of the court whereby property, money, or credits int he possession of another person may be seized and applied to pay a debtor’s debt. It is used as an incident to or auxiliary of a judgment rendered in a principal action.
Zoning Commission Local agencies with jurisdiction to regulate use of properties within their geographic area.