Easement


The right of using the real property of another for a particlar purpose. Typical easements are for access to another property (often redundantly stated "access and egress," since entry and exit are over the same path), for utility or sewer lines both under and above ground, entry to make repairs on a fence or slide area, drive cattle across and other uses. The easement is itself a real property interest, but legal title to the underlying land is retained by the original owner for all other purposes.

Egress


It means a way of departure. A word usually used in conjunction with "access" or "ingress."

Ejectment


A lawsuit which is brought to remove a party who is possessing real property. This is not the same as an unlawful detainer (eviction) suit against a non-paying or unsatisfactory tenant. It is against someone who has tried to claim title to the property.

Ejusdem generis


(Eh-youse-dem generous) It is similar to Latin words "of the same kind," which is used to interpret loosely written statutes. Where a law lists specific classes of persons or things and then refers to them in general, the general statements only apply to the same kind of persons or things specifically listed.

Election of remedies


If a plaintiff claims for two remedies based on legal theories which are inconsistent (a judge can grant only one or the other), the plaintiff must decide which one is the most provable and which one he/she really wants to pursue, usually just before the trial begins.

Election under the will


Statutes under which widow is given a particular percentage of the late husband's estate (such as dower), the surviving wife may elect to take that percentage instead of any lesser amount (or assets with unacceptable conditions such as an estate which will be cancelled if she remarries) left to her under his will.

Eleemosynary


(eh-luh-moss-uh-nary) Charitable, as applies to a purpose or institution.

Element


A) Essential requirement of a zoning general plan. B) An essential requirement to a cause of action (the right to bring a lawsuit to enforce a particular right). Each cause of action (negligence, breach of contract, trespass, assault, etc.) is made up of a basic set of elements which must be alleged and proved. Each charge of a criminal offense requires allegation and proof of its elements.

Emancipation


Act of freeing a minor child from the control of parents and allowing the minor to live on his/her own or under the control of others. It usually applies to adolescents who leave the parents' household by agreement or demand. Emancipation may also end the responsibility of a parent for the acts of a child, including debts, negligence or criminal acts. Sometimes it is one of the events which cuts off the obligation of a divorced parent to pay child support.

Embezzlement


The crime in which funds or property of an employer, company or government is stolen or money or assets held in trust is misappropriated.

Embezzler


A person who commits the crime of embezzlement by fraudulently taking funds or property of an employer or trust is called embezzler.

Emblements


Crops to which a tenant who cultivated the land is entitled by agreement with the owner. If the tenant dies before harvest the crop will become the property of his/her estate.

Emergency


A sudden, unforeseen happening which requires action to correct or to protect lives and/or property.

Eminent domain


The power of a governmental entity to take private real estate for purpose of public use, with or without the permission of the owner.

Emolument


Salary, wages and benefits which are paid for employment or an office held.

Emotional distress


An increasingly popular basis for a claim of damages in lawsuits for injury due to the negligence or intentional acts of another.

Employee


A person who is appointed for a wage, salary, fee or payment to perform work for an employer. The employee is called an agent and the employer is called the principal. This is important to determine if one is acting as employee when injured (for worker's compensation) or when he/she causes damage to another, thereby making the employer liable for damages to the injured party.

Employer


A person or entity which hires the services of another.

Employment


The hiring of a person for wages. It is important to determine if acts occurred in the "scope of employment" to establish the possible responsibility of the employer to the employee for injuries on the job or to the public for acts of the employee.

En banc


(on bonk) In French word "in the bench," it signifies a decision by the full Court of all the appeals judges in jurisdictions where there is more than one, three or four judge panel. The larger number sit in judgment when the court feels there is a particularly significant issue at stake or when requested by one or both parties to the case and agreed to by the court.

Enabling clause


A provision in a new statute which is used to empowers a particular public official (Governor, State Treasurer) to put it into effect, including making expenditures.

Enclosure


(inclosure) Land which is bounded by a fence, wall, hedge, ditch or other physical evidence of boundary. Unfortunately, too often these creations are not included among the actual legally described boundaries and cause legal problems

Encroach


To construct a structure which is in whole or in part across the property line of another's real property. This may occur due to incorrect surveys, guesses or miscalculations by builders and/or owners when erecting a building. The solutions vary from giving the encroaching party an easement or lease (for a price, usually) for the lifetime of the building, or if the structure is small, actually moving it onto the owner's own property.

Encroachment


Constructing such structure of building which is in whole or in part on a neighbor's property.

Encumbrance


(incumbrance) A general term for any claim or lien on a parcel of real property. These include: mortgages, deeds of trust, recorded abstracts of judgment, unpaid real property taxes. While the owner has title, any encumbrance is usually on record and must be paid for at some point.

Endorse (indorse)


A) To pledge support to a program, proposal or candidate. B) To sign one's name to the back of a check, bill of exchange or other negotiable instrument with the intention of making it cashable or transferable.

Endorsement


(indorsement) A) Signing by owner or payee to the back of a check, bill of exchange or other negotiable instrument so as to make it payable to another or cashable by any person. An endorsement may be made after a specific direction "for deposit only", called a qualified endorsement, or with no qualifying language, thereby making it payable to the holder, called a blank endorsement. There are also other forms of endorsement which may give credit or restrict the use of the check. B) The act of pledging or committing support to a program, proposal or candidate.

Endowment


Act of creating fund, often by gift or bequest from a dead person's estate, for the maintenance of a public institution.

Enjoin


For a Court to order that someone either do a specific act, cease a course of conduct or be prohibited from committing a certain act. To obtain such an order, called an injunction, a private party or public agency has to file a petition for a writ of injunction, serve it on the party he/she/it hopes to be enjoined, allowing time for a written response. Then a court hearing is held in which the judge will consider evidence, both written and oral, listen to the arguments and then either grant the writ or deny it. If granted the court will issue a final or permanent injunction. A preliminary injunction or temporary injunction is an order made by the court while the matter is being processed and considered, based on the petition and any accompanying declarations, either of which is intended to keep matters in status quo (as they are) or prevent possible irreparable harm (like cutting trees, poisoning a stream or moving out of the country with a child or money) until a final decision is made.

Enjoyment


A) Pleasure. B) The use of funds or occupancy of property. Sometimes this is used in the phrase "quiet enjoyment" which means one is entitled to be free of noise or interference. C) To exercise a right.

Enter a judgment


Recording of a judgment on the "judgment roll," which entry is normally performed by the Court clerk once the exact wording of the judgment has been prepared or approved and signed by the trial judge. All times for appeal and other post-judgment actions are based on the date of the entry of judgment and not the date when the judgment is announced.

Entity


Any institution, company, corporation, partnership, government agency, university or any other organization which is distinguished from individuals.

Entrapment


In criminal law, the act of law enforcement officers or government agents inducing or encouraging a person to commit a crime when the potential criminal expresses a desire not to go ahead. The key to entrapment is whether the idea for the commission or encouragement of the criminal act originated with the police or government agents instead of with the "criminal." Entrapment, if proved, is a defense to a criminal prosecution. The accused often claims entrapment in so-called "stings" in which undercover agents buy or sell narcotics, prostitutes' services or arrange to purchase goods believed to be stolen.

Entry of judgment


Act of placing a judgment on the official roll of judgments.

Environmental impact report


A study of all the factors which a land development or construction project would have on the environment in the area, including population, traffic, schools, fire protection, endangered species, archeological artifacts and community beauty. A report has to be submitted to the local governments before the development or project can be approved, unless the governmental body finds there is no possible impact, which finding is called a "negative declaration."

Environmental law


Laws which is made to protect the environment, wildlife, land and beauty, prevent pollution or over-cutting of forests, save endangered species, conserve water, develop and follow general plans and prevent damaging practices. These laws often give individuals and groups the right to bring legal actions or seek court orders to enforce the protections or demand revisions of private and public activity which may have detrimental effects on the environment.

Equal opportunity


A) A term which is applied to employers, lenders and landlords, who advertise that they are "equal opportunity employers," subtly suggesting all others are not, even though they are required by law to be so. B) A right which is guaranteed by law against any discrimination in employment, education, housing or credit rights due to a person's race, color, sex (or sometimes sexual orientation), religion, national origin, age or handicap. A person who believes he/she has not been granted equal opportunity or has been outright sexually harassed or discriminated against may file a lawsuit.

Equal protection of the law


The right of all persons to have the same access to the law and Courts and to be treated equally by the law and Courts, both in procedures and in the substance of the law. It is akin to the right to due process of law, but in particular applies to equal treatment as an element of fundamental fairness.

Equitable


A) Refers to positive remedies (orders to do something, not money damages) employed by the courts to solve disputes or give relief. B) Just which is based on fairness and not legal technicalities.

Equitable estoppel


Where a Court will not grant a judgment or other legal relief to a party who has not acted fairly.

Equitable lien


A lien on property which is imposed by a Court in order to achieve fairness, particularly when someone has possession of property which he/she holds for another.

Equity


A) The net value of real property, which is determined by subtracting the amount of unpaid debts secured by (against) the property from the appraised value of the property. B) A venerable group of rights and procedures to provide fairness, unhampered by the narrow strictures of the old common law or other technical requirements of the law. In essence courts do the fair thing by court orders such as correction of property lines, taking possession of assets, imposing a lien, dividing assets, or injunctive relief (ordering a person to do something) to prevent irreparable damage. The rules of equity arose in England where the strict limitations of common law would not solve all problems, so the King set up courts of chancery (equity) to provide remedies through the royal power.

Equity of redemption


The right of a mortgagor (person owing on a loan or debt against their real property), after commencement of foreclosure proceedings, to "cure" his/her default by making delinquent payments. The mortgagor also must pay all accumulated costs as well as the delinquency to keep the property.

Equivalent


Equal in value, force or meaning.

Ergo


(air-go)conj. It is similar to Latin for "therefore," often used in legal writings. Its most famous use was in Cogito, ergo sum: "I think, therefore I am" principle by French philosopher Rene Descartes (1596-1650).

Erroneous


A) Not according to established law, particularly in a legal decision or court ruling. B) wrong. 2)

Error


A mistake which is made by a judge in procedure or in substantive law, during a hearing, upon petitions or motions, denial of rights, during the conduct of a trial (either granting or denying objections), on approving or denying jury instructions, on a judgment not supported by facts or applicable law or any other step in the judicial process. If a majority of an appeals court finds an error or errors which affect the result, or a denial of fundamental rights such as due process, the higher court will reverse the lower court's error in whole or in part (the entire judgment or a part of it), and remand (send it back) with instructions to the lower court. Appeals courts often find errors which have no prejudicial effect on the rights of a party and are thus harmless error.

Errors and omissions


Malpractice insurance which gives physicians, attorneys, architects, accountants and other professionals coverage for claims by patients and clients for alleged professional errors and omissions which amount to negligence.

Escalator clause


A provision in a lease or other agreement in which rent, installment payments or alimony, for example, will increase from time to time when the cost of living index (or a similar gauge) goes up. Often there is a maximum amount of increase ("cap") and seldom is there a provision for reduction if the cost of living goes down or for deflation instead of inflation.

Escape clause


A provision in a contract which allows one of the parties to be relieved from any obligation if a certain event occurs.

Escheat


From old French eschete, which means "that which falls to one," the forfeit of all property (including bank accounts) to the state treasury if it appears certain that there are no heirs, descendants or named beneficiaries to take the property upon the death of the last known owner.

Escrow


A) Colloquially, the escrow agent is called an "escrow," while actually the escrow is the account and not a person. B) A form of account which is held by an "escrow agent" (an individual, escrow company or title company) into which is deposited the documents and funds in a transfer of real property, including the money, a mortgage or deed of trust, an existing promissory note secured by the real property, escrow "instructions" from both parties, an accounting of the funds and other documents necessary to complete the transaction by a date ("closing") agreed to by the buyer and seller. When the funding is complete and the deed is clear, the escrow agent will then record the deed to the buyer and deliver funds to the seller. The escrow agent or officer is an independent holder and agent for both parties who receives a fee for his/her/its services. C) Originally escrow meant the deed held by the escrow agent. D) To place the documents and funds in an escrow account.

Escrow agent


A person or entity holding documents and funds in a transfer of real property, acting for both parties pursuant to instructions. Typically the agent is a person (commonly an attorney), escrow company or title company, depending on local practice.

Escrow instructions


The written instructions which are given by buyer and seller of real estate given to a title company, escrow company or individual escrow in "closing" a real estate transaction. These instructions are generally prepared by the escrow holder and then approved by the parties and their agents.

Espionage


The crime of spying on the government and/or transferring government secrets on behalf of a foreign country. The other country need not be an "enemy," so espionage may not be treason, which involves aiding an enemy.

Esquire


A form of address which is showing that someone is an attorney. Originally in England an Esquire was a rank just above "gentleman" and below "knight." It became a title for barristers, sheriffs and judges.

Estate


A) An alternative term for real property interest which is used in conjunction with another defining word, like "life estate," "estate for years," or "real estate." B) All that one owns in real estate and other assets. C) All the possessions of one who has died and are subject to probate (administration supervised by the court) and distribution to heirs and beneficiaries, all the possessions which a guardian manages for a ward (young person requiring protection and administration of affairs), or assets a conservator manages for a conservatee (a person whose physical or mental lack of competence requires administration of his/her affairs).

Estate by entirety


Tenancy by the entirety.

Estop


To stop, bar or prevent.

Estoppel


A prevention or impediment (obstruction) which precludes a person from asserting a fact or a right or prevents one from denying a fact. Such a hindrance is due to a person's actions, conduct, statements, admissions, failure to act or judgment against the person in an identical legal case. Estoppel includes being barred by false representation or concealment (equitable estoppel), failure to take legal action until the other party is prejudiced by the delay (estoppel by laches), and a court ruling against the party on the same matter in a different case (collateral estoppel).

Et al.


It is an abbreviation for the Latin phrase et alii meaning "and others." This is commonly used in shortening the name of a case.

Et seq.


(et seek) It is an abbreviation for the Latin phrase et sequentes meaning "and the following." It is commonly used by lawyers to include numbered lists, pages or sections after the first number is stated.

Et ux.


(et uhks) It is an abbreviation for the Latin words et uxor meaning "and wife." It is usually found in deeds, tax assessment rolls and other documents in the form "John Abraham et ux.," to show that the wife as well as the husband own property. The connotation that somehow the wife is merely an adjunct to her husband, as well as the modern concepts of joint tenancy, tenancy in common, community property where applicable and equal rights of the sexes have combined to make the expression a chauvinistic anachronism.

Evasion of tax


A) to evade tax. B) The intentional attempt to avoid paying taxes through fraudulent means by using legal "loopholes" or errors.

Eviction


A generic word for the act of dispossessing to someone from real property either by legal action (suit for unlawful detainer), a claim of superior (actual) title to the property, or actions which prevent the tenant from continuing in possession (constructive eviction). Most frequently eviction consists of ousting a tenant who has breached the terms of a lease or rental agreement by not paying rent or a tenant who has stayed (held over) after the term of the lease has expired or only had a month-to-month tenancy.

Evidence


Every type of proof which is legally presented at trial (allowed by the judge) which is intended to convince the judge and/or jury of alleged facts material to the case. It can include oral testimony of witnesses, including experts on technical matters, documents, public records, objects, photographs and depositions (testimony under oath taken before trial). Circumstantial evidence is part of it which is intended to create belief by showing surrounding circumstances which logically lead to a conclusion of fact. Comments and arguments by the attorneys, statements by the judge and answers to questions which the judge has ruled objectionable are not evidence. Charts, maps and models which are used to demonstrate or explain matters are not evidence themselves, but testimony based upon such items and marks on such material may be evidence. Evidence must survive objections of opposing attorneys that it is irrelevant, immaterial or violates rules against "hearsay" (statements by a party not in court), and/or other technicalities.

Ex delicto


(ex dee-lick-toe)adj. A reference to something that arises out of a fault or wrong, but not out of contracts. Of only academic interest today, it identified actions which were civil wrongs (torts).

Ex officio


(ex oh-fish-ee-oh)dj. "From the office," to describe someone who has a right because of an office held, such as being allowed to sit on a committee simply because one is president of the corporation.

Ex parte


In Latin it means "for one party," referring to motions, hearings or orders granted on the request of and for the benefit of one party only. This is an exception to the basic rule of court procedure that both parties must be present at any argument before a judge, and to the otherwise strict rule that an attorney may not notify a judge without previously notifying the opposition. Ex parte matters are usually temporary orders (like a restraining order or temporary custody) pending a formal hearing or an emergency request for a continuance. Most jurisdictions require at least a diligent attempt to contact the other party's lawyer at the time and place of any ex parte hearing.

Ex post facto


In Latin for "after the fact," which refers to laws adopted after an act is committed making it illegal although it was legal when done, or increasing the penalty for a crime after it is committed.

Examination


A) The questioning of a witness by an attorney in the matter of a case. Direct examination is interrogation by the attorney who called the witness, and cross-examination is questioning by the opposing attorney. A principal difference is that an attorney putting questions to his own witness cannot ask "leading" questions, which put words in the mouth of the witness or suggest the answer, while on cross-examination he/she can pose a question that seems to contain an answer or suggest language for the witness to use or agree to. B) In criminal law, a preliminary examination is a hearing before a judge or other magistrate to determine whether a defendant charged with a felony should be held for trial. Usually this is held by a lower court and if there is any substantial evidence to show a felony has been committed by the defendant he/she is bound over to the appropriate court for trial, but otherwise the charge will be dismissed by the judge. C) In bankruptcy, the questions asked of a debtor by the judge, trustee in bankruptcy, attorneys or even creditors, to determine the state of the debtor's affairs.

Exception


A) A formal objection during trial to the ruling of a judge on any matter, including rulings on objections to evidence, to show to a higher court that the lawyer did not agree with the ruling. In modern practice, it is not necessary "to take exception" to a judge's adverse ruling, since it is now assumed that the attorney against whom the ruling is made objects. This also keeps the transcribed record from being cluttered with shouts of "exception." B) In contracts, statutes or deeds, a statement that some matter is not included.

Exception in deed


A notation in a deed of title to real property which states that certain interests, such as easements or a life estate, are not included in the transfer (conveyance) of title.

Excessive bail


An amount of bail which is posted by an accused which is much more than necessary or usual to assure he/she will make court appearances, particularly in relation to minor crimes. If excessive bail is claimed, the defendant can make a motion for reduction of bail, and if it is not granted, he/she can then apply directly to a court of appeal for reduction.

Exchange


A) The act of making a trade or barter. An exchange of "equivalent" property, including real estate, can defer capital gains taxation until the acquired property is sold. B) To trade or barter property, goods and/or services for other property, goods and/or services, unlike a sale or employment in which money is paid for the property, goods or services.

Excise


A tax which is imposed upon manufacture, sale or for a business license or charter, as distinguished from a tax on real property, income or estates. Sometimes it is redundantly called an excise tax.

Exclusionary rule


The rule that evidence which is secured by illegal means and in bad faith cannot be introduced in a criminal trial. The technical term is that it is "excluded" upon a motion to suppress made by the lawyer for the accused.

Exculpatory


Applies to evidence which may justify or excuse an accused defendant's actions and which will tend to show the defendant is not guilty or has no criminal intent.

Excusable neglect


A legitimate excuse for the failure of a party or his/her lawyer to take required action on time. This is usually claimed to set aside a default judgment for failure to answer (or otherwise respond) in the period set by law. However, if the defendant loses the complaint or fails to call his/her attorney the courts will be less lenient. In any event, the defendant must also show he/she had some worthwhile defense.

Execute


A) To seize property under Court order. B) To put to death pursuant to a sentence rendered by a Court. C) To finish, complete or perform as required, as in fulfilling one's obligations under a contract or a court order. D) To sign and otherwise complete a document, such as acknowledging the signature if required to make the document valid.

Executed


A) To completed and formally signed a document, such as a deed, contract or lease. B) To have been put to death for a crime pursuant to a death sentence. C) To have been completed. D) To have completed or fully performed.

Execution


A) Carrying out a death sentence. B) The procedure of getting an officer of the Court to take possession of the property of a losing party in a lawsuit (judgment debtor) on behalf of the winner (judgment creditor), sell it and use the proceeds to pay the judgment. The procedure is to take the judgment to the clerk of the court and have a writ of execution issued which is taken to the constable or other authorized official with instructions on what property to execute upon. In the case of real property the official must first levy (place a lien on the title), and then execute upon it (seize it). However, the judgment debtor (loser in the lawsuit) may pay the judgment and costs before sale to redeem real estate.

Executive clemency


The power of a President in criminal cases to pardon a person convicted of a crime, commute the sentence (shorten it, often to time already served) or reduce it from death to another lesser sentence. There are many reasons for exercising this power, including real doubts about the guilt of the party, apparent excessive sentence, humanitarian reasons such as illness of an aged inmate, to clear the record of someone who has demonstrated rehabilitation or public service.

Executive order


A declaration made by President or Governor which has the force of law, usually based on existing statutory powers, and requiring no action by the state legislature.

Executive privilege


A claim by the President or another high official of the executive branch that he/she need not answer a request (including a subpena issued by a court) for confidential government or personal communications, on the ground that such revelations would hamper effective governmental operations and decision-making. The rationale is that such a demand would violate the principle of separation of powers among the executive, legislative and judicial branches.

Executor


The person who is appointed to administer the estate of a person who has died leaving a Will which nominates that person. Unless there is a valid objection, the judge will appoint the person named in the will to be executor. The executor must insure that the person's desires expressed in the will are carried out. Practical responsibilities include gathering up and protecting the assets of the estate, obtaining information in regard to all beneficiaries named in the will and any other potential heirs, collecting and arranging for payment of debts of the estate, approving or disapproving creditor's claims, making sure estate taxes are calculated, forms filed and tax payments made, and in all ways assisting the attorney for the estate (which the executor can select).

Executory


Something which is not yet performed or done. Examples: an executory contract is one in which all or part of the required performance has not been done.

Executory interest


An interest in property (particularly real estate) which will only pass to another in the future, or never, if certain events occur.

Executrix


In Latin it is used for female executor. However, the term executor is now unisex.

Exemplary damages


It is called punitive damages, these are damages which are awarded in a lawsuit when the defendant's willful acts were malicious, violent, oppressive, fraudulent, wanton or grossly reckless. Examples of acts warranting exemplary damages: publishing that someone had committed murders when the publisher knew it was not true but hated the person; an ex-husband trashes his former wife's property; a stockbroker buys and sells a widow's stocks to generate commissions resulting in her losing all her capital (money). These damages are awarded both as a punishment and to set a public example. They reward the plaintiff for the horrible nature of what she/he went through or suffered. Although often requested, exemplary damages are seldom awarded. There have been major awards in egregious (remarkable or outstanding) cases, such as fraud schemes, sexual harassment or other intentional and vicious actions even when the provable actual damages were not extensive

Exemption


A) A right which is to be excluded from, such as not being subject to attachment of one's wages if one is in a low-income bracket. B) In income taxation, a credit which is given for each dependent, blindness or other disability, and senior citizens, which result in a downward calculation in tax levels. These are not to be confused with deductions, which reduce gross income upon which taxes are paid.

Exhibit


A) A copy of a paper attached to a pleading (any legal paper filed in a lawsuit), declaration, affidavit or other document, which is referred to and incorporated into the main document. B) A document or object (including a photograph) which introduced as evidence during a trial. These are subject to objections by opposing attorneys just like any evidence.

Expectancy


A possibility of future enjoyment of something one counts on receiving, usually referring to real property or the estate of a deceased person, such as a remainder, reversion, or distribution after the death of someone who has use for life.

Expense


In business accounting and business taxation, any current cost of operation, such as rent, utilities and payroll, as distinguished from capital expenditure for long-term property and equipment.

Expert testimony


Opinions which are stated during trial or deposition (testimony under oath before trial) by a specialist qualified as an expert on a subject relevant to a lawsuit or a criminal case

Expert witness


A person who has specialization in a subject, often technical, who may present his/her expert opinion without having been a witness to any occurrence relating to the lawsuit or criminal case. It is an exception to the rule against giving an opinion in trial, provided that the expert is qualified by evidence of his/her expertise, training and special knowledge. If the expertise is challenged, the attorney for the party calling the "expert" must make a showing of the necessary background through questions in court, and the trial judge has discretion to qualify the witness or rule he/she is not an expert, or is an expert on limited subjects. Experts are usually paid handsomely for their services and may be asked by the opposition the amount they are receiving for their work on the case. In most jurisdictions, both sides must exchange the names and addresses of proposed experts to allow pre-trial depositions.

Express


Direct, unambiguous, distinct language, particularly in a contract, which does not require thought, guessing, inference or implication to determine the meaning.

Express contract


A contract in which all elements are specifically stated (offer, acceptance, lawful consideration), and the terms are stated, as compared to an "implied" contract in which the existence of the contract is assumed by the circumstances.

Expropriation


Act of taking of property or rights by governmental authority such as eminent domain, possibly including an emergency situation, such as taking a person's truck or bulldozer to build a levee during a flood. In such a case just compensation eventually must be paid to the owner, who can make a claim against the taker.

Extension


Granting specific extra time to make a payment, file a legal document after the date due or continue a lease after the original expiration of the term

Extenuating circumstances


Surrounding factors (sometimes called mitigation) which make a crime appear less serious, less aggravated or without criminal intent, and thus warranting a more lenient punishment or lesser charge.

Extinguishment


The Act of cancellation or destruction of a right, quite often because the time for enforcement has passed.

Extortion


Taking money or property by threat to a victim's property or loved ones, intimidation, or false claim of a right.

Extradition


The surrender by one country of a person which is charged with a crime in another country. International extradition is more difficult and is governed in many cases by treaty. While most countries will extradite persons charged with serious crimes, some will not, others refuse to extradite for certain crimes, set up legal roadblocks.

Extrajudicial


Occurrence of actions outside the judicial (court) system, such as an extralegal confession, which, if brought in as evidence, may be recognized by the judge during a trial.

Extraordinary fees


Attorneys' fees which is claimed, usually in the administration of a dead person's estate, for work beyond the normal, including filing collection suits, preparing tax returns or requiring unusual effort beneficial to the estate. This claim is in addition to the usual statutory or court-approved legal fees. The attorney must submit proof of time, effort and benefit to justify the claim, and the final determination is at the judge's discretion.

Extreme cruelty


An archaic requirement which is used to show infliction of physical or mental harm by one of the parties to his/her spouse to support a judgment of divorce or an unequal division of the couple's property.

Extrinsic fraud


Fraudulent acts which keep a person from obtaining information about his/her rights to enforce a contract or getting evidence to defend against a lawsuit. This could include destroying evidence or misleading an ignorant person about the right to sue. Extrinsic fraud is not same to "intrinsic fraud," which is the fraud that is the subject of a lawsuit.

Eyewitness


A person who has actually seen an event at time of its occurrence and can so testify in Court.