Ransom


A) To pay money to an abductor to return the person who is abducted. B) Money which is paid to a kidnapper in demand for the release of person abducted person. Ransom money can also be paid to return a valuable object such as a stolen painting.

Rape


A) To have sexual intercourse with a female without her consent by use of force, violence, threat or intimidation, or with a girl under age. Technically, a woman can be charged with rape by assisting a man in the rape of another woman. Dissatisfied with the typical prosecution of rape cases (in which the defense humiliates the accuser, and prosecutors are unable or unwilling to protect the woman from such tactics), women have been suing for civil damages for the physical and emotional damage caused by the rape, although too often the perpetrator has no funds. Protection services for rape victims have been developed by both public and private agencies. On the other side of the coin, there is the concern of law enforcement and prosecutors that women whose advances have been rejected by a man, or who have been caught in the act of consensual sexual intercourse may falsely cry "rape." B) The crime of sexual intercourse (with actual penetration of a woman's vagina with the man's penis) without consent and accomplished by use of force, threat of violence or intimidation (such as a threat to harm a woman's child, husband or boyfriend). What constitutes lack of consent usually includes saying "no" or being too drunk or drug-influenced for the woman to be able to either resist or consent. "Date rape" involves rape by an acquaintance who refuses to stop when told to. Defense attorneys often argue that there had to be physical resistance, but the modern view is that fear of harm and the relative strengths of the man and the woman are obvious deterrents to a woman fighting back. Any sexual intercourse with a child is rape and even with consent involving a girl fourteen to eighteen is "statutory rape," on the basis that the female is unable to give consent.

Ratable


Taxable according to value, such as an estate or property.

Ratification


Confirmation of an action which was not pre-approved and may not have been authorized, usually by a principal who adopts the acts of his/her agent.

Ratify


To confirm and adopt the act of another even though it was not approved beforehand.

Rational basis


A test of lagality of a statute, asking whether the law has a reasonable connection to achieving a legitimate and constitutional objective.

Ready, willing and able


Fully prepared to act, as in performing a contract.

Real estate


Land, improvements and buildings thereon, including attached items and growing crops. It is virtually the same as "real property," except real property includes interests which are not physical such as a right to acquire the property in the future.

Real estate investment trust


A real estate investment organization is that which finds investors and buys real property and gives each investor either a percentage interest in the property itself or an interest in a loan secured by a mortgage or deed of trust on the property.

Real party in interest


The person or entity who will benefit from a civil suit or petition even though the plaintiff is someone else, often called a "nominal" plaintiff.

Real property


A) One of the principal areas of law like contracts, negligence, probate, family law and criminal law. B) All land, structures, firmly attached and integrated equipment (such as light fixtures or a tubewell pump), anything growing on the land, and all "interests" in the property, which may include the right to future ownership, right to occupy for a period of time (tenancy or life estate), the right to drill for oil, the right to get the property back (a reversion) if it is no longer used for its current purpose (such as use for a hospital, school or city hall), use of airspace (condominium) or an easement across another's property. Real property should be thought of as a group of rights like a bundle of sticks which can be divided. It is differntiated from personal property which is made up of movable items.

Realty


It is a short form of "real estate".

Reasonable


Just, rational, appropriate, ordinary or usual in the circumstances. It may refer to care, cause, compensation, doubt (in a criminal trial), and a host of other actions or activities.

Reasonable care


The degree of caution and concern for the safety of himself/herself and others, an ordinarily prudent and rational person would use in the circumstances. This is a subjective test of determining if a person is negligent, meaning he/she did not exercise reasonable care.

Reasonable doubt


No assurity of an accuseds guilt to a moral certainty. Thus, a juror or judge sitting without a jury must be convinced of guilt of a crime (or the degree of crime, as murder instead of manslaughter) "beyond a reasonable doubt", and the jury will be told so by the judge in the jury instructions. However, it is a subjective test since each juror will have to decide if his/her doubt is reasonable. It is more difficult to convict under that test, than "preponderance of the evidence" to decide for the plaintiff (party bringing the suit) in a civil (non-criminal) trial.

Reasonable reliance


What a prudent person would believe and act upon if something is told by another. Typically, a person is promised a profit or other benefit, and in reliance takes steps, in reliance on the promise, only to find the statements or promises were not true or were exaggerated. The one who relied can recover damages for the costs of his/her actions or demand performance if the reliance was "reasonable".

Reasonable speed


The speed of an automobile which is determined to be lower than the posted speed limit due to the circumstances, such as rain, icy road, heavy traffic, poor condition of the vehicle or gloom of night. Exceeding reasonable speed under the circumstances can result in being cited for speeding. In the law of negligence, exceeding reasonable speed in the prevailing conditions may be found to be negligent even though below the speed limit.

Reasonable time


In contracts, "reasonable time" is to perform or pay within reasonable time. It is bad practice to draft a contract using such a vague term.

Reasonable wear and tear


It is used in leases to limit the tenant's responsibility upon leaving. It is subjective, but the considerations include the length of time of tenancy (the longer the occupancy the more wear and tear can be expected), the lack of unusual damage such as a hole in the wall or a broken window, and the condition of the premises when the tenant moved in. This is often a source of conflict between landlord and tenant, particularly when there is a deposit for any damages "beyond reasonable wear and tear".

Rebate


A) To give a discount or deduction. B) A discount or deduction which is given on sales price. A secret rebate which is given by a subcontractor to a contractor in return for getting the job is illegal, since it cheats the person hiring the contractor.

Rebuttable presumption


Since a presumption is an assumption of fact which is accepted by the Court until disproved, all presumptions are rebuttable. Thus rebuttable presumption is a redundancy.

Rebuttal


Evidence which is introduced to counter, disprove or contradict the opposition's evidence or a presumption, or responsive legal argument.

Receipt


A written and signed acknowledgment by the recipient of payment for goods, money in payment of a debt or receiving assets from the estate of someone who has died.

Receiver


A) A person who is appointed to receive rents and profits coming to a debtor either while a bankruptcy is being processed or while an arrangement is being worked out to pay creditors, so that funds will be paid for debts and possibly available for distribution to creditors. B) One who commits the crime of receiving stolen goods knowing they were obtained illegally. C) A neutral person (often a professional trustee) who is appointed by a judge to take charge of the property and business of one of the parties to a lawsuit and receive his/her rents and profits while the right to the money has not been finally decided. Appointment of a receiver must be requested by petition of the other party to the suit, and will only be authorized if there is a strong showing that the money would not be available when a decision is made. The funds are held for the prevailing party.

Receivership


The process of appointment by a Court of a receiver to take custody of the property, business, rents and profits of a party to a civil suit pending a final decision on disbursement or an agreement that a receiver control the financial receipts of a person who is deeply in debt for the benefit of creditors. Thus, the term "the business is in receivership".

Recess


A break in a trial or other court proceedings or a legislative session until a certain date and time. Recess is not to be confused with "adjournment", which winds up the proceedings.

Recidivist


A repeated criminal offender, who is convicted of a crime after having been previously convicted.

Reciprocal discovery


The exchange of documents, lists of witnesses, and other information between the two sides of a lawsuit or criminal prosecution before trial.

Reciprocity


Act of mutual exchange of privileges between nations, businesses or individuals.

Reckless


In both negligence and criminal cases, careless to the point of being heedless of the consequences. This refers to the traffic misdemeanor "reckless driving." It can also refer to use of firearms (shooting a gun in a public place), explosives or heavy equipment.

Reckless disregard


Gross negligence without caring for danger to others. Actually "reckless disregard" is redundant since reckless means there is a disregard for safety.

Reckless driving


Operation of a vehicle in a dangerous manner under the circumstances, including speeding (or going too fast for the conditions, even though within the posted speed limit), driving after drinking, having too many passengers in the car, cutting in and out of traffic, failing to yield to other vehicles and other negligent acts. It is a misdemeanor crime.

Record


A) To write down or tape the minutes, financial transactions, discussions and other happenings at meetings. B) In trials, hearings or other legal proceedings the total of the proceedings which are transcribed by a court reporter and included in the minutes of the clerk or judge, as well as all the documents filed in the case. On an appeal, the record includes everything that transpired before the appeal, upon which the written briefs (opposing legal arguments) and oral argument are based. On appeal the court can consider only the record, unless there is a claim of "newly discovered evidence". C) To put a document into the official records at the office of the Recorder of Deeds. The process is that the document is taken or sent to the Recorder's office, a recording fee paid, the document is given a number (a document number, volume or reel number and page number), stamped with the date (and usually the time) of recording and the document returned. Normally recorded is any document affecting title to real property such as a deed, deed of trust, mortgage, release, declaration of homestead, easement, judgment, lien, request for notice of default, foreclosure, satisfaction of judgment, decree of distribution of a dead person's estates and sometimes long-term leases. These recordings provide a traceable chain of title to the property and give the public "constructive" notice of all interests in the property.

Recording acts


The statutes of each state which established the keeping of official records by Recorders of Deeds.

Records


In business, all the written business documents, especially about financial dealings. Thus, shareholders and partners are entitled to access to the "records" of the business.

Recoupment


The right of a defendant in a lawsuit to demand deduction from the amount awarded to plaintiff (party bringing the suit) of a sum due the defendant from the plaintiff in the transaction which was the subject of the lawsuit. A recoupment is not the same as an "offset" (setoff), which can be money owed from any matter, including outside the lawsuit.

Recourse


The right to demand payment from the writer of a cheque or bill of exchange.

Recover


To receive a money judgment in a lawsuit.

Recoverable


The amount of money to which a plaintiff (the party suing) is entitled in a lawsuit.

Recovery


The amount of money and any other right or property which is received by a plaintiff in a lawsuit.

Recusal


The act of a judge or prosecutor being removed or voluntarily stepping aside from a legal case due to conflict of interest or other good reason.

Recuse


To refuse to be a judge in a lawsuit or appeal because of a conflict of interest or other good reason. It also applies to a judge or prosecutor being removed or voluntarily removing himself/herself from a criminal case in which he/she has a conflict of interest, such as friendship or known enmity to the defendant.

Redeem


To buy back, as when an owner who had mortgaged his/her real property pays off the debt. The term also refers to paying the amount due and all charges after a foreclosure (because of failure to make payments when due) has begun. A person who has pawned a possession may redeem the item by paying the loan and interest to the pawnbroker.

Redemption


The act of redeeming, buying back property by paying off a loan, interest and any costs of foreclosure.

Reentry


Taking back possession and going into real property which one owns, particularly when a tenant has failed to pay rent or has abandoned the property, or possession has been restored to the owner by judgment in an unlawful detainer lawsuit. Reentry may also be allowed when a buyer defaults on payments on a contract of sale or upon foreclosure of a mortgage or deed of trust which secured a loan on the property.

Referee


A person is called referee to whom a judge refers a case to take testimony or acquire other evidence such as financial records and report to the court on such findings.

Referendum


The process by which the repeal or approval of an existing statute or state constitutional provision is voted upon.

Reformation


The correction or change of an existing document by court order upon petition of one of the parties to the document. Reformation will be ordered if there is proof that the parties did not intend the language as written or there was an omission due to mistake or misunderstanding. Quite often a party petitions for reformation when one or both parties realize the effect of the document as written is different from what was expected but it has already been recorded or filed with a governmental agency.

Refresh one's memory


To use a document, exhibit or previous testimony in order to help a witness recall an event or prior statement when the witness has responded to a question that he/she could not remember. To attempt to "refresh" the memory of a forgetful or reluctant witness, the witness must have denied remembering and the attorney must have the witness identify the document, exhibit or prior statement.

Register


In companies, the record of shareholders, and issuance and transfer of shares on the records of the company is called register.

Registration statement


A detailed report which is to be filed with the Securities and Exchange Board by a corporation making an issuance of shares to be advertised and sold to the general public.

Registry of deeds


The records of land title documents which is kept by the Recorder of Deeds.

Regulations


Rules and administrative codes which are issued by governmental agencies at all levels, municipal, state, etc. Although they are not laws, regulations have the force of law, since they are adopted under authority granted by statutes, and often include penalties for violations. The regulation-making process involves hearings, publication in governmental journals which supposedly give public notice, and adoption by the agency. The process is best known to industries and special interests concerned with the subject matter, but only occasionally to the general public.

Rehearing


Conduction of hearing again which is based on the motion of one of the parties to a lawsuit, petition or criminal prosecution, usually by the court or agency which originally heard the matter. Rehearings are usually requested due to newly discovered evidence, an unfortunate and possibly unintended result of the original order, a change of circumstance or a simple claim that the judge or agency was just wrong.

Rejection of claim


A claim for a debt of the deceased denied (rejected) in total or in part by the executor or administrator of the estate. A claim is rejected in writing filed with the court, and a judge shall approve or disapprove the rejection if the claimant protests. If a claim is not acted upon it may be presumed to be approved. There are other types of claims which may be rejected by agencies or individuals, which can be protested in a lawsuit if all administrative procedures are used first.

Release


A) To give freedom, as letting out of prison. B) To give up a right as releasing one from his/her obligation to perform under a contract, or to relinquish a right to an interest in real property. C) The writing that grants a release.

Release on one's own recognizance


For a judge to allow an accused pre-trial freedom without posting bail, based on the past history of the defendant, roots in the community, regular employment, the recommendation of the prosecutor, the type of crime, and in total the likelihood of making all appearances in court and the improbability that the defendant will commit another crime while awaiting trial.

Relevancy


See also: irrelevant relevant

Relevant


Some reasonable connection with, and in regard to evidence in trial, having some value or tendency to prove a matter of fact significant to the case. Commonly, an objection to testimony or physical evidence is that it is "irrelevant".

Reliance


Acting upon another's statement of alleged fact, claim or promise. In contracts, if someone takes some steps ("changes his position" is the usual legal language) in reliance on the other's statement, claim or promise then the person upon whom the actor relied is entitled to contend there is a contract he/she can enforce. However, the reliance must be reasonable.

Reliction


Gradual change of water line on real property which gives the owner more dry land.

Relief


Generic term for all types of benefits which an order or judgment of court can give a party to a lawsuit, including money award, injunction, return of property, property title, alimony and dozens of other possibilities.

Remainder


In real property law, the interest in real property that is left after another interest in the property ends, such as full title after a life estate. A remainder must be created by a deed or will. A remainder is distinguished from a "reversion," which gives title back to the grantor of the property or to the grantor's descendants; a reversion need not be spelled out in a deed or will, but can occur automatically by "operation of law".

Remainderman


The person who will receive a remainder in real property.

Remand


To send back. A Court of appeals may remand a case to the trial court for further action if it reverses the judgment of the lower court, or after a preliminary hearing a judge may remand into custody a person accused of a crime if the judge finds that a there is reason to hold the accused for trial.

Remedy


The means which is used to achieve justice in any matter in which legal rights are involved. Remedies may be ordered by the court, granted by judgment after trial or hearing, by agreement between the person claiming harm and the person he/she believes has caused it, and by the automatic operation of law. Some remedies require that certain acts be performed or prohibited; others involve payment of money to cover loss due to injury or breach of contract; and still others require a court's declaration of the rights of the parties and an order to honor them. An "extraordinary remedy" is a means employed by a judge to meet particular problems, such as appointment of a referee, master or receiver to investigate, report or take charge of property. A "provisional remedy" is a temporary solution to hold matters in status quo pending a final decision or an attempt to see if the remedy will work.

Remise


To give up something, sometimes used in quitclaim deeds.

Remittitur


A) An appeal's transmittal of a case back to the trial court so that the case can be retried, or an order entered consistent with the appeals court's decision (such as dismissing the plaintiff's case or awarding costs to the winning party on appeal). B) A judge's order reducing a judgment awarded by a jury when the award exceeds the amount asked for by the plaintiff (person who brought the suit).

Remote


Extremely far off or slight. Evidence may be so remote from the issues in a trial that it will not be allowed because it is "immaterial". An act which started the events which led to an accident may be too remote to be a cause, as distinguished from the "proximate cause".

Removal


A) Taking away the position of a public official for cause, such as dishonesty, incompetence, conviction of a crime or successful impeachment. B) The change of a legal case from one Court to another based on a motion by one of the parties stating that the other jurisdiction is more appropriate for the case.

Renewal


Keeping an existing arrangement in force for an additional period of time, such as a lease, a promissory note, insurance policy or any other contract. Renewal usually requires a writing or some action which evidences the new term.

Rent


A) The amount which is paid by the tenant and received by the owner. Rent may be specified in a written lease, but also may be based on an oral agreement for either a short period or on a month-to-month basis in which the hiring may be terminated on a month's notice. B) To hire an object or real property for a period of time (or for an open-ended term) for specified payments.

Rental value


The amount which would be paid for rental of similar property in the same condition in the same area. Evidence of rental value becomes important in lawsuits in which loss of use of real property or equipment is an issue, and the rental value is the "measure of damages."

Renunciation


A) Giving up a right, such as a right of inheritance, a gift under a will or abandoning the right to collect a debt on a note. B) In criminal law, abandoning participation in a crime before it takes place, or an attempt to stop other participants from going ahead with the crime. A defendant may use renunciation as evidence of his/her innocence. Once the crime is underway, any claimed renunciation is factually too late.

Reorganization


The implementation of a business plan to restructure a corporation, which may include transfers of stock between shareholders of two corporations in a merger. In bankruptcy, a corporation in deep financial trouble may be given time to reorganize while being protected from creditors by the bankruptcy court. The theory is that if the business is able to get on its feet the creditors will eventually collect.

Repair


To restore to former condition or in some contracts to operational soundness. Contracts should spell out the repairs to be made and what the final condition will be.

Repeal


A) The act of annulling a statute. B) To annul an existing law, by passage of a repealing statute, or by public vote on a referendum. Repeal of constitutional provisions requires an amendment.

Replevin


The right to bring a lawsuit for recovery of goods improperly taken by another.

Reply brief


The written legal argument of the respondent in answer to the "opening brief" of an appellant (a trial court loser who has appealed).

Reports


The published decisions of Courts of appeals, which are constantly updated with pamphlets called "advance sheets" which are soon followed by bound volumes. These reports are available in almost all law libraries.

Repossess


To take back property through judicial processes, foreclosure, or self-help upon default in required payments.

Represent


A) To act as the agent for another. B) To act as a client's attorney. C) To state something as a fact. D) To allege a fact in Court, as "I represent to the Court that we will present only two witnesses."

Representation


A) The act of being another's agent. B) A statement of alleged fact either in negotiations or in court. C) Acting as an attorney for a client.

Representative


A) An agent. B) In probate law, a generic term for an executor or administrator of the estate of a person who has died, generally referred to as the "personal representative". C) Typical, as "these pictures are representative of the conditions at the job site".

Reprieve


A temporary delay in imposition of the death penalty by the executive order of the Governor of the state. Reasons for reprieves include the possibility of newly discovered evidence (another's involvement, evidence of mental impairment), awaiting the result of some last-minute appeal, or concern of the Governor that there may have been some error in the record which he/she should examine. Upon the expiration of the reprieve the date for execution can be reset and the death penalty imposed. A reprieve is only a delay and is not a reduction of sentence, commutation of sentence or pardon.

Repudiation


Denial of the existence of a contract and/or refusal to perform a contract obligation. Repudiation is an anticipatory breach of a contract.

Reputation


A person's good name, honor or what the community thinks of him/her. The quality and value of one's reputation is a key issue in suits for defamation (libel and slander) since the damage to one's reputation by published untruths may determine the amount of judgment against the defamer. Sometimes a person's favorable reputation is so great that most defamation cannot do him/her much harm.

Reputed


What is accepted by general public belief, whether or not correct.

Request


A) The act of asking or demanding. B) To ask or demand a judge to act (such as issuing a writ) or demanding something from the other party, usually by a party to a lawsuit (usually the attorney).

Requirements contract


A contract between a supplier and a buyer, in which the supplier agrees to sell all the particular products that the buyer needs, and the buyer agrees to purchase the goods exclusively from the supplier. A requirements contract differs from an "an output contract", in which the buyer agrees to buy all the supplier produces.

Res


(rayz) In Latin, "thing." In law lingo res is used in conjunction with other Latin words as "thing that".

Res adjudicata


A legal matter which is already determined by a Court, from Latin for "the thing has been judged". More properly res judicata.

Res gestae


(rayz jest-tie) In Latin, it is similar for "things done", it means all circumstances surrounding and connected with a happening. Thus, the res gestae of a crime includes the immediate area and all occurrences and statements immediately after the crime. Statements made within the res gestae of a crime or accident may be admitted in court even though they are "hearsay" on the basis that spontaneous statements in those circumstances are reliable.

Res ipsa loquitur


(rayz ip-sah loh-quit-her) In Latin, it is for "the thing speaks for itself", a doctrine of law that one is presumed to be negligent if he/she/it had exclusive control of whatever caused the injury even though there is no specific evidence of an act of negligence, and without negligence the accident would not have happened. Examples: a) a load of bricks on the roof of a building being constructed by Anil Construction Company falls and injures Ankit below, and Anil is liable for Ankits injury even though no one saw the load fall. Under res ipsa loquitur all those connected with the operation are liable for negligence. Lawyers often shorten the doctrine to "res ips", and find it a handy shorthand for a complex doctrine.

Res judicata


(rayz judy-cot-ah) In Latin, it is for "the thing has been judged." It means the issue before the Court has already been heard finally and decided by another court, between the same parties. Therefore, the Court will dismiss the case before it as being useless.

Resale


Sale of something again, particularly at retail. B) Sales to the general public, as distinguished from wholesale, sales to retailers. A "resale license" or "resale number" is required so that the state can monitor the collection of sales tax on retail sales.

Rescind


To cancel a contract, putting the parties back to the position as if the contract had not existed. Both parties rescind a contract by mutual agreement, since a unilateral cancellation of a contract is a "breach" of the contract and could result in a lawsuit by the non-cancelling party.

Rescission


Act of canceling a contract by mutual agreement of the parties.

Rescue doctrine


The rule of law is that if a rescuer of a person hurt or put in peril due to the negligence or intentional wrongdoing of another is injured in the process of the rescue, the original wrongdoer is responsible in damages for the rescuer's injury.

Reservation


A provision in a deed which keeps to the grantor some right or portion of the property.

Reserve


To keep for oneself a right or a portion of the real property when transferring (conveying) a parcel of real estate to another.

Reserve fund


A fund of money which is created to take care of maintenance, repairs or unexpected expenses of a business or a multi-unit housing development (often a housing cooperative) operated by a homeowners association or other governing body.

Residence


A) The place where one builds his/her home. However, a person may have his/her state of "domicile" elsewhere for tax or other purposes, especially if the residence is for convenience or not of long standing. B) In corporation law, the State of incorporation.

Resident


A person who lives in a particular place. However, the term is vague depending on the permanence of the occupation.

Residuary bequest


In a Will, the gift of whatever is left after specific gifts are given. It is also called a residuary legacy.

Residue


In a Will, the assets of the estate of a person who has died with a will (died testate) which are left after all specific gifts have been made. If the residue is not given to any beneficiary it will be distributed pursuant to the laws of descent and distribution.

Resisting arrest


The crime of using physical force, to prevent arrest, handcuffing and/or taking the accused to jail. Sometimes referred to merely as "resisting".

Resolution


A determination of policy of a company by the vote of its board of directors. Legislative bodies also pass resolutions, but they are often statements of policy, belief or appreciation, and not always enactment of statutes or ordinances.

Respondent


A) The party who is required to answer a petition for a Court order or writ requiring the respondent to take some action, halt an activity or obey a Court's direction. In such matters the one filing the petition is usually called the "petitioner". Thus, the respondent is equivalent to a defendant in a lawsuit, but the potential result is a Court order and not money damages. B) On an appeal, the party who must respond to an appeal by the losing party in the trial court (called "appellant") in the Court of appeals.

Respondent superior


(rehs-pond-dee-at superior) In Latin, it is for "let the master answer", a key doctrine in the law of agency, which provides that a principal (employer) is responsible for the actions of his/her/its agent (employee) in the "course of employment". Thus, an agent who signs an agreement to purchase goods for his employer in the name of the employer can create a binding contract between the seller and the employer. Another example: if a delivery truck driver negligently hits a child in the street, the company for which the driver works will be liable for the injuries.

Responsible


A) The ability to pay or perform. B) Legally liable or accountable.

Restatement of the law


A series of detailed statements of the basic law on a variety of subjects which are written and updated by well-known legal scholars. While not having the force of statutes or of decided precedents, the Restatement has the prestige of the scholars who have studied the legal questions. Topics covered include agency, contracts, property, torts and trusts.

Restitution


A) Return to the proper owner property or the monetary value of loss. Sometimes restitution is made part of a judgment in negligence and/or contracts cases. B) In criminal cases, one of the penalties imposed is requiring return of stolen goods to the victim or payment to the victim for harm caused. Restitution may be a condition of granting a defendant probation or giving him/her a shorter sentence than normal.

Restraining order


A temporary order of a court to keep conditions as they are like not taking a child out of the country or not selling marital property until there can be a hearing in which both parties are present. More properly it is called a temporary restraining order.

Restraint of trade


In antitrust law, any activity (including agreements among competitors or companies doing business with each other) which tends to limit trade, sales and transportation in interstate commerce or has a substantial impact on interstate commerce. Most of these actions are illegal under the various antitrust statutes.

Restraint on alienation


An attempt which is made in a deed or will to prevent the sale or other transfer of real property either forever or for an extremely long period of time. Such a restraint on the freedom to transfer property is generally unlawful and therefore void or voidable (can be made void if an owner objects), since a present owner should not be able to tie the hands of future generations to deal with their property. This ban on a restraint on alienation (transfer) is called "the rule against perpetuities".

Restriction


Use of limitation on activity, by statute, regulation or contract provision. In multi-unit real estate developments, condominium and cooperative housing projects managed by homeowners' associations or similar organizations, such organizations are usually required by law to impose restrictions on use. Thus, the restrictions are part of the "covenants, conditions and restrictions" intended to enhance the use of common facilities and property which are recorded and incorporated into the title of each owner.

Restrictive covenant


A) An agreement which is included in a deed to real property that the buyer (grantee) will be limited as to the future use of the property. Example: no fence may be built on the property not more than six feet high, no tennis court or swimming pool may be constructed within 30 feet of the property line. Commonly these covenants are written so that they can be enforced by the grantor and other owners in the subdivision, so that future owners will be bound by the covenant (called "covenant running with the land" if enforceable against future owners).

Restrictive endorsement


An endorsement which is signed on the back of a cheque, note or bill of exchange which restricts to whom the paper may be transferred.

Result


Common lawyer lingo for outcome of a lawsuit.

Resulting trust


A trust which is implied by law that a person who holds title or possession was intended by agreement with the intended owner to hold the property for the intended owner. Thus, the holder is considered a trustee of a resulting trust for the proper owner as beneficiary. Although a legal fiction, the resulting trust forces the holder to honor the intention and prevents unjust enrichment. A resulting trust distinguishes from a "constructive trust", which comes about when someone by accident, misunderstanding or dishonesty comes into possession of property belonging to another.

Retainer


The advance payment to an attorney for services which is to be performed, intended to insure that the lawyer will represent the client and that the lawyer will be paid at least that amount. Commonly in matters which will involve extensive work there will be a retainer agreement signed by the attorney and client. Further payments for services can be expected as the time spent on the legal matter increases. One reason for the retainer, and the problem a lawyer faces, is that he/she does not want to abandon a client, but at the same time does not want to be stuck with extensive unpaid fees.

Retire


A) To pay off a promissory note and thus "retire" the loan. B) To stop working at one's occupation. C) For a jury to go into the jury room to decide on a verdict after all evidence, argument and jury instructions have been completed.

Retraction


A) To withdraw any legal document in a civil suit or other legal proceeding, or withdraw a promise or offer of contract. B) In defamation, particularly libel, the correction of any untruth published in a newspaper or magazine or broadcast on radio or television, usually upon the demand of the person about whom the damaging false statement was made. A clear and complete retraction will usually end the right of the defamed party to go forward with a lawsuit for damages for libel.

Retrial


A new trial which is granted upon the motion of the losing party, based on obvious error, bias or newly discovered evidence, or after mistrial or reversed by an appeals court.

Retroactive


A Court's decision or a statute which is enacted by a legislative body which would result in application to past transactions and legal actions. Some decisions are so fundamental to justice they may have a retroactive effect, depending on the balance between stability of the law and the public good. Retroactive is also called "retrospective".

Return of service


Written confirmation under oath by a process server declaring that there was service of legal documents (such as a summons and complaint).

Reversal


The decision of a Court of appeal ruling that the judgment of a lower Court was incorrect and is therefore reversed. The result is that the lower Court which tried the case is instructed to dismiss the original action, retry the case or change its judgment.

Reversible error


A legal mistake at the trial Court level which is so significant that the judgment must be reversed by the appellate court. A reversible error is distinguished from an error which is minor or did not contribute to the judgment at the trial.

Reversion


In real property, the return to the grantor or his/her heirs of real property after all interests in the property given to others have terminated. Reversion is also called "reverter".

Reverter


It is synonymous with reversion.

Review


The judicial consideration of judgment of lower Court by an appellate Court, determining if there were legal errors sufficient to require reversal. The process requires notice of appeal, obtaining a transcript of the trial or hearing at the trial level, obtaining all the pleadings and other documents filed in the original trial, preparation of briefs citing precedents and arguing that there was reversible error. Then the respondent (winner at the trial court) may file a responsive brief, and the appellant has the chance to file a brief in response to the respondent. The next step is oral argument (if allowed) before the appellate court. Appeals on procedural issues normally do not include oral argument. If the appellate court denies the appeal a rehearing may be requested but is seldom granted.

Revival


A) Reinstating a contract or debt by a new agreement after the right to demand of performance or collect has expired under the statute of limitations. B) Request to a Court to reinstate the force of an old judgment.

Revocation


A) Mutual cancellation of a contract by the parties to it. B) Cancellation of a document before it has come into legal effect or been acted upon, as revoking a Will. C) To recall a power or authority previously given, as cancelling a power of attorney or cancelling a driver's license due to traffic offenses. D) Withdrawal of an offer before it is accepted.

Revoke


To quash, annul or cancel an act, particularly a statement, document or promise, as if it no longer existed. Thus, a person can revoke a will or revoke an offer to enter into a contract, and a government agency can revoke a license.

Rider


A) passenger. B) An attachment to a document which adds to or amends it. C) In legislatures, an amendment which is tacked on to a bill which has little or no relevance to the main purpose of the legislation, but is a way to get the amendment passed if the basic bill has support.

Right


A) Just, fair, correct. B) An entitlement to something, whether to concepts like justice and due process or to ownership of property or some interest in property, real or personal. These rights include: protection against interference with enjoyment of life and property; civil rights enjoyed by citizens such as voting and access to the courts; various freedoms; human rights to protect people throughout the world from terror, natural rights accepted by civilized societies; torture, barbaric practices and deprivation of civil rights and profit from their labor; and constitutional guarantees as the right to freedoms of speech, press, religion, assembly and petition.

Right of way


A) The right to cross property to go to and from another parcel. The right of way may be a specific grant of land or an "easement", which is a right to pass across another's land. The mere right to cross without a specific description is a "floating" easement. Some rights of way are for limited use such as repair of electric lines or for deliveries to the back door of a store. Railroads own title to a right of way upon which to build permanent tracks. B) In traffic ordinances, a driver is entitled to the "right of way" to proceed first ahead of other vehicles or pedestrians, depending on certain rules of the road, such as the first to reach an intersection. Failure to yield the right of way to the vehicle or person entitled to it can result in a citation and fine, to say nothing of an accident. It can also be evidence of negligence in a lawsuit for injuries suffered in an accident. C) A pathway or road with a specific description.

Right to privacy


The possible right to be let alone, in absence of some "reasonable" public interest in a person's activities, like those of celebrities or participants in newsworthy events. Invasion of the right to privacy can be the basis for a lawsuit for damages against the person or entity (such as a magazine or television show) violating the right. However, the right to privacy does not extend to prohibiting someone from taking another person's picture on the street.

Rights


Collection of entitlements which a person may have and which are protected by the government and the Courts or under an agreement (contract).

Riot


A) A turbulent and violent disturbance of peace by three or more people acting together. B) An assemblage of people who are out of control, causing injury or endangering the physical safety of others and/or themselves, causing or threatening damage to property and often violating various laws both individually and as a group. The common thread is that the people in a riot have the power through violence to break the public peace and safety, requiring police action. Often a riot is declared after the crowd has been informed by police officers that the people constitute an "unlawful assembly" and are ordered to "disperse" immediately. If the crowd does not disperse, its members become subject to arrest for the crime of rioting, disturbing the peace, resisting arrest or other separate crimes ranging from assault to unlawful possession of firearms.

Risk


Chances of danger or loss, particularly of property which is covered by an insurance policy or property being used or transported by another. Insurance companies assume the risk of loss and calculate their premiums by the value and the risk based on statistically determined chances. A trucking company assumes the risk of loss while carrying goods.

Risk of loss


The responsibility a carrier, borrower or user of property or goods assumes or an insurance company agrees to cover if there is damage or loss.

Roadside test


A preliminary test which is used by law enforcement officers on a suspected drunk driver at the spot the driver has been pulled over.

Robbery


A) Thefts, including burglary (breaking and entering) and shoplifting (secret theft from the stock of a store), expressed: " Ram has been robbed". B) The direct taking of property (including money) from a person (victim) by use of force, threat or intimidation. Robbery is a crime punishable by a term in prison. "Armed robbery" involves the use of a gun or other weapon which can do bodily harm, such as a knife or club, and carries a stiffer penalty (longer possible term) than robbery by merely taking.

Rogatory letters


A written request which is made by a judge to a judge in another State asking that a witness in the other State have his/her testimony taken in the other State's court for use in the local Court case.

Royalty


A specified percentage of gross or net profit or a fixed amount per sale which is paid to creator of a work which is determined by contract between the creator and the manufacturer, publisher, agent and/or distributor. Inventors, authors, movie makers, scriptwriters, music composers, musicians and other creators contract with the manufacturers, publishers, movie production companies and distributors, as well as producers and distributors for a license to manufacture and/or sell the product, who pay a royalty to the creator based on a percentage of funds received.

Rule


A) Any regulation which is governing conduct. B) One of the regulations of covering legal practice before a particular group of courts, collectively called "rules of court" which are adopted by local judges. C) A legal principle which is set by the decision in an appellate case. D) To decide a legal question, by a Court. E) To make a judicial command.

Rule against perpetuities


The legal prohibition against tying up property so that it cannot be transferred or vest title in another forever, for several future generations, or for a period of centuries.

Rules of court


A set of procedural regulations which are adopted by Courts which are mandatory upon parties and their lawyers on matters within the jurisdiction of those courts. Local rules encompass the time allowed to file papers, the format of documents (including the paper colors of appeal court briefs), the number of copies to be filed, the procedure to file motions, the basis for calculating alimony and child support, fees for filing various documents and numerous other mundane but vital matters. These rules are violated or ignored at the peril of the client and his/her/its counsel.

Ruling


Decision of Court on a case or any legal question.

Running at large


A) Political campaigning by a candidate who is running for an office from no specific district, but from an entire city or state. B) Cattle or other animals which have escaped from an enclosure and are wandering. The owner will be liable for damage caused by such animals.

Running with the land


Permanently being part of the title to real property