Legalese might sound like something you'd order at an Italian restaurant, but the word actually describes the specialized language used by lawyers, judges, and maybe even you if you're ever faced with a legal situation.
As one might imagine, there are certainly quite a few obscure legal terms that still find their way into the everyday legal discourse. Our new series Legalese From A to Z is here to help key you in on some of our favorites.
This week, we take a look at some important and lesser known legal words and phrases beginning with the letter "D":
- Demurrer. A demurrer is a plea that admits the truth of an allegation, but asserts that even if true, the allegation is insufficient for a conviction or a judgement. In other words, a general demurrer is a defendant saying to a plaintiff, "Even if I did everything you say I did, that's still not enough to prove your case." A demurrer is similar, but distinct, from the common law plea of confession and avoidance, in which a defendant confessed to an allegation, but alleged additional facts to avoid the legal consequences of the original allegation.
- Devise. No we didn't misspell the word "device." In legalese, a devise is a gift of property made in a will. The term devise was once only used for gifts of real property, such as land or a home, but it's now used to refer to both gifts of real property as well as personal property.
- Dischargeable debt. Dischargeable debts are the types of debts that the Bankruptcy Code allows a debtor to be released from having to pay. The timing of the discharge and the types of debts that may be discharged depend on the chapter under which a bankruptcy is filed.
- Domicile. Domicile is the legal home for both individuals and corporations for purposes of legal jurisdiction. For a person, a domicile is generally wherever the person has established permanent residency. For a business, domicile is the place where the business organization -- such as a corporation -- is chartered, or its principal place of business.
If you need help with defining a legal word or phrase, check out FindLaw's Legal Dictionary for free access to more than 8,000 definitions of legal terms. And check back here next Sunday, when Legalese From A to Z will explain in plain English five more legal terms you may not know, beginning with the letter "E."
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