Some seemingly complicated legal issues are actually fairly straightforward, once you know the lingo.
Known as legalese, the specialized language used by lawyers, judges, and government officials can often make it difficult for laypeople to understand legal proceedings or correspondence.
That's why we're going through the legal dictionary letter by letter as part of our new series, Legalese From A to Z. This week, we look at legal terms beginning with the letter "F":
- False light. False light is an untrue or misleading portrayal of a person, usually associated with the tort of invasion of privacy. A tort claim for false light invasion of privacy allows recovery for reckless public broadcast of information that places the plaintiff in a false light and is embarrassing or highly offensive, such as publication of a private photo in an unflattering context.
- Family purpose doctrine. The family purpose doctrine (also sometimes called the family car doctrine) is a legal doctrine holding the owner of a car responsible for damages caused by a family member driving the car with the owner's permission. However, this doctrine is no longer recognized in many jurisdictions.
- Flagrante delicto. Flagrante delicto is Latin for "while the crime is blazing" and refers to being caught in the act of a crime or other misdeed, such as illicit sexual activity.
- Free on board. Originally used in maritime shipping but now applicable to other kinds of shipping, free on board (FOB) is the designated point at which a seller passes the responsibility for shipping costs and risk of loss to the buyer. For example, if the shipping terms are "FOB shipping point," the seller is responsible for getting the goods to the shipping vessel or carrier designated by the buyer, at which point the shipping becomes the responsibility of the buyer.
- Fruit of the poisonous tree. Fruit of the poisonous tree is evidence discovered as the result of an unlawful search or interrogation. Such evidence is typically inadmissible in court, absent an exception to the general rule, such as inevitable discovery.
If you need help with defining a legal word or phrase, check out FindLaw's Legal Dictionary for free access to more than 8,200 definitions of legal terms. Or just wait for next Sunday, when Legalese From A to Z will explain five more legal terms you may not know, beginning with the letter "G."
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- Legalese From A to Z: 5 Legal Terms Beginning With 'D' (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)
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