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A Glossary of the Courtroom

A courtroom indulges in complicated jargons, usually unknown to the layman. A media outlet, to explain the hearing, can elucidate the proceedings of the court but isn’t allowed to alter the actual terms. It is also not surprising that these terms are also used outside the courtroom. Thus, the following is a glossary of the most frequently used jargons of the legal world you might not know.

  1. De facto – concerning fact; in fact; as a matter of fact

E.g.: Chief Minister is the de facto head of the state.

  1. Ab initio – from the beginning

E.g.: The agreement made by the minor is void ab initio.

  1. Custodia legis – in the custody of law

E.g.: The court orders accused to held custodial egis.

  1. De novo – afresh; anew; beginning again

E.g.: Supreme Court orders de novo trial of the case.

  1. In loco parentis – in the place of a parent

E.g.: The principal of the school is in loco parentis of the students while they are in school.

  1. Locus standi – the right to be heard in court

Only the person whose legal right is violated has locus standi to institute proceedings in a court.

E.g.: Non-members have no locus standi in the matters of the church.

  1. Prima facie – at a glance; decision at first instance; first impression

E.g.: The commission is, prima facie, of the opinion that Kapil should not be removed.

  1. Suo moto – on their own

E.g.: High Court takes suo moto cognizance of newspaper report regarding rape of a minor girl and directs police to take action against the offenders.

  1. Sub judice – the case is under consideration

E.g.: A journalist cannot publish details or express his views regarding a sub judice case.

  1. Ultra vires – beyond the powers; an act that falls outside or beyond the jurisdiction of the court

E.g.: SC considers RBI circular on bad loans as ultra vires.

  1. Sine die – for indefinite time

E.g.: The parliament was adjourned sine die.

  1. Status quo – to keep as it is; the existing state of affairs

E.g.: High Court directs parties to maintain status quo.

  1. Corrigenda – things to be corrected

E.g.: The commission released a corrigenda for the financial year.

  1. De jure – by right; concerning law; in principle of law

E.g.: The governor is the de jure head of the State.

  1. Ex gratia – from grace; from kindness

E.g.: High Court orders payment of ex gratia compensation to the victim of rape.

  1. Ex officio – by right of office; from the office

E.g.: Prime Minister id ex officio Chairman of Planning Commission.

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