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LEGAL TERMS

EVIDENCE

The many types of information presented to a judge or jury designed to convince them of the truth or falsity of key facts. Evidence typically includes testimony... (more...)
The many types of information presented to a judge or jury designed to convince them of the truth or falsity of key facts. Evidence typically includes testimony of witnesses, documents, photographs, items of damaged property, government records, videos and laboratory reports. Rules that are as strict as they are quirky and technical govern what types of evidence can be properly admitted as part of a trial. For example, the hearsay rule purports to prevent secondhand testimony of the 'he said, she said' variety, but the existence of dozens of exceptions often means that hairsplitting lawyers can find a way to introduce such testimony into evidence. See also admissible evidence, inadmissible evidence.

REFORMATION

The act of changing a written contract when one of the parties can prove that the actual agreement was different than what's written down. The changes are usual... (more...)
The act of changing a written contract when one of the parties can prove that the actual agreement was different than what's written down. The changes are usually made by a court when both parties overlooked a mistake in the document, or when one party has deceived the other.

APPRECIATION

An increase in value. Appreciated property is property that has gone up in value since it was acquired.

FAILURE OF CONSIDERATION

The refusal or inability of a contracting party to perform its side of a bargain.

EASEMENT BY PRESCRIPTION

A right to use property, acquired by a long tradition of open and obvious use. For example, if hikers have been using a trail through your backyard for ten year... (more...)
A right to use property, acquired by a long tradition of open and obvious use. For example, if hikers have been using a trail through your backyard for ten years and you've never complained, they probably have an easement by prescription through your yard to the trail.

MULTIPLE LISTING SERVICE (MLS)

A computer-based service that provides real estate professionals with detailed listings of most homes currently on the market. Much of the information can now b... (more...)
A computer-based service that provides real estate professionals with detailed listings of most homes currently on the market. Much of the information can now be obtained by the public through websites like www.realtor.com.

BREACH OF CONTRACT

A legal claim that one party failed to perform as required under a valid agreement with the other party. For example you might say, 'The roofer breached our con... (more...)
A legal claim that one party failed to perform as required under a valid agreement with the other party. For example you might say, 'The roofer breached our contract by using substandard supplies when he repaired my roof.'

YELLOW-DOG CONTRACT

An employment contract in which the employer forbids the employee to join a labor union. Yellow-dog contracts are not legally enforceable.

INCAPACITY

(1) A lack of physical or mental abilities that results in a person's inability to manage his or her own personal care, property or finances. (2) A lack of abil... (more...)
(1) A lack of physical or mental abilities that results in a person's inability to manage his or her own personal care, property or finances. (2) A lack of ability to understand one's actions when making a will or other legal document. (3) The inability of an injured worker to perform his or her job. This may qualify the worker for disability benefits or workers' compensation.