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R

ratio decidendi
the underlying principle behind a court decision.

real property
land or other real estate.

rebutted
refuted, proven wrong by evidence or argument.

recidivism
tendency to go back to a habit of criminal activity.

recognizance
an obligation, acknowledged before a court, to do something (e.g. pay a debt, appear in court or be of good behaviour).

recrimination
bringing a countercharge against an accuser.

redress
to set right, remedy, relieve or compensate a wrong or injury.

redundant
exceeding what is necessary, often used in reference to ending a person’s employment.

re-examination
an opportunity for a party to call the witness to again examine the witness in order to explain or contradict any false impressions produced by the cross-examination.

refinance
to exchange an old debt for a new debt (usually by changing interest rates or paying off an old loan with money from a new loan).

registry
the administrative section of a court, which handles inquiries and submission of documents to the court; the officer in charge is the registrar.

regulations
laws that are supplementary to legislation or Acts; a parliament delegates authority to a body, usually a government department, to make regulations.

regulatory offence
a statutory crime, as opposed to a common law crime.

release
giving up a legal right or claim against another
party, which is usually in writing (e.g. a document saying that monies owing have been fully paid).

remand (in custody)
to keep a person accused in custody until the date of the trial, where the accused has been refused bail by the court.

remediating
remedying of a deficiency, especially in terms of services or education.

remission
the reduction of a prison sentence for good behaviour; also, the return of a case from a higher court to a lower court.

remuneration
pay or reward received for work.

repeal
to remove or cancel laws.

repossession
a person who is owed money taking back goods from a person who owes money under the terms of a contract.

representation
1. an oral or written statement of a fact;
2. having someone with legal qualifications speak on a person’s behalf in court.

res ipsa loquitur
doctrine that says that the fact that an accident happened raises the inference of negligence in the situation.

rescind
to annul, revoke, repeal or take back.

rescission
putting an end to a contract.

residence orders
a court order describing where a child will live after separation of the parents.

respondent
a person against whom an application or an appeal is brought in a court or tribunal.

restitution
a remedy of giving a financial equivalent or compensation for loss, damage or injury caused.

retrospective
a law that applies to circumstances or events before the date on which the law came into effect.

revocation
cancelling a previous act (e.g. an earlier will).

right of attribution
one aspect of moral rights; the right of a person to be credited as the author of a work; the right of a person to not have their name connected to a work they did not create.

rules of evidence
legal rules that determine whether certain information can be used as evidence in court proceedings.

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S

sanctions
official approval; penalty for failing to comply with a rule.

scalping
selling something at a higher price than you paid for it, because it is scarce.

schedule
extra information (e.g. tables, lists or forms for court documents) accompanying an Act.

secured creditor
a creditor who holds some kind of security (e.g. a mortgage) over the property of the debtor.

secured loan
where a borrower pledges an asset to guarantee repayment of a loan; failure to repay the loan will allow the creditor to take and sell the specified asset to satisfy the amount of the loan.

security
something given as a promise to guarantee repayment of a loan or fulfilment of bail conditions.

self-representation
presentation of a case in court without a lawyer.

sequestration order
a court order stating that property is to be seized in order to pay a debt.

service
the formal giving of a court document to a person; personal service requires the document to be personally handed to the person; some types
of service can be done by mail.

set aside
to cancel; to declare invalid so that the order or decision ceases to have any effect.

simple offence
see summary offence.

slander
the publication of defamatory material in a non-permanent form (e.g. oral).

SLAPP writs (strategic litigation to avoid public participation)
refers to litigation by developers and others for the purpose of silencing public opponents.

solemnise
celebrate or observe with dignity and gravity.

sovereignty
the supreme authority of the state.

special damages
financial compensation for loss that can be specifically calculated (e.g. medical bills).

specific issues orders
an order used in family law that may be about anything apart from residence, contact or maintenance; a specific issues order may be an order about particular needs the child may have (e.g. medication) or may provide conditions for contact (e.g. not drinking alcohol during contact visits).

speculative fee arrangement
an agreement that a client will only pay their lawyer’s fee at the end of the matter if the action is successful.

standard of proof
the level of proof required to prove a fact or issue to a judge or jury; in criminal matters, the standard is ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’; in civil matters, it is ‘on the balance of probabilities’.

status quo
situation that currently exists.

statute
a law made by a parliament; also called Act or legislation.

statute of limitations
the laws that set out the time limits by which legal action must be started.

statutory declaration
a written statement that the person making the declaration (the declarant) signs and solemnly declares to be true before a person authorised to witness such declarations.

stay
suspension of something legal, such as a proceeding or judgment (stay of execution).

street offence
an act which when done in public is an offence, even though it would not be criminal if done in a private place (e.g. public drunkenness).

strict liability
where a person is legally responsible even if they do not intend to do it or if they do not know the law.

subpoena
a notice issued by the court ordering a person to appear in court or to produce particular documents.

subrogation (the right of)
when one party pays the debt of another but then has the right to pursue the rights that the debtor had.

sue
to take legal action in a non-criminal matter.
sui generis
unique or peculiar.

summarily
brief or without delay, legal proceedings where certain steps are removed or sped up.

summary offence
a minor criminal offence heard and decided in
a Magistrates Court and not requiring a jury trial; also known as a simple offence.

summons
a notice issued by the court, ordering a person to appear in court.

surety
a person who promises themselves to be answerable for another person; if the second person fails to carry out their promise, the surety will be legally responsible.

surrogacy
to perform some function in the place of another person (often used in regard to pregnancy).

suspended sentence
a prison sentence that is only served if the convicted person commits further offences; a prison sentence may be partially or wholly suspended.

sworn evidence
evidence given under oath.

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