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race to the courthouse
n. slang for the rule that the first deed, deed of trust, mortgage, lien or judgment which is recorded with the Recorder will have priority and prevail over later recordings no matter when the documents were dated.

ransom
1) n. money paid to a kidnapper in demand for the release of the person abducted. Ransom money can also be paid to return a valuable object such as a stolen painting. 2) v. to pay money to an abductor to return the person held captive.

rape
1) n. the crime of sexual intercourse (with actual penetration of a woman's vagina with the man's penis) without consent and accomplished through force, threat of violence or intimidation (such as a threat to harm a woman's child, husband or boyfriend). What constitutes lack of consent usually includes saying "no" or being too drunk or drug-influenced for the woman to be able to either resist or consent. "Date rape" involves rape by an acquaintance who refuses to stop when told to. Defense attorneys often argue that there had to be physical resistance, but the modern view is that fear of harm and the relative strengths of the man and the woman are obvious deterrents to a woman fighting back. Any sexual intercourse with a child is rape and even with consent involving a girl 14 to 18 is "statutory rape," on the basis that the female is unable to give consent. 2) v. to have sexual intercourse with a female without her consent through force, violence, threat or intimidation, or with a girl under age. Technically, a woman can be charged with rape by assisting a man in the rape of another woman. Dissatisfied with the typical prosecution of rape cases (in which the defense humiliates the accuser, and prosecutors are unable or unwilling to protect the woman from such tactics), women have been suing for civil damages for the physical and emotional damage caused by the rape, although too often the perpetrator has no funds. Protection services for rape victims have been developed by both public and private agencies. On the other side of the coin, there is the concern of law enforcement and prosecutors that women whose advances have been rejected by a man, or who have been caught in the act of consensual sexual intercourse may falsely cry "rape."

ratable
adj. taxable according to value, such as an estate or property.

ratification
n. confirmation of an action which was not pre-approved and may not have been authorized, usually by a principal (employer) who adopts the acts of his/her agent (employee).

ratify
v. to confirm and adopt the act of another even though it was not approved beforehand.

rational basis
n. a test of constitutionality of a statute, asking whether the law has a reasonable connection to achieving a legitimate and constitutional objective.

ready, willing and able
adj. fully prepared to act, as in performing a contract.

real estate
n. land, improvements and buildings thereon, including attached items and growing things. It is virtually the same as "real property," except real property includes interests which are not physical such as a right to acquire the property in the future.

real estate investment trust
n. a real estate investment organization which finds investors and buys real property and gives each investor either a percentage interest in the property itself or an interest in a loan secured by a mortgage or deed of trust on the property. Usually the loan is used to develop the property and build upon it, and then there is a division of profits upon sale - if there is a profit.

real party in interest
n. the person or entity who will benefit from a lawsuit or petition even though the plaintiff (the person filing the suit) is someone else, often called a "nominal" plaintiff. Example: a trustee files a suit against a person who damaged a building owned by the trust; the real party in the interest is the beneficiary of the trust.

real property
n. 1) all land, structures, firmly attached and integrated equipment (such as light fixtures or a well pump), anything growing on the land, and all "interests" in the property, which may include the right to future ownership (remainder), right to occupy for a period of time (tenancy or life estate), the right to drill for oil, the right to get the property back (a reversion) if it is no longer used for its current purpose (such as use for a hospital, school or city hall), use of airspace (condominium) or an easement across another's property. Real property should be thought of as a group of rights like a bundle of sticks which can be divided. It is distinguished from personal property which is made up of movable items. 2) one of the principal areas of law like contracts, negligence, probate, family law and criminal law.

realty
n. a short form of "real estate".

reasonable
adj., adv. in law, just, rational, appropriate, ordinary or usual in the circumstances. It may refer to care, cause, compensation, doubt (in a criminal trial), and a host of other actions or activities.

reasonable care
n. the degree of caution and concern for the safety of himself/herself and others an ordinarily prudent and rational person would use in the circumstances. This is a subjective test of determining if a person is negligent, meaning he/she did not exercise reasonable care.

reasonable doubt
n. not being sure of a criminal defendant's guilt to a moral certainty. Thus, a juror (or judge sitting without a jury) must be convinced of guilt of a crime (or the degree of crime, as murder instead of manslaughter) "beyond a reasonable doubt", and the jury will be told so by the judge in the jury instructions. However, it is a subjective test since each juror will have to decide if his/her doubt is reasonable. It is more difficult to convict under that test, than "preponderance of the evidence" to decide for the plaintiff (party bringing the suit) in a civil (non-criminal) trial.

reasonable reliance
n. particularly in contracts, what a prudent person would believe and act upon if told something by another. Typically, a person is promised a profit or other benefit, and in reliance takes steps, in reliance on the promise, only to find the statements or promises were not true or were exaggerated. The one who relied can recover damages for the costs of his/her actions or demand performance if the reliance was "reasonable".

reasonable speed
n. the speed of an automobile determined to be lower than the posted speed limit due to the circumstances, such as rain, icy road, heavy traffic, poor condition of the vehicle or gloom of night. Exceeding reasonable speed under the circumstances can result in being cited for speeding. In the law of negligence, exceeding reasonable speed in the prevailing conditions may be found to be negligent even though below the speed limit.

reasonable time
n. in contracts, common custom in the business or under the circumstances will define "reasonable time" to perform or pay. It is bad practice to draft a contract using such a vague term.

reasonable wear and tear
n. commonly used in leases to limit the tenant's responsibility (and therefore liability to repair or repaint) upon leaving. It is subjective, but the considerations include the length of time of tenancy (the longer the occupancy the more wear and tear can be expected), the lack of unusual damage such as a hole in the wall or a broken window, and the condition of the premises when the tenant moved in. This is often a source of conflict between landlord and tenant, particularly when there is a deposit for any damages "beyond reasonable wear and tear".

rebate
1) n. a discount or deduction on sales price. A secret rebate given by a subcontractor to a contractor in return for getting the job is illegal, since it cheats the person hiring the contractor. 2) v. to give a discount or deduction.

rebuttable presumption
n. since a presumption is an assumption of fact accepted by the court until disproved, all presumptions are rebuttable. Thus rebuttable presumption is a redundancy.

rebuttal
n. evidence introduced to counter, disprove or contradict the opposition's evidence or a presumption, or responsive legal argument.

receipt
n. a written and signed acknowledgment by the recipient of payment for goods, money in payment of a debt or receiving assets from the estate of someone who has died.

receiver
n. 1) a neutral person (often a professional trustee) appointed by a judge to take charge of the property and business of one of the parties to a lawsuit and receive his/her rents and profits while the right to the money has not been finally decided. Appointment of a receiver must be requested by petition of the other party to the suit, and will only be authorized if there is a strong showing that the money would not be available when a decision is made. The funds are held for the prevailing party. 2) a person appointed to receive rents and profits coming to a debtor either while a bankruptcy is being processed or while an arrangement is being worked out to pay creditors, so that funds will be paid for debts and possibly available for distribution to creditors. 3) shorthand for one who commits the crime of receiving stolen goods knowing they were obtained illegally.

receivership
n. the process of appointment by a court of a receiver to take custody of the property, business, rents and profits of a party to a lawsuit pending a final decision on disbursement or an agreement that a receiver control the financial receipts of a person who is deeply in debt (insolvent) for the benefit of creditors. Thus, the term "the business is in receivership".

recess
n. a break in a trial or other court proceedings or a legislative session until a certain date and time. Recess is not to be confused with "adjournment", which winds up the proceedings.

recidivist
n. a repeat criminal offender, convicted of a crime after having been previously convicted.

reciprocal discovery
n. the exchange of documents, lists of witnesses, and other information between the two sides of a lawsuit or criminal prosecution before trial.

reciprocity
n. mutual exchange of privileges between nations, businesses or individuals.

reckless
adj. in both negligence and criminal cases, careless to the point of being heedless of the consequences ("grossly" negligent). Most commonly this refers to the traffic misdemeanor "reckless driving." It can also refer to use of firearms (shooting a gun in a public place), explosives or heavy equipment.

reckless disregard
n. gross negligence without concern for danger to others. Actually "reckless disregard" is redundant since reckless means there is a disregard for safety.

reckless driving
n. operation of an automobile in a dangerous manner under the circumstances, including speeding (or going too fast for the conditions, even though within the posted speed limit), driving after drinking (but not drunk), having too many passengers in the car, cutting in and out of traffic, failing to yield to other vehicles and other negligent acts. It is a misdemeanor crime.

record
1) v. (ree-cored) to put a document into the official records at the office of the Recorder of Deeds. The process is that the document is taken or sent to the Recorder's office, a recording fee paid, the document is given a number (a document number, volume or reel number and page number), stamped with the date (and usually the time) of recording and the document returned. Normally recorded is any document affecting title to real property such as a deed, deed of trust, mortgage, release, declaration of homestead, easement, judgment, lien, request for notice of default, foreclosure, satisfaction of judgment, decree of distribution of a dead person's estates and sometimes long-term leases. These recordings provide a traceable chain of title to the property and give the public "constructive" notice of all interests in the property. 2) v. to write down or tape the minutes, financial transactions, discussions and other happenings at meetings. 3) n. (reck-urred) in trials, hearings or other legal proceedings the total of the proceedings which are transcribed by a court reporter and included in the minutes of the clerk or judge, as well as all the documents filed in the case. On an appeal, the record includes everything that transpired before the appeal, upon which the written briefs (opposing legal arguments) and oral argument are based. On appeal the court can consider only the record, unless there is a claim of "newly discovered evidence".

recording acts
n. the statutes of each state which established the keeping of official records by Recorders of Deeds.

records
n. in business, particularly corporations, all the written business documents, especially about financial dealings. Thus, shareholders and partners are entitled to access to the "records" of the business.

recoupment
n. the right of a defendant in a lawsuit to demand deduction from the amount awarded to plaintiff (party bringing the suit) of a sum due the defendant from the plaintiff in the transaction which was the subject of the lawsuit. A recoupment is not the same as an "offset" (setoff), which can be money owed from any matter, including outside the lawsuit.

recourse
n. the right to demand payment to the writer of a check or bill of exchange.

recover
v. to receive a money judgment in a lawsuit.

recoverable
adj. referring to the amount of money to which a plaintiff (the party suing) is entitled in a lawsuit. Thus, a judge might rule "Rs 12,500 is recoverable for lost wages, and Rs 5,500 is recoverable for property damage to plaintiff's vehicle."

recovery
n. the amount of money and any other right or property received by a plaintiff in a lawsuit.

recusal
n. the act of a judge or prosecutor being removed or voluntarily stepping aside from a legal case due to conflict of interest or other good reason.

recuse
v. to refuse to be a judge (or for a judge to agree to a request by one of the parties to step aside) in a lawsuit or appeal because of a conflict of interest or other good reason (acquaintanceship with one of the parties, for example). It also applies to a judge or prosecutor being removed or voluntarily removing himself/herself from a criminal case in which he/she has a conflict of interest, such as friendship or known enmity to the defendant.

redeem
v. to buy back, as when an owner who had mortgaged his/her real property pays off the debt. The term also refers to paying the amount due and all charges after a foreclosure (because of failure to make payments when due) has begun. A person who has pawned a possession may redeem the item by paying the loan and interest to the pawnbroker.

redemption
n. the act of redeeming, buying back property by paying off a loan, interest and any costs of foreclosure.

reentry
n. taking back possession and going into real property which one owns, particularly when a tenant has failed to pay rent or has abandoned the property, or possession has been restored to the owner by judgment in an unlawful detainer lawsuit. Reentry may also be allowed when a buyer defaults on payments on a contract of sale or upon foreclosure of a mortgage or deed of trust which secured a loan on the property. The right of reentry is usually written into leases and sometimes in mortgages.

referee
n. a person to whom a judge refers a case to take testimony or acquire other evidence such as financial records and report to the court on such findings.

referendum
n. the process by which the repeal or approval of an existing statute or state constitutional provision is voted upon.

reformation
n. the correction or change of an existing document by court order upon petition of one of the parties to the document. Reformation will be ordered if there is proof that the parties did not intend the language as written or there was an omission due to mistake or misunderstanding. Quite often a party petitions for reformation when one or both parties realize the effect of the document as written is different from what was expected but it has already been recorded or filed with a governmental agency. Examples: a paragraph is omitted from a trust which results in the transfer to the trust being a gift subject to gift tax, and which needs to be corrected to keep the taxing authority from demanding payment. The attorney writing the final draft of a limited partnership agreement writes in a calculation which would triple the profit to a limited partner above the amount discussed by the parties, and when the limited partner refuses to change the document, the general partner sues for reformation.

refresh one's memory
v. to use a document, exhibit or previous testimony in order to help a witness recall an event or prior statement when the witness has responded to a question that he/she could not remember. To attempt to "refresh" the memory of a forgetful or reluctant witness, the witness must have denied remembering and the attorney must have the witness identify the document, exhibit or prior statement (lay a foundation showing it is genuine).

register
n. in corporations, the record of shareholders, and issuance and transfer of shares on the records of the corporation.

registration statement
n. a detailed report to be filed with the Securities and Exchange Board by a corporation making an issuance of shares to be advertised and sold to the general public.

registry of deeds
n. the records of land title documents kept by the Recorder of Deeds.

regulations
n. rules and administrative codes issued by governmental agencies at all levels, municipal, state, etc. Although they are not laws, regulations have the force of law, since they are adopted under authority granted by statutes, and often include penalties for violations. The regulation-making process involves hearings, publication in governmental journals which supposedly give public notice, and adoption by the agency. The process is best known to industries and special interests concerned with the subject matter, but only occasionally to the general public.

rehearing
n. conducting a hearing again based on the motion of one of the parties to a lawsuit, petition or criminal prosecution, usually by the court or agency which originally heard the matter. Rehearings are usually requested due to newly discovered evidence, an unfortunate and possibly unintended result of the original order, a change of circumstance or a simple claim that the judge or agency was just wrong.

rejection of claim
n. a claim for a debt of the deceased denied (rejected) in total or in part by the executor or administrator of the estate. A claim is rejected in writing filed with the court, and a judge shall approve or disapprove the rejection if the claimant protests. If a claim is not acted upon it may be presumed to be approved. There are other types of claims which may be rejected by agencies or individuals, which can be protested in a lawsuit if all administrative procedures are used first.

release
1) v. to give up a right as releasing one from his/her obligation to perform under a contract, or to relinquish a right to an interest in real property. 2) v. to give freedom, as letting out of prison. 3) n. the writing that grants a release.

release on one's own recognizance
v. for a judge to allow a criminal defendant pre-trial freedom without posting bail, based on the past history of the defendant, roots in the community, regular employment, the recommendation of the prosecutor, the type of crime, and in total the likelihood of making all appearances in court and the improbability that the defendant will commit another crime while awaiting trial.

relevancy
n. See also: irrelevant relevant

relevant
adj. having some reasonable connection with, and in regard to evidence in trial, having some value or tendency to prove a matter of fact significant to the case. Commonly, an objection to testimony or physical evidence is that it is "irrelevant".

reliance
n. acting upon another's statement of alleged fact, claim or promise. In contracts, if someone takes some steps ("changes his position" is the usual legal language) in reliance on the other's statement, claim or promise then the person upon whom the actor relied is entitled to contend there is a contract he/she can enforce. However, the reliance must be reasonable.

reliction
n. gradual change of water line on real property which gives the owner more dry land.

relief
n. generic term for all types of benefits which an order or judgment of court can give a party to a lawsuit, including money award, injunction, return of property, property title, alimony and dozens of other possibilities.

remainder
n. in real property law, the interest in real property that is left after another interest in the property ends, such as full title after a life estate (the right to use the property until one dies). A remainder must be created by a deed or will. A remainder is distinguished from a "reversion," which gives title back to the grantor of the property or to the grantor's descendants; a reversion need not be spelled out in a deed or will, but can occur automatically by "operation of law".

remainderman
n. the person who will receive a remainder in real property.

remand
v. to send back. An appeals court may remand a case to the trial court for further action if it reverses the judgment of the lower court, or after a preliminary hearing a judge may remand into custody a person accused of a crime if the judge finds that a there is reason to hold the accused for trial.

remedy
n. the means to achieve justice in any matter in which legal rights are involved. Remedies may be ordered by the court, granted by judgment after trial or hearing, by agreement (settlement) between the person claiming harm and the person he/she believes has caused it, and by the automatic operation of law. Some remedies require that certain acts be performed or prohibited (originally called "equity"); others involve payment of money to cover loss due to injury or breach of contract; and still others require a court's declaration of the rights of the parties and an order to honor them. An "extraordinary remedy" is a means employed by a judge to meet particular problems, such as appointment of a referee, master or receiver to investigate, report or take charge of property. A "provisional remedy" is a temporary solution to hold matters in status quo pending a final decision or an attempt to see if the remedy will work.

remise
v. to give up something, sometimes used in quitclaim deeds.

remittitur
n. 1) a judge's order reducing a judgment awarded by a jury when the award exceeds the amount asked for by the plaintiff (person who brought the suit). 2) an appeal's transmittal of a case back to the trial court so that the case can be retried, or an order entered consistent with the appeals court's decision (such as dismissing the plaintiff's case or awarding costs to the winning party on appeal).

remote
adj., adv. extremely far off or slight. Evidence may be so remote from the issues in a trial that it will not be allowed because it is "immaterial". An act which started the events which led to an accident may be too remote to be a cause, as distinguished from the "proximate cause".

removal
n. 1) the change of a legal case from one court to another based on a motion by one of the parties stating that the other jurisdiction is more appropriate for the case. 2) taking away the position of a public official for cause, such as dishonesty, incompetence, conviction of a crime or successful impeachment.

renewal
n. keeping an existing arrangement in force for an additional period of time, such as a lease, a promissory note, insurance policy or any other contract. Renewal usually requires a writing or some action which evidences the new term.

rent
1) v. to hire an object or real property for a period of time (or for an open-ended term) for specified payments. 2) n. the amount paid by the renter and received by the owner. Rent may be specified in a written lease, but also may be based on an oral agreement for either a short period or on a month-to-month basis in which the hiring may be terminated on a month's notice.

rental value
n. the amount which would be paid for rental of similar property in the same condition in the same area. Evidence of rental value becomes important in lawsuits in which loss of use of real property or equipment is an issue, and the rental value is the "measure of damages." In divorce cases in which one of the spouses stays in the family residence, the use of the property has rental value which is considered in balancing the income of the parties, determining division of property or setting the amount of alimony to be paid.

renunciation
n. 1) giving up a right, such as a right of inheritance, a gift under a will or abandoning the right to collect a debt on a note. 2) in criminal law, abandoning participation in a crime before it takes place, or an attempt to stop other participants from going ahead with the crime. A defendant may use renunciation as evidence of his/her innocence. Once the crime is underway, any claimed renunciation is factually too late.

reorganization
n. the implementation of a business plan to restructure a corporation, which may include transfers of stock between shareholders of two corporations in a merger. In bankruptcy, a corporation in deep financial trouble may be given time to reorganize while being protected from creditors by the bankruptcy court. The theory is that if the business is able to get on its feet the creditors will eventually collect.

repair
v. to restore to former condition or in some contracts to operational soundness. Contracts should spell out the repairs to be made and what the final condition will be.

repeal
1) v. to annul an existing law, by passage of a repealing statute, or by public vote on a referendum. Repeal of constitutional provisions requires an amendment. 2) n. the act of annulling a statute.

replevin
n. under common law, the right to bring a lawsuit for recovery of goods improperly taken by another.

reply brief
n. the written legal argument of the respondent (trial court winner) in answer to the "opening brief" of an appellant (a trial court loser who has appealed).

reports
n. the published decisions of appeals courts, which are constantly updated with pamphlets called "advance sheets" which are soon followed by bound volumes. These reports are available in almost all law libraries.

repossess
v. to take back property through judicial processes, foreclosure, or self-help upon default in required payments.

represent
v. 1) to act as the agent for another. 2) to act as a client's attorney. 3) to state something as a fact, such as "I tell you this horse is only four years old". 4) to allege a fact in court, as "I represent to the court that we will present six witnesses", "We represent that this is the final contract between the parties".

representation
n. 1) the act of being another's agent. 2) acting as an attorney for a client. 3) a statement of alleged fact either in negotiations or in court.

representative
1) n. an agent. 2) n. in probate law, a generic term for an executor or administrator of the estate of a person who has died, generally referred to as the "personal representative". 3) adj. typical, as "these pictures are representative of the conditions at the job site".

reprieve
n. a temporary delay in imposition of the death penalty (a punishment which cannot be reduced afterwards) by the executive order of the Governor of the state. Reasons for reprieves include the possibility of newly discovered evidence (another's involvement, evidence of mental impairment), awaiting the result of some last-minute appeal, or concern of the Governor that there may have been some error in the record which he/she should examine. Upon the expiration of the reprieve the date for execution can be reset and the death penalty imposed. A reprieve is only a delay and is not a reduction of sentence, commutation of sentence or pardon.

repudiation
n. denial of the existence of a contract and/or refusal to perform a contract obligation. Repudiation is an anticipatory breach of a contract.

reputation
n. a person's good name, honor or what the community thinks of him/her. The quality and value of one's reputation is a key issue in suits for defamation (libel and slander) since the damage to one's reputation by published untruths may determine the amount of judgment against the defamer. Sometimes a person's favorable reputation is so great that most defamation cannot do him/her much harm.

reputed
adj. referring to what is accepted by general public belief, whether or not correct.

request
1) v. to ask or demand a judge to act (such as issuing a writ) or demanding something from the other party (such as production of documents), usually by a party to a lawsuit (usually the attorney). 2) n. the act of asking or demanding.

requirements contract
n. a contract between a supplier (or manufacturer) and a buyer, in which the supplier agrees to sell all the particular products that the buyer needs, and the buyer agrees to purchase the goods exclusively from the supplier. A requirements contract differs from an "an output contract", in which the buyer agrees to buy all the supplier produces.

res
(rayz)n. Latin, "thing." In law lingo res is used in conjunction with other Latin words as "thing that".

res adjudicata
n. a thing (legal matter) already determined by a court, from Latin for "the thing has been judged". More properly res judicata.

res gestae
(rayz jest-tie) n. from Latin for "things done", it means all circumstances surrounding and connected with a happening. Thus, the res gestae of a crime includes the immediate area and all occurrences and statements immediately after the crime. Statements made within the res gestae of a crime or accident may be admitted in court even though they are "hearsay" on the basis that spontaneous statements in those circumstances are reliable.

res ipsa loquitur
(rayz ip-sah loh-quit-her) n. Latin for "the thing speaks for itself", a doctrine of law that one is presumed to be negligent if he/she/it had exclusive control of whatever caused the injury even though there is no specific evidence of an act of negligence, and without negligence the accident would not have happened. Examples: a) a load of bricks on the roof of a building being constructed by Highrise Construction Company falls and injures Abraham Paul below, and Highrise is liable for Abraham's injury even though no one saw the load fall. b) While under anesthetic, John's nerve in his arm is damaged although it was not part of the surgical procedure, and he is unaware of which of a dozen medical people in the room caused the damage. Under res ipsa loquitur all those connected with the operation are liable for negligence. Lawyers often shorten the doctrine to "res ips", and find it a handy shorthand for a complex doctrine.

res judicata
(rayz judy-cot-ah) n. Latin for "the thing has been judged", meaning the issue before the court has already been decided by another court, between the same parties. Therefore, the court will dismiss the case before it as being useless. Sometimes called res adjudicata.

resale
n. selling again, particularly at retail. 2) adj. referring to sales to the general public, as distinguished from wholesale, sales to retailers. A "resale license" or "resale number" is required so that the state can monitor the collection of sales tax on retail sales.

rescind
v. to cancel a contract, putting the parties back to the position as if the contract had not existed. Both parties rescind a contract by mutual agreement, since a unilateral cancellation of a contract is a "breach" of the contract and could result in a lawsuit by the non-cancelling party.

rescission
n. the cancellation of a contract by mutual agreement of the parties.

rescue doctrine
n. the rule of law that if a rescuer of a person hurt or put in peril due to the negligence or intentional wrongdoing of another (the tortfeasor) is injured in the process of the rescue, the original wrongdoer is responsible in damages for the rescuer's injury.

reservation
n. a provision in a deed which keeps (reserves) to the grantor some right or portion of the property.

reserve
v. to keep for oneself a right or a portion of the real property when transferring (conveying) a parcel of real estate to another.

reserve fund
n. a fund of money created to take care of maintenance, repairs or unexpected expenses of a business or a multi-unit housing development (often a housing cooperative) operated by a homeowners association or other governing body.

residence
n. 1) the place where one makes his/her home. However, a person may have his/her state of "domicile" elsewhere for tax or other purposes, especially if the residence is for convenience or not of long standing. 2) in corporation law, the state of incorporation.

resident
n. a person who lives in a particular place. However, the term is vague depending on the permanence of the occupation.

residuary bequest
n. in a will, the gift of whatever is left (the residue) after specific gifts are given. It is also called a residuary legacy.

residue
n. in a will, the assets of the estate of a person who has died with a will (died testate) which are left after all specific gifts have been made. Typical language: "I leave the rest, residue and remainder [or just residue] of my estate to my grandchildren". If the residue is not given to any beneficiary it will be distributed pursuant to the laws of descent and distribution.

resisting arrest
n. the crime of using physical force) to prevent arrest, handcuffing and/or taking the accused to jail. Sometimes referred to merely as "resisting".

resolution
n. a determination of policy of a corporation by the vote of its board of directors. Legislative bodies also pass resolutions, but they are often statements of policy, belief or appreciation, and not always enactment of statutes or ordinances.

respondeat superior
(rehs-pond-dee-at superior) n. Latin for "let the master answer", a key doctrine in the law of agency, which provides that a principal (employer) is responsible for the actions of his/her/its agent (employee) in the "course of employment". Thus, an agent who signs an agreement to purchase goods for his employer in the name of the employer can create a binding contract between the seller and the employer. Another example: if a delivery truck driver negligently hits a child in the street, the company for which the driver works will be liable for the injuries.

respondent
n. 1) the party who is required to answer a petition for a court order or writ requiring the respondent to take some action, halt an activity or obey a court's direction. In such matters the moving party (the one filing the petition) is usually called the "petitioner". Thus, the respondent is equivalent to a defendant in a lawsuit, but the potential result is a court order and not money damages. 2) on an appeal, the party who must respond to an appeal by the losing party in the trial court (called "appellant") in the appeals court.

responsible
adj. 1) legally liable or accountable. 2) having the ability to pay or perform.

restatement of the law
n. a series of detailed statements of the basic law on a variety of subjects written and updated by well-known legal scholars. While not having the force of statutes or of decided precedents, the Restatement (as lawyers generally call it) has the prestige of the scholars who have studied the legal questions. Topics covered include agency, contracts, property, torts and trusts.

restitution
n. 1) returning to the proper owner property or the monetary value of loss. Sometimes restitution is made part of a judgment in negligence and/or contracts cases. 2) in criminal cases, one of the penalties imposed is requiring return of stolen goods to the victim or payment to the victim for harm caused. Restitution may be a condition of granting a defendant probation or giving him/her a shorter sentence than normal.

restraining order
n. a temporary order of a court to keep conditions as they are (like not taking a child out of the county or not selling marital property) until there can be a hearing in which both parties are present. More properly it is called a temporary restraining order.

restraint of trade
n. in antitrust law, any activity (including agreements among competitors or companies doing business with each other) which tends to limit trade, sales and transportation in interstate commerce or has a substantial impact on interstate commerce. Most of these actions are illegal under the various antitrust statutes.

restraint on alienation
n. an attempt in a deed or will to prevent the sale or other transfer of real property either forever or for an extremely long period of time. Such a restraint on the freedom to transfer property is generally unlawful and therefore void or voidable (can be made void if an owner objects), since a present owner should not be able to tie the hands of future generations to deal with their property. This ban on a restraint on alienation (transfer) is called "the rule against perpetuities".

restriction
n. any limitation on activity, by statute, regulation or contract provision. In multi-unit real estate developments, condominium and cooperative housing projects managed by homeowners' associations or similar organizations, such organizations are usually required by law to impose restrictions on use. Thus, the restrictions are part of the "covenants, conditions and restrictions" intended to enhance the use of common facilities and property which are recorded and incorporated into the title of each owner.

restrictive covenant
n. 1) an agreement included in a deed to real property that the buyer (grantee) will be limited as to the future use of the property. Example: no fence may be built on the property not more than six feet high, no tennis court or swimming pool may be constructed within 30 feet of the property line, and no structure can be built within 20 feet of the frontage street. Commonly these covenants are written so that they can be enforced by the grantor and other owners in the subdivision, so that future owners will be bound by the covenant (called "covenant running with the land" if enforceable against future owners).

restrictive endorsement
n. an endorsement signed on the back of a check, note or bill of exchange which restricts to whom the paper may be transferred. Also spelled "indorsement".

result
n. common lawyer lingo for outcome of a lawsuit.

resulting trust
n. a trust implied by law (as determined by a court) that a person who holds title or possession was intended by agreement (implied by the circumstances) with the intended owner to hold the property for the intended owner. Thus, the holder is considered a trustee of a resulting trust for the proper owner as beneficiary. Although a legal fiction, the resulting trust forces the holder to honor the intention and prevents unjust enrichment. A resulting trust differs from a "constructive trust", which comes about when someone by accident, misunderstanding or dishonesty comes into possession of property belonging to another.

retainer
n. the advance payment to an attorney for services to be performed, intended to insure that the lawyer will represent the client and that the lawyer will be paid at least that amount. Commonly in matters which will involve extensive work there will be a retainer agreement signed by the attorney and client. Further payments for services can be expected as the time spent on the legal matter increases. Most lawyers do not want to be owed money and wish to be paid either in advance or promptly as the work is performed. One reason for the retainer, and the problem a lawyer faces, is that he/she does not want to abandon a client, but at the same time does not want to be stuck with extensive unpaid fees.

retire
v. 1) to stop working at one's occupation. 2) to pay off a promissory note and thus "retire" the loan. 3) for a jury to go into the jury room to decide on a verdict after all evidence, argument and jury instructions have been completed.

retraction
n. 1) to withdraw any legal document in a lawsuit or other legal proceeding, or withdraw a promise or offer of contract. 2) in defamation, particularly libel, the correction of any untruth published in a newspaper or magazine or broadcast on radio or television, usually upon the demand of the person about whom the damaging false statement was made. A clear and complete retraction will usually end the right of the defamed party to go forward with a lawsuit for damages for libel.

retrial
n. a new trial granted upon the motion of the losing party, based on obvious error, bias or newly discovered evidence, or after mistrial or reversed by an appeals court.

retroactive
adj. referring to a court's decision or a statute enacted by a legislative body which would result in application to past transactions and legal actions. Some decisions are so fundamental to justice they may have a retroactive effect, depending on the balance between stability of the law and the public good. Retroactive is also called "retrospective".

return of service
n. written confirmation under oath by a process server declaring that there was service of legal documents (such as a summons and complaint).

reversal
n. the decision of a court of appeal ruling that the judgment of a lower court was incorrect and is therefore reversed. The result is that the lower court which tried the case is instructed to dismiss the original action, retry the case or change its judgment. Examples: a court which denied a petition for writ of mandate is ordered to issue the writ. A lower court which gave judgment with no evidence of damages is ordered to dismiss.

reversible error
n. a legal mistake at the trial court level which is so significant (resulted in an improper judgment) that the judgment must be reversed by the appellate court. A reversible error is distinguished from an error which is minor or did not contribute to the judgment at the trial.

reversion
n. in real property, the return to the grantor or his/her heirs of real property after all interests in the property given to others have terminated. Examples: a) George deeded property to the local hospital district for "use for health facilities only", and the hospital is eventually torn down and the property is now vacant. The property reverts to George's descendants. b) George wills the property to his sister's children only, who later died without children. When the last grandchild dies the property reverts to George's descendants. Reversion is also called "reverter".

reverter
n. synonymous with reversion.

review
n. the judicial consideration of a lower court judgment by an appellate court, determining if there were legal errors sufficient to require reversal. The process requires notice of appeal, obtaining a transcript of the trial or hearing at the trial level, obtaining all the pleadings and other documents filed in the original trial, preparation of briefs citing precedents and arguing that there was reversible error. Then the respondent (winner at the trial court) may file a responsive brief, and the appellant (the one appealing the decision) has the chance to file a brief in response to the respondent. The next step is oral argument (if allowed) before the appellate court. Appeals on procedural issues normally do not include oral argument. If the appellate court denies the appeal a rehearing may be requested but is seldom granted.

revival
n. 1) requesting a court to reinstate the force of an old judgment. 2) reinstating a contract or debt by a new agreement after the right to demand performance or collect has expired under the statute of limitations (the time to sue).

revocation
n. 1) mutual cancellation of a contract by the parties to it. 2) withdrawing an offer before it is accepted ("I revoke my offer"). 3) cancelling a document before it has come into legal effect or been acted upon, as revoking a will. 4) to recall a power or authority previously given, as cancelling a power of attorney or cancelling a driver's license due to traffic offenses.

revoke
v. to annul or cancel an act, particularly a statement, document or promise, as if it no longer existed. Thus, a person can revoke a will or revoke an offer to enter into a contract, and a government agency can revoke a license.

rider
n. 1) an attachment to a document which adds to or amends it. Typical is an added provision to an insurance policy, such as additional coverage or temporary insurance to cover a public event. 2) in legislatures, an amendment tacked on to a bill which has little or no relevance to the main purpose of the legislation, but is a way to get the amendment passed if the basic bill has support. 3) passenger.

right
1) n. an entitlement to something, whether to concepts like justice and due process or to ownership of property or some interest in property, real or personal. These rights include: various freedoms; protection against interference with enjoyment of life and property; civil rights enjoyed by citizens such as voting and access to the courts; natural rights accepted by civilized societies; human rights to protect people throughout the world from terror, torture, barbaric practices and deprivation of civil rights and profit from their labor; and constitutional guarantees as the right to freedoms of speech, press, religion, assembly and petition. 2) adj. just, fair, correct.

right of way
n. 1) a pathway or road with a specific description. 2) the right to cross property to go to and from another parcel. The right of way may be a specific grant of land or an "easement", which is a right to pass across another's land. The mere right to cross without a specific description is a "floating" easement. Some rights of way are for limited use such as repair of electric lines or for deliveries to the back door of a store. Railroads own title to a right of way upon which to build permanent tracks. 3) in traffic ordinances, a driver is entitled to the "right of way" to proceed first ahead of other vehicles or pedestrians, depending on certain rules of the road, such as the first to reach an intersection. Failure to yield the right of way to the vehicle or person entitled to it can result in a citation and fine, to say nothing of an accident. It can also be evidence of negligence in a lawsuit for injuries suffered in an accident.

right to privacy
n. the possible right to be let alone, in absence of some "reasonable" public interest in a person's activities, like those of celebrities or participants in newsworthy events. Invasion of the right to privacy can be the basis for a lawsuit for damages against the person or entity (such as a magazine or television show) violating the right. However, the right to privacy does not extend to prohibiting someone from taking another person's picture on the street.

rights
n. plural of right, which is the collection of entitlements which a person may have and which are protected by the government and the courts or under an agreement (contract).

riot
n. 1) technically a turbulent and violent disturbance of peace by three or more people acting together. 2) an assemblage of people who are out of control, causing injury or endangering the physical safety of others and/or themselves, causing or threatening damage to property and often violating various laws both individually and as a group. The common thread is that the people in a riot have the power through violence to break the public peace and safety, requiring police action. Often a riot is declared after the crowd has been informed by police officers that the people constitute an "unlawful assembly" and are ordered to "disperse" immediately (historically in England called "reading the riot act"). If the crowd does not disperse, its members become subject to arrest for the crime of rioting, disturbing the peace, resisting arrest or other separate crimes ranging from assault to unlawful possession of firearms.

risk
n. chances of danger or loss, particularly of property covered by an insurance policy or property being used or transported by another. Insurance companies assume the risk of loss and calculate their premiums by the value and the risk based on statistically determined chances. A trucking company assumes the risk of loss while carrying goods.

risk of loss
n. the responsibility a carrier, borrower or user of property or goods assumes or an insurance company agrees to cover if there is damage or loss.

roadside test
n. a preliminary test law enforcement officers use on a suspected drunk driver at the spot the driver has been pulled over.

robbery
n. 1) the direct taking of property (including money) from a person (victim) through force, threat or intimidation. Robbery is a felony (crime punishable by a term in prison). "Armed robbery" involves the use of a gun or other weapon which can do bodily harm, such as a knife or club, and carries a stiffer penalty (longer possible term) than robbery by merely taking. 2) a term improperly used to describe thefts, including burglary (breaking and entering) and shoplifting (secret theft from the stock of a store), expressed: "We've been robbed".

rogatory letters
n. a written request by a judge to a judge in another state asking that a witness in the other state have his/her testimony taken in the other state's court for use in the local court case.

royalty
n. a percentage of gross or net profit or a fixed amount per sale to which a creator of a work is entitled which is determined by contract between the creator and the manufacturer, publisher, agent and/or distributor. Inventors, authors, movie makers, scriptwriters, music composers, musicians and other creators contract with the manufacturers, publishers, movie production companies and distributors, as well as producers and distributors for a license to manufacture and/or sell the product, who pay a royalty to the creator based on a percentage of funds received. Should someone use another person's creation either purposely or by mistake, the user could be found liable to the creator for all profits on the basis of copyright or patent infringement, which usually is far more than a royalty. However, a creator does not have to license his/her creation to anyone.

rule
1) v. to decide a legal question, by a court, as in: "I rule that the plaintiff is entitled to the goods and damages for delay in the sum of Rs 10,000". 2) v. to make a judicial command. 3) n. any regulation governing conduct. 4) n. one of the regulations of covering legal practice before a particular group of courts, collectively called "rules of court" adopted by local judges. 5) n. a legal principle set by the decision in an appellate case.

rule against perpetuities
n. the legal prohibition against tying up property so that it cannot be transferred or vest title in another forever, for several future generations, or for a period of centuries.

rules of court
n. a set of procedural regulations adopted by courts which are mandatory upon parties and their lawyers on matters within the jurisdiction of those courts. Local rules encompass the time allowed to file papers, the format of documents (including the paper colors of appeal court briefs), the number of copies to be filed, the procedure to file motions, the basis for calculating alimony and child support, fees for filing various documents and numerous other mundane but vital matters. These rules are violated or ignored at the peril of the client and his/her/its counsel.

ruling
n. court decision on a case or any legal question.

running at large
adj. 1) referring to cattle or other animals which have escaped from an enclosure and are wandering. The owner will be liable for damage caused by such animals. 2) political campaigning by a candidate running for an office from no specific district, but from an entire city or state.

running with the land
adj. permanently part of the title (ownership) to real property



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