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Legal Terms Glossary -L-


Lapsed gift – A gift made in a will to a person who has died prior to the will-makers death.

Larceny – Obtaining property by fraud or deceit.

Law – The combination of those rules and principles of conduct promulgated by legislative authority, derived from court decisions and established by local custom.

Law Blank – A printed legal form available for preparing documents.

Law Clerk – In the United States, usually a law school student employed by a law firm to do research and other tasks. In the courts, a lawyer (or law school student) employed to do legal research.

Lawsuit – An action or proceeding in a civil court; term used for a suit or action between two private parties in a court of law.

Leading question – A question that suggests the answer desired of the witness. A party generally may not ask one’s own witness leading questions. Leading questions may be asked only of hostile witnesses and on cross-examination.

Legal aid – Professional legal services available usually to persons or organizations unable to afford such services.

Legal process – A formal paper that is legally valid; something issuing from the court, usually a command such as a writ or mandate.

Legal texts – Books that cover specific areas of the law, usually dealing with a single topic.

Legislation – The act of giving or enacting laws; the power to make laws via legislation in contrast to court-made laws.

Legitimate – That which is legal, lawful, recognized by law or according to law.

Leniency – Recommendation for a sentence less than the maximum allowed.

Letters of Administration – Legal document issued by a court that shows an administrator’s legal right to take control of assets in the deceased person’s name.

Letters Testamentary – Legal document issued by a court that shows an executor’s legal right to take control of assets in the deceased person’s name.

Liable – Legally responsible.

Libel – Published defamation which tends to injure a person’s reputation.

Licensing boards – State agencies created to regulate the issuance of licenses, i.e., to contractors, cosmetologists, realtors, etc.

Lien – An encumbrance or legal burden upon property.

Limine(See “in limine” in Foreign Words Glossary).

Limited Jurisdiction – Refers to courts that are limited in the types of criminal and civil cases they may hear. For example, traffic violations generally are heard by limited jurisdiction courts.

Limited Tort – Limited Tort offers you a savings on your premiums. You are still able to recover all out-of-pocket medical and other expenses; however, you are not able to recover certain damages – such as payments for pain and suffering – unless the injuries meet one of the exceptions as defined in Act 6 of Title 75, Section 1705 (d).

Limits – The maximum amount of benefits the insurance company agrees to pay under an insurance policy in the event of a loss.

Litigant – A party to a lawsuit.

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Litigation – A lawsuit; a legal action, including all proceedings therein.

Living trust – A trust set up and in effect during the lifetime of the grantor. (Also called inter vivos trust.)

Loose-leaf services -Loose-leaf replacement pages provided by a publisher in areas of the law where changes occur at a rapid rate.