Definitions of Legal Terms

Acquittal
a finding of not guilty in a criminal case.
Act
a law passed by Parliament or a provincial legislature. Also called a statute.
Action
a judicial proceeding in either civil or criminal law.
Adjournment
a temporary postponement of court.
Affidavit
a statement written down and sworn or affirmed to be true. An affidavit is usually signed before a notary public or a commissioner of oaths.
Affirmation
a non-religious oath given before testifying or signing an affidavit.
Appeal
a request to have a higher court determine whether mistakes were made by a lower court or tribunal. The higher court may affirm, vary or reverse the original decision.
Appeal Book
a bound volume of material filed by the Appellant which contains all the documents, affidavit evidence, orders, listing of exhibits filed, judgment and reasons of the decision of the judge or tribunal appealed from.
Appeal allowed
the Court has decided in favour of the Appellant (party bringing the appeal).
Appeal dismissed
the Court has decided in favour of the Respondent (party against whom the appeal is brought) and against the Appellant.
Appellant
the person or party bringing the appeal to the Court of Appeal.
Applicant
the party that requests relief or a remedy from a court of law or other legal body.
Book of Authorities
a list and copies of legal cases that are relevant to the issues and are cited in the factum.
Civil Appeal Rules
the Civil Appeal Rules are found here.
Criminal Appeal Rules
the Criminal Appeal Rules are known as the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador – Court of Appeal Criminal Appeal Rules (2002).
Cross-Appeal
the Respondent on an appeal launches his or her own appeal against the Appellant.
Damages
monetary compensation for financial or property losses, emotional or physical injuries, loss of earnings and costs of care.
Exhibit
evidence that was relied upon by the lower court or tribunal. Orders and reasons for decisions may also be considered as exhibits.
Factum
a statement of facts and an outline of the legal argument submitted to the Court of Appeal. It is a bound volume that is made up of four (4) parts: a summary of the facts which relate to the issues in the appeal; the issues in the appeal; the legal argument; and the relief sought.
Judgment
the final decision by the Court in a legal proceeding. The terms judgment and decision are used interchangeably. A judgment may be in writing or given orally in court.
Leave
permission from the Court. To obtain leave (i.e. permission) from the Court of Appeal you must file an application with the court, serve that application on the other party, and appear on the assigned application date to tell the Court why the Court should grant you permission to do the thing you want to do, such as: to pursue the appeal or to have an extension of time in which to file your notice of appeal.
Motion
a request to the Court for an order or judgment during the course of a court proceeding. Motions can be made for many purposes, including asking for extensions of time to file an appeal, and seeking leave (i.e. permission) to argue an appeal, or to set a date for the hearing of the appeal. A motion must be brought by notice and include an affidavit giving details of the motion.
Order
a decision of a court or other decision-making body that may or may not be the final outcome of the matter.
Practice Notes
notices from the Court that supplement the rules and procedures. They provide specific instructions on the preparation of material and other general information.
Relief
remedy being sought before the Court of Appeal.
Reserved Judgment
when the judge or judges do not immediately give their decision, but issue their written decision at a later date.
Respondent
the person who is in response to or in opposition to an appeal brought by an Appellant, or an application brought by an applicant.
Serve or Service
the official delivery of legal documents to another party in the proceeding, following specific rules as set out in the Court of Appeal Civil Rules or the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador, Court of Appeal Criminal Appeal Rules (2002), or any other applicable statute.
Setting down
the setting of the appeal hearing date, as well as the filing dates for the appeal book and the Appellant’s factum and the Respondent’s factum.
Transcript
a typed record of the oral proceedings of the court case or tribunal case under appeal. It includes the evidence of the witnesses, oral submissions and rulings made in open court.
Uncompleted Matter
a matter where the issues between the parties have not been determined by a final decision or order of the court appealed from.