You will find commonly used legal terms in this glossary. You can click on the letter to jump to the words that begin with that letter or scroll down the page.


Oath: Solemn promise

a formal or legally binding pledge to do something such as tell the truth in a court of law, made formally and often naming God or a loved one as witness.


 When a party opposes certain evidence presented by the other party or the way in which the other party is proceeding with its evidence.


A duty created by the law or something that has to be done.


An official crime.


A person who has been determined by a court to be guilty of an offence, whether on acceptance of a plea of guilty or on a finding of guilt. In an informal context it can also refer to a person who is suspected of committing a crime.


The burden of proof or responsibility for acting in a legal proceeding.

Open question

Style of question asked to a witness, one that does not suggest or contain the answer that the party wants the witness to give.

Opening statement

What a party says at the beginning of a hearing, before giving their evidence, to explain the issues in dispute and the evidence that they will have.

Oral decision

A decision that is spoken aloud by a decision-maker at the end of a hearing, instead of being written out later.

Oral evidence

Answers given by a witness in testimony at a hearing.


How a tribunal or court declares that something must be done. An order can be final or interim.

Order Without Notice (Ex Parte)

An ex-parte order is an emergency order that is provided by the judge without the other party having been notified in advance of the application or the hearing. There must be compelling reasons why a hearing is urgent and why the other party should not be notified.


The result or the way that something turns out in the end.


To reverse a previous decision, ruling, or law by using legal or legislative procedures.