In Past
August 23, 2021

The language of law school is an alphabet soup of acronyms and slang. Language is the conveyance or medium through which ideas and thoughts are transmitted. Lawyers must at least have a communicative dimension.

If you know your law, but you cannot put it across like it is meant to be understood, that is a pity. 

There are a whole host of words that you would be unfamiliar with from the beginning of your law school. These, if not comprehended well, can make your law school journey tedious. To make matters worse, some of your professors would be so used to throwing around these words that they won’t slow down and explain what they mean.

Law is a language all its own. For first-year law students, it is advised to have a basic understanding of common legal terminology. 

Here are some of the most common legal terms and definitions every 1st-year law student needs to know: 

1. Caveat Emptor:

“Let the buyer be aware”

This principle states that the buyer alone is responsible for checking the quality and suitability of the goods before a purchase is made.

2. Audi Alteram Partem:

“Hear the other side”

This means that no man should be condemned unheard. Both the parties have an equal opportunity of being heard. 

3. Res Ipsa Loquitur:

“The thing speaks for itself”

This means one is presumed to be negligent if he/she had exclusive control of whatever caused the injury even though there is no specific evidence of an act of negligence, and without negligence, the injury/ accident would not have happened.

4. Amicus Curiae:

“Friend of the Court”

An amicus curia is someone who is not a party to a case and may or may not have been solicited by the party and assists the court by offering information, expertise, or insight that has a bearing on the issues in the case. 

5. Locus Standi:

“A Right to be heard”

Locus Standi is the ability of the party to demonstrate to the court sufficient connection to and harm from the law or the action challenged to support that party’s participation in the case. 

The above-mentioned words are intended to help you throughout your 1st year of law school. Nevertheless, there are additional legal words and concepts that you will need to become familiar with throughout law school.

To this end, keeping a copy of Black’s Law Dictionary by your side will help you keep out of trouble.

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