Common Law

Common law is a body of law derived from judicial decisions of courts and similar tribunals. The defining characteristic of "common law" is that it arises as precedent.

Rule of Law

The rule of law is the principle that law should govern a nation


a legal decision or form of proceeding serving as an authoritative rule or pattern in future similar or analogous cases.

Stare Decisis

Stare decisis is Latin for "to stand by things decided." In short, it is the doctrine of precedent.

Constitutional Courts

A Constitutional court is a high court that deals primarily with constitutional law. Its main authority is to rule on whether laws that are challenged are in fact unconstitutional, i.e. whether they conflict with constitutionally established rules, rights and freedoms.

Legislative Courts

Legislative courts refer to courts created by legislature, other than courts created by constitution. Legislative courts are set up for some specialized purpose. For example, Court of Claims, and the U.S. Tax Court. USCS Const.

Federal Judge

In the United States, the title of federal judge means a judge appointed by the President of the United States and confirmed by the United States Senate pursuant to the Appointments Clause in Article II of the United States Constitution. They serve in the 13 courts established by Congress.


Litigant: A plaintiff or a defendant in case
Litigator: A lawyer who spends time in the courtroom and files lawsuits. They represent plaintiffs and defendants in civil cases and manage all phases of the litigation process.
Litigation: When people go to court in order to get a positive ruling for their cause.

Judicial Review

Judicial review is a process under which executive and (in some countries) legislative actions are subject to review by the judiciary. The power of courts to assess whether a law is in compliance with the constitution. It was established by the Supreme Court decision in Marbury v Madison.


Relating to an established set of principles governing a state. If an act is constitutional, that means that it is justified by the Constitution of the United States of America.


not in accordance with the US Constitution or with procedural rules.


If a court of law upholds a legal decision that has already been made, it decides that it was the correct decision.


To reverse or cancel something previously decided or ordered.

Trial Court

A court of law where cases are tried in the first place, as opposed to an appeals court.

District Court

The United States district courts are the general trial courts of the United States federal court system. Both civil and criminal cases are filed in the district court, which is a court of law, equity, and admiralty.

Appeals Court

An appellate court, commonly called an appeals court, court of appeals, appeal court, court of second instance or second instance court, is any court of law that is empowered to hear an appeal of a trial court or other lower tribunal.

Circuit Courts of Appeals

The United States courts of appeals (or circuit courts) are the intermediate appellate courts of the United States federal court system. A court of appeals decides appeals from the district courts within its federal judicial circuit, and in some instances from other designated federal courts and administrative agencies. They are considered among the most powerful and influential courts in the U.S. because of their ability to set legal precedent in regions that cover millions of citizens.

Supreme Court

The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest federal court of the United States. It has appellate jurisdiction over all federal courts and state court cases involving issues of federal law plus original jurisdiction over a small range of cases. In the legal system of the United States, the Supreme Court is generally the final interpreter of federal law including the United States Constitution.


a person who brings a case against another in a court of law.


an individual, company, or institution sued or accused in a court of law.


a person who makes a formal application to a court for a writ, judicial action in a suit, etc.


The respondent is equivalent to a defendant in a lawsuit, but the potential result is a court order and not money damages.


the right, power, or authority to administer justice by hearing and determining controversies.

Original Jurisdiction

The original jurisdiction of a court is the power to hear a case for the first time, as opposed to appellate jurisdiction, when a higher court has the power to review a lower court's decision.

Appellate Jurisdiction

Appellate jurisdiction is the power of a higher court to review decisions and change outcomes of decisions of lower courts. Most appellate jurisdiction is legislatively created, and may consist of appeals by leave of the appellate court or by right.

Petition for Certiorari

A document which a losing party files with the Supreme Court asking the Supreme Court to review the decision of a lower court.

Writs of Certiorari

A writ of certiorari orders a lower court to deliver its record in a case so that the higher court may review it. Certiorari means "to be more fully informed.