This page provides short definitions for many of the legal terms used in this module. For more specific definitions, visit the online resources at Law.com Dictionary or the Law Dictionary (Black's Law Dictionary). A link following each glossary entry allows you to return to the page where the term is first used.
Amicus Brief: A brief filed by a person, organization, or group who is not a party to the litigation, filed on an advisory basis. Derived from the Latin term "amicus curiae", or "friend of the court" (return).
Certiorari: The process by which a party to a case requests that the case be reviewed by the Supreme Court. If four Supreme Court justices agree to hear the case, the Court will issue a "writ of certiorari", a legal document that allows the case to proceed. If less than four Justices agree to hear the case, the case is "denied cert" and the decision of the lower court is final (return).
Common Law: The traditional law developed by English courts, much of which was based on custom and legal precedents. Courts in the United States, Canada, and Australia follow many of the principles of the common law (return).
Remand: The process by which a higher court (such as the Supreme Court) sends a case back to a lower court. The lower court then issues a new decision that conforms to the higher court's ruling (return).
Supplemental Jurisdiction: The jurisdiction exercised by a federal court over a state-law case to help resolve all issues between the parties in one forum, also known as "ancillary jurisdiction" or "pendent jurisdiction" (return).