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Last Updated: Apr 19, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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Officers and Bodies of the Law

  • Attorney: Topic Page
    Agent put in place of another to manage particular affairs of the principal. An attorney in fact is an agent who conducts business under authority that is controlled and limited by a written document called a letter, or power, of attorney granted by the principal. MORE
  • Court: Topic Page
    In law, official body charged with administering justice. The term is also applied to the judge or judges who fill the office. MORE
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI): Topic Page
    Agency of the US Department of Justice that investigates violations of federal law not specifically assigned to other agencies, and is particularly concerned with internal security. MORE
  • Federal government: Topic Page
    Or federation, government of a union of states in which sovereignty is divided between a central authority and component state authorities. A federation differs from a confederation in that the central power acts directly upon individuals as well as upon states, thus creating the problem of dual allegiance. MORE
  • Grand jury: Topic Page
    In law, body of persons selected to inquire into crimes committed within a certain jurisdiction. MORE
  • Jury: Topic Page

    A body of people sworn to give an honest verdict on the evidence presented to a court of law on a particular case.
  • Justice of the Peace: Topic Page
    A lay magistrate, appointed by the crown or acting ex officio, whose function is to preserve the peace in his area, try summarily such cases as are within his jurisdiction, and perform miscellaneous administrative duties. MORE
  • Law courts: Topic Page
    Bodies that adjudicate (make judgement) in legal disputes. Civil cases (generally non-criminal disputes that affect the interests of an individual) and criminal cases are usually dealt with by separate courts. MORE
  • Local government: Topic Page
    Government of town or county affairs by a locally elected authority, as distinct from national or central government. MORE
  • Military government: Topic Page
    Rule of enemy territory under military occupation. It is distinguished from martial law, which is the temporary rule by domestic armed forces over disturbed areas. MORE
  • Police: Topic Page
    The body of men and women employed by the government of a country to keep order, enforce the law, prevent crime, etc. MORE
  • U.S. Supreme Court: Topic Page
    Highest US judicial tribunal, composed since 1869 of a chief justice and eight associate justices. MORE

Oversight Organizations


Legal Procedure

  • Appeal: Topic Page
    In law, hearing by a superior court to consider correcting or reversing the judgment of an inferior court, because of errors allegedly committed by the inferior court. MORE
  • Arbitration: Topic Page
    Submission of a dispute to a third, unbiased party for settlement. It may be personal litigation (legal action), a trade-union issue, or an international dispute. MORE
  • Arrest: Topic Page
    In law, seizure and detention of a person, either to bring him before a court body or official, or to otherwise secure the administration of the law. A person may be arrested for an alleged violation of civil or criminal law. MORE
  • Class action: Topic Page
    In law, a device that permits one or more persons to sue or be sued as representative of a large group of people interested in the matter at issue. MORE
  • Confession: Topic Page
    In law, the formal admission of criminal guilt, usually obtained in the course of examination by the police or prosecutor or at trial. MORE
  • Contempt: Topic Page
    In law, interference with the functioning of a legislature or court. In its narrow and more usual sense, contempt refers to the despising of the authority, justice, or dignity of a court. MORE
  • Contract: Topic Page
    In law, a promise, enforceable by law, to perform or to refrain from performing some specified act. In a general sense, all civil obligations fall under tort or contract law. MORE
  • Deportation: Topic Page
    Expulsion from a country of an alien who is living there illegally, or whose presence is considered contrary to the public good. MORE
  • Evidence: Topic Page
    In law, material submitted to a judge or a judicial body to resolve disputed questions of fact. The rules discussed in this article were developed in England for use in jury trials. MORE
  • Extradition: Topic Page
    Delivery of a person, suspected or convicted of a crime, by the state where he has taken refuge to the state that asserts jurisdiction over him. Its purpose is to prevent criminals who flee a country from escaping punishment. MORE
  • Fingerprint: Topic Page
    An impression of the underside of the end of a finger or thumb, used for identification because the arrangement of ridges in any fingerprint is thought to be unique and permanent with each person. MORE
  • Habeas corpus: Topic Page
    Writ directed by a judge to some person who is detaining another, commanding him to bring the body of the person in his custody at a specified time to a specified place for a specified purpose. MORE
  • Impeachment: Topic Page
    Formal accusation issued by a legislature against a public official charged with crime or other serious misconduct. In a looser sense the term is sometimes applied also to the trial by the legislature that may follow. MORE
  • Lobbying: Topic Page
    Practice and profession of influencing governmental decisions, carried out by agents who present the concerns of special interests to legislators and administrators. MORE
  • Mediation: Topic Page
    In law, type of intervention in which the disputing parties accept the offer of a third party to recommend a solution for their controversy. MORE
  • Neutrality: Topic Page
    In international law, status of a nation that refrains from participation in a war between other states and maintains an impartial attitude toward the belligerents. MORE
  • Oath: Topic Page
    Vocal affirmation of the truth of one's statements, generally made by appealing to a deity. From the earliest days of human history, calling upon the gods of a community to witness the truth of a statement or the solemnity of a promise has been commonly practiced. MORE
  • Writ: Topic Page
    In law, written order issued in the name of the sovereign or the state in connection with a judicial or an administrative proceeding. MORE


Credo Reference - Law search box

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Judgments & Sentences

  • Alimony: Topic Page
    In law, allowance for support that an individual pays to his or her former spouse, usually as part of a divorce settlement. MORE
  • Capital punishment: Topic Page
    Capital punishment was widely applied in ancient times; it can be found (c.1750 B.C.) in the Code of Hammurabi. MORE
  • Corporal punishment: Topic Page
    Physical chastisement of an offender. At one extreme it includes the death penalty (see capital punishment), but the term usually refers to punishments like flogging, caning, mutilation, and branding. MORE
  • Impeachment: Topic Page
    Formal accusation issued by a legislature against a public official charged with crime or other serious misconduct. MORE
  • Parole: Topic Page
    Parole is a process that allows a prisoner to be released from prison to experience increased freedom, while remaining under limited supervision. MORE
  • Prison: Topic Page
    Place of confinement for the punishment and rehabilitation of criminals. By the end of the 18th cent. imprisonment was the chief mode of punishment for all but capital crimes. MORE
  • Reparations: Topic Page
    Payments or other compensation offered as an indemnity for loss or damage. MORE
  • Sanction: Topic Page
    In law and ethics, any inducement to individuals or groups to follow or refrain from following a particular course of conduct. MORE
  • Sentence: Topic Page
    In criminal law, punishment that a court orders, imposed on a person convicted of criminal activity. Sentences typically consist of fines, corporal punishment, imprisonment for varying periods including life, or capital punishment, and sometimes combine two or more elements. MORE