Webster's New International Dictionary, Second Edition

Canadian Law Dictionary.

A; B;  C; D; E; F; G & H; I; J; L; M; N; O; P; Q; R; S; T; U; V; W;

 

Damages:
Cash compensation awarded by a Court to offset losses or suffering caused by another person's negligence or fault.

Date of the Initial Bankruptcy Event:
In respect of a person, it means the earliest of the date of filing or making:

an assignment into bankruptcy;

a proposal;

a Notice of Intention to Make a Proposal;

the first petition for a Receiving Order.

Day Parole:
An offender's release from custody during the day under specific conditions, with each night spent in an institution or halfway house; usually a step toward full parole.

Debenture:
Security instrument evidencing a debt due from one party to another, payable on demand or otherwise, which can be a fixed and/or floating charge on assets and which can grant the lender broad powers to recover the amount due upon default, including the appointment of a receiver or receiver-manager.

De Bonis Non:
Latin and short for de bonis non administratis. A term used exclusively in estate matters and refers to situations where an estate is abandonoed by an administrator only partially administered and someone must be appointed to complete the administration of the residue of the estate; those assets not yet administered.

Debtor:
A person who owes money, goods or services to another.

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Decree Absolute:
The name given to the final and conclusive Court Order after the condition of a "decree nisi" is met.

Decree Nisi:
A provisional decision of the Court that does not have absolute effect until certain conditions are met.

Deed:
A written and signed document which sets out the things that have to be done or recognitions of the parties towards a certain object. The word deed is also most commonly used in the context of real estate because these transactions must usually be signed and in writing.

Deem:
To accept a document or an event as conclusive of a certain status in the absence of evidence or facts which would normally be required to prove that status.

Deemed Trust:
A trust that is established by statute to be in effect even though there may not be any actual asset or monies held in that trust.  For example, Revenue Canada in a bankruptcy or insolvency situation takes the position that it has a deemed trust covering source deductions that they claim rank even ahead of certain secured creditors.

De Facto:
In fact, rather than in law; e.g. de facto trustee.

Defalcation:
1. Defaulting on a debt or other obligation such to account for public or trust funds. Usually used in the context of public officials. 2. Defalcation has another legal meaning referring to the setting-off of two debts owed between two people by the agreement to a new amount representing the balance. I owe you $7 and you owe me $3; we agree to "defalk"; the result is that I owe you $4. This is a type of novation.

Defamation:
An attack on the good reputation of a person, by slander or libel.

Default:
Failure to pay or otherwise perform obligations under a contract.

Defeasance:
A side-contract which contains a condition which, if realized, could defeat the main contract. The common English usage of the word "defeasance" has also become acceptable in law, referring to a contract that is susceptible to being declared void as in "immoral contracts are susceptible to defeasance."

Defer:
To delay to a future time.

Dehors:
French for outside. In the context of legal proceedings, it refers to that which is irrelevant or outside the scope of the debate.

De Jure:
According to law.

Delegatus Non Potest Delegare:
One of the pivotal principles of administrative law: that a delegate cannot delegate. In other words, a person to whom an authority or decision-making power has been delegated to from a higher source, canot, in turn, delegate again to another, unless the original delegation explicitly authorized it.

Demand:
To ask for with authority; claim as a right.

Demand Letter:
A letter usually from a lawyer on behalf of a client that makes a demand for payment or some other action which is in default.  Under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act, a financial institution before it takes any action must give demand and notice of intention if it intends to enforce its security and must wait 10 days before it can enforce its security by, say, the appointment of a Receiver or Agent.

De Minimis Non Curat Lex:
Latin: a common law principle whereby judges will not sit in judgement of extremely minor transgressions of the law. It has been restated as "the law does not concern itself with trifles".

Demurrer:
This is a motion put to a trial judge after the plaintiff has completed his or her case, in which the defendant, while not objecting to the facts presented, and rather than responding by a full defence, asks the court to reject the petition right then and there because of a lack of basis in law or insufficiency of the evidence.

De Novo:
Latin: new. This term is used to refer to a trial which starts over, which wipes the slate clean and begins all over again, as if any previous partial or complete hearing had not occurred.

Deposition:
The official statement by a witness taken in writing (as opposed to testimony which where a witnesses give their perception of the facts verbally). Affidavits are the most common kind of depositions.

Disallowance:
To refuse or to set aside.  For example, the Trustee in Bankruptcy, under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act, can disallow a claim submitted by a creditor.

Discharge:
To cancel or relieve a person of an obligation or responsibility.

Disclaim:
The act of denying, refusing, renouncing or repudiating an interest that one might have in some item.

Dissolution:
The act of ending, terminating or winding up of a company or state of affairs.

Discretionary Trust:
A trust in which the settlor has given the trustee full discretion to decide which (and when) members of a group of beneficiaries is to receive either the income or the capital of the trust.

Disrate:
A term of maritime law where an officer or other seaman is either demoted in rank or deprived of a promotion.

Dissent:
To disagree. The word is used in legal circles to refer to the minority opinion of a judge which runs contrary to the conclusions of the majority.

Dissolution:
The act of ending, terminating or winding-up a company or state of affairs.

Distraint:
The right that a landlord has to seize the property of a tenant on the premises being rented and sell that property for payment of rent arrears.

Detinue:
A common law action similar to conversion and also involving the possession of property by the defendant but belonging to the plaintiff but in which the plaintiff asks the court for the return of the property, although the plaintiff may also ask for damages for the duration of the possession.

Devastavit:
Latin for "he has wasted." This is the technical word referring to a personal representative who has mismanaged the estate and allowed an avoidable loss to occur. This action opens the personal representative to personal liability for the loss.

Devise:
The transfer or conveyance of real property by will.

Dicta or Dictum:
Latin: an observation by a judge on a matter not specifically before the court or not necessary in determining the issue before the court; a side opinion which does not form part of the judgment for the purposes of stare decisis. May also be called "obiter dictum."

Dividend:
Under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act it refers to those monies paid by a Trustee in Bankruptcy to the creditors.

Divorce:
The final, legal ending of a marriage, by Court order.

DNA:
Abbreviation for deoxyribonucleic acid. A chromosome molecule which carries genetic coding unique to each person with the only exception of identical twins (that is why it is also called "DNA fingerprinting").

Docket:
An official court record book which lists all the cases before the court and which may also note the status or action required for each case.

Doctrine:
A rule or principle or the law established through the repeated application of legal precedents.

Domicile:
The permanent residence of a person; a place to which, even if he or she were temporary absent, they intend to return. In law, it is said that a person may have many residences but only one domicile.

Dominant Tenement:
Used when referring to easements to specify that property (i.e. tenement) or piece of land that benefits from, or has the advantage of, an easement.

Dominion Directum:
Latin: the qualified ownership of a landlord, not having possession or use of property but retaining ownership. Used in feudal English land systems to describe the King's ownership of all the land, even though most of it was lent out to lords for their exclusive use and enjoyment.

Dominion Utile:
Latin: the property rights of a tenant. While not owning the property in a legal sense, the tenant, as having dominion utile, enjoys full and exclusive possession and use of the property.

Donatio Mortis Causa:
A death-bed gift, made by a dying person, with the intent that the person receiving the gift shall keep the thing if death ensues.

Donee:
Another word to describe the beneficiary of a trust. Also used to describe the person who is the recipient of a power of attorney; the person who would have to exercise the power of attorney.

Donor:
The person who donates property to the benefit of another, usually through the legal mechanism of a trust. Also referred to as a "settlor." Also used to describe the person who signs a power of attorney.

Duces Tecum:
Latin: bring with you. Used most frequently for a species of subpoena (as in "subpoena duces tecum") which seeks not so much the appearance of a person before a court of law, but the surrender of a thing (eg. a document or some other evidence) by its holder, to the court, to serve as evidence in a trial.

Due Process:
A term of US law which refers to fundamental procedural legal safeguards of which every citizen has an absolute right when a state or court purports to take a decision that could affect any right of that citizen. The most basic right protected under the due process doctrine is the right to be given notice, and an opportunity to be heard. The term is now also in use in other countries, again to refer to basic fundamental legal rights such as the right to be heard.

Dum Casta:
Latin: for so long as she remains chaste. Separation agreements years ago used to contain dum casta clauses which said that if the women were to start another relationship, she forfeited her entitlement to maintenance.

Dum Sola:
Latin: for so long as she remains unmarried.

Dum vidua:
Latin: for so long as she remains a widow.

Dunning Notices:

These are collection letters sent to delinquent debtors demanding payment. The dunning letters get progressively stronger the longer the debtor goes without making a payment or an arrangement to settle the debt.

Durable Power of Attorney:
A Durable Power of Attorney allows you to appoint a trusted individual who will have authority to run your affairs while you are mentally incapacitated. Sometimes referred to as an "Enduring Power of Attorney" or "Springing Power of Attorney".

Duress:
Where a person is prevented from acting (or not acting) according to their free will, by threats or force of another, it is said to be "under duress". Contracts signed under duress are voidable and, in may places, you cannot be convicted of a crime if you can prove that you were forced or threatened into committing the crime (although this defence may not be available for serious crimes).


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