Legal Terms


settlement – Parties to a lawsuit resolve their difference without having a trial. Settlements often involve the payment of compensation by one party in satisfaction of the other party’s claims. 

sidebar – A conference between the judge and lawyers held out of earshot of the jury and spectators. 

statement – A description that a witness gives to the police and that the police write down. 

statute – A law passed by a legislature. 

statute of limitations – A law that sets the time within which parties must take action to enforce their rights. 

subpoena – A command to a witness to appear and give testimony. 

subpoena duces tecum – A command to a witness to produce documents. 

summary judgment – A decision made on the basis of statements and evidence presented for the record without a trial. It is used when there is no dispute as to the facts of the case, and one party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.