More Legal Terms in English You Should Know

In a previous post, we covered some legal terms in English that everyone should be familiar with. Today, we complete that basic knowledge with a new list of essential terms.


A written account of facts made under oath.


This term translates to “apelación” in Spanish. To appeal a legal decision means to request a higher court to review it. For example, if you lose your case in a trial court, you can request an appellate court to review the decision. Appellate courts rarely reexamine case details, focusing primarily on procedural errors.


A physical act involving harmful or offensive contact with another person. These acts are generally classified as misdemeanors but can become felonies if the person committing them intends to cause serious injury to the victim.


Civil law involves disputes between private individuals, such as defamation or breach of contract cases. In contrast, criminal law deals with offenses against the state or federal government, even if the victim is an individual.

Corpus Delicti

This is one of many Latin expressions used in the legal world and means “the body of the crime.” In essence, the term refers to the material proof that a crime has been committed. While in some cases, it may literally involve a body, the term is also used for other types of evidence, such as stolen objects in a robbery case.

District Attorney

As mentioned before, the primary distinction between civil and criminal law is that criminal law involves offenses against the state. With this in mind, having a representative of the state in the trial makes sense. That’s precisely the role of the District Attorney (also called D.A.), a lawyer representing a state in the United States within a local government jurisdiction.

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