Glossary of Terms



Circuit Civil Glossary of Terms

THE FOLLOWING IS NOT INTENDED TO OFFER A DEFINITIVE LEGAL DEFINITION OF TERMS BUT IS MERELY PROVIDED TO ASSIST WITH GENERAL UNDERSTANDING OF COURT TERMINOLOGY.


Answer Sheet The form on which the defendant may file his response and/or request for continuance, counterclaim, etc. 
Appellate Record The portion of the law suit sent to an appeal court for review of a decision.
Attachment, Writ of A writ instructing the sheriff to seize property and bring it into the custody of the court.
Body Attachment, Writ A writ commanding the sheriff to bring before the court a person guilty of contempt of court.
Civil Cover Sheet A sheet filed showing the case style, case type, attorney for plaintiff and attorney bar number, address and phone number.
Complaint The pleading filed in Circuit Civil cases where the
plaintiff explains why the suit is being filed.
Counterclaim A claim presented by the defendant against the
plaintiff.
Court Registry An office in the Circuit Court that holds and disburses monies posted.
Cross-Claim A claim brought by a defendant against another defendant in the same action.
Damages Money claimed by, or ordered to be paid to, a person as compensation for loss or injury.
Declaratory Judgment A binding adjudication that establishes the rights and other legal relations of the parties without providing for or ordering enforcement.
Default The omission or failure to perform a legal or contractual duty; esp, the failure to pay a debt when due.
Distress for Rent Taking personal property of a wrong-doer, as in a non-payment of rent case.
Distress Writ A writ instructing the sheriff to take possession of the defendant's property and turn it over to the plaintiff.
DOM Dissolution of marriage
Eminent Domain A lawsuit filed by a state agency, political subdivision or public service corporation to take private property for public use.
Execution, Writ of A writ the sheriff will either just docket and hold, or use to levy on the goods of the party against whom a judgment has been entered.
Foreign Judgment, Enforcement of A uniform law, adopted by most states, that gives the holder of a foreign judgment essentially the same rights to levy and execute on the judgment as the holder of a domestic judgment.
Garnishee A person or institution that is indebted to or is bailee for another whose property has been subjected to garnishment.
Garnishment A judicial proceeding in which a creditor asks the court to order a third party who is indebted to or is bailee for the debtor to turn over the creditor any of the debtor’s property held by the third party.
Garnishee Answer Fee A deposit paid into the Court Registry to be paid to a garnishee's attorney upon demand for responding to the garnishment.
Garnishment, Writ of The writ that is served on the garnishee instructing them of the money amount, garnished party and that they have 20 days to respond to the court.
Interpleader A suit to determine a right to property held by a usu. disinterested third party who is in doubt about ownership and who therefore deposits the property with the court to permit interested parties to litigate ownership.
Judgment A court’s final determination of the rights and obligations of the parties in a case.
Ledger Card The detailed record of all funds deposited and disbursed on a particular case.
Lis Pendens A suit pending
Litigant One of the parties in a law suit**
Non-Resident Cost Bond Please refer to Florida Statute 57.011
Partition A judicial separation of the respective interests in land
of joint owners or tenants in common thereof; "so that each may take possession of, enjoy and control his separate estates."
Plaintiff The party filing the suit.
Possession, Writ of A writ instructing the sheriff to take possession of property and return it to the plaintiff.
Quiet Title An equitable action to determine all adverse claims to the property in question, to determine the title of a specific piece of property
Record of Unsatisfied Judgment A document issued by the clerk and sent to the Bureau of Financial Responsibility on a damage case that was a result of either auto negligence or promissory note.**
Redemption To purchase back; to regain possession by payment of a stipulated price; repurchase.
Replevin A suit which asks for possession of personal property.
Replevin, Writ of A writ instructing the sheriff to take possession of personal property and return it to the plaintiff.
Separate Maintenance An allowance made to a woman by her husband on their agreement to live separately.
Sequestration The act of seizing or taking possession of the property of another and holding it until "the profits have paid the demand for which it was taken.
Stipulation for Settlement When the parties agree to a settlement prior to judgment.
Subrogation Putting a third person who has paid a debt in the place of the creditor to whom he has paid it.
Subrogee A person who is subrogated; one who succeeds to the rights of another by subrogation.
Summary Judgment A pre-verdict judgment rendered by the Court due to absence of a factual dispute on an issue.
Supersedeas Bond A bond that an appellate court may require from an appellant in a civil case to ensure payment of the costs of appeal; a bond required as a condition to bringing an appeal or staying execution of the judgment appealed from.
Supplemental Proceedings A procedure in which the prevailing party can bring the losing party back to court in order to discover their assets.
Third Party Complaint When a defendant in a case files a complaint against a
party that is not yet named in the suit.
Twenty Day Summons A summons issued in Civil cases instructing the defendant to respond within 20 days.
Unlawful Detainer The act of holding possession without right, such
as a tenant whose lease has run out.
URESA Uniform Reciprocal Establishment or Support Act
With Prejudice When a final order is with prejudice, the cause of action may not be re-filed.
Without Prejudice When a final order is without prejudice, the cause of action may be re-filed.
Attachment, Writ of A writ ordering legal seizure of property (esp. to satisfy a creditor’s claim) or of a person.
Possession, Writ of A writ issued to recover the possession of land.
Replevin, Writ of A writ obtained from court authorizing the retaking of personal property wrongfully taken or detained.

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Circuit Criminal Glossary of Terms

The following terms are referenced from Black's Law Dictionary and are being provided to assist with general understanding of court Terminology. Terms that have **by them are an in-house definition but are not a legal definition. Some terms may indicate a Florida Statute reference or another reference that can be researched Online on those sites.


Abatement 1. The act of eliminating or nullifying.; 2. The suspension or defeat of a pending action for a reason unrelated to the merits of the claim.
Administrator Ad Litem A special administrator appointed by the court to represent the estate’s interest in an action usu. either because there is no administrator of the estate or because the current administrator has an interest in the action adverse to that of the estate.
Administrative Order A directive necessary to administer properly the court’s affairs but not inconsistent with the constitution or with court rules and administrative orders entered by the supreme court. **Florida Rules of Judicial Administration, Rule 2.120 **
AFF See Affidavit**
Affiant One who makes an affidavit.
Affidavit A voluntary declaration of facts written down and sworn to by the declarant before an officer authorized to administer oaths, such as a notary public.
Affirmative Defenses A defendant’s assertion of facts and arguments that, if true, will defeat the plaintiff’s or prosecution’s claim, even if all the allegations in the complaint are true.
Affirmance The formal approval by an appellate court of a lower court’s judgment, order or decree.
A/K/A Also known as**
Alias An assumed or additional, name that a person has used or is known by.
Amend To make right; to correct or rectify. To change the wording of; specify, to formally alter by striking out, inserting, or substituting words.
Answer A defendant’s first pleading that addresses the merits of the case, usu, by denying the plaintiff’s allegations.
Appeal A proceeding undertaken to have a decision reconsidered by a higher authority; esp, the submission of a lower court’s or agency’s decision to a higher court for review and possible reversal.
Appellant A party who appeals a lower court’s decision, usu. seeking reversal of that decision.
Appellee The party against whom an appeal is taken and whose role is to respond to that appeal, seeking affirmance of the lower court’s decision.
A/S/O/ As subrogee of**
Bond Estreature Court order to forfeit bond to the county. **USLegal.com**
BSO Broward Sheriff's Office**
Caption The introductory part of a court paper stating the names of the parties, the name of the court, the docket or file number, and a description of the paper.
Certified Copy A duplicate of an original document, certified as an exact reproduction by the officer responsible for issuing or keeping the original.
Clerk's Fee The fee which the clerk's office charges whenever money is deposited into the court registry account.**
Clerk's Satisfaction The form prepared when a judgment debtor pays the judgment to the court.**
Clerk's Minutes The compilation by the Court Clerk of the events occurring in a trial.**
Consolidation The act or process of uniting; the state of being united.
D/B/A/ Doing business as**
Defendant A person sued in a civil proceeding or accused in a criminal proceeding.
Deposition Witness’s out-of-court testimony that is reduced to writing for later use in court or for discovery purposes.
DMG Damage**
Docket A formal record in which a judge or court clerk briefly notes all the proceedings and filings in a court case.
Et Al And all others**
Exemplified Copy A duplicate of an original document, certified as an exact reproduction by the officer responsible for issuing or keeping the original.
Ex Parte Done or made at the instance and for the benefit of one party only, and without notice to, or argument by, any person adversely interested; or of relating to court action taken by one party without notice to the other, for temporary or emergency relief.
Extradition The official surrender of an alleged criminal by one state or nation to another having jurisdiction over the crime charged; the return of a fugitive from justice, regardless of consent, by the authorities where the fugitive is found.
F/D/B/A Formerly doing business as**
Fictitious Name The name under which a business operates or by which it is commonly known.
F/K/A Formerly known as**
Forfeiture The divestiture of property without compensation.
Forthwith Immediately; without delay.
F/U/B/O/ For the use and benefit of**
General Magistrate A judicial officer with strictly limited jurisdiction and authority, often on the local level and often restricted to criminal cases.
Habeas Corpus A writ employed to bring a person before a court, most frequently to ensure that the party’s imprisonment or detention is not illegal.
Index An alphabetized listing of the topics or other items included in a single book or document, or in a series of volumes, usu. found at the end of the book, document, or series.
Indecency The state or condition of a person who lacks the means of subsistence; extreme hardship or neediness; poverty.
Interlocutory Order An order that relates to some intermediate matter in the case; any order other than a final order.
JA Judicial assistant**
Jurisdiction A government’s general power to exercise authority over all persons and things within its territory.
Mandamus A writ issued by a superior court to compel a lower court or a government officer to perform mandatory or purely ministerial duties correctly.
Mandate An order from an appellate court directing a lower court to take a specified action.
Memorandum at Law A party’s written statement of its legal arguments presented to the court, usu. in the form of a brief.
Microfilm Rolls of film on which old court records are stored.**
N/K/A/ Now Known as**
Order to Show Cause An order directing a party to appear in court and explain why the party took some action or why the court should or should not grant some relief.
Perpetuation of Testimony The means or procedure for preserving for future use witness testimony that might otherwise be unavailable at trial.
Petition A formal written request presented to a court or other official body.
Pleading A formal document, in which a party to a legal proceeding sets forth or responds to allegations, claims, denials, or defenses.
Pluries A third or subsequent writ issued when the previous writs have been ineffective; a writ issued after an alias writ.
Pro Se For oneself; on one’s own behalf; without a lawyer.
Quash To annul or make void; to terminate.
Record on Appeal The record of a trial-court proceeding as presented to the appellate court for review.
Recusal Removal of oneself as judge or policy-maker in a particular manner, esp. because of a conflict of interest.
Remanded To recommit (an accused person) to custody after a preliminary examination.
Rule to Show Case See Order to Show Cause
SED Support Enforcement Division**
Style A case name or designation.
Subpoena To call before a court or other tribunal by subpoena.
Subpoena Duces Tecum A subpoena ordering the witness to appear and to bring specified documents, records, or things.
Summons To command (a person) by service of a summons to appear in court.
Surety Bond A bond given by a surety to ensure the timely performance of a contract.
True Copy A copy that, while not necessarily exact, is sufficiently close to the original that anyone can understand it.
Venue The county or other territory over which a trial court has jurisdiction.
Verified Certified Copy A duplicate of an original (usu. official) document, certified as an exact reproduction usu. by the officer responsible for issuing or keeping the original.
Writ A court’s written order, in the name of a state or other competent legal authority, commanding the addressee to do or refrain from doing some specified act.
Body Attachment, Writ The arrest of a person who either is in contempt of court or is to be held as security for the payment of a judgment.
Execution, Writ of A court order directing a sheriff or other officer to enforce a judgment, usu. by seizing and selling the judgment debtor’s property.
Replevin, Writ of A writ obtained from court authorizing the retaking of personal property wrongfully taken or detained.

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Juvenile Glossary of Terms

THE FOLLOWING IS NOT INTENDED TO OFFER A DEFINITIVE LEGAL DEFINITION OF TERMS BUT IS MERELY PROVIDED TO ASSIST WITH GENERAL UNDERSTANDING OF COURT TERMINOLOGY.


Arraignment Hearing This occurs when the State Attorney's Office files a petition for delinquency. At this hearing, the juvenile enters his plea to the court. If he pleas guilty, the judge may sentence him at this hearing. If he pleas No Contest of Not Guilty, the judge may accept the plea, and set a calendar call hearing.
Broward Sheriff's Office (B.S.O.) This is the Broward County police department. They have jurisdiction throughout the county.
Calendar Call Hearing Once a child has made a plea, a calendar call hearing is set. At this hearing, a determination is made as to whether to proceed to an adjudicatory hearing (TRIAL) or to adjudicate the juvenile at this hearing.
ChildNet A private agency contracted by DCF to provide foster care services for Broward County.
Committed to DJJ When a child goes to court, he may be committed to DJJ. Usually, the child is placed in some type of program. DJJ determines the length of stay.
DCF The Department of Children and Families
Delinquency Petitions The State Attorney's office files this document once they review the police report. Petitions allege the actual charges against the juvenile.
Delinquent Child A child who is found by the court to have committed a crime. (misdemeanor or felony)
Dependency Petitions The petition contains:
* the child's name
* date of birth
* case number
* body of petition will state the type of alleged abuse, neglect, or abandonment.
Dependent Child A child who has been found to have been abandoned, abused, or neglected by his/her parents or someone else.
Detention Hearing A hearing that is heard within 24 hours of arrest to determine probable cause.
Direct File Intent Notification from the State Attorney of filing charges as an adult. Certain criteria must be met and the child must be 14 years or older.
DJJ Department of Juvenile Justice.
Docket This is a complete list of all cases that are being heard for the day. It contains the child's name, case number, charges, counselor's name, attorney information, and whether the child is detained.
Guardian Ad Litem Program GAL is a person appointed by the judge to represent and protect the interests of the child.
Intake The acceptance of law enforcement complaints and/or police reports, and the processing thereof.
Legal Custody Legal status created by court order which places child in someone's physical custody. That person has the right and duty to protect, train and discipline, and also to provide food, shelter, education, and medical care.
No Petition Filed by the State Attorney's office when, after reviewing the police report, they decide not to prosecute. It refers the child to mediation or arbitration instead of court.
Notice Intent Present Grand Jury A child of any age charged with a violation of Florida Law that is punishable by Death or Life Imprisonment. May be presented to the Grand Jury, when the Indictment is returned the child shall be tried and handled as an adult. If the Grand Jury returns a "No True Bill", then it remains in juvenile court.
Order to Take Into Custody (T.I.C. or P.U.O.) Similar to a warrant. An order to T.I.C. may be issued when the child has been served for a hearing and does not show up. It directs all law enforcement officers to take the child into custody.
Petition Alleging Violation of Probation These petitions are filed by the Department of Juvenile Justice when the child does not comply with the sanctions of his probation.
Police Report A detailed report containing the name, date of birth, charges, and a summary of the incident.
Probation When a child goes to court, he may be placed on probation. They may have to perform community service hours. The judge will tell him how many hours to do. Also, restitution may be ordered as part of probation.
Private Attorney An attorney hired by a parent/child. The Attorney must file a Notice of Appearance.
Protective Supervision Legal status created by court order which places child in someone's physical custody. That person has the right and duty to protect, train and discipline, and also to provide food, shelter, education, and medical care.
Public Defender (PD) An attorney from the Public Defender's office appointed by the judge to represent the child.
Restitution When a child is found to be guilty of a charge, the victim may have the right to be compensated for damages and/or injuries. A judge may order the child to pay restitution to the victim.
Special Public Defender (SPD) A private attorney appointed by the judge to represent the child.
State Attorney's Office This is the office that determines whether to file charges (Petitions for Adjudication of Delinquency) against the juvenile or to refer them to an arbitrator or mediator.
Summons or Notice of Hearing Used to notify the child/and parents or guardians of hearing dates.Directs them to appear at hearing.
Traffic & Misdemeanor (T & M) All traffic cases for adults and juveniles are processed in this division. They also handle misdemeanor charges for adults.
Transfers from Another County/State Another county/state may transfer a case to our county if the child now resides here.
Transfers to Another County/State If child lives in a different county or state, but committed the crime in Broward, the judge may order the case to be transferred to where the child now lives.

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Probate Glossary of Terms

THE FOLLOWING IS NOT INTENDED TO OFFER A DEFINITIVE LEGAL DEFINITION OF TERMS BUT IS MERELY PROVIDED TO ASSIST WITH GENERAL UNDERSTANDING OF COURT TERMINOLOGY.


Administrative Ad Litem A person appointed by the Judiciary to represent and protect the assets of the estate.
Administrator A person appointed by the Judiciary to handle the affairs of a person who has died interstate.
Agent One authorized by a party to act in that party's behalf.
Agent for Caveator If Caveator is non-resident of County, an Agent may be named for service.
Also Known As (AKA) An alias name.
As Subrogee of One who succeeds to the legal rights or claims of another.
Attorney Appointed or retained by another to transact business for him or her.
Attorney For Caveator An attorney for a person who has filed a caveat.
Attorney For Petitioner An attorney for a person who has filed a petition.
Attorney For REP/GDN An attorney serving as representative on an estate case or an attorney representing a guardian on a guardianship case.
Attorney Notice of Trust An attorney assigned on a Notice of Trust case.
Co-Counsel An attorney appointed by the Court to protect the assets of the estate or ward.
General Magistrates Judicial officers appointed by the Court to hear testimony and make reports which, when approved by the presiding judge, become the decision of the Court.
Indigent A party who is financially unable to pay case filing fees, and other due process costs.
Witness A person who gives evidence in a case.

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