Bachelor of Laws: A degree granted to a person who has successfully completed graduation from a law school. This degree is abbreviated as L.L.B, and nowadays some law schools grant a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree instead of the former.
Bad Faith: A concept which refers to the malicious intention of a person who enters into any transaction, like a contract or a legal procedure. The action of such a person involves an intention to deceive or mislead another, so that the former gains some advantage.
Bail: The amount deposited or the property pledged to a court in order to secure the release of a person who is in custody as a crime suspect. The money deposited or the property pledged acts as a guarantee to ensure the appearance of the person released as required by the court.
Bailment: A transfer of possession of property by one person called the bailor to another called bailee, for a specific purpose and for a fixed period is called bailment. The bailor retains the right to recover the possession of the said property once the purpose of the transfer is fulfilled.
Bait and Switch: A type of fraud associated with retail sales, wherein the store lures customers by advertising that some products are offered at very low prices, but induces them to buy other expensive products, citing the excuse that the advertised product is no longer available or is not of good quality. Bait and switch can be a cause for a personal lawsuit for false advertising, if damages are proved.
Bankruptcy: The inability of an individual or an organization to pay off the debts to the creditors. The condition of bankruptcy is legally declared by the bankruptcy courts, which hear and decide petitions filed by individuals and organizations for being declared as bankrupt, and to eliminate or repay the debts as per the bankruptcy laws.
Bar: A collective term used to denote all attorneys or lawyers who are permitted to practice in a particular jurisdiction. A bar association is an organization or body of lawyers. A bar examination is a state test covering a wide range of legal topics, and those who want a license to practice law or become lawyers must pass this test.
Battery: Causing bodily harm to another person willfully and intentionally is called battery, which is a crime, as well as a ground for a lawsuit as a civil wrong if there is any damage.
Bearer: As per the law of negotiable instruments, a bearer is a person who is in actual possession of a negotiable instrument, like a check, bank draft or a promissory note.
Bench: A term used to denote the seat of the judge in a court room or the judge himself. It is also used as a collective term for all judges in a court.
Beneficiary: An individual or an organization entitled to some assets or profits, through some legal device like a will, trust, insurance policy, etc.
Bequests: Gifts of personal property left by a last will or testament.
Bifurcation: The process of dividing the trial into two parts – a liability phase and a penalty phase. While both phases are tried separately, in some cases, different judges may be empaneled for the different phases.
Bigamy: The condition of being married to two persons at the same time. Having two spouses at the same time is a criminal offense.
Bill: A draft of a proposed law which has been presented before a legislative body for approval. An approved bill is enacted as law. The term is also used to denote a statement, whereby one person acknowledges himself to owe unto another, a certain amount or some particular thing. Learn more about how does a bill become a law.
Bill of Exchange: A bill of exchange is an unconditional written order from one person (drawer) to another (payor), asking the latter to pay a fixed amount to a third person (payee) at a fixed date. A check is like a bill of exchange drawn on a bank account.
Bill of Lading: A receipt received by the shipper of goods from the carrier, describing the type and quantity of goods being shipped, the carrying vessel, the shipper, the consignee and the port of loading and discharge.
Bill of Rights: The first ten amendments of the U.S. Constitution that deals with the fundamental rights and privileges guaranteed to the people, like freedom of speech, religion, due process and speedy trial to the accused.
Black Letter Law: Well-known principles of law that are not doubted or disputed.
Blackmail: A form of extortion, where the victim is threatened to act against his/her will or to cause injury to another person. The most common threat associated with blackmail is to release any information (usually true), which can be embarrassing, damaging or disgraceful to the victim. It is not the revelation of the information which comprises the crime, but demanding money or threatening to withhold the same.
Blasphemy: The act of speaking or writing any derogatory words about the God or the official religion of a state.
Bona fide: The Latin word for ‘good faith’. A bona fide purchaser of a property, means a person who is genuine, without any knowledge of defect in title.
Bond: A written instrument which is executed by a person, wherein a definite promise is given regarding the fulfillment of a legal obligation.
Breach: The act of violating a legal obligation or a failure to do a duty. It is breach of contract, when a party to a contract fails to perform the terms or violates the terms of the contract. A failure on the part of a trustee to perform his duties is called a breach of trust.
Bribery: The receiving or offering money or some valuable item to any public official, with the objective of influencing his official decisions contrary to his duty.
Brief: A document stating the facts of a case and the legal arguments which is supported by relevant statutes and precedents. Such documents are prepared by lawyers who represent the disputing parties, and are submitted to the court.
Burden of Proof: The responsibility of proving a fact regarding issues raised by disputing parties in a court case. Generally, the plaintiff has to prove that the allegations in the complaint are true. The defendant is given sufficient opportunity to rebut the same, but if the defendant raises some factual issue while defending the claims of the plaintiff, the former has the responsibility to prove the same.
Burglary: Breaking into a building or illegal entry into the building with the intention of committing a crime. Whether the crime is committed or not is not relevant as far as burglary is concerned.
By-law: The set of laws adopted and enforced by a local authority. Generally used to denote those rules, which are passed for the governance of a corporation or other entity.