Legal Terms ( L )

Laches: The legal doctrine, which takes away the right to seek remedy from those people who cause unreasonable delay in asserting or claiming a legal right, thereby causing disadvantage to the opposing party.

Laissez-faire: A French doctrine, which is mainly used in the context of economic policies. The phrase, which literally means, “leave things alone”, is a doctrine that opposes governmental intervention in economic policies.

Larceny: Earlier, the crime of theft was referred to as larceny. This legal term denotes unlawful taking away of another’s property, without the consent of the latter. This term is still in usage in some common law jurisdictions.

Law: A set of rules established and enforced by a governing authority of a state, and is applicable to the people of that state. These laws are enforced by threat of punishment, in case of violation.

Lease: A form of contract, whereby the owner of a property allows another to possess and use the same for a limited period of time, subject to certain conditions, in exchange of rent or some value. The owner retains the ownership and has the right to take back the possession after the stipulated period. A person who grants a lease is called the lessor, and to whom it is granted is called a lessee.

Legacy: The term legacy refers to a gift of money or personal property by will. Usually, it does not cover the gifts of real property by will, which is termed as ‘devise’. A person to whom a legacy is given is called a legatee.

Legal Terrorism: This term refers to the misuse of legal provisions in order to gain some advantage. It is using or threatening to use some legal proceedings against a person or a group of people, by the perpetrator, in order to satisfy his motives. Such misuse of laws are termed as legal terrorism.

Legal Transplant:
In almost all countries, some laws are enacted on the same lines of the existing legal provisions in some other country. Such borrowing of laws or enactment of new laws, after getting inspired by some foreign examples is called legal transplant, which is otherwise known as legal diffusion too.

Lemon Laws: These laws make it mandatory for the manufacturers to repair defective cars. If they fail to do so within a reasonable time, they have to make a refund of the purchase price after deducting some amount for the use of the car.

Letter Rogatory: A formal request made a court in one country to a foreign court for judicial assistance, is called letter rogatory. This mechanism is mainly used for the service of process, and for taking evidence. If ‘A’, staying in the US, wants to sue ‘B’, a resident of Brazil, the former has to approach the US court, which issues a summons against ‘B’, and requests the Brazilian court through a letter rogatory, to serve the process on ‘B’. The same applies in case of examining a witness staying in another country.

Liability: An obligation, duty or responsibility to do something or to refrain from doing something is called a liability. This can be created by a contract, or by status, or by conditions of social living. An obligation to pay money on breach of contract or for committing a tort is also a liability.

License: A permission given by the concerned authority to do some act, that would be illegal, without that special permission or authorization.

Lien: A right over a property, granted by the owner to another person, as a security for the performance of some obligation, on the part of the former to the latter. The person who grants a lien is called a lienor, and the one who receives it is termed as the lienee.

Life Estate: A right to use and occupy a property, by a life estate holder, only for the duration of his lifetime. This right terminates on the death of the holder, who is called a life tenant. Once terminated, the estate reverts back to the title holder or his/her heirs.

Limited Divorce: Otherwise known as legal separation, limited divorce is granted by to those couples who do not have any grounds for absolute divorce, but are not able to solve their differences. In such cases, the court issues an order, declaring that the couple is no longer living together, but the marriage bond is not dissolved.

Lineal Descendant: This legal term is applied to ancestry and descent. A lineal descendant is a direct descendant or a blood relative in the direct line of descent. For example, the relation of natural parent and the child or the relation between child, father and grandfather.

Liquidated Damages: A clause commonly found to be incorporated in contracts, wherein the parties agree to pay a fixed sum, in case of violation of the provisions of the contract.

Living Trust: Otherwise known as trust inter vivos (between the living), a living trust is created during the lifetime of the trustor.

Living Will: A document executed by a person regarding the life support and other medical treatment, that he/she prefers, in case of sudden debilitation due to some fatal illness that leads ultimately to death.

Locus Standi:
A right to bring an action or a right to address a court on a matter before it. For example, a person whose right is violated, has the right to approach a court. There must be sufficient reason to bring an action, and the plaintiff must prove this reason.

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