Glossary

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This legal glossary is a basic guide to common legal terms. A lawyer is in the best position to advise you about your legal rights and responsibilities.

Different terms may have different meanings based on the specific area of law or the context in which they are being used. For legal terms not referred to in this glossary, or for more comprehensive definitions, you may wish to refer to a legal dictionary or to an internet resource.

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Election
The making of a legal choice.
Election by the Accused
The procedure by which accused persons charged with certain criminal offences are given the choice to be tried by judge and jury or by judge alone at the Superior Court of Justice, or by a provincial judge in the Ontario Court of Justice. With certain criminal offences, the accused may elect to have a preliminary inquiry.
Election by the Crown
The procedure by which the Crown decides to prosecute a "hybrid" offence as a summary conviction or as an indictable offence. The major procedural difference is an indictable offence usually has a preliminary inquiry before trial.
Endorse
To sign a legal document or formally approve something.
Endorsement
The written decision of a judge.
Enforcement
Where one party takes measures under the law or with permission of the court to compel the other party to obey a court order.
Equalization payment
In family law cases, a payment from one married spouse to the other to ensure that both parties receive an equal share of the net family property they accumulated during their marriage.
Estate
The property that a person owns or has a legal interest in. Often used to describe the property after the person's death.
Estreatment
The enforcement of a forfeited recognizance due to failure to comply with the conditions agreed to. (see Default Hearing)
Evidence
Statements, information, and things that are used to prove or disprove an alleged fact.
Admissible Evidence
Evidence that is relevant and is of such a kind that the court will receive it.
Character Evidence
Evidence that shows the kind of person that someone is.
Circumstantial Evidence
Evidence which creates an inference that a particular fact exists.
Corroborating Evidence
Evidence that strengthens and confirms other evidence.
Demonstrative Evidence
Physical evidence that can be seen and inspected.
Derivative Evidence
Evidence discovered by using illegally obtained evidence. This evidence may be found to be inadmissible.
Direct Evidence
Evidence based on personal knowledge or observation that, if true, proves a fact.
Expert Evidence
Opinion evidence given by a person whom the court finds to be qualified to act as an expert.
Forensic Evidence
Evidence collected and studied through the use of sciences and other specialized knowledge, such as, biology, chemistry, medicine, physics, computer science, psychiatry and psychology. Forensic experts examine various things, including: a person's mental condition, documents, substances, chemicals, tissue traces, or impressions left at a crime scene.
Hearsay Evidence
Evidence based on what someone else has told the witness. "Second-hand" evidence. Hearsay evidence is often not admissible in court.
Viva Voce Evidence
Evidence that is given orally, as opposed to written evidence.
Examination
The questioning of a witness under oath or affirmation.
Direct Examination
The questioning of a witness in a trial or other proceeding, conducted by the party who called the witness to testify.
Cross Examination
The examination of a witness by an opposing party to develop or test the truth of evidence given by the witness during direct examination.
Examination for Discovery
In civil proceedings, a process by which the parties to an action question one another, or another person, under oath or affirmation on the facts and issues. A record is produced of the questions and answers given. The term "questioning" is used in family law cases.
Excluded Property
In family law cases, the property that is excluded from the calculation of a married spouse's net family property.
Exclusive Possession of the Matrimonial Home
In family law cases, a court order that gives one party the right to live in or use the family home, to the exclusion of the other.
Executed Warrant
(see Warrant)
Execution
A process by which orders of the court are enforced.
Exhibit
A document or object admitted as evidence in court.
Ex Parte
Latin term, meaning made in the absence of the opposing party. In certain circumstances, applications or motions brought by a party may be heard without notice to the other party.
Expert
A person who has developed skill and knowledge on a subject and is accepted by a court as being able to form opinions on evidence presented to assist the judge.
Expert Evidence
(see Evidence)
Expert Witness
(see Witness)
Extraordinary Expenses
Expenses for children listed in section 7 of the Child Support Guidelines to which both parents will generally contribute in proportion to their respective incomes, beyond the guideline amount. These are also known as special expenses.
Extraordinary Remedies
(see Prerogative Writs)