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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- Statutes, acts, regulations, rules, standards and principles that govern people. Law can also be based on court decisions.
- Law Society of Upper Canada
- The provincial body charged, by the legislature, with governing the legal profession and regulating the conduct of lawyers and paralegals in Ontario.
- A person licensed through the Law Society to practice law.
- Permission of the court.
- Legal Aid
- Legal advice and services mainly funded by government to assist those who are financially unable to retain a lawyer privately. Legal Aid Ontario administers Ontario's legal aid program, which includes legal aid clinics, duty counsel, and certificates for private lawyers.
- (see Act)
- Legal responsibility.
- A financial obligation.
- Absolute Liability
- A person is held liable simply because they engaged in the behaviour. No proof of intent or negligence is required. No defence is available.
- Joint Liability
- Liability shared amongst parties.
- Limited Liability
- Liability limited to contractual obligations or restricted by law.
- Several Liability
- Liability that is separate from that of other parties.
- Strict Liability
- A person is held liable because the act occurred. Some proof of intent or negligence is required, and there are some defences available.
- Vicarious Liability
- A person is held liable for the harm caused by another person. For example, an employer can be held vicariously liable for actions of employees.
- Limitation Period
- The statutory time limit for commencing a legal proceeding. Most limitation periods in Ontario are included in the Limitations Act, 2002.
- Limited Liability
- (see Liability)
- Legal proceedings before a court or tribunal.
- Litigation Guardian
- In civil cases, a person who commences, continues, or defends a proceeding on behalf of a party under disability and who has the right to make decisions for the party under disability in the proceeding.
- Long-term Offender
- A person who is convicted of certain criminal offences and, after an assessment, the court finds that the risk of the person re-offending is high but can eventually be controlled in the community. Long-term offenders must serve their sentence of imprisonment (a minimum of two years) and are then supervised in the community for a period not exceeding ten years. (see Dangerous Offender)