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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Waive
To abandon a right or to refrain from insisting on a right or a formality.
Warrant
A judicial order directing a peace officer to do something such as arrest someone, search or seize something, or enforce a judicial order.
Arrest Warrant
A document authorizing the police to arrest an individual where the court orders it.
Bench Warrant
An order issued by a judge to a police officer for the arrest of a person who has failed to appear, or remain in attendance, at a hearing or trial. Bench warrants are a form of arrest warrants.
Discretionary Bench Warrant
In circumstances where a person does not appear in court, the court may extend a courtesy by issuing a bench warrant "with discretion". The matter is adjourned to a future date and, if the person appears at that time, the warrant is cancelled.
Executed Warrant
A warrant that has been carried out.
Search Warrant
An order issued by a justice under statutory powers, authorizing a named person to enter a specified place to search for and seize specified property which will provide evidence of the actual or intended commission of an offence.
Unexecuted Warrant
A warrant that has not been carried out.
Warrant of Committal
An order requiring that a party be committed to prison for a specified period of time.
Warrant for Witness
A document requiring that police arrest a person who has failed to appear as a witness as ordered.
Will
Directions made in legal form where a person instructs how his or her estate should be administered and distributed after death. It takes effect upon a person's death.
Holograph Will
A will written wholly in the handwriting of the person making it.
Withdrawal
Discontinuing or abandoning a case or part of a case.
Without Notice (see Ex Parte)
Occurring at the request of a party without the opposing party having had notice of the proceeding.
Witness
One who, in the course of judicial processes, provides evidence to assist a party or the court in a trial.
Compellable Witness
A witness who may be required by law to give evidence.
Expert Witness
A person who, through education or experience, has developed skill or knowledge on a particular subject, so that he or she may form an opinion that will assist the trier of fact.
Material Witness
A person who has significant information to affect the outcome of a case.
Writ
The formal order of a court, which directs a person or persons to do or refrain from doing something in particular.
Writ of Delivery
An order directing that personal property be taken from one person and delivered to another person.
Writ of Execution
A general term referring to the process of the court available to enforce court orders and judgments. It is most commonly used to refer specifically to a Writ of Seizure and Sale.
Writ of Possession
An order for the recovery or delivery of the possession of land.
Writ of Seizure and Sale
An order for a sheriff to seize and publicly sell a person's property in order to satisfy an order for the payment of money.
Writ of Sequestration
Where the property has not been delivered up under a writ of delivery, the court may order the issuance of a writ of sequestration to collect and hold any income from all or part of the property.