Legal words explained

Glossary of legal terms
to postpone a court hearing to another time or day
a written statement where the contents are sworn or affirmed to be true. It is used in court as evidence
affidavit of service
a document provided by process server after they have successfully served documents to someone. This affidavit is signed by the server and details the time, date, manner of service, identity of the person served and other details of the job. If a party in the case claims to not have been notified of pending legal action, the affidavit of service can be presented to prove otherwise.
the review of the decision of a lower court by a higher court. If an appeal is successful, the higher court can change the lower court’s decision
a person applying for a court order
an internal examination of the body of a deceased person or any process which involves taking samples from the inside of the body

a procedure that allows you to stay out of police custody or prison until the time you return to court on the charges you’re accused of
a statement that gives the details of a crime an accused person is claimed to have committed
civil action
a court case usually involves private disputes between people or between organisations. Examples include disputes over a contract, or might deal with personal relationships such as marriage.
civil litigants
parties in a civil action
committal proceedings
a hearing in a Magistrates' Court that decides whether someone charged with a serious criminal offence should face trial in a higher court. It is also known as a preliminary examination.

to agree to or approve something
contest mention hearing
a hearing in which parties can try to reach agreement on some matters before a full criminal hearing is held
contest the application
to say that you do not agree with or accept the application
a judicial officer presiding over the Coronial Division of the Magistrates Court. Coroners investigate reportable deaths as well as certain fires and explosions.

court order
a direction issued by a Magistrate requiring a person or organisation to do or not do something. An order may be either interim or final
default judgment
a judgment given by the court against the defendant in the defendant's absence. For example when the defendant didn't appear at the hearing or has failed to lodge a defence
a decision

directions hearing
brief hearing in front of a Magistrate or Commissioner. It is a chance for the Magistrate or Commissioner  to discuss the progress of the appeal and give 'directions' to the parties
ex parte decision
a decision made by the Magistrate if you did not appear in court
final order
is made after a magistrate hears the application. Final orders may be consented to by both parties or a magistrate can decide the orders that should be made. A final order will be in place for such period of time as consented to or ordered. This is usually 12 months, but can be longer.
a binding promise made by one person to ensure that another person carries out their legal obligations. The person making the promise is called a guarantor
someone who is legally responsible for taking care of another person or their property
a formal hearing conducted in court by a coroner, to establish how a person died and the cause of their death. Inquests are sometimes held to establish the cause and origin of a fire or explosion.

interim (temporary) order
a temporary court order that stays in place only until a court can make a decision on the issue at a full hearing; temporary order can be cancelled, dismissed or becomes final
judgment creditor
a person or organisation that a debt is owed to
judgment debt
the amount of money that a court has ordered a debtor to pay
judgment debtor
anyone who owes money that the court has ordered them to pay as part of a legal judgment
the power of a State to legislate and enforce its laws

litigant in person (self-represented litigant)
a person who does not have a lawyer to appear for them in court and who presents their case to the court themselves
a way of resolving a dispute outside the court system. An independent person (a mediator) helps the disputing parties come to agreement. Mediators do not decide the outcome of the dispute. They help the parties think about the issues and best outcome. Parties may choose to use mediation instead of going to court. The court may order the parties to go to mediation as a way of avoiding a court hearing.

oath / affirmation
a promise to tell the truth in court. An oath has religious significance and an affirmation does not
a person or organisation directly involved in a court case, including a person or organisation that has brought the case before a court or who is defending claims made against them
post mortem
meaning ‘after death’, used to describe any examination of a deceased person by a qualified pathologist, and also to describe the report written by the pathologist after they have finished their examinations (the post mortem report)

process server
process server principal job is to deliver or “serve” legal documents to a defendant or person involved in a court case
a person against whom the court order is made
the process of sending or giving court documents to a party after they have been filed, in accordance with the rules of court. Service ensures that all parties have received the documents filed with a court.
to resolve a lawsuit without a final court judgment, by negotiation between the parties
an order requiring a person to go to court on a particular date and time to give evidence, or to produce a document to the Court, or do both things
a formal document issued by a court which says someone must appear in court on the date stated in the document
a person who agrees to pay money if a defendant fails to comply with the conditions of bail; or fails to appear in court as required
a person who has information (called "evidence") which may be useful in the proceedings of a case being heard in a court. Giving evidence is also sometimes referred to as "testifying"