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LEGAL DICTIONARY - LETTER F


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FEDERAL COURT
A branch of the United States government with power derived directly from the U.S. Constitution. Federal courts decide cases involving the U.S. Constitution, federal law--for example, patents, federal taxes, labor law and federal crimes, such as robbing a federally chartered bank--and cases where the parties are from different states and are involved in a dispute for $75,000 or more.

FEE SIMPLE
The most extensive tenure allowed under the feudal system allowing the tenant to sell or convey by will or be transfer to a heir if the owner dies intestate. In modern law, almost all land is held in fee simple and this is as close as one can get to absolute ownership in common law.

FEE TAIL
A form of tenure under the feudal system that could only be transferred to a lineal descendant. If there were no lineal descendants upon the death of the tenant, the land reverted back to the lord.

FELONY
A serious crime for which the punishment is prison for more than a year or death. Crimes of less gravity are called misdemeanors. This term is no longer used in England or other Commonwealth countries but remains a major distinction in the United States. Historically, in England, the term referred to crimes for which the punishment was the loss of land, life or a limb.

FILE
(1) The complete court record of a case.  (2) "To file" a paper is to give it to the court clerk for inclusion in the case record. (3) A folder in a law office (of a case, a client, business records, etc.)

FRAUD
An intentional perversion of truth; deceitful practice or device resorted to with intent to deprive another of property or other right or in some manner do him/her injury.

FUNDING A TRUST
Transferring ownership of property to a trust.

FUNGIBLES
Goods which are comprised of many identical parts such as a bushel of grain or a barrel of apples or oil, and which can be easily replaced by other, identical goods. If the goods are sold by weight or number, this is a good sign that they are fungible.