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LEGAL DICTIONARY - LETTER J


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J. D.
Abbreviation for "Juris Doctor" or "doctor of jurisprudence" and the formal name given to the university law degree in the United States. It is a prerequisite to most bar admission exams.

JOINT AND SEVERAL LIABILITY
Liability of more than one person for which each person may be sued for the entire amount of damages done by all.

JOINT CUSTODY
 A child custody decision which means that both parents share joint legal custody and joint physical custody. This is not very common and many professionals have taken to referring to "joint legal custody but sole maternal physical custody" as "joint custody".

JUDGE
An elected or appointed public official with authority to hear and decide cases in a court of law.

JUDGMENT 
A final court ruling resolving the key questions in a lawsuit and determining the rights and obligations of the opposing parties. For example, after a trial involving a vehicle accident, a court will issue a judgment determining which party was at fault and how much money that party must pay the other.

JUDICIARY 
Judges and magistrates as a professional group. In England and Wales the judiciary comprises -- in order of increasing seniority -- lay and stipendiary magistrates, circuit judges and Recorders, High Court (`puisne') judges, and the appelate (appeal) judges

JURE
Latin, from Roman law: by right, under legal authority or by the authority of the law. A variation, "juris" means "of right" or "of the law." See jurisprudence below which means "science of the law."

JURISDICTION
Refers to a court's authority to judge over a situation usually acquired in one of three ways: over acts committed in a defined territory (eg. the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of Australia is limited to acts committed or originating in Australia), over certain types of cases (the jurisdiction of a bankruptcy court is limited to bankruptcy cases), or over certain persons (a military court has jurisdiction limited to actions of enlisted personnel).

JURISPRUDENCE
Technically, jurisprudence means the "science of law". Statutes articulate the bland rules of law, with only rare reference to factual situations. The actual application of these statutes to facts is left to judges who consider not only the statute but also other legal rules which might be relevant to arrive at a judicial decision; hence, the "science". Thus, jurisprudence" has come to refer to case law, or the legal decisions which have developed and which accompany statutes in applying the law against situations of fact.

JUROR  
A person who serves on a jury. Lists of potential jurors are obtained from sources such as voter registration rolls and department of motor vehicles' lists. In most states, employers are prohibited from discriminating against employees who are called for jury duty--that is, they cannot demote or fire an employee for serving. And a few states require that the employer continue to pay the absent employee. Individuals who are selected to serve on a jury receive from the court a very small fee for their time and sometimes the cost of traveling from home to court.

JURY
A group of citizens randomly selected from the general population and brought together to assist justice by deciding which version, in their opinion, constitutes "the truth" given different evidence by opposing parties.

JUSTICE
Fairness a state of affairs in which conduct or action is both fair and right, given the circumstances. In law, it more specifically refers to the paramount obligation to ensure that all persons are treated fairly. Litigants "seek justice" by asking for compensation for wrongs committed against them; to right the inequity such that, with the compensation, a wrong has been righted and the balance of "good" or "virtue" over "wrong" or "evil" has been corrected.