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LEGAL DICTIONARY - LETTER N


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NAKED OPTION
An opportunity to buy stock at a fixed price, offered by a seller who does not own the stock to back up the promise. If the buyer wants to exercise the option, the seller must purchase the stock at market price to make good on the offer.

NEGOTIABLE INSTRUMENT
A written document that represents an unconditional promise to pay a specified amount of money upon the demand of its owner. Examples include checks and promissory notes. Negotiable instruments can be transferred from one person to another, as when you write "pay to the order of" on the back of a check and turn it over to someone else.

NEGLIGENCE
Not only are people responsible for the intentional harm they cause, but their failure to act as a reasonable person would be expected to act in similar circumstances (i.e. "negligence") will also give rise to compensation. Negligence, if it causes injury to another, can give rise to a liability suit under tort. Negligence is always assessed having regards to the circumstances and to the standard of care which would reasonably be expected of a person in similar circumstances. Everybody has a duty to ensure that their actions do not cause harm to others. Between negligence and the intentional act there lies yet another, more serious type of negligence which is called gross negligence. Gross negligence is any action or an omission in reckless disregard of the consequences to the safety or property of another.

NEGOTIATE
To communicate on a matter of disagreement between two parties, with a view to first listen to the other party's perspective and to then attempt to arrive at a resolution by consensus.

NON-JOINDER
When a person who should have been made a party to a legal proceeding has been forgotten or omitted. This is usually addressed by asking the court to amend documents and including the forgotten party to the proceedings. It is the opposite of mis-joinder.

NOTARY
Also known as "notary public": a legal officer with specific judicial authority to attest to legal documents usually with an official seal. Most countries do not have notaries vesting administrative legal authority in lawyers or court officers. Jurisdictions which do have notaries include the Canadian provinces of Quebec and British Columbia and Australia.

NOVATION 
The substitution of a new contract for an old one. A novation may change one of the parties to the contract or the duties that must be performed by the original parties.

NOVELTY  
A requirement for obtaining a patent. To be novel, an invention must be physically different in some way from all previous inventions.

NUISANCE
Excessive or unlawful use of one's property to the extent of unreasonable annoyance or inconvenience to a neighbor or to the public. Nuisance is a tort.

NULLITY
(1) The state of being null, or void, or invalid (e.g. nullity of marriage). (2) A void act; a defective proceeding or one expressly declared by statute to be a nullity.