Law Schools » Other Resources » Legal Dictionary » Letter O




A solemn usually formal calling upon God or a god to witness to the truth of what one says or to witness that one sincerely intends to do what one says or solemn affirmation to tell the truth or to take a certain action.

Statement by an attorney taking exception to testimony or the attempted admission of evidence and opposing its consideration as evidence.

The person who is to receive the benefit of someone else's obligation; that "someone else" being the obligor. Also called a "promise." Some countries refer to the recipient of family support as an "obligee".

A person who is contractually or legally, committed or obliged, to providing something to another person; the recipient of the benefit being called the obligee. Also known as the "promisor."

An act which tends to impede or thwart the administration of justice. Examples include trying to bribe a witness or juror or providing law enforcement officers with information known to be false. Offense A crime; any act which contravenes the criminal law of the state in which it occurs. Spelled "offence" in Commonwealth countries.

Phrase used to identify attorneys that are employed by a party to assist in the preparation and management of a case but who are not the principal attorneys of record in the case.

An explicit proposal to contract which, if accepted, completes the contract and binds both the person that made the offer and the person accepting the offer to the terms of the contract. See also "acceptance".

There are few `crimes of omission' in English law. On the whole, failing to prevent harm is not a crime unless there is a legal duty of care. I would not be guilty of any specific offence if I stood by and watched a stranger jump off a cliff, however easy it would be for me to prevent the harm. Cases where an omission may be an offence include:
  • Wilful refusal to comply with a statutory obligation. An example might be refusing to supply a breath specimen for an alcohol test when the law requires that one does so;
  • Not carrying out a duty which is a contractual obligation;
  • failing to exercise a duty of care (e.g., parents for their children), including cases where duty of care has been assumed;
  • Where the omission omits to correct a harmful situation caused by the defendant.
A formal written direction given by a member of the judiciary; a court decision without reasons.

An executive decision of a government which has not been subjected to a legislative assembly (contrary to a statute). It is often detailed and not, as would be a statute, of general wording or application. This term is in disuse in many jurisdictions and the words "regulations" or "bylaws" are preferred.