Index of Legal Terms
A definitive collection of legal terms that are used by attorneys in contracts, agreements and other legal documents in South Africa.
Backup withholding: The IRS requires backup withholding for certain taxpayers, usually because of their past failure to pay taxes. Persons making certain payments to such taxpayers must withhold and pay to the IRS 31% of such payments.
Bad faith: Conduct in which there is a design of ill-will or an ulterior motive to commit deceit or fraud.
Balance sheet: A financial statement showing the assets and liabilities of a business.
Bankrupt: Unable to meet one's obligation and pay one's creditors. The term may apply to an individual, partnership, or corporation. Legal bankruptcy is decreed by a court.
Bankruptcy: The state of being unable to pay one's debts. Such person or company is subject to being proceeded against by his creditors, according to prevailing bankruptcy laws.
Battery: Physical violence inflicted upon someone without his consent; unlawful injury to someone's body.
Bear interest: When making a loan, the lender usually asks that the money be augmented by the payment of interest. Thus, a loan of $1,000 may bear interest of six percent per annum, or sixty dollars per year.
Bearer: The person who has a document in his possession and who will receive any payment that is due on said document. As an example, when a check or note is payable to bearer, anyone who presents the check or note will receive the payment therefrom.
Beneficiaries: An individual who receives benefits granted to him by another. As examples, an heir is given money in a will by someone who has died; a person who is named to receive the moneys from a life insurance policy. (Institutions, corporations, charitable organizations, etcetera, may all be beneficiaries.)
Beneficiary: An individual who receives benefits granted to him by another. As examples, an heir is given money in a will by someone who has died; a person who is named to receive the moneys from a life insurance policy. (Institutions, corporations, charitable organizations, etcetera, may all be beneficiaries.)
Benefit: Money that is paid as a result of a claim made on a medical or disability insurance policy.
Bequest: A gift given in a will.
Bind: To cause a legal obligation. This obligation may come about as the result of a law, a contract, or a decree of a court. (One can bind himself as well as another person.)
Biological parents: A person's natural mother and father.
Birth certificate: A certificate filed with the proper authorities upon the birth of a child. Such certificate records the date and place of birth, the parents' names, etc. Birth certificates may be filed in local communities, counties, or seats of state governments.
Board of directors: A group of people who represent a corporation and run its business.
Board of health: A group of people whose duties involve the safeguarding of the public's health. They have many functions, including overseeing the hygiene and sanitary conditions of a community, the administration of immunizations to prevent communicable disease, and the keeping of health statistics. (Boards of health may have county, city, or state jurisdiction.)
Bodily injury: Any harm coming to the body as the result of external force. Such injury may come from a blow or it may come from malpractice of a physician, or as the result of rape or attempted rape.
Bona fide: True; honest; acting in good faith.
Bond: 1. A fiduciary bond is similar to an insurance policy because it represents an arrangement where one party (the "surety") agrees, for a fee, to pay money or perform an obligation in the event the fiduciary (trustee, conservator, executor) fails to properly perform its duties. 2. An investment bond is a promise by the issuing company to repay a loan/investment at the end of a term, plus interest.
Bonus: A commission; money paid by an employer to an employee as a reward for good performance; an extra dividend; money paid by a mortgagor to a mortgagee for prepayment of a mortgage debt.
Born alive: A newly delivered child, born with a heartbeat, but who never establishes breathing, and thus dies within minutes after being born.
Borrow: To obtain a loan. Implied in borrowing is the intention and promise to repay or to return.
Bound: Being controlled by an obligation. (Someone is bound to perform a certain act whether he wants to or not. Similarly, one is bound by the clauses in a contract.)
Bovine: A Cow.
Breach: Failure to perform an obligation; a violation of the terms of an agreement.
Bring suit: The initiation of legal proceedings; to start an action.
Broker: A person employed as an agent for the purpose of buying or selling something at the request of another individual, in compensation for which he receives a commission. Also, a middleman; a negotiator between two parties; a dealer in securities; an individual who sells property for an owner.
Buy-out provision: A provision in a lease which allows the tenant to purchase the property being leased.
By virtue of: By authority of; because of. (Payments made to a public official by virtue of his rightful function, according to law.)
Bylaws: Rules and regulations adopted by corporations, associations, benefit societies, etcetera, to govern their ongoing activities. Such bylaws must be compatible with the charters of the various organizations and must be in conformity with their aims and goals.