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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.

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Easement: The right of a non-owner to use land. Such a non-owner may be a next-door neighbor, the general public, or the government. An easement would be the right of an owner of property, who has no land on the street, to use another individual's property to reach the street. Easements must be negotiated and voluntarily agreed to by the owners of property.

Effective: Refers to the date on which an agreement takes effect.

Electrical Compliance Certificate: A certificate provided by an Electrician regarding the property sold, confirming that the electricity is safe and in accordance with the law.

Elimination period: The amount of time a person must wait before benefits can be collected on a disability insurance policy.

Empower: To grant authority; to delegate; to commission.

Enable: To give someone the power to do something.

Encroachment: Extending one's property onto that of another; a trespass, such as building a fence that intrudes upon or obstructs a public highway.

Encumber: To burden property with debt, such as to mortgage or otherwise grant a security interest in property to another.

Encumbrance: A liability that lowers the value of a piece of property, such as a lien or a mortgage.

Endorsement: Signing a check or note, or other negotiable document, so that the rights granted by the check or note are transferred to another person. (When someone endorses a check, it permits the check to be cashed or deposited by another person.)

Enforceable: Capable of being performed; a contract is enforceable if a court of law would find it valid and effective.

Engage: To apply oneself; to be employed or provide service to another under an agreement.

Ensue: To follow or to come later. When one is given a large dose of sleeping pills, sleep ensues. The word implies that there is a direct connection between a certain act and what follows said act.

Entitle: To give the right to a claim; to grant a title or right; to furnish sufficient grounds for a title or claim.

Entity: Something that exists as its own separate unit.

Entry: The written record of a court proceeding.

Enumerated: Mentioned specifically; specified.

Enure: Come into operation; take effect

Enurement: To operate or to take effect upon something.

Equitable: Fair; just; according to the principles of justice. An equitable settlement of a dispute is fair to both sides.

Equity: The value remaining after subtracting corresponding debts; excess of assets over liabilities; net worth.

Escape: The unlawful departure of a prisoner from his place of confinement.

Estate: 1. Property in which someone has an interest; a person's right to property, such as real estate. 2. An estate is composed of a person's total possessions, including money, securities, land, etcetera. (The word estate is synonymous with the word property.)

Eviction: The act of getting one to leave lands or quarters he has been occupying, such an act being authorized by a court of law.

Evidence: Information tending to prove a claim.

Ex Parte: An application procedure where its outcome is based on the papers submitted by a single party to court, and the judgment is granted in favour or against the party.

Examination: The questioning of an individual or individuals in connection with a legal matter.

Exception: The disagreement with a judge's refusal of a request made by one of the attorneys in a case. The request usually takes the form of an objection, and the refusal is stated by the judge in the words objection overruled. The exception is duly recorded and may possibly form the basis for a future appeal from the court's decision in the case.

Excess: 1. Overreacting to a situation; using more force than is necessary in protecting oneself. 2. The holding of more moneys than is necessary by a corporation. (Such excess moneys, profits, might have been distributed to stockholders.) 3. Too much.

Exclusion: Shutting out; denying participation. Allowing or including only strictly-defined members of a group or category, with the implication that those not specifically named are not included.

Exclusive: 1. Restrictive; controlled by one person alone. (An exclusive right to sell merchandise means that no one else may sell the product.) 2. An exclusive organization is one that limits its membership strictly, according to its own rules and regulations.

Excuse: 1. A reason given for doing, or not doing, a thing. 2. A request to a court to forgive an unlawful act because of extenuating circumstances.

Execute: To finish; to sign as complete; to carry out all formalities.

Execution: Completion of all formalities; performance of an action.

Executor: The person named by a maker of a will to carry out the directions as set forth in the will. The executor's duties include the payment of all outstanding debts and the disbursement of property to the heirs, as designated in the will. Also, the executor makes all bequests to charitable organizations, etcetera, as directed in the will.

Exemption: The act of being freed from a certain obligation that would ordinarily prevail, such as an exemption from serving on a jury because of a house-confining illness.

Exhibit: A paper or document which contains information relevant to the subject matter, that is attached to the principal document to supplement or help explain that document. For example; a list, map, chart, schedule, another document, or a detailed description.

Exonerated: Absolved of a charge; declared not responsible; not guilty; released from liability; exculpated.

Expending: Spending.

Expert witness: A witness with special knowledge in a particular sphere, such as a scientist, an engineer, etcetera. Such a witness gives expert testimony.

Express: An affirmative, definite statement.

Express warranty: 1. A warranty that is bound by the explicit statements of the seller. 2. A statement by an insured person, expressed in the insurance policy, that certain facts are true.

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