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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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Face: Material that appears on a document or statute without any explanation or modification.

Facsimile: An exact copy.

Fact: Something that took place; an act; something actual and real; an incident that occurred; an event.

Fair and equitable: In a bankruptcy, fair and equitable is a term used to signify that everything is being done to see that creditors are paid fairly and reasonably, and that the stockholders are also treated equitably. Such treatment generally takes place during the reorganization of the bankrupt company.

Fair market value: The price that a willing buyer and a willing seller would agree to.

False pretences: A premeditated, calculated, thought-out misrepresentation of fact or situation, frequently entered into to defraud someone of property or money.

False statement: A deceitful, purposely untrue statement made for ulterior motives.

Familiarity: Knowing someone through frequent contacts, not usually implying intimacy; more than a casual acquaintance.

Fault: Negligence; a wrongful act; a departure from that which is expected of someone; a neglect of obligation or duty; mismanagement; bad faith.

Fed: Abbreviation for the Federal Reserve System, the central United States Bank that controls the nation's monetary supply (usually referred to as the Fed).

Fee: A recompense for a service.

Fetus: An unborn child beyond three months in its development. (Prior to that period, the unborn child is known as an embryo.)

Fictitious: Pretended; false; imaginary; counterfeit; not genuine.

Fiduciary: A person or organization who is given authority and responsibility over assets not owned by that fiduciary, such as an executor or personal representative in an estate, a trustee for a trust, or a conservator in a conservatorship.

Final: Definitive; terminating; completed. The term final is used in contrast to the word interlocutory.

Final Protection Order: A court order confirming an interim protection order, prohibiting one person from committing abusive acts against another person. It is issued if the Magistrate has satisfied him/herself that domestic violence exists between the parties.

Financial statement: A written statement that an individual submits to a bank prior to receiving a loan; a credit statement.

Findings: The results of the deliberations of a court or jury; the decisions expressed by a judicial authority after consideration of all the facts.

Fine: To impose a monetary penalty upon someone convicted of an offense.

Firm: A partnership or company that is unincorporated; a business concern.

First publication: The copyright by an author prior to publication of a manuscript; the date upon which the first copies of a work were placed on sale.

Fiscal: An adjective referring to financial matters in general. (Fiscal affairs are financial affairs.)

Fiscal Year: A repeating twelve-month period chosen by a business for accounting purposes. A fiscal year can, but need not, end on December 31 -- the "calendar year."

For value received: An expression denoting that a bill has been paid, acknowledging having received full value.

Force majeure: In contracts, a clause excusing non-performance of the contract if non-performance is due to unforeseen events beyond the control of the parties, such as acts of God.

Foreign trade: Import and export trade between countries.

Forfeit: To lose the right to do something, especially because of defaulting an obligation or because of an offence.

Forfeited: To lose the right to do something, especially because of defaulting an obligation or because of an offence.

Foundation: A charitable organization; an endowment of moneys to a charitable organization. An individual can establish a fund or foundation, the earnings of which are designated to go for charitable purposes.

Fraud: An intentional distortion of the truth perpetrated upon someone in order to convince him to give up money, property, some right, or other thing rightfully belonging to him; deception; deceit, trickery.

Fraudulent: In bad faith; dishonest.

Free and clear: A "clean" title; a title to property that is free of liens or other possible hindrances.

Free on Board: The term, or its abbreviation "f.o.b.", is used in a quotation or in a contract between a seller and a buyer of goods to be delivered. The term, which is usually followed by a defined location -- often either the sellerÆs or the buyerÆs place of business, means that the seller is responsible for delivering the goods to that defined location and assuming the risk of loss until then.

Frequency: The number of times that a payment is made, for example, monthly, quarterly or annually.

Fringe benefits: Benefits received by employees in addition to their wages. Health insurance, life insurance, disability insurance, and pension benefits are all classified as fringe benefits.

Full disclosure: The telling of all that one knows, not hiding or concealing anything that might be pertinent to the case.

Furnish: To provide, equip, or supply.

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