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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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Identical: Exactly the same.

Identification: Proof that a person, or a thing, is what it is represented to be.

Identity: The fact that a person or thing is the same as he or it is claimed to be.

Illegal: Contrary to law; unlawful.

Imperative: Commanding; something that must be done; mandatory.

Implication: Something that is assumed though not actually expressed. In a will, property may pass to an heir by implication without the heir being specifically named.

Implicit: Implied; not expressed; can be assumed based upon the surrounding circumstances of an event or agreement.

Implied: Intended, but not expressed in words. An implied agreement is one that the parties intend to implement but have not declared in a written document.

Impose: To tax; to levy; to place a burden upon someone, as in imposing a heavy fine.

Imprison: To place a person in jail; to restrain a person's liberty, against his will.

Improper: influence Bringing undue pressure to bear upon someone in order to get him/her to do something he/she would not ordinarily do.

Improvement: Anything that increases the value of property, such as installing air-conditioning in a building, etcetera.

In common: Something for the general use and enjoyment of all. The land, gardens, beaches, pools, etcetera, surrounding a condominium are in common, for the use of all tenant-owners.

In lieu of: Instead of.

In person: An individual who acts as his own attorney in a case is said to appear in person.

In re: In the matter of; concerning (Latin) e.g. In re

In trust: The status of property given over and entrusted to someone to guard and take care of. Money or property of an estate is held in custody, or in trust, by a trustee until it is turned over to an heir.

In witness whereof: An expression making it clear that someone signing a legal document is signing as a witness.

Incapacitated: Unable to perform one's usual functions or duties, due to a physical or mental disability.

Inception: The beginning; the commencement, as the start of an agreement or contract.

Inchoate: Unfinished; incomplete, as an agreement that has not been put into final form. Inchoate lien. A lien that has not yet been put into effect, as a tax lien prior to the time when a tax assessment has been made.

Inchoate interest: Ownership of an unfinished and/or undetermined claim or agreement.

Incident: 1. Anything that is connected with or is dependent upon another thing or event. 2. An event, a happening.

Income: The amount someone earns from a salary or from a business or profession. Gross income includes all moneys earned before expenses and taxes; net income is that which is retained after payment of all expenses and taxes.

Incompetent: Incapable; inefficient; lacking the qualities necessary to discharge one's obligations and duties.

Inconsistent: Contradictory; contrary; repugnant.

Incorporate: To form a corporation. Each state has its own laws of incorporation.

Increment: An increase; a steady growth; an enlargement.

Incurred: To have brought upon oneself; to have happen to oneself, such as a person who incurred an injury.

Indemnification: An agreement to financially protect or reimburse a person if the protected person suffers loss arising out of defined circumstances.

Indemnify: To financially protect or reimburse a person if the protected person suffers loss arising out of defined circumstances.

Indemnity: Insurance against a possible loss; security with compensation for damages or loss.

Independent contractor: Someone who is engaged to do a job or perform an act but who maintains control over how the job or act is to be carried out. In medical jurisprudence, a surgeon who agrees to perform a certain operation is an independent contractor.

Individual liability: The liability of a person, as distinguished from the obligations of a partnership, company, or corporation.

Industriously: Hard working; to be diligent about a task.

Ineligible: Not qualified; legally disqualified from holding a public office or trust.

Inevitable accident: An accident that is unavoidable, such as an accident due to an act of god (floods, lightning, earthquakes, tornadoes, etcetera); an accident that could not have been prevented no matter what precautions one had taken.

Informed consent: Assent given only after all the facts have been fully explained. Before undergoing surgery a patient should have all the possibilities explained to him/her. Then, informed consent can be given, or withheld.

Infringement of trademark: Deceiving the public by copying, or devising an almost identical copy of, a trademark.

Inherit: To receive money and/or property from someone who has died. Some may inherit as a result of a specific bequest in a will, or as a consequence of being a member of the family of a person who died without leaving a will.

Injunction: A restraining order issued by a judge that a person or persons can or cannot do a particular thing. For example, a judge may order a labor union not to strike until a court hearing can be held. Injunctions may be temporary or permanent.

Injury: Harm done to a person's physical or mental well-being; harm to one's pride or reputation; harm to one's rights and privileges. Often the harm has resulted from the violation of one's legal rights by another.

Inscription: 1. The registration or recording of a deed, a mortgage, or other document in a public record or registry. 2. A writing on a substance of permanency such as stone or metal.

Insolvency: Inability to pay debts, either by an individual, a company, or a corporation; bankruptcy.

Insolvent: Being unable to meet one's obligations and liabilities.

Instalment: A regular, periodic, partial payment of a debt. Goods bought on instalment plans are usually paid for by regular monthly payments.

Institute: To start, such as to commence a lawsuit.

Instruct: To transmit information to another person or persons, as when a judge instructs a jury, or an attorney instructs his client.

Instrument: A written document, such as a deed, a mortgage, a negotiable security, a contract, a will, etcetera.

Insured: The person who is entitled to the protection under an insurance policy.

Intangible personal property: Property that has no value in and of itself but which represents value. Franchises, stocks, bonds, promissory notes, etc., all fall into this category.

Intellectual Property: Property rights in trademarks, copyrights or patents.

Intent: The purpose in carrying out a particular act, such as criminal intent; design; resolve.

Interdict: A judgment that prohibits someone from committing a certain act, for example, to stop a neighbour from being a nuisance.

Interest: 1. The right to use or benefit from property of any kind. 2. The cost of using borrowed money.

Interference: 1. A wrongful act by a person who prevents or disturbs another in the performance of his usual activities, or in the conduct of his business. 2. In patent law, a situation wherein two people claim the rights to the same invention or discovery.

Interim Protection Order: A temporary court order prohibiting one person from committing abusive acts against another person. It is issued on the first day when the complainant applies for a protection order.

Intermediate: Taking place during the middle of, or between the beginning and end of a lawsuit or other pending matter; intervening.

Interpretation: The explanation of the true meaning of a statement or written document; a translation.

Intervention: An act wherein a third person seeks to become a party to a suit between two other persons. He may wish to join the plaintiff in pressing a suit against a defendant or he may wish to join the defendant against the plaintiff.

Intestate: A person dies without a Will, and the law determines how the deceased's assets, if any, are distributed.

Intestate: Dying without leaving a valid will.

Inure: 1. To become effective; to come to one's benefit. 2. To become accustomed to.

Invalid: 1. Not valid; illegal; void; having no effect. 2. A permanently incapacitated person.

Invention: The creation of something new. Original inventions can be patented under the provisions of the patent laws.

Inventor: Someone who creates something new.

Invest: To place money in a business venture in the hope of making more money; the giving of money in exchange for securities; to use money to make more money.

Invoice: A list of merchandise sent to a consignee or purchaser containing the identities of the items sent and their prices.

Involuntary: 1. Against the will; without consent. 2. Unintentional, as an involuntary twitch of a muscle or an involuntary movement during sleep.

Irrevocable: Unable to be cancelled or nullified.

Issue: 1. To come forth; to put out; to put into circulation. 2. A point of law about which there is controversy. 3. A matter to be decided by a court. 4. Stocks, bonds, or other securities that are offered for sale to the public. 5. Descendants, such as children, grandchildren, etcetera.

Itemise To record each item or article separately. :

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