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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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Label: 1. An addition to a written document or clause, such as a codicil. 2. A slip of paper attached to a deed so that a seal may be applied.

Labour: 1. To work; to toil. 2. The work force; employees.

Landlord: An owner of a house, apartment, or land, to whom a tenant pays rent. One who leases property; a lessor.

Landlord's Hypothec: A right of the Landlord to attach the Tenant's movable property that is situated on the leased premises, when the Tenant fails to pay rent.

Language: A body of words which, when put together, offer a means of communication among people. There are many different languages, each used and understood by groups of people. Thus, there are languages of individual countries, or languages of different professions, such as the language of the law.

Last will and testament: The will that is valid and in force at the time of death.

Law: The rules, regulations, ordinances, and statutes, created by the legislative bodies of governments, under which people are expected to live. The law is interpreted by the courts; the facts are determined by juries. The laws of the land are the results of our moral thinking, the edicts of nature, and our experiences in living.

Law: A body of rules that governs legal relationships between people, and/or property. The Government recognises these rules as binding and enforceable. The law ensures peace and order.

Lease Agreement: A written or verbal agreement between a Lessee / Tenant and a Lessor / Landlord which must be entered into before the property is leased. A Lessee / Tenant must use the property as agreed to, pay for its use, care for it, and return it to the Lessor / Landlord upon termination of the agreement.

Legal Guardian: Both husband and wife are guardians of legitimate children; the mother of an illegitimate child is the guardian unless the father acquires guardianship, for example, by living in a permanent life-partnership with the mother; or the court may appoint a guardian. Guardianship includes safeguarding the child's property or property interests; representing the child in legal matters; and consenting to marriage, adoption, removal from South Africa, or an application for a passport.

Legal right: Any privilege or right which, if challenged, would be supported in court.

Legatee: The recipient of a legacy; an individual who inherits something.

Legislation: 1. The making of laws by a legislative body, such as the senate, the house of representatives, the various state and municipal bodies, parliaments, etcetera. 2. In general terms, the product of any legislative body.

Legitimate: Real; bona fide; reasonable.

Lemon law: A law enacted to protect purchasers of new and/or used automobiles when the vehicle requires frequent repairs and does not operate properly. The purchaser is usually given the right to a refund if certain conditions are met.

Lender: An individual or entity from whom money or an item is borrowed.

Lessee: Someone who leases or rents something, such as an apartment or an automobile.

Lessor: The person who grants a lease to a lessee.

Let: 1. To rent or lease. 2. To award a contract to one of the bidders, as to let a contract.

Levy: 1. A tax; an assessment. 2. To tax; to assess; to collect upon; to impose, such as a fine.

Liability: Legal responsibility; the obligation to do or not to do something; an obligation to pay a debt; the responsibility to behave in a certain manner.

Liability Insurance: Insurance purchased to protect the insured against liability to third parties for injuries to their person or property. Liability insurance differs from property insurance which pays for damage to the insuredÆs own property.

Liable: Legal responsibility; the obligation to do or not do something; an obligation to pay a debt; the responsibility to behave in a certain manner.

License: 1. A right granted by one person (or company) to another giving permission to the other person to do something that he could not legally do without such permission. The person granting the right is the licensor; the one receiving the right is the licensee. 2. Unrestrained conduct, as the license to act in a certain manner.

Licensee: One who is granted a license.

Licensor: Someone who grants a license.

Lien: A claim on another's property.

Lieu: Instead of (French).

Life expectancy: The number of years that a person in relatively good health, and of a particular age, can expect to live, according to recognized mortality statistics. Life expectancy tables are published by many of the large life insurance companies and are statistically most reliable.

Limitation: A limit; a restriction; a specified period of time during which a litigation can take place and after that period, the statute of limitations has expired; a time limit.

Limited liability company (LLC): A relatively new form of business which combines the limited liability protection of the corporation with the flow-through tax advantages of the partnership.

Limited partners: Owners of a partnership who share in the profits and losses of the business, but who are not allowed to participate in the management of the business, and whose liability risk is limited to their investment in the partnership.

Limited partnership: A financial agreement under which a contributor to a partnership is liable, if the company should fail, only for the sum of money he invested. (Other partners in the same enterprise, however, may not be limited partners but are general partners and have much greater obligations and liabilities.)

Line of credit: The maximum amount of credit a bank or businessman will give to a customer.

Liquidated: Paid, settled; wound up, as a company that has gone out of business.

Liquidation: The conversion of an asset into cash.

Litigation: A lawsuit; a legal action; a suit.

Living trust: A trust that is in effect while the maker of the trust is still alive, as opposed to a trust set up by a will. Also known as an inter vivos trust.

Living Will: A document which authorizes a person's healthcare provider to withdraw or withhold life-sustaining procedures if the person has a terminal condition with no reasonable hope of survival.

Local law: Law whose application is limited to certain restricted areas, such as municipal ordinances.

Lockout: An employer's dismissal of employees because of a labor dispute, such lockout resulting in the closing of the plant.

Loss of use: In compensation law, the loss of use of an organ or part of the body such as a finger, hand, leg, etcetera. Such loss may be partial or total.

Lump sum payment: A one-time payment, as opposed to payments made in installments.

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