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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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Tangible personal property: All property, except land and buildings, that can be physically touched, such as furniture, jewelry, cars and clothing. Property such as stocks and bank accounts are not included because what can be touched in connection with these items is merely a piece of paper that represents the actual property. In summary of all property types, "real property" is land and buildings; "personal property" is everything else; "tangible personal property" is an item that can be touched.

Temporary custody: The awarding of custody of a child to a parent temporarily, pending the outcome of a separation or divorce suit.

Tenancy in common: The possession of property by two or more people wherein each party possesses an undivided interest in the entire property. This is different from a situation in which each party owns a designated portion of the property, such as land.

Tenant: A person who has leased or rented an apartment, home, land, or other property.

Tenant in Common: An individual who owns an undivided interest in real or personal property with one or more people, with no right of survivorship.

Terminate: Come to an end.

Terminated: Ended; cancelled; concluded

Testament: A will disposing of property of a deceased person.

Testate: A person who dies leaving a will; the opposite of intestate.

Testator: Someone who has made or is making a will (testament).

Teste: To bear witness; a declaration at the conclusion of a court order (writ) bearing witness to the official character of the document (Latin).

Testify: To give evidence as a witness, under oath. False testimony, given under oath, is a serious offense known as perjury.

Testimony: Evidence given under oath by a witness, as distinguished from evidence derived from written documents.

Third party: 1. Someone who is not directly connected with a contract, a deal, a lawsuit, an occurrence, etcetera, but who may be affected by its outcome. 2. Persons other than the plaintiff or defendant who are brought into a case.

Threat: A statement of intention to harm, intimidate, or injure another by carrying out some unlawful act. If the statement of intention is not through the carrying out of an unlawful act, then it is not considered legally as a threat. As an example, a creditor may threaten to sue a debtor in court, this being a legal right; it is not considered a threat.

Time of the essence: Means that the performance of a term or condition of the contract in the time period specified is important, and that the failure to perform on time will lead to a breach of the contract.

Title: 1. The right of ownership of property; the just possession of one's own property. 2. The word or name by which someone or something is known. 3. The name for a portion of a statute. 4. The name of an action in court or of a petition, consisting of the names of the involved parties, and other pertinent data.

To take title: To gain and hold possession of property legally.

To wit: Namely; that is to say.

Toll: 1. To postpone the effect of a statute of limitations, thus permitting a legal action to be undertaken after a longer than normal period of time. 2. A fee paid for use of a bridge, tunnel, etcetera.

Tort: A wrong committed by one person against another; a civil not a criminal wrong; a wrong not arising out of a contract; a violation of a legal duty that one person has toward another. (Negligence and libel are torts.) Every tort is composed of a legal obligation, a breach of that obligation, and damage as the result of the breach of the obligation.

Total disability: Complete inability to work or to carry out any of the duties of one's job or profession, even though one's body may not be totally disabled. A person who has been blinded is totally disabled if he is engaged in riveting or other kinds of work requiring him to function high up on the steelworks of a construction job.

Total loss: 1. The complete loss of property, as in an explosion that has totally demolished a building. 2. In medicine, the complete loss of a part of the body, such as in amputation.

Trade secret: A process or compound known only to its owner and manufacturer, although the process or compound is not patented.

Trademark: A name, marking, sign, or motto that a company can, by law, use exclusively in identifying and selling its product.

Transaction: The act of conducting business; a deal; in a broad sense, a contract; something which takes place or has taken place; a dealing between two or more parties.

Transactions: The act of conducting business; a deal; in a broad sense, a contract; something which takes place or has taken place; a dealing between two or more parties.

Transfer tax: A levy upon the passing of property from the estate of a deceased person to an heir.

Traveler's check: In actuality, a cashier's check of the issuing bank. Upon its issue, the person receiving the check signs it; when he cashes it, he signs it again in the presence of the person who will cash it or give merchandise in exchange for it. Traveler's checks are particularly valuable as they are not negotiable when lost. The person obtaining traveler's checks from his bank usually pays a small fee to the issuing bank for the service.

Trial: A proceeding in a court to decide a controversy. A trial may be for a civil action or criminal action.

Tried: Having had a trial in court.

Trust: An arrangement created by one person (the "grantor") where assets of the grantor are transferred to another person (the "trustee") to be held for the benefit of a third person (the "beneficiary"). The grantor may also be the trustee and/or the beneficiary of the trust.

Trustee: A person who holds, manages, and distributes property for the benefit of another; a fiduciary.

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