Glossary of Litigation Terms

Order to Show Cause (OSC)

An OSC is an order from a judge that directs a party to appear in court to argue why the judge shouldn’t grant an action proposed by the opposing side or by the judge.


A Party to an action is a person designated as a plaintiff or defendant.


A Petition is a formal written application to a court requesting judicial action.


A Petitioner is the plaintiff for certain types of lawsuits such as divorces.


Pleadings are the formal allegations of the plaintiff and defendant as to their claims and defenses. The purpose of pleadings are to provide notice to the opposition as to what should be expected at trial. The pleadings include the complaint and answer to the complaint.

Preponderance of the Evidence

Preponderance of the Evidence is the standard of proof in civil cases. It is evidence that is of greater weight or more convincing that the opposing evidence.

Pre-trial Conference

A Pre-trial Conference is a conference called by the court prior to trial for the purpose of narrowing the trial issues, to secure stipulations and to take any other steps that will assist in the disposition of the case.

Prevailing Party

The Prevailing Party is the party who prevails on the main issue. The party who successfully prosecutes or defends. Some statutes award attorney’s fees to the prevailing party.

Prima Facie

Prima Facie means presumed to be true unless disproved by contrary evidence.

Pro Per

Pro Per is Latin meaning “for one’s self.” It is used to describe a person who is representing himself or herself in court, without a lawyer.



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