Glossary of Litigation Terms

This litigation glossary was prepared for non-attorneys to assist them in understanding the litigation process and the terms used in litigation. This litigation glossary is general information only and is not intended to be legal advice. If you need legal advice, you should consult with an attorney licensed in your state.


An Act of God

An Act of God is an act that takes place exclusively by forces of nature, uncontrolled and uninfluenced by man. Examples are earthquakes, lightning and tornados.


Adjudication is the formal pronouncement of a court in the form of a judgment or decree.

Admissible Evidence

Admissible Evidence is any testimonial, documentary, or tangible evidence that may be introduced to a factfinder – a judge or jury – to establish or to bolster a point put forth by a party to the proceeding. For evidence to be admissible, it must be relevant, without being unfairly prejudicial, and it must have some indicia of reliability. The general rule is that all relevant evidence is admissible and all irrelevant evidence is inadmissible.

An Admission

An Admission is the acknowledgement of a party to a lawsuit of the truth of certain facts that are inconsistent with his or her claims, or helpful to the party requesting the admission.

An Affirmative Defense

An Affirmative is a response to the plaintiff’s claim that attacks the plaintiff’s legal right to bring the action as opposed to attacking the truth of the claim. Examples are failure to mitigate, consent, estoppel, and statute of limitations.

An Allegation

An Allegation is a claim made by a party in a pleading setting forth what he or she intends to prove.

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

ADR refers to the alternatives of mediation or arbitration, as opposed to litigation, to settle disputes. Some contracts and statutes require the use of ADR.



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