Courtroom terms
LexInter | October 21, 2021 | 0 Comments

Common Legal and Courtroom Terms You Should Know

Although most people will experience some sort of legal problem in their lives, fewer than 29% seek professional advice for their court cases.

The world of legal jargon is complicated at the best of times. Many legal phrases and terms would confuse the average person.

Whether you find yourself in a courtroom or not, it is worth familiarizing yourself with a few common courtroom terms. You never know when they could come in handy. Read on to learn more about common legal terms.


An action is another name for a case or lawsuit. It describes a civil proceeding when one party sues another.



An arraignment is when a defendant comes to court, and a judge reads their charges. The defendant chooses to plead guilty or not guilty. Anyone in legal trouble will have an arraignment before their sentencing.


When a witness gives a statement under oath outside of an open court, this is a deposition. Depositions are carried out in the presence of someone who is authorized to administer oaths.

Pre-Trial Hearing

If a defendant pleads not guilty, the judge will hold a pre-trial hearing to set a trial date. Pre-trial hearings also allow the defense to challenge the permissibility of evidence and discuss other matters relating to the case.

Statute of Limitations

Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations refers to the time in which charges must be brought for any given crime. Learn more about the statute of limitations at

Case Law

Case law is the historical precedent set by previous cases. You can use case law to compare a case to an earlier ruling.


Perjury is the act of lying under oath, either in a spoken or written statement. Perjury is a crime in itself.


Acquittal is a common term; however, many don’t understand its meaning. The legal definition of acquittal is when a judge or jury finds the defendant not guilty.



If a jury decides the defendant is guilty, they can challenge the court’s decision with an appeal. They can also appeal against their sentence if they believe it is excessive.

Hung Jury

One of the most common legal terms, a hung jury describes a jury that cannot decide on the defendant’s guilt. This results in a new trial.


Restitution is money paid by the perpetrator of a crime to the victim. Restitution is a common outcome and is often a parole condition.

Time Served

Time served refers to any jail time the defendant has already served while awaiting trial. Your time served is deducted from any custodial sentence.

Courtroom Terms Explained

So, that’s the brief guide to common courtroom terms you should know.

Whether you find yourself needing them or not, it’s worth learning a few legalese basics. You never know when they may come in handy.

Did you find this article informative? If so, be sure to check out our other posts for more useful legal information.

Avatar of LexInter


Lexinter Law, with a team of dedicated authors who strive to provide you with all the relevant and actionable tips on the legal aspect of your life. Our goal is to educate you so that you can make legal action with ease, or find the right person who can help you with your unique personal legal dilemma. Take care!