courts and procedure

comity of nations

Definition

The principle that one sovereign nation voluntarily adopts or enforces the laws of another sovereign nation out of deference, mutuality, and respect.

Unlike enforcement of judgments between states in the United States (which is governed by the Comity Clause of the Constitution), there is no Constitutional obligation on a U.S. court to recognize or enforce a foreign judgment. Neither is comity of nations embodied in international law. However, sovereign nations still use comity of nations for public policy reasons.

 

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comity

Definition

The legal principle that political entities (such as states, nations, or courts from different jurisdictions) will mutually recognize each other’s legislative, executive, and judicial acts. The underlying notion is that different jurisdictions will reciprocate each other’s judgments out of deference, mutuality, and respect.

 

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blackmail

Definition

Coercion by unjustifiably threatening to reveal to another person or to the public substantially true information that is embarrassing, injurious, or incriminating. Although revealing this information is not in itself a crime, blackmail that comes in the form of demanding money in exchange for withholding information is considered criminal behavior.

 

bench warrant

Definition

An arrest warrant issued directly by a sitting judge or magistrate to a law-enforcement officer in a criminal or civil court proceeding. The bench warrant authorizes the arrest of an individual who has been held in contempt of court, especially when the criminal defendant on bail makes a nonappearance or when a witness under subpoena does not appear for hearing or a trial. In the event that an individual was on bail, the court will usually set a higher bail amount or eliminate bail altogether.

 

bar association

Definition

A professional organization of lawyers.

State bar associations, which are usually created by state statute, often require membership for anyone desiring to practice law in that state. Such organizations have the authority to regulate the legal profession by disciplining lawyers or formally bringing lawsuits against them.

Local bar associations, which have voluntary membership, are organized at the county or city level.

 

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bar examination

Definition

A written examination that a person must pass in order to obtain a license to practice law. Although every state administers its own version of the bar examination, most exams consist of the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE) (a national standardized multiple choice test) and an essay portion testing federal and that state’s laws. Many state bar examinations also contain a performance test aimed at assessing lawyering skills.

 

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attractive nuisance

Definition

A dangerous condition on a landowner’s property that may attract children onto the land and may involve risk or harm to their safety. Because child trespassers may not appreciate the risks that the dangerous condition poses, landowners have the duty to either eliminate that danger or make it inaccessible to trespassing children.

 

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