legal theory

Comparison Signal

See Compare with.

Constitutional Avoidance

Constitutional Avoidance is the principal that, if possible, the Supreme Court should avoid ruling on constitutional issues, and resolve the cases before them on other (usually statutory) grounds. In practice, what this often means is that if the...


Definition from Nolo’s Plain-English Law DictionaryThe act of interpreting and giving meaning to a statute, law, contract, or will when there is some ambiguity or question about its meaning. Strict, or narrow, construction means considering only the...


Definition from Nolo’s Plain-English Law DictionaryTo determine the meaning of a written document, statute, or legal decision, based upon rules of legal interpretation.

Definition provided by Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary.


Latin, "against." A signal indicating that the cited source directly states the opposite of whatever the author just said. In other words, assuming an objective truth, the two claims are mutually exclusive and one must be false.

See Negative...

Contra Proferentem

A Latin term used in contract law referring to the principle that a judge will construe an ambiguous term against the party that imposed the inclusion of the term in the contract during negotiation or drafting.

Controlling Law

In contracts, trusts, or other documents, controlling law refers to the laws of the state which will be relied upon in judging disputes.

In contracts, the parties often agree on a choice of law clause that...


The provisions of the U.S. Constitution setting out the powers of the Federal judiciary, define those powers in using two different but related words "cases" and "controversies". See U.S Constitution, Article III, section 2. In framing judicial...

Corpus Juris

Definition from Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary(kor-pes jur-es) Latin for "the body of law," meaning a compendium of all laws. There are several encyclopedias of the law which fit this definition, the most famous of which is Corpus Juris Secundum....

Counsel and Procure


See aid and abet.