Legal Words & Definitions 

Dictionary Series - Legal

In many legal proceedings, you’ll come across words that you may not be too familiar with. You might have seen a lot of proceedings in legal dramas on TV, but sitting on a trial yourself can be an intimidating experience. The last thing you need is to be confused by the legal jargon that’s commonly used in a courtroom. 

To avoid any confusion, we’ll be going over the common legal terms you might hear and the definitions that come along with them:


Accused: The accused is referred to a person that is charged with a crime.

Acquittal: An acquittal is a type of verdict where the judge will find the accused not guilty. When the accused is found not guilty, they are acquitted of all the charges, as they have been dismissed. 

Adjournment: An adjournment is a postponement of a court hearing to a later date. 

Allegation: An allegation is a claim that someone has done something illegal, often made without proof of said illegal activity.

Beyond a Reasonable Doubt: In order to be guilty of a crime, the claims against the accused must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. The proof and evidence must be clear and truthful in order to make a conviction. 

Client: A client is someone who is seeking out legal advice from a practicing lawyer about a legal issue. 

Criminal Defence Lawyer: A practicing defence lawyer who represents an individual in a criminal case.    

Cross-Examination: An opportunity in court for a lawyer to ask questions of a witness who is testifying in the trial.

Defendant: Also referred to as the accused, a defendant is an individual who is accused of a crime in a criminal proceeding. 

Evidence: Any type of proof that is presented during a trial or hearing is referred to as evidence. The evidence is often presented through testimonials from witnesses or through records and documents. Evidence may also be referred to as direct evidence or indirect evidence

Judge: An elected/appointed public official who has the authority to hear and decide cases in a court of law.

Jury: The jury is made up of 12 jurors who sit in on the court hearings and are sworn to give a verdict in a legal case based on the given evidence. 

Leading: Short for leading the witness, is a method in which a lawyer asks a question in a form that puts words in the mouth of the witness. 

Objection: An objection is a statement that opposes an aspect of the legal proceeding, such as questions.

Offence: An offence refers to the crime for which the accused is on trial. 

Paralegal: A paralegal is an individual who assists the lawyer with a case but doesn’t represent the client in a court proceeding.

Plaintiff: An individual who brings a case against another in court. 

Prosecutor: A lawyer that’s attempting to prove that the accused is guilty of the charges brought against them. 

Verdict: A conclusion made by the jury on the basis of guilty and not guilty, based on the facts presented during the trial. 

Witness: An individual that claims they have firsthand knowledge of the incriminating incident. A witness is often called to appear in court and testify.

Make sure you have the best possible Winnipeg criminal defence lawyer at your side when dealing with legal troubles. Our lawyers are experienced and well-versed in the law and will ensure that you’re properly guided through the entire process. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.