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Common terms


Study the glossary below then complete the activities to test your knowledge of common terms.

Glossary of common terms

Terms Definitions
Legislation/Acts or statutes Laws made by both commonwealth and state parliaments
Common or case law Laws made by judges in courts
Plaintiff The person(s) taking legal action against another person(s) in civil cases
Prosecution The lawyers presenting a case for the crown against a defendant in a criminal action
Defendant The person(s) defending legal action against another party
Equity Separate body of law which supplements the rules of common law based on fairness and justice
Doctrine of precedent Decisions of a higher court are binding on lower courts in the same court hierarchy when judging similar cases
Ratio decidendi The reason for the judge's decision
Binding precedent A previous decision that must be followed
Persuasive precedent A previous decision that influences future decisions but need not be followed outside the court hierarchy or from lower courts within the same hierarchy.

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