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Glossary Results - S

This is a Legal Dictionary for visitor reference. Please click on the letter below to search by alphabet or use the search form to find the term you are looking for.

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S corporation - A business that is organized as a corporation under state law that elects to be taxed as a partnership under the Internal Revenue Code.  

Seal - To mark a document with a seal; to authenticate or make binding by affixing a seal. Court seal, corporate seal.

search warrant - An order signed by a judge that permits the police to enter a specified place to search for specific items named in the warrant.  

Secondary authority - Legal encyclopedias, treatises, legal texts, law review articles, and citators. Writings which set forth the opinion of the winter as to the law.

secured debt - A debt that is protected against default by the creditor's lien on collateral property.  

Securities an Exchange Commission (SEC) - A federal agency which monitors the securities industry.

security deposit - A payment required by a landlord to cover expenses in the event that the tenant damages the property or leaves owing rent.  

seizure - The act of taking physical evidence or property by authority of the law.  

Self Defense - The claim that an act otherwise criminal was legally justifiable because it was necessary to protect a person or property from the threat or action of another.

Self-incrimination, privilege against - The constitutional right of people to refuse to give testimony against themselves that could subject them to criminal prosecution. The right is guaranteed in the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Asserting the right is often referred to as "taking the fifth."

Self-proving will - A will whose validity does not have to be testified to in court by the witnesses to it, since the witnesses executed an affidavit reflecting proper execution of the will prior to the maker's death.

sentence - The punishment which is ordered by the court to be inflicted on the person convicted in a criminal case.  

separate property - Property that is owned and controlled entirely by one spouse in a marriage.  

separation - The state of affairs in which a married couple lives apart in anticipation of a divorce.  

Sequester - To separate. Sometimes juries are separated from outside influences during their deliberations. For example, this may occur during a highly publicized trial.

Sequestration of witnesses - Keeping all witnesses (except plaintiff and defendant) out of the courtroom except for their time on the stand, and cautioning them no to discuss their testimony with other witnesses. Also referred to as "separation of witnesses."

Service of process - The delivering of writs, summonses, and subpoenas by delivering them to the party named in the document. Also referred to as "service."

setback - The distance that is required between a property boundary and a building.  

setoff - An assertion made by a debtor, that the amount of the debt should be reduced because the creditor owes him money.  

Settlement - An agreement between the parties disposing of a lawsuit.

Settler - The person who sets up a trust. Also referred to as "grantor."

severability clause - A provision in a contract that preserves the validity of the remainder of the contract if a portion of it is invalidated by a court.  

severance pay - An amount that an employer offers to employees who are laid off.  

sexual harassment - Unwanted sexual advances or behavior on the job that creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment.  

shareholder - An owner of a corporation whose ownership interest is represented by shares of stock in the corporation. A shareholder -- also called a stockholder -- has rights conferred by state law, by the bylaws of the corporation and, if one has been adopted, by a shareholder' s agreement (often called a buy-sell agreement). These include the right to be notified of annual shareholders' meetings, to elect directors and to receive an appropriate share of any dividends. In large corporations, shareholders are usually investors whose shares are held in the name of their broker. On the other hand, in incorporated small businesses, owners often wear many hats -- shareholder, director, officer and employee -- with the result that distinctions between these legal categories become fuzzy.

Shepardizing - Method for finding subsequent development of a legal theory by tracing status of a case as legal authority.

Sherman Act - The basic antitrust statute prohibiting any unreasonable interference, conspiracy, restraint of trade, or monopolies with respect to interstate commerce.

Sidebar - A conference between the judge and lawyers, usually in the courtroom, our of earshot of the jury and spectators.

slander - Untruthful speech about a person that harms the person's reputation or standing in the community.  

Small Business Administration (SBA) - A federal agency which provides assistance of all kinds, including loans, to small businesses.

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