Law New – What You Need to Know

Law New is a daily newsletter of legal news, opinions, and trends for lawyers and in-house counsel. We feature news about law schools, court decisions, and developments in the practice of law. We also cover topics of interest to litigators, including attorney-client privilege, business development, civil procedure, ethics, evidence, pretrial & trial practice, and mental health & wellness. We welcome your submissions and comments.

Courts and the law

A description of legal cases, including a case’s name, parties, and location. It can also include the Judge who will decide the case. The Court can also issue orders and rules about how the case will be handled. The Court’s authority to make these orders and rules is called “jurisdiction.”

Civil rights: The set of laws that protect people in the United States from unfair treatment and discrimination. These are derived from the Constitution and Supreme Court decisions. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 established a number of rights, including the right to vote and to live where one wants. The law is enforced by the federal government, but the Supreme Court has the final say about what is and is not protected.

Court record: A written account of what is said during a court proceeding, usually transcribed from a stenographic machine or shorthand. A court reporter is usually responsible for creating this record. A copy of this document can be obtained from the court recorder’s office.

Consolidation of cases: When two or more different cases that have some common issues are combined into one case, so that the Judge will decide all of the issues in the same judgment. This can save time and money by having only one judge hear the whole case.

Compensatory damages: The amount of money paid to someone who has suffered a loss or injury, such as in a car accident. This compensation is paid for their actual losses.

Defendant: The person or entity sued by a plaintiff in a lawsuit. The Defendant is the party opposing the plaintiff, and must prove that they are not responsible for the injuries or losses claimed by the Plaintiff.

docket number: A unique set of numbers and letters that identifies a particular case in a court. For example, in Criminal Court the first two numbers show the year that the case was filed; the third character* shows the county; and the last six digits are the index number.

Public access to information about the conduct of governmental decision-making is essential to our democracy. To that end, the Legislature declares that government is the people’s business and that the public has the right to review records concerning their governmental decision-making and to see documents and statistics leading to those determinations, without undue delay, and free of charge.