Lars’ Law Dictionary

Professional Regulation

Lars’ Law Dictionary – Simplified Legalese

Legal terminology can often be confusing and the use of legal jargon can make understanding the litigation process unnecessarily difficult for people with legal problems. While Black’s Law Dictionary remains one of the most trusted sources for legal definitions, it can be a bit intimidating for a person without legal training to pick up.

Here are some common terms that are our Vancouver law firm comes across a lot in business litigation, estate litigation, divorce litigation and personal injury litigation and some explanations of what the terms mean.


Common Legal Terms

Plaintiff / Claimant

  • The Plaintiff is the person or party (ie business or organization) that commences a civil law suit.
  • In divorce litigation and in Small Claims Court, the Plaintiff is called the Claimant.
  • While some plaintiff’s believe that there cases are infallible, its important to find a good lawyer who will give candid and realistic advice rather than treating the word of the Plaintiff like the word of the Pontiff.


  • Damages are losses that a plaintiff is seeking to recover.
  • In motor-vehicle accident cases, damages can be broken down into pecuniary (monetary) and non-pecuniary damages.
  • Non-pecuniary damages include things like awards for pain suffering from injuries suffered in an accident.
  • Typically, a plaintiff must be able to prove damages to succeed in a lawsuit.


  • An adjournment is a fancy word for a delay.
  • Court appearances and trials can be adjourned for a wide variety of reasons including providing the parties more time to prepare, conflicts with schedules and personal conflicts.
  • When a matter is adjourned, it does not mean it is dismissed and it means the Court has yet to hear and pronounce judgment on this specific issue.


  • Discovery (and specifically Examinations for Discovery) provide a chance for both sides to explore the case being made for and against them.
  • Discoveries are critical to the effective functioning of civil litigation in British Columbia and they give your lawyer a chance to examine the party opposed to you and learn more about their case.
  • Discoveries take place in the presence of a court reporter and are recorded for use later on in Court.

We hope this post on legal terminology has helped you. If you need legal advice in Vancouver, please don’t hesitate to call our Vancouver law firm at 604-629-0432 or click here to contact us online.

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