The judicial system is confusing, and its confounding and sometimes strange terminology can make talking about it in daily conversation difficult. Understanding these terms can help you be an active member of your defense team and truly comprehend the actions going on in your case. 

To help you with this, the Office of Patrick Conway continues our blog series on common legal terms. Here are a few that you may encounter in your court case. 



This common term has many different versions including a bench warrant, search warrant, and arrest warrant. In last month’s blog, we discussed all the forms a warrant may come in. 

In general, a warrant refers to a document issued by the court that grants law enforcement officials permission to arrest a person, search their property, or require them to appear in court on a certain day and time. 

It is important that someone who is named in a warrant understands their rights when complying with a warrant of any kind. This is why it is critical to have proper legal representation and counsel when dealing with warrants from the court. 


The term refers to statements given under oath in a court of law. 

Witnesses in a court can be called to the stand to provide testimony by either the prosecution or the defense, and they may be cross-examined (a term we will discuss next). Statements made under oath as testimony can be critical to the outcome of the case so it is important to understand the role of your testimony in any court case. 



The term cross-examine is used to describe when a witness is called to the stand to provide testimony by either the prosecution or the defense. When a lawyer asks questions of the opposing party or witness to test if they are being truthful it is called a cross-examination. This portion of a court case can be stressful as the witness does not know what the lawyer of the opposing counsel may ask and needs to be prepared to give an honest and detailed account of the event. 


At some point in our lives, whether it is while watching a crime show on television or in first-hand dealings of our own, we have all heard the term verdict. 

This term refers to the final decision reached by a jury or a judge in a court case after the evidence of both sides has been heard. The verdict is often binding unless it is overturned during the appeal process. 

discussion at desk with pen in hand and pointing to papers on desk


Some of these terms are broader than others, and litigation is one of the most broad. It is essentially the process of settling any dispute in a courtroom. It is often used to describe proceedings in a criminal case, lawsuit, or other actions that need to be resolved in a court of law. 


The “parties” in a court case refer to the people involved such as the plaintiff and defendant in the case. They are sometimes called the “litigants.”

To learn more about common legal terms or if you need legal counsel who will have your future and best in mind, contact our office today.