Webster's New International Dictionary, Second Edition

Canadian Law Dictionary.

A; B; C; D; E; F; G & H; I; J; L; M; N; O; P; Q; R; S; T; U; V; W;

A person who is not a lawyer or is not acting in that capacity but who provides a limited number of legal services.

A government decision to allow a person who has been convicted of a crime, to be free and absolved of that conviction, as if never convicted.

Parens Patriae:
Latin: A British common law creation whereby the courts have the right to make unfettered decisions concerning people who are not able to take care of themselves.

Pari Delicto:
Latin for "of equal fault." For example, if two parties complain to a judge of the non-performance of a contract by the other, the judge could refuse to provide a remedy to either of them because of "pari delicto": a finding that they were equally at fault in causing the contract's breach.

Pari Passu:
Equally and without preference.  This term is often used in bankruptcy proceedings where creditors are said to be paid pari passu, or each creditor is paid pro rata in accordance with the amount of his claim.

An exclusive privilege granted to an inventor to make, use or sell an invention for a set number of years (17 years in Canada, ).

Paternity Testing
Paternity testing uses DNA, normally from blood samples, to determine whether the presumed father is the biological father.

Peace Bond:
A peace bond is a court order that sets out specific conditions to protect the safety of others or property. It can be ordered where there is a reasonable fear that someone will cause personal injury to another person or their family, will damage his/her property, or where there is a reasonable fear that a sexual offence will be committed. A peace bond may be issued under section 810 of the Canadian Criminal Code. Section 810.1 for example outlines pedophile peace bonds.

Pen Register:
An electronic surveillance device which attaches to a phone line and which registers every number dialed from a specific telephone.

Pendente Lite:
Latin: during litigation. For example, if the validity of a will is challenged, a court might appoint an administrator pendente lite with limited powers to do such things as may be necessary to preserve the assets of the deceased until a hearing can be convened on the validity of the will.

Peremptory Challenge
A formal objection to a potential juror for which no specific reason is given, unlike a challenge for cause.

An action that has to be taken before a security interest is secured.

Personal Property:
Property that is not real property; things moveable, also known as chattels.

To assume the identity of, with intent to deceive.

Bankruptcy: The application made under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act for the Court to hand down a Receiving Order stating the person is in bankruptcy.
Other: The formal, written document submitted to a court, and which asks for the court to redress what is described in the petition as being an injustice of some kind.


A petty or underhanded lawyer or an attorney who sustains a professional livelihood on disreputable or dishonorable business.

Petty Offense:
A minor crime and for which the punishment is usually just a small fine or short term of imprisonment.

Physical Custody:
A child custody decision which grants the right to organize and administer the day to day residential care of a child. This is usually combined with legal custody.

A person who initiates a case in Court.  That person may also be referred to as the Claimant, Petitioner or Applicant.  The person who is being sued is generally called the Defendant or Respondent.

Plea Bargaining:
Negotiations during a criminal trial, between an accused person and a prosecutor in which the accused agrees to admit to a crime (sometimes a lesser crime than the one set out in the original charge), avoiding the expense of a public trial, in exchange for which the prosecutor agrees to ask for a more lenient sentence than would have been recommended if the case had of proceeded to full trial.

That part of a party's case in which he or she formally sets out the facts and legal arguments which support that party's position. Pleadings can be in writing or they can be made verbally to a court, during the trial.

Possession Date:
That time that is mutually agreed that the person buying property will take ownership, control or possession of it.

Possessory Lien:
Charge for an unpaid debt, enforced by having physical custody of the asset to which the lien applies.

To affix a notice to a post, wall or the like; to supply or put up; e.g., post a bond.

Postal Rule:
A rule of contract law that makes an exception to the general rule that an acceptance is only created when communicated directly to the offeror. An acceptance is binding and the contract is said to be perfected when the acceptor places this acceptance in the mail box for return mail even if, in fact, it never reaches the offeror.

To place after in order of importance; to put off to a later time.

Power of Attorney:
An instrument authorizing another to act as one's agent or attorney.

Power of Sale:
The right to sell land when a mortgage is in default.

An original writ commanding the defendant to do the thing required; also an order addressed to the Clerk of the Court requesting him to issue a particular writ.

An offence against the King or Parliament, in old English law, which led to serious penalties but not capital punishment.

Precatory Words:
Words that express a wish or a desire rather than a clear command. "Precatory words" are often found in trusts or wills and cause great difficulties when courts try to find the real intention of the settlor or testator.

PPSA - Personal Property Security Act:
The system, for example, in British Columbia and most common-law provinces, whereby a person is required to register any interest that he has in the property of another before the security is valid.  The Registry can therefore be used if an institution is considering taking security on various assets, or if a person is contemplating purchasing an item such as a vehicle and wants to ensure that he purchases it free and clear of any encumbrances.


Preference or Preferred Creditors:
Those creditors, in the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act specified in Section 136, that rank ahead of ordinary or unsecured creditors.  Some preferred creditors are employees for wages, and a landlord for some specified rental arrears.

Preliminary Report:
Report presented by the trustee at the first meeting of creditors which details trustee's finding with regard to taking possession of the debtor's records and property; conservatory and protective measures; any legal proceedings undertaken or proposed to review provable claims, anticipated realization, and projected distribution.

The term given to the fact that the information is in a directive issued by the Superintendent of Bankruptcy.

Presumption of Advancement:
A presumption in trust, contract and family law which suggests that property transferred from a parent to a child, or spouse to spouse, is a gift and would defeat any presumption of a resulting trust.

Prima Facie:
On the face of it or at first sight.

The formal certificate given by a court that certifies that a will has been proven, validated and registered and which, from that point on, gives the executor the legal authority to execute the will.


Pro Rata:
To divide proportionately amongst people having a claim.

Pro Bono:
Provided for free.

Profit à Prendre:
A servitude which resembles an easement and which allows the holder to enter the land of another and to take some natural produce such as mineral deposits, fish or game, timber, crops or pasture.

Pro Forma:
As a matter of form; in keeping with a form or practice. Something done pro forma may not be essential but it facilitates future dealings.

Promissory Note:
An unconditional, written, signed promise to pay a certain amount of money on demand or at a certain date defined in the future.

Nearness in place; close-by. Also used to describe relationships as synonymous for "kin."

Pro Possessore:
As a possessor. For example, a person may exercise certain rights over a thing not as owner but pro possessore: as a person who possesses, but does not own, the thing.

Pro Se:
Latin: in one's personal behalf. Without a lawyer.

Pro Socio:
Latin: on behalf of a partner; not on one's personal behalf.

Pro Tempore:
Latin: something done temporarily only and not intended to be permanent.

Under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act there are two types of proposals that can be made.  A proposal filed under Division I, which is applicable to companies and any individual who wants to avail himself of it.  There are also "consumer proposals", which are a special type of proposal that a consumer can avail himself of but only if his comsumer and commercial debts, excluding mortgages on real property, do not exceed $250,000.  One of the main features of a consumer proposal is that if the creditors do not accept the proposal, the person is not automatically bankrupt as in a Division I proposal.

To offer a document as being authentic or valid. Used mostly in the law of wills; to propound a will means to take legal action, as part of probate, including a formal inspection of the will, by the court.

A document in which a corporation sets out the material details of a share or bond issue and inviting the public to invest by purchasing these financial instruments.

Provable Claims:
All those debts of a bankrupt outstanding as of the date of the bankruptcy.

Proven Claims:
Claims that have been filed in the proper manner with evidence to prove what is owed and subsequently accepted by the Trustee in Bankruptcy and used as the basis for the payment of dividends when there are monies to distribute.

Under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act a written statement can be made whereby a creditor appoints another person to act on his behalf in a creditors meeting and any other matters pertaining to that bankruptcy.

Junior or lower in rank, as opposed to the chief justice. For example, there are 8 puisne judges on the Supreme Court of Canada and a chief justice.

Punitive Damages:
Special and highly exceptional damages ordered by a court against a defendant where the act or omission which caused the suit, was of a particularly heinous, malicious or highhanded nature. Where awarded, they are an exception to the rule that damages are to compensate not to punish.

Purchase Money Security Interest (PMSI - pronounced "pimzee"):
A security that a person takes in property, such as inventory for example, that secures payment with regard to those assets of all or part of its purchase price.



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