Glossary of Legal Terms – J





This glossary should not be relied upon as legal advice. It is provided for general informational purposes only. To properly advise on any given situation requires a knowledge of the facts surrounding that situation. Laws and the statutory definitions of terms will vary from state to state. Specific questions should be directed to an attorney licensed in your state.

Jalousie window:   A window that consists of vertical rows of horizontal glass slats that operate together by a crank mechanism that connects all the slats.

Joinder: Combining several causes of action or parties in a single lawsuit.

Joint and Several Liability: Refers to a plaintiff’s ability to sue one or more defendants separately or all together at his or her option. Permits a group of defendants to be held both individually and collectively liable for all damages suffered by the plaintiff. The plaintiff can recover the entire amount of damages from one defendant, even if all of the defendants are liable.

Joint custody: Each parent shares legal custody of their children.

Joint liability:   The responsibility of two or more people to fulfill the terms of a home loan or debt.

Joint petition: One bankruptcy petition filed by a husband and wife together.

Joint Tenancy: A form of legal co-ownership of property (also known as survivorship). At the death of one co-owner, the surviving co-owner becomes sole owner of the property. Tenancy by the entirety is a special form of joint tenancy between a husband and wife.

Joint tenancy:   Ownership by two or more people that gives equal shares of a piece of property. Rights pass to the surviving owner or owners.

Joist:   A floor or ceiling support member supported by foundation walls, piers or beams. Subflooring is connected to floor joists.

Jones Act: A federal law providing medical, disability and death benefits to sailors who suffer injuries in the course of their employment.

Judge Advocate: An officer at a court-martial who may act as clerk, prosecutor and/or legal advisor to the court.
Judgment notwithstanding the Verdict (n.o.v.): An order by the trial judge entering a judgment in a manner contradictory to the jury’s verdict. This is granted only when the verdict is unreasonable and unsupportable.

Judgment: Official decision of a court resolving the issues in a legal action and stating the rights and obligations of the parties. See also decree, order.

Judgment:   The decision of a court or law. If a court decides that a person must repay a debt, a lien may be placed against that person’s property.

Judicial foreclosure:   A procedure to handle foreclosure proceedings as civil matters.

Judicial lien: Lien obtained by judgment, levy, sequestration, or other legal or equitable process or proceeding.

Judicial Notice: The procedure by which a judge recognizes the existence of the truth of a certain fact having bearing on the case without the production of evidence because such fact is established by common notoriety. For example, if the accident happened on Thanksgiving, the judge can take judicial notice that the accident happened on a Thursday.

Judicial Review: The authority of a court to review the official actions of other

Judicial: Pertaining to a judge.

Jumbo mortgage:   Loans that exceed limits set by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The current limit is $214,600.

Junior mortgage:   A loan that subordinate to the primary loan.

Jurisdiction: The power and authority of a court to hear and determine a case.

Jurisprudence: The collective legal system including case law; the philosophy of law.

Jurist: A legal scholar.

Juror: A person selected to serve on a jury who has taken an oath to follow the law as enunciated by the judge.
Jury Commissioner: The court officer responsible for choosing the panel of persons to serve as potential jurors for a particular court term.

Jury: An impartial group summoned and sworn to decide disputed issues of facts at a trial.