Glossary of Legal Terms – V





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.

VA loans:   A program that allows most veterans to purchase a house without a down payment.

Vacate: To set aside or void an order or decision of a court.

Variable interest rate:   A loan rate that moves up and down based on factors including changes in the rate paid on bank certificates of deposit or Treasury bills.

Variable rate mortgage:   A loan with an interest rate that hinges on factors such as the rate paid on bank certificates and Treasury bills.

Variable rate:   An interest rate that changes with fluctuations in such indexes as the U.S. Treasury bill index.

Variance: A modification of zoning ordinance regulations to permit the use of property in a manner otherwise forbidden, when such variance will not be contrary to the public interest.

Vaulted ceiling:   An elongated half-cylinder that arches above the floor.

Venire: A writ summoning persons to court to act as jurors. Also refers to the people summoned for jury duty.

Venire: Process by which jurors are summoned to try a case; the jury panel.

Venue: Broadly, the geographical area where a court has authority to hear a case because it has personal jurisdiction and subject matter jurisdiction. The venue is usually the same area where the incident leading to the trial occurred. A change of venue may occur if negative publicity or other factor would make it difficult to find unbiased jurors.

Verdict: The jury’s decision in a case. A general verdict is the jury’s finding either for the plaintiff or the defendant. A special verdict is a statement by the jury of facts it has found in response to questions submitted by the judge.

Verification of deposit:   Part of the loan process, in which a lender will ask a borrower’s bank to sign a statement verifying the borrower’s account balances and history.

Verification of employment:   Part of the loan process, in which a lender asks the borrower’s employer for confirmation of the borrower’s position and salary.

Verification: An affidavit, oath or deposition attesting to the accuracy of a statement contained in a document.

Vestibule:   A small entrance hall or room.

Veterans Administration (VA) :   The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs operates a variety of programs to help veterans. One of the key plans it oversees is the VA loan program, which allows most veterans to purchase a house without a down payment.

Viagra: Medicine intended to treat sexual impotence in men (erectile dysfunction). Patients taking VIAGRA have experienced heart attack, sudden death, irregular heart rhythm, stroke, chest pain, and increased blood pressure.
Vicarious Liability: Liability imposed on one person for the actions of another, as in the case of an employer who is vicariously liable for the acts of an employee performed in the course and scope of the employee’s duties. See also Master and Servant.

Vicodin: A prescription pain reliever containing hydrocodone and acetaminophen. Classified in the same category as Oxycontin, Vicodin contains 5-10mg of hydrocodone.

Victorian style:   An architectural style that dates from the mid-19th century.

Videx/ EC: A medication used to treat HIV. There have been reports linking VIDEX® EC with fatal lactic acidosis and pancreatitis.

View: An inspection of an object by the court or jury where the object or location viewed cannot conveniently be produced in court.

Vinyl-clad windows:   Wood windows sheathed in vinyl on the outside.

Violation of the stay: The unauthorized act of a creditor attempting to take property or money of the debtor to satisfy a claim during the time the automatic stay is in effect.

Vioxx: A brand of medication used to relieve the signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis in adults. Vioxx use can result in stomach bleeding and liver damage.

Visitation: The right of a non-custodial parent to visit and spend time with his or her children.

Void: Having no binding effect or legal force; null.

Voidable: Capable of being rendered void or annulled.

Voir Dire: The process of examination of prospective jurors by the court or attorneys to determine their qualification for jury service and to uncover any biases or conflicts of interest.

Voluntary case: A bankruptcy filed voluntarily by the debtor as opposed to a bankruptcy filed by a debtor’s creditors.

Voluntary lien:   A lien that a homeowner willingly gives to a lender.

Voluntary transfer: A transfer or conveyance of a debtor’s property with the debtor’s consent.