Superior Court >Civil Department >Glossary Of Common Terms

Glossary of Common Terms
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PCR (Post-Conviction Relief) A petition filed by a defendant after sentencing requesting a change in his sentence, a new trial, etc. A Rule 32 Petition is sometimes referred to as PCR. Paralegal A person who assists a lawyer in duties related to the practice of law but is not a licensed attorney. Parent The lawful and natural father or mother of a person; the word does not mean grandparent or ancestor, but can include an adoptive parent as a replacement for a natural parent. Parenting Time (Commonly referred to as Visitation) The time that a parent is scheduled to spend with a child pursuant to court order. Party A person or governmental agency named in a case; a person engaged in a lawsuit; a plaintiff/petitioner or defendant/respondent. Paternity A court action to determine whether an alleged father is biologically the father of a child and, as such, responsible for support and entitled to parenting time or custody. Payor The person or agency who pays or is obligated to make periodic payments to an obligor; a trustee, insurer, business entity, employer, government, governmental agency or subdivision or any other person authorized or obligated by law or a governing instrument to make payments. Pendente Lite "Pending litigation." Person A person or an organization. Personal Representative An executor, administrator, successor personal representative, special administrator and any person who performs substantially the same function under the law governing their status. A general personal representative excludes a special administrator. Personalty Personal property as distinguished from real property. Petit (Trial) Jury The group of people selected to decide the facts and render a verdict in a civil or criminal trial. Petition A legal form of pleading used to raise an issue to the court; a written request to the court for an order after notice. May take many forms, but the ultimate goal is the issuance of an order to appear requiring the parties to appear to litigate the issues in the petition. (juvenile law) A written statement of the essential facts that allege delinquency, incorrigibility or dependency. Petition for Dissolution The initial pleading that allows a party to ask the court to end or dissolve a marriage. Petition for Writ of Certiorari A document which a losing party files with the Supreme Court asking the Supreme Court to review the decision of a lower court. It includes a list of the parties, a statement of facts of the case, the legal questions presented for review and arguments as to why the Court should grant the writ. Petitioner A person bringing an action by petition rather than by complaint; the party who filed a petition with the court. The party who files the first petition in any action is deemed the petitioner for the pendency of the case, even though either party may file a petition on separate issues at later times under the same case number. Plaintiff The party who files a complaint or initiates a lawsuit. Plea The response of a defendant to the criminal charges stated.
  • Guilty Plea A defendant's admission that he/she committed the acts charged in the complaint, that the acts are prohibited by law and that he/she has no legal defense for such acts.
  • Not Guilty Plea A plea whereby a defendant denies guilt and the State must prove the criminal charges against him/her. The State is represented by the city or county prosecutor's office.
  • No Contest Plea (Nolo Contendere) A plea whereby a defendant does not admit guilt but agrees not to contest the State's charges against him/her. A no contest plea is treated the same as a guilty plea for sentencing.
Allegation of Prior Conviction A document filed by the State alleging that a defendant has been convicted previously of a felony. Plea Bargain A process between the accused and the prosecution to negotiate a mutually satisfactory outcome of the case. Pleading The formal written allegations setting forth the claims and defenses of the parties to a lawsuit. Post-Conviction Relief (PCR) A petition filed by a defendant after sentencing requesting a change in his sentence, a new trial, etc. A Rule 32 Petition is sometimes referred to as PCR. Post Decree/Judgment An action taking place in a case after the initial decree or judgment has been entered which would ordinarily have terminated the case. Pre-Decree/Judgment An action taking place in a case prior to the entering or signing of a final decree or judgment which would terminate the case. Preliminary Hearing A hearing to determine probable cause. Presentence Hearing A hearing held prior to sentencing to provide the court with information that would either enhance or lessen a sentence. See Also "Aggravation/Mitigation Hearing". Presentence Report A report prepared by an Adult Probation Officer to aid the court at sentencing. Presigned Waiver A waiver, signed before a court of record, wherein a person gives his/her consent to be returned to the state when he/she is accused of committing a crime, escaping from confinement or breaking terms of bail, probation or parole. Pretrial Conference A waiver, signed before a court of record, wherein a person gives his/her consent to be returned to the state when he/she is accused of committing a crime, escaping from confinement or breaking terms of bail, probation or parole. Prevention The creation of conditions, opportunities and experiences that encourage the development of healthy, self-sufficient children and that occur before the onset of problems. Prima Facie A fact presumed to be true unless disproved by some other evidence. Pro Bono Publico For the welfare of the whole; an attorney may take a case "pro bono". Proceeding TAn action at law and suit in equity. Pro Hac Vice (pro-hock-vee-chay) A request by an out-of-state attorney not admitted to practice in Arizona, through an Arizona attorney, to practice on a limited basis for a particular party/case. See Rule 33(d), Rules of the Supreme Court. Probable Cause Reasonable grounds to believe that certain facts justify further police action, such as search and seizure or arrest. Probate Registrar The official of the court who handles all informal proceedings and appointments, affidavits of succession to real property, proof of authority bonds and other miscellaneous filings, and reviews files and issues minute entries as needed. Pro Per/Pro Se A person who does not hire a lawyer and appears for himself/herself in court. Property Both real and personal property or any interest in real and personal property and anything that may be the subject of ownership.
  • Personal Property Includes money, goods, chattels, dogs, things in action and evidences of debt. A.R.S. 1-215.
  • Real Property Coextensive with lands, tenements and hereditaments. A.R.S. 1-215.
  • Community Property Property, other than a gift or inheritance to one party, that spouses acquire during the marriage. Each spouse has a one-half interest in community property, regardless of who has title to it.
  • Separate Property Property that a spouse acquired before the marriage, or during the marriage through a gift or an inheritance. Separate property belongs entirely to that one spouse.
  • Insurance Certain types of insurance policies have a cash value, which can be divided between the spouses at the time of the divorce.
  • Retirement/Work Related Benefits Any pension, profit sharing, 401K or retirement plan or IRA account which is given to a spouse by an employer. If these benefits are given during the marriage, the court may give each spouse a share in that benefit even though only one spouse's employer gave such benefits.
Protected Person A minor or any other person for whom a conservator has been appointed or any other protective order has been made. Protective Proceeding A proceeding to determine that a person cannot effectively manage or apply his estate to necessary ends, either because he lacks the ability or is otherwise inconvenienced or because he is a minor, and to secure administration of his estate by a conservator or other appropriate relief. Protective Supervision Supervision ordered by the juvenile court of children who are found to be dependent or incorrigible. Punitive Damages Damages in excess of actual damages incurred by a plaintiff and awarded as a measure of punishment for a defendant's wrongful and malicious acts. return to top
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