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Term Definition

An official of the Judicial branch with authority to decide lawsuits brought before courts.


The official decision of a court finally resolving the dispute between the parties to the lawsuit.


The legal authority of a court to hear and decide a certain type of case. It also is used as a synonym for venue, meaning the geographic area over which the court has territorial jurisdiction to decide cases.


The group of persons selected to hear the evidence in a trial and render a verdict on matters of fact.

Jury instructions

A judge's directions to the jury before it begins deliberations regarding the factual questions it must answer and the legal rules that it must apply.