A priori

It means "from what goes before". A priori is an argument which uses a truth or generally accepted principle to deduce the effect of a particular set of facts.

If George V reigned at least four days, then he reigned more than three days.
This is something that one knows a priori, because it expresses a statement that one can derive by reason alone.

See, a posteriori, a fortiori.

Wrongful dismissal

This is a situation where an employee is dismissed without following the terms of his engagement which are binding on both the employee and the employer.


It is a form of industrial action in which workers, though they are not on full-fledged strike, are working at a slow pace. In other words, workers are only performing skeletal operations.

Witness summons

It is an official document issued by a court directed to a specific person in which the person is commanded to appear in court at a specified date and venue for the purpose of giving evidence in a case. Disobeying a witness summons constitutes a contempt of court which may be punished by the court.

Witness box

It is a box, usually wooden, in which people giving evidence in any case stand in courts to testify.

Winding up

It is a process by which the lifespan of a company is brought to an end. Once a company is wound up, it ceases to exist.


A will is a legal document written by a person called testator in which he states how he wants his assets shared after his death among his chosen beneficiaries.


These are terms usually inserted in a document to show that a party inserting those terms is bound to carry out his promises when occasions indicated arise.

For example, it is common in sales of electrical appliances, vehicles and some other products that their manufacturers would give assurances to their customers to return products bought in case there is any damage within a specified period of time.

Warrant of arrest

Warrant of arrest is a paper issued by a judge or magistrate on behalf of the state which commands the arrest of a specified person.

Voidable contract

It is a contract which, on the face of it, is valid until it is set aside at the instance of a party who has right to do so. For example, if a drunken person enters into a contract in his state of drunkenness, he may set it aside soon after he regains consciousness. Such contract is voidable but not void ab initio.

Void contract

It is a contract that cannot be enforced at all because it may either be lacking in vital elements that make a contract valid or a party does not have legal capacity to enter into it at all. For example, a contract of loan entered into by an underage person.

Vicarious liability

This arises where a person has to bear another person's liability because of the relationship that exists between them. For example, a principal is liable for the default of his agent while acting on his instructions.


The word "vendor" is commonly used to qualify a seller of any good including landed property.


Upturning is a judgment of a higher court setting aside a lower court's judgment in respect of a matter. For instance, a party may lose a case before the Court of Appeal and therefore files an appeal against such judgment to the Supreme Court in which the latter court now gives a different judgment in favor of the party appealing.


This refers to a situation where a higher court agrees with a judgment given by a lower court in respect of which the higher court has entertained an appeal and arrives at the same result like the lower court.

Unilateral contract

It is an agreement made by a person with the whole world. It means the agreement or contract may be accepted by whoever is interested. This may be illustrated by a person who promises to give a specified sum of money to anybody that finds his lost Alsatian dog and returns it to his house.

The implication of this kind of promise is that there is nobody to whom the offer is directed and nobody needs to signify his intention to accept before he performs it. The finding and returning of the dog in this regard constitute both acceptance and performance of the offer and whoever does that is entitled to the promised money.

Undue influence

This constitutes a situation where a contract cannot be said to have been created through the freewill of the parties to the contract. This may occur when parties to a contract are not of equal bargaining power or social status to the extent that one exercises pressure on the other party in order to create the contract.

Contract between a lawyer and his clients, guardians and their wards, spiritual leaders and their followers and so on may give cause for suspicion especially if the benefit of the contract tilts more to one side. Undue influence, if successfully proved, may nullify a contract because contracts are supposed to reflect voluntary wishes of the parties.

Ultra vires

Ultra vires refers to an act which is not within the scope of a person's authority. A company may be said to act ultra vires where it does things not covered by its memorandum of association or authorized by the general meeting.


It means something that is certain or settled. This is commonly used by lawyers to express a point or an area of law that is clear and not contentious.

Usage example:
It is trite that a criminal case must be proved beyond reasonable doubt.
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