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Legal Terms Translated by Kids

Rainbow alphabet

As part of keeping my kids (aged six and 10) entertained when we were housebound in the school holidays due to injury, I read them words and phrases from my legal dictionary and asked them what they thought each one meant. Here are some of their responses…

Ad hoc – adding a hock to the soup

Barrister – adds things to drinks

Causation – something extremely wet

Codicil – 1. group of people who have a code 2. getting some soda

Contentious – trying to get someone’s attention

Covenant – someone in charge of a place

Duty of care – caring about somebody

Debenture – adventure

Ex parte – ex wife party

Prima facie – going to law school

Felonious tort – someone holding a torch

In personam – something wrong with someone’s soul

In situ – people that sleep in the same bed

Inter vivos – internal virus

Nemo dat qui non habet – a problem in the ocean

Res jeste – something in someone’s digestive system making them angry

Onus – someone who owns something

Immunity – taking care of a community

Liability – someone very good at lying

Vexatious – someone addicted to doing wrong things

Verbatim – a farm

We get so used to these strange words and phrases and yet, it is often not until we stop and look objectively through the eyes of another, that we realise just how ridiculous legalese can be.

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