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© Updated as of 2019
Survive Law

Legal Terms Translated by Kids

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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