12 February, 2016

Glossary of Common Legal Terms (R)

Ratio decidendi
The reason behind or crux of a judicial decision.

This is the administrative machinery of a Court which deals with the filing, registering and listing of cases, issuing copies of orders and notices to parties, maintaining and preserving records. The Registry is also responsible for the maintenance and security of the court premises. It is headed by a Registrar General or a Registrar.

Rejoinder Affidavit
See affidavit.

Representative Action
Any affected person can file a petition on behalf of an indeterminate group of persons, or of the entire population in a representative action.

Res Judicata
A legal principle which prevents a party to a case which has been finally decided from bringing an action on the same issue. For example, a case is barred by res judicata if an earlier case between the same parties has decided upon the same points. This is embodied in Section 11 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908.

A party against whom a petition is filed. A proforma respondent is a party against whom no relief is sought.

A court has the power to review its orders on specified grounds, as provided by law. Generally the same court which passed the order or judgement in a case reviews its decision. There is, however, no inherent power in a court to review its decisions. The power has to be given by statute or be found in the Constitution.

Orders that cannot be appealed against can be revised by the High Court on specific grounds, as provided in S 115 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 and Ss. 397 and 401 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.

Rule Nisi

When admitting a writ petition for being heard, a court orders rule nisi which means that the respondents are asked to show cause why the petition should not be allowed, i.e. why the rule issued may not be made absolute. If the petition is allowed, the Court orders that the rule is made absolute. If the petition is dismissed, the Court states that the rule has been discharged.

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