Iroquois County Genealogical Society

Old Courthouse Museum
103 West Cherry Street
Watseka, IL 60970-1524

Civil Cases Definitions

Appeal - the action of going from a lower to a higher court or the request for same

Assumpsit - usually a breach of contract suit

Attachment - apprehending or taking into custody a person or property involved in a court action

Certiorari - order from a higher court to a lesser asking for the record of a particular case

Cognovit - An instrument in writing whereby a defendant in an action acknowledges a plaintiff's demand to be just

Covenant - a reason for a court action to recover monetary damages

Debt - a court action to collect money owned for a contract or agreement

Distress for rent - to compel payment

Ejectment - a suit by a property owner to recover use of property either failing to pay rent or for misuse of same

Et al - and others

Et ux - and spouse

Foreclose - act of stopping person who owes money on property from redeeming it, usually for non-payment

Garnishee - to attach a man’s wages or property to recover a debt

Garnishment - notice to a person who holds another’s property not to give it to him, but to account to the court for it

Habeus Corpus - legal document requiring jailers to produce a prisoner

Injunction - aka a restraining order

Mandamus - an order requiring a person who has signed a contract to fulfill same

Mechanics lien - lien to secure payment for work and materials in erecting or repairing a building or other structure

Partition - legal division of property among the heirs etc.

Perfect title - clear up any inconsistencies in a chain of deed

Petition for dower - wife’s asking for her legal share

Quo warranto - A writ brought before a proper tribunal, to inquire by what warrant a person or a corporation acts, or exercises certain power

Release - relinquishment of some right or claim by one person in favor of another

Replevin - legal action to regain possession of specific personal property alleged to have been taken illegally

Scire Facias - legal document based on record, which requires a person to give a good reason why judgement should not be enforced

Slander - an untrue utterance to ruin a person’s reputation

Specific performance - to follow a contract from beginning to end in it’s stated terms

Subpoena - an order from a court to appear under penalty for not doing so

Trespass - to enter upon another’s property without permission

Trover - a court case intended to recover the worth of personal property which another person has illegally acquired and kept

Writ of Capias - formal arrest document

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