English Vocabulary for Contracts and Law


the terms and conditions of a contract = terms and conditions = basic stipulations, conditions

two parties of a contract = the signing parts of a contract
a purchase/service/lease contract
to close a deal = come to an agreement, sign a contract

a template of a contract = model contract for edition
to draw UP a contract = to write
to make a draft = an early version
to make an ultimate version

Using nouns to sound formal is customary (= a custom, habit):
the provision of the service
the completion of the service

in legalese = written in legal jargon, informal
shall = will, formal
party = each side of the agreement
on behalf of = representing

thereby, hereby = therefore, consequently
owing to  = due to, because of
on one hand ..., on the other hand = to introduce both parties
hereinafter = herein, from now on in this document
MegaCorp Industries, hereinafter referred to as “the organisation”

clauses, sections, annexes of a contract
fulfil = meet, satisfy a condition
binding clauses = shall be respected
to state = to assert, to declare, to manifest
a statement = a declaration, an assertion

a lease (= rental) agreement
cars/computers/offices on lease
the leaser and the leasee, formal
the landlord/landlady (= owner, proprietor) lets/leases/rents out the property = collects rent
the tenant/user rents it = pays rent

null, void = invalid, not binding
force majeure =  unforeseeable event preventing the fulfilment of the contract
arbitration = settlement of a dispute

the compliance department
be in compliance with the law/regulation
be compliant = to abide by the law
a breach of the contract = to 'break' the contract, fail to abide
liability = responsibility
be liable for = be responsible for

to terminate the contract voluntarily/for a breach of the contract
the termination of
the expire date = the ending date
the contract expires = reaches expire date

fees = salary/remuneration of a contractor
to claim = to make a claim (=demand) for a refund or compensation
to refund/reimburse = to pay back
a refund/reimbursement and/or compensation for damages
a faulty/defective product = with manufacture problems

penalty fees/penalisation  for damages/misuse/failure of completion
deposit = refundable payment kept aside to pay possible penalties
misuse = improper use of the product, causing damages/disruption


insurer = insurance company
an insurance policy = contract detailing items insured
policyholder = person contracting an insurance policy
a comprehensive policy = all-inclusive
insurance appraiser = person assessing damages
assessor = person who assesses (=evaluates, appraises)
total loss = damages so severe it's not worth repairing


a lawyer = person who gives legal device and conducts suits
a legal suit, lawsuit = a legal dispute
a court = where legal disputes are settled (=solved)
a trial = an event in which a legal dispute is settled
a judge = person ruling a court and giving verdict
a jury = group of people giving verdict in a case

legal counsellor, legal advisor = gives legal advice
attorney = lawyer in US English
barrister = in UK, lawyer defending a client in court
solicitor = in UK, lawyer doing legal paperwork out of court

to denounce = to announce that someone committed a crime
to sue = to denounce, to take someone to court
to press charges against someone = to denounce
to plead = to formally claim in court
a plea = a formal claim in court
to plead guilty / not guilty = to declare yourself

the defendant = person who allegedly committed a crime
the prosecutor = person leading a case against a defendant
allegedly = supposedly, but not proved yet
to witness a crime = to see
a witness = a person who saw a crime and speaks in court
to make a case = to share an argument, give reason

be guilty= responsible for a crime
the culprit = person declared guilty
an offence = a particular crime
a verdict, a sentence = the decision made by the judge
to punish = to have someone pay for their crimes
punishment = economic fines or imprisonment
a fine = an economic compensation/punishment

to ban = to forbid someone to do something
a ban = a prohibition
to convict someone to = to declare a punishment
inmate = a convicted prisoner in jail (= prison)
to release = to let out, to let go
to be released on parole = the inmate
to bail out = to pay to have someone released from prison


to steal = taking away someone's things with no permission
a thief = a person who steals
theft = the act of stealing
a pickpocket = steals from people's pockets unnoticedly
a burglar = to steal from houses, usually unnoticedly
to break into = to enter private property with no permission

to assault = to attack, to damage physically
assaulter = the person who assaults
to rob = to steal from a shop or bank, often with violence
a robbery = the act of robbing
to mug = to steal on the street with threats and violence               
a mugger = the person who mugs 

shoplifting = unnoticedly stealing small items from a shop
stealthily = cunningly and unnoticedly
to go unnoticed = no one noticed you or what you did
to get away = to escape, to run away
to get away WITH it = not pay the consequences

a scammer, a con man = a person who commits fraud
to cheat = to fool, to deceive someone to take their money
to smuggle = to take illegal items across borders
a smuggler = the person who smuggles
to sneak something IN/OUT= to take it in/out illegally
a trafficker = a drug dealer, a pusher

bribery = illegally paying someone to earn their favour
to bribe = to commit bribery
to blackmail = demand money from someone in exchange for not releasing controversial information
embezzlement = stealing money you were in charge of but don't own

to kidnap, to abduct = take a prisoner and hide him/her
kidnapper = person who kidnaps someone
to take someone hostage = to kidnap someone
a ransom = money claimed to release a hostage
to hijack = to take people hostage in a plane/bus/shop