A Court's Inherent Powers

Courts are created by statute. Their jurisdiction or authority is limited to the areas specified by the law, together with the inherent powers possessed by all courts. Inherent powers are powers reasonably necessary for the administration of justice. They are powers considered essential to the existence and proper functioning of the court. This article discusses a court's inherent power to regulate the judicial system, to regulate the practice of law, and to adopt court rules. Read more

Appeal Bonds

In the federal courts and most state courts, the defendant has a right to appeal the judgment. In most jurisdictions, it is necessary to give a bond when appealing a case. Read more

Opening Statements and Closing Arguments at Trial

A trial begins with opening statements by the attorneys for the litigants (the parties in the lawsuit). The plaintiff (the party suing) has the burden of proof in the case. This means the plaintiff must prove the allegations in his/her complaint in order to win the case. The standard of proof in a civil lawsuit is a preponderance of the evidence (the facts are more in favor of the plaintiff than the defendant, the party being sued.) In a criminal prosecution, the government is the plaintiff. The government has to prove a criminal defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Read more

Powers of Attorney

A power of attorney is a legal document in which a person (called the principal) delegates legal authority to another person (called the agent). The power of attorney gives the agent authority to make decisions for the principal in financial, property, and other legal matters. Most states specify the proper legal form for a power of attorney, and some legislatures have approved statutory forms for powers of attorney. Generally the principal's signature on a power of attorney form must be witnessed by a Notary Public. Read more

Special Federal Courts

The federal court system is made up of federal district courts (trial level courts), courts of appeals (appellate level courts), and the Supreme Court of the United States. In addition, the federal court system has special courts that hear a specific type of case. This article takes a look at special federal courts. Read more