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Public Records Glossary


Reading about legal matters and Court processes can mean coming across unfamiliar words and abbreviations. The glossary below can help you look up and hopefully understand some of the terminology used in the Court of Claims.

In addition, Court News Ohio provides an interactive online glossary to help the public understand the legal terms that Ohio courts and lawyers frequently use. Click here to view the interactive glossary.

Alternative Dispute Resolution Settling a dispute without a full, formal trial. Methods include mediation, conciliation, arbitration, and settlement, among others.
Answer The defendant's response to the plaintiff's allegations as stated in a complaint. An item-by-item, paragraph-by-paragraph response to points made in a complaint; part of the pleadings.
Appeal A higher court’s review of a lower court or administrative agency decision (for example, the Attorney General).
Case Number A unique number assigned to a case by each court. In the Court of Claims, the case number is a nine digit number that begins with the year the case is filed. For example, 2014-00229.
Complaint The legal document that usually begins a civil lawsuit. It states the facts and identifies the action the court is asked to take.
Court Costs The expenses of prosecuting or defending a lawsuit, other than the filing fee or attorneys' fees.
Decision Judgment, decree or determination of findings of fact and/or of law by a judge, court or other judicial officer.
Defendant The person or organization being sued.
Docket The list of all proceedings and filings in a case.
File To place a paper in the official custody of the clerk of court to enter into the files or records of a case.
Filing Deadline The date a document must be filed with the clerk's office. In order to be filed, the document and all required copies must be in the clerk's office and in full compliance with the applicable Rules by 5 p.m. on the filing deadline.
Filing Fee The sum of money that must be paid before a case can be filed with the Court of Claims.
Judicial Review The authority of a court to review the official actions of other branches of government. For example, the Ohio Court of Claims has judicial review over decisions made by the Ohio Attorney General on claims for Crime Victims Compensation.
Jurisdiction A court's authority to decide a case or issue an order.
Magistrate Judicial officer exercising some of the functions of a judge.
Mediation A form of alternative dispute resolution in which the parties bring their dispute to a neutral third party, who helps them agree on a settlement.
Mediator A person who tries to help disputing parties to reconcile or settle their differences.
Motion Oral or written request made by a party to an action before, during, or after a trial, upon which a court issues a ruling or order.
Ohio Revised Code The laws enacted by the Ohio General Assembly. The Ohio Revised Code is organized by subject matter and divided into general provisions, titles, chapters, and sections.
Opinion A court's written statement explaining its final decision in a case.
Party A person, business, or government agency actively involved in the prosecution or defense of a legal proceeding.
Plaintiff The person who files the complaint in a civil lawsuit.
Pro Se Latin for "for one's self." A person appearing pro se or filing pro se in a court does so without the assistance of a licensed attorney.
Public Record A record kept in the normal course of business by any public office, including, but not limited to the state, a county, city, village, township, or school district.
Record All the documents and evidence plus transcripts of oral proceedings in a case.
Response The reply by a party to charges raised in a pleading by the other party.
Service The delivery of a legal document (such as a complaint, summons, subpoena) notifying the person or organization that a lawsuit has been filed against that person or organization.
Settlement An agreement between the parties disposing of a lawsuit.
Stay An order suspending or postponing all or part of a judicial proceeding or the judgment from that proceeding.
Summons A notice to a defendant that he or she has been sued and is required to appear in court.
Writ of Mandamus A court order that compels someone to perform a legal duty.

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