What is POFP?

Why do lawyers refer to long documents as briefs and
18-year olds as infants? Why do they use so much Latin when so few of their
clients are Ancient Romans? Is it a conspiracy?

Party of the First Part has the answers! Check out the Website for the
Legalese Hall of Shame; a glossary of legal words linked to Adam Freedman's
columns; tips on writing legal documents in plain English; and more!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Word of the Week


The forfeiture of property to the State when no other person has a rightful claim to the property. English lawyers took the word from the Old French eschete, which meant "inheritance" (because if the landowner had no rightful heirs, then the Crown would "inherit" the land). Over time, escheat became an English word, cheat, which degenerated into a general term of abuse. So the law stuck to the traditional French spelling, while cheat has become a legal word in its own right, as a synonym for fraud (see Black's Law Dictionary).