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Ransom
Money paid to have a kidnapped person released.
Rape
Sex with a woman, other than a wife, without her consent. But many states have changed this basic definition to include sex with a minor (with or without consent; also known as statutory rape), sex with a man without his consent, or exempting men who force their wives to have sex.
Real property
Immoveable property such as land or a building or an object that, though at one time a chattel, has become permanently affixed to land or a building.
Rebuttable presumption
Usually, every element of a case must be proven to a judge or a jury. The exception is a "presumption", which means that if certain other facts are proven, then another fact can be taken for granted by the judge (or jury). For example, in some states, an adult caught having intercourse with a minor is presumed as having known that the minor was under-age. Most presumptions are "rebuttable", which means that the person against whom the presumption applies may present evidence to the contrary, which then has the effect of nullifying the presumption. This then deprives the person that tried to use the presumption with the advantage of the "free" evidence and makes him present evidence to support the fact which might have been proven by the presumption.
Redemption
Buying back. When a vendor later buys the property back. A right of redemption gives the vendor the right to buy back the property. In some jurisdictions where a mortgage transfers title to the lender until the mortgage is paid off, the "buying back" of the property is known as redemption.
Relator
An informer; a person who has supplied the facts required for a criminal prosecution or a civil suit. In criminal prosecutions in some states, this would be indicated by the use of the expression ex. rel. as in The State of California ex. rel. Robert Smith v. George Doe.
Remainder
A right to future enjoyment or ownership of real property. The "left-over" after property has been conveyed first to another party. A remainder interest is what if left-over after a life estate has run its course. Contrary to a reversion, a remainder does not go to the grantor or his (or her) heirs.
REMO
Abbreviation for "reciprocal enforcement of maintenance orders" and the name of the international system of recognition, registration and enforcement of child and spousal support orders between countries which have agreed, between themselves, to enforce each other's maintenance orders. Originally created by England, the international REMO system now spreads over many countries. In the USA, the system is known as UIFSA or URESA.
Rent
This is the consideration paid by a tenant to a landlord in exchange for the exclusive use and enjoyment of land, a building or a part of a building. Under normal circumstances, the rent is paid in money and at regular intervals, such as the first of every month. The word has also come to be used as a verb as in to "rent an apartment", although the proper legal term would be to "lease an apartment."
Replevin
A legal action taken to reclaim goods which have been distrained.
Rescind
To abrogate or cancel a contract putting the parties in the same position they would have been in had there been no contract. Rescission can occur in one of two ways: either a contract can be set aside (rescinded) because of some defect in its formation (such as misrepresentation, duress or undue influence) or it can be set aside by agreement by the parties, for example if they reach a new agreement.
Res gestae
Latin for "things done." A peculiar rule, used mostly in criminal cases, which allows hearsay if the statement is made during the excitement of the litigated event. For example, the words "stick 'em up!" used during an armed robbery would be admissible in evidence under the res gestae rule. So, too, would spontaneous statements made by the defendant during or right after the crime. Some laws even allow res gestae statements to be introduced in evidence in special kinds of prosecutions. For example, in child sexual abuse cases, the statement made by a child to another person may be allowed as evidence even though, technically, it offends the rule against hearsay. This is to recognize the trauma of having a child testify in open court on the subject of her or his abuse. Res gestae evidence usually requires a voir dire hearing before it is admissible unless the defense allows it to be put on the trial record unchallenged.
Res ipsa loquitur
A word used in tort to refer to situations where negligence is presumed on the defendant since the object causing injury was in his or her control. This is a presumption which can be rebutted by showing that the event was an inevitable accident and had nothing to do with the defendant's responsibility of control or supervision. An example of res ipsa loquitur would be getting hit by a rock which flies off a passing dump truck. The event itself imputes negligence (res ipsa loquitur) and can only be defeated if the defendant can show that the event was a total and inevitable accident.
Res judicata
Latin: A matter which has already been conclusively decided by a court.
Respondent
The party that "responds to" a claim filed in court against them by a plaintiff. The more common term is defendant. The word is also used to refer to the party who wins at the first court level but who must then respond to an appeal launched by the party that lost the case at the first court level (upon appeal, this latter person is called the appellant).
Restitutio in integrum
Latin for restitution to the original position. In contract law, upon breach of contract, the injured party may ask the court to reverse the contract and revert the parties to their respective positions before the contract was accepted. But if the court finds that restitutio in integrum is not possible because of actions or events occurring since the date of acceptance, then the court may order that damages be paid instead.
Restitution
Under ancient English common law, when a party enforced a court judgment and then that judgment was overturned on appeal, the appellant could ask the appeal court for "restitution", or financial compensation placing that appellant in the same position as if the original legal decision had not been enforced. A new strain of common law has also developed called "restitution", closely associated with unjust enrichment, whereby a person is deprived of something of value belonging to them, can ask a court to order "restitution". The best example is asking a court to reverse or correct a payment made in error.
Resulting trust
A trust that is presumed by the court from certain situations. Similar to a constructive trust but for resulting trusts, the court presumes an intention to create a trust; the law assumes that the property is not held by the right person and that the possessor is only holding the property "in trust" for the rightful owner. In constructive trusts, the courts don't even bother with presuming an intention; they simply impose a trust from the facts.
Retainer
A contract between a lawyer and his (or her) client, wherein the lawyer agrees to represent and provide legal advice to the client, in exchange for money. The signed retainer begins the client-lawyer relationship from which flow many responsibilities and duties, primarily on the lawyer, including to provide accurate legal advice, to monitor limitation dates and to not allow any conflict of interest with the relationship with the client.
Reversion
A future interest left in a transferor or his (or her) heirs. A reservation in a real property conveyance that the property reverts back to the original owner upon the occurrence of a certain event. For example, Jim gives Bob a building using the words "to Bob for life". Upon the death of Bob, the property reverts back to Jim or to Jim's heirs. Differs from a remainder in that a remainder takes effect by an act of the parties involved. A reversion takes effect by operation of the law. Nor is a reversion a "left-over" as is a remainder. Rather, it reverts the entire property.
Right of first refusal
A right given to a person to be the first person allowed to purchase a certain object if it is ever offered for sale. The owner of this right is the first to be offered the designated object if it is ever to be offered for sale.
Riparian rights
Special rights of people who own land that runs into a river bank (a "riparian owner" is a person who owns land that runs into a river). While not an ownership right, riparian rights include the right of access to, and use of the water for domestic purposes (bathing, cleaning and navigating). The extent of these rights varies from country to country and may include the right to build a wharf outwards to a navigable depth or to take emergency measures to prevent flooding.
Rule against perpetuities
A common law rule that prevents suspending the transfer of property for more then 21 years or a lifetime plus 21 years. For example, if a will proposes the transfer of an estate to some future date, which is uncertain, for either more than 21 years after the death of the testator or for the life of a person identified in the will and 21 years, the transfer is void. Statute law exists in many jurisdictions which supersedes the common law rule. For more information, see the WWLIA article on the "Rule Against Perpetuities."

 

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Last modified: 01/31/03