This is when a person accused of a crime is released before a trial under a set of specified conditions designed to ensure the inpidual returns to court on the date and time set by the judge. ‘Bail’ can also refer to a sum of money the defendant must pay as a condition of their release.

After spending the night in jail, he was released on bail.

Synonyms: surety, security, assurance, indemnity, indemnification

Bench Trial

bench tri·al



When a trial takes place without a jury because the judge acts as the fact-finder.

The case was not deemed serious enough for a jury, so there was a bench trial.

Synonyms: trial by judge





Refers to a written statement which is offered during a trial; it explains the legal and factual arguments of one side of the case.

The lawyer worked on the brief for the case for hours, making sure he had all the facts.

Synonyms:compendium, conspectus, depiction, extract, legal abstract, memorandum of law, outline, statement of the case, summary, summary on the law, synopsis

Burden of Proof

bur·den of proof

/ˈbərdn/ əv/ pro͞of/


This relates to one side’s duty to prove the facts being disputed. During a criminal trial it is up to the prosecution to prove the defendant’s guilt. During a civil case it is up to the plaintiff to prove his/her case.

The burden of proof that has to be established in a criminal case is quite different than what was before this commission.

Synonyms: onus probandi, responsibility

* These terms are general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Different states may define terms differently. These terms are not designed to be legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Always seek advice from an attorney licensed in your state who is familiar with how your jurisdiction defines key legal terms that are important in your particular matter.


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