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FindLaw Legal Dictionary

The FindLaw Legal Dictionary -- free access to over 8260 definitions of legal terms. Search for a definition or browse our legal glossaries.


Uniform Commercial Code see also the Important Laws section
U.S. Constitution
the document written by the founders of this country, which establishes the basic structure and functions of the federal government, grants certain specified rights, often called constitutional ...
U.S. Trustee
An officer of the Justice Department responsible for supervising the administration of bankruptcy cases, estates, and trustees; monitoring plans and disclosure statements; monitoring creditors' ...
United States Code see also the Important Laws section
Uberrima Fides
[Latin, most abundant good faith] : utmost or perfect good faith [acted in uberrima fides] NOTE: The terms uberrima fides and uberrimae fidei, although grammatically distinct in Latin, are often used ...
Uberrimae Fidei
[Latin, of the most abundant good faith] : of the utmost or perfect good faith [contracts of insurance are traditionally contracts uberrimae fidei]
Uniform Consumer Credit Code see also the Important Laws section
Uniform Code of Military Justice see also the Important Laws section
Uniform Fraudulent Conveyance Act see also the Important Laws section
Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act see also the Important Laws section
Shorthand for "underinsured motorist," or those fellow motorists whose automobile insurance maximum is insufficient to cover a specific loss. UIM pays you, or those people covered under your policy, ...
Ultimate Fact
see fact
Ultra Vires
[Latin, beyond the power or means (of)] : beyond the scope or in excess of legal power or authority (as of a corporation) [the agency acted ultra vires] [the agreement was ultra vires] compare intra ...
: being of such extreme danger or risk of harm that strict liability will be imposed
Ultrahazardous Activity
: an uncommon activity involving a risk of injury that cannot be eliminated by the exercise of the utmost care see also abnormally dangerous activity
Shorthand for "uninsured motorist," or those motorists who do not have any automobile insurance. UM coverage protects insureds, up to the limit of their policies, against bodily injury losses caused ...
: being or relating to a supplemental insurance policy that extends the coverage of an underlying policy on the same risk [an policy] [ liability insurance]
: a person having authority to decide finally a controversy or question between parties: as a : one appointed to decide between disagreeing arbitrators b : an impartial third party chosen to ...
1 : not [uncounseled] 2 : contrary to [unconstitutional]
: not alienable : inalienable
Unavoidable Accident
: an accident that is not proximately caused by the negligence of any party or that is unforeseeable or not preventable by exercise of reasonable precautions and for which liability based on fault is ...
Unavoidable Casualty
: unavoidable accident ;also : an unavoidable circumstance that prevents the timely performance of a procedural act (as the filing of an answer) by a party or the party's lawyer compare excusable ...
Unclean Hands
: an equitable doctrine: a complainant will be denied relief if he or she has engaged in misconduct (as acting in bad faith) directly relating to the complaint ;also : the condition of having ...
: not conditional or limited : absolute unqualified un·con·di·tion·al·ly adv
1 : the state or condition of being unconscionable [the issue of is to be decided by the court "J. D. Calamari and J. M. Perillo"] see also procedural unconscionability, substantive unconscionability ...
: unreasonably unfair to one party, marked by oppression, or otherwise unacceptably offensive to public policy [an clause] [finds the contract…to have been at the time it was made "Uniform ...
: contrary to or failing to comply with a constitution ;esp : violative of a person's rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution [an search and seizure] ...
Unconstitutional Conditions Doctrine
: a doctrine in constitutional law that bars a government from imposing a condition on the grant of a benefit requiring the waiver of a constitutional right
: not provided with counsel : not receiving the advice of counsel [an defendant]
: having too little capital for efficient operation [ companies]
: not sufficiently inclusive : excluding something that should be included ;specif : not affecting others similarly situated with respect to the purpose of the law and esp. in violation of equal ...
1 : insufficient insurance 2 : insurance coverage protecting usually against uninsured or underinsured motorists by compensating the insured if the tortfeasor's liability policy limits fall short of ...
: not sufficiently insured : having insufficient insurance to cover losses or damages [an motorist]
: an insurer providing underinsurance coverage
Undersecured Claim
A debt secured by property that is worth less than the full amount of the debt.
pl: undersigned : one whose name is signed at the end of a document [the jointly and severally agree]
1 : a promise or pledge esp. required by law 2 : something (as cash or a written promise) deposited or given as security esp. in a court NOTE: Undertakings are often required of one party during ...
: a tenant (as a sublessee) who takes some part of the tenancy of another tenant (as a lessee) used esp. in New York
-wrote [-rōt, -rōt] -writ·ten [-rit-n, -rit-n] -writ·ing 1 a : to assume liability for (a risk) as an insurer [the insurer s individuals, not the group, in franchise health ...
1 a : a person (as an individual or a company) who underwrites an insurance policy : insurer b : a person who assesses risks to be covered by an insurance policy 2 : a person (as an individual or ...
the process of analyzing a loan application to determine the amount of risk involved in making the loan; it includes a review of the potential borrower's credit history and a judgment of the property ...
: shared with others having an interest in the whole : held jointly, in common, or in indivision with other co-owners [each such tenant in common holds an equal share in the title "O. L. Browder et ...
Undivided Profits
: earnings of a business that have been retained instead of being distributed to stockholders or owners or designated as surplus compare surplus
1 : not due : not yet payable [an bill] 2 : exceeding or violating propriety or fitness [would impose hardship on the debtors] [such a requirement would place an burden on employers]
Undue Influence
: improper influence that deprives a person of freedom of choice or substitutes another's choice or desire for the person's own compare coercion, duress, necessity NOTE: It is a doctrine of equity ...
: in an undue manner : to an excessive degree [ influenced the testator]
Unearned Income
: income (as interest and dividends) that is not gained by labor, service, or skill compare earned income
: not emancipated ;specif : still under parental authority [an minor]
Unemployment Compensation
: compensation paid at regular intervals (as by a state agency) to an unemployed worker and esp. one who has been laid off called also unemployment benefit NOTE: Unemployment compensation is usually ...
Unemployment Insurance
: a social insurance program that provides unemployment compensation for a limited period to involuntarily unemployed workers
: not enforceable in a court un·en·force·abil·i·ty [-fȯr-sə-bi-lə-tē] n
Unfair Competition
: the common-law tort of passing off one's goods as another's ;broadly : any of various torts (as disparagement) that interfere with the business prospects of a competitor or injure consumers
Unfair Labor Practice
: any of various acts by an employer or labor organization that violate a right or protection under applicable labor laws NOTE: The unfair labor practices that are specified in the National Labor ...
Unfair Labor Practices
Any act by a union or employer in violation of the National Labor Relations Act. For example, an employer's act that interferes with workers' attempts to organize or bargain collectively.
Unfair Trade Practice
: any of various deceptive, fraudulent, or otherwise injurious (as to a consumer) practices or acts that are declared unlawful by statute (as a consumer protection act) or recognized as actionable at ...
: not capable of being reasonably anticipated or expected : such that a person of ordinary prudence would not expect to occur or exist under the circumstances [an misuse] [an injury] ...
Unified Bar
: integrated bar
Unified Credit
: a tax credit applied against the unified transfer tax that is a cumulative credit gradually reduced by the amount of credit allowed for gifts made in preceding calendar periods NOTE: The total ...
Unified Transfer Tax
: a tax imposed under the Internal Revenue Code on the cumulative total of gifts made over a certain amount by a person during his or her lifetime or after death called also unified estate and gift ...
: of, relating to, or based on a uniform act
Uniform Act
: an act (as the Uniform Commercial Code) sponsored by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws that is intended to be enacted by each individual state with or without changes
Uniform Code Of Military Justice
The body of law that governs military persons in their conduct as military personnel.
Uniform Commercial Code
A uniform law, adopted by some states, designed to simplify and modernize the consumer credit and usury laws, to further consumer understanding of the terms of credit transactions and to protect ...
1 : done or undertaken by one party [a mistake as to the terms] 2 : of, relating to, or affecting one side of a subject 3 : containing a promise to perform made by only one party esp. because the ...
Unilateral Contract
see contract
Unilateral Mistake
see mistake
1 : an act or instance of uniting or joining two or more things into one ;esp : the formation of a single political unit from two or more separate and individual units 2 : something that is made ...
Union Mortgage Clause
: standard mortgage clause
Union Shop
: a unionized business in which the employer by agreement is free to hire nonmembers as well as members of the union but union membership within a specified time (as 30 days) is a condition of ...
-ized -iz·ing vt : to organize into a labor union [to prevent them from unionizing the employees] ;also : to establish a labor union in [a unionized shop] vi : to form or join a labor union ...
Unit Deed
see deed
Unit Trust
see trust
1 : having the character of a single thing that is a constituent of a whole ;specif : of, relating to, or being a business with subsidiaries in other states or nations that has its state income tax ...
United Nations
An organization started by the Allied powers in World War II for the stated purposes of preventing war, providing justice, and promoting welfare and human rights of peoples all over the world.
United States Attorney
: an attorney in the Department of Justice who is appointed either by the president or the attorney general of the United States and acts as the prosecutor in federal criminal cases and as counsel ...
United States Claims Court
: a former court succeeded by the United States Court of Federal Claims
United States Court Of Appeals For The Armed Forces
:the highest military court presided over by civilian judges and reviewing decisions of lower military courts on criminal matters NOTE: This court was formerly called the United States Court of ...
United States Court Of Federal Claims
: a federal court having nationwide trial jurisdiction over claims against the United States see also federal circuit NOTE: The claims over which this court has jurisdiction include those based on ...
United States Court Of International Trade
: a federal court having nationwide exclusive jurisdiction over a variety of cases involving international trade and customs duties including those initiated against the United States see also ...
United States Court Of Military Appeals
: united states court of appeals for the armed forces
United States Court Of Veterans Appeals
: a federal court having exclusive jurisdiction to review decisions of the Board of Veterans' Appeals see also federal circuit
United States Trustee
: a person appointed and supervised by the Attorney General who has various administrative responsibilities in bankruptcy cases in the region encompassing one or more federal judicial districts to ...
pl: -ties 1 : the quality or state of not being multiple : the quality or state of being one, single, whole, or the same [only if there is of ownership of the immovable and movables] 2 : an aspect ...
1 in the civil law of Louisiana a : encompassing or burdening all of one's property esp. causa mortis [granted him a usufruct] see also universal legacy at legacy compare universal title at title b ...
Universal Agency
see agency
Universal Agent
see agent
Universal Legacy
see legacy
Universal Life Insurance
see life insurance
Universal Successor
in the civil law of Louisiana : a successor (as an heir, universal legatee, or legatee under universal title) who succeeds to the rights and obligations of the ancestor in title, continues possession ...
Universal Title
see title
: not becoming or suitable to a judge [ conduct]
: characterized by injustice : deficient in justice and fairness [an sentence] un·just·ly adv un·just·ness n
Unjust Enrichment
1 : the retaining of a benefit (as money) conferred by another when principles of equity and justice call for restitution to the other party ;also : the retaining of property acquired esp. by fraud ...
: not justifiable un·jus·ti·fi·ably adv
: not justified [an intrusion]
1 : not lawful : not authorized or justified by law 2 : acting contrary to or in defiance of the law [an possessor] un·law·ful·ly adv un·law·ful·ness n
Unlawful Arrest
see arrest
Unlawful Assembly
: the offense of assembling with a certain minimum number of others for the purpose of engaging in a riot or other unlawful conduct that threatens public safety, peace, or order ;also : a group so ...
Unlawful Detainer
1 : the act of wrongfully remaining in possession of property (as after expiration of a lease) 2 : an action intended to remedy unlawful detainer by restoring possession of property to its owner ...
Unlawful Force
see force
: not liquidated ;esp : not calculated or established as a specific amount [an claim]
Unliquidated Claim
A claim for which a specific value has not been determined.
: not marketable ;esp : being or relating to title that a reasonably prudent person would not accept in the ordinary course of business or that is reasonably likely to be the subject of litigation
Unnatural Act
: crime against nature
Unnecessary Hardship
: a deprivation of an owner's right to the beneficial use of property that is caused when a zoning ordinance makes it impossible to receive a reasonable return from the property NOTE: Unnecessary ...
: not patentable
: not perfected [an security interest]
: not premeditated
: not privileged [ communication]
: not prosecuted [an charge]
: not provable
: unproven
: not proven [an allegation]
: not qualified
: not yet realized [ appreciation]
: not reasonable : beyond what can be accepted: as a : clearly inappropriate, excessive, or harmful in degree or kind [an delay] [an restraint of trade] b : lacking justification in fact or ...
Unreasonably Dangerous
: characterized by a hazard due to design, defect, or a failure to warn that would not be contemplated by an ordinary user of the product and that is not outweighed by utility [impose strict ...
: not rebuttable [an presumption]
: not recorded ;esp : not set down in the appropriate public record [had priority over an security interest in the property]
: not registered [charged with operating an motor vehicle] see also unregistered security at security
Unregistered Security
see security
: not reviewable [the failure to raise distinctly at trial the matter being objected to ordinarily renders a claim on appeal "State v. Person, 577 A.2d 1036 (1990)"]
Unscheduled Debt
A debt that should have been listed by the debtor in the schedules filed with the court but was not. (Depending on the circumstances, an unscheduled debt may or may not be discharged.)
: not secured: as a : not guaranteed or protected as to payment, performance, or satisfaction by a security interest or by property given or pledged as security [ debt] [an claim] b : characterized ...
Unsecured Claim
A claim or debt for which a creditor holds no special assurance of payment, such as a mortgage or lien; a debt for which credit was extended based solely upon the creditor's assessment of the debtor's ...
Unsecured Creditor
see creditor
Unsecured Loan
A loan made with no collateral posted to ensure repayment
: not sound: as a : not healthy or whole b : not mentally normal : not wholly sane [of mind] c : not firmly made, placed, or fixed d : not valid or true [an argument] un·sound·ly ...
: not sworn [could only provide an statement]
: not timely ;esp : not made or filed within a period of time specified by procedural rule [an petition] un·time·li·ness n untimely adv
: not meritorious ;specif in the civil law of Louisiana : being or relating to an heir who is deprived of the right to inherit from a person because of a failure in a duty towards the person ...
Unwritten Law
: law based chiefly on custom rather than legislative enactments
Up Front Charges
the fees charged to homeowners by the lender at the time of closing a mortgage loan. This includes points, broker's fees, insurance, and other charges.
Uniform Partnership Act see also the Important Laws section
Uniform Probate Code see also the Important Laws section
Upgrade A Petition
If you naturalize (become an American citizen) you may ask the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to change the petitions you filed for family members when you were a lawful permanent resident ...
-held -hold·ing : to judge valid : let stand [ an award] ;specif : to hold constitutional [ the practice of having religious invocations and benedictions at high school graduation ceremonies ...
: an habitual or uniform practice esp. in an area or trade compare custom
Usage Of Trade
:a practice or method of dealing that is regularly observed in a place, vocation, or trade and that one justifiably expects to be followed by another party to a commercial transaction compare course ...
Acronym for Universal Serial Bus. USB is known as a plug and play interface between a computer and a peripheral, such as a mouse, keyboard, digital camera, printer or scanner. Unlike devices connected ...
1 a : an arrangement in which property is granted to another with the trust and confidence that the grantor or another is entitled to the beneficial enjoyment of it see also trust Statute of Uses in ...
Use And Occupation
: an action in which the owner of property seeks compensation for use and occupation of the premises by another (as a tenant remaining in possession after expiration of a lease)
Use Immunity
see immunity
Use In Commerce
For the purpose of obtaining federal trademark registration, "commerce" means all commerce that the U.S. Congress may lawfully regulate; for example, interstate commerce or commerce between the U.S. ...
Use Tax
: a tax imposed on the use of personal property and esp. property purchased in another state ;specif : a one-time tax imposed on the exercise or enjoyment of any right or power over tangible ...
Use Value
: value of property based on its use rather than on the market [use value of agricultural land]
Use-Based Application
There are four filing bases on which a trademark application may be based. One filing basis is use of the mark in commerce (the other three are filing based on an intent-to-use the mark in commerce, ...
Useful Life
: an estimated amount of time during which an asset or facility will yield income or be useful see also depreciation
Useless Gesture Exception
: an exception to the knock and announce rule that excuses police from having to announce their purpose before entering a premises in execution of a warrant if facts known to the officers justify ...
[Latin ususfructus from usus et fructus, literally, use and enjoyment] : the right to the use and enjoyment of another's property and its profits [a in the crops of the estate] ;esp in the civil law ...
pl: -ar·ies : one who has a usufruct in property [the right of usufruct expires upon the death of the "Louisiana Civil Code"] compare naked owner at owner
: one that engages in usury
1 : practicing usury 2 : involving usury [ interest] usu·ri·ous·ly adv usu·ri·ous·ness n
[Latin usurpare to take possession of without a strict legal claim, from usus use + rapere to seize] vt : to seize and hold (as office, place, or powers) in possession by force or without right [the ...
[Medieval Latin usuria interest, lending at exorbitant interest, alteration of Latin usura use, interest (i.e., sum paid for use of money), from usus use] 1 : the lending of money at exorbitant ...
Uti Possidetis
[Late Latin, as you (now) possess (it); from the wording of an interdict in Roman law enjoining both parties in a suit to maintain the status quo until the decision] : a principle in international ...
pl: -ties 1 : fitness for some purpose or worth to some end 2 a : public utility b : a service or commodity provided by a public utility [paid for rent and utilities] ;also : equipment or ...
Uniform Transfer to Minors Act see also the Important Laws section
: to put (as a counterfeit note) into circulation as if genuine [convicted of ing a forged check] ut·ter·er n
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