Legalese From A to Z: 5 Legal Terms Beginning With 'X,' 'Y,' 'Z'
As the specialized language used by those in the legal profession, legalese includes a number of complicated, curious, and occasionally confounding legal terms and phrases.
Over the last six months, our series examining this specialized language, Legalese from A to Z, has made it nearly all the way through the alphabet, one letter at a time. In this final installment, we take a look at some interesting bits of legalese from each of the last three letters of the alphabet, "X," "Y," and "Z":
- X. Although less common than in past eras, those who are unable to read or write may still use an "X" in place of a signature. Known as a "making a mark," an "X" or other symbol may be used to sign contracts, wills, or other legal documents.
- Year-and-a-day rule. The year-and-a-day rule is a common law rule relieving a person of responsibility for the killing of another person if the victim lives for more than one year and one day after being injured. Most jurisdictions in the United States have abolished this rule, although similar rules may still apply. In California, for example, if person dies more than three years and a day after an event, there is a rebuttable presumption that the killing was not criminal.
- Yellow dog contract. An employment contract in which a worker is obligated to disavow membership in or agree not to join a labor union in order to get a job is known as a yellow dog contract. These contracts are unenforceable under federal law.
- Zone of danger. In injury law, the zone of danger is the area within which a person is in actual physical danger from another person's negligent conduct. The zone of danger may be a factor in determining whether an injured person will be able to recover from a defendant. For example, in some jurisdictions a claim for negligent infliction of emotional distress brought by someone who witnessed another person's injury may require that the plaintiff was also in the zone of danger.
- Zoning. Cities and counties regulate the use of land through zoning laws. Zoning regulations typically divide land into residential, commercial, and industrial districts, with additional restrictions within each type of district.
If you need help with defining a legal word or phrase, check out FindLaw's Legal Dictionary for free access to more than 8,000 definitions of legal terms.
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