Bailiff: A court attendant whose duties are to keep order in the courtroom, to carry out court instructions, to take care of your requests, and to see that you are comfortable and well informed.

Challenge for Cause: A challenge for cause is an objection made by a party to a juror that automatically disqualifies the juror from serving as a juror in that case, or which in the opinion of the court renders the juror unfit to sit on the jury. Upon such challenge the examination is not confined to the answers of the juror, but other evidence may be heard for or against the challenge.

Charge of the Court: The questions that the jury must decide involving the case.

Clerk of Court: Court official who keeps track of court files, records, and exhibits.

Court Reporter: A person who by shorthand or stenograph takes down testimony during court proceedings.

Counsel: One or more lawyers who represent a client.

Defendant: In a civil case, the person being sued. In a criminal case, the person charged with having committed a crime.

Deliberations: The process by which a jury reaches a verdict, as by analyzing, discussing, and weighing the evidence.

Exhibit: A document, record, or other tangible object formally introduced as evidence in court.

Foreperson: The juror who chairs the jury during deliberations and speaks for the jury in court by announcing the verdict. The presiding juror is usually elected by the jury at the start of deliberations.

Jury Pool:
A panel of presumably qualified persons who have been summoned for jury duty and from among whom the jurors are to be chosen.

Jury Summons: A command sent out by the court, requiring a prospective jury to appear for jury duty.

Litigant: A party to a lawsuit.

Objection: The act of a party during a trial to call the court’s attention to some matter or proceeding that may be improper.

Peremptory Challenge: A peremptory challenge is an objection made to a prospective juror without giving a specific reason for the objection. A specified number of peremptory challenges are automatically accepted by the court and are an important part of the process of obtaining a fair and impartial jury.

Plaintiff: A person who brings a court action; the party who complains or sues in a personal action.

Poll: To ask how each member of a group individually voted. Typically, the court clerk will call the names of each individual juror to record his or her vote for the record.

Evidence given by a witness, under oath.

A jury’s finding or decision on the factual issues of a case.

Voir Dire: To speak the truth. The phrase denotes the preliminary examination the court or lawyers may make of a prospective witness or juror to determine the qualifications of the witness or juror.