Glossary

P

Parole

A person is on parole when she is released from prison before the end of her sentence. After release, she is under supervision. She must also respect some rules if she wants to finish serving her sentence outside of prison.

Partisan

Support for or opposition to a political party or candidate for public office. Registered charities are not allowed to take part in partisan political activities.

Party, parties

A person involved in a court case.

Perjury

When someone voluntarily says something that is not true, even though she had taken an oath to promise to tell the truth in court.

Plaintiff

A person who asks a court to recognize a right.

Plea

When a person is accused of breaking the law, the plea is when she tells the court whether she is “guilty” or “not guilty”.

Pleadings

Legal documents filed in court that explain the position of a person involved in the case.

Plumitif

A court record kept about all the stages of a court case. Information in the plumitif includes the names of the parties, the court case number, the date of each hearing, a list of legal documents put into the court file and decisions of the judge.

The plumitif is sometimes called a "minute book".

Postponement

Changing the date of a court hearing to a later date. A postponement can be requested, for example, if an important witness fails to appear in court on the day of the hearing.

Pre-sentence report

A report prepared at the request of a judge. The report describes the personal and social circumstances of a person found guilty of breaking the law. The judge considers this report when deciding what kind of sentence (penalty) to give.

Preponderance of evidence

This refers to the standard of proof that must be met in a civil court case.

A standard of proof is the obligation to prove that your version of events is the truth.

The balance of probabilities standard is met when the judge is convinced that a particular version of events is more likely to be true than not true. It is something like a 50%-plus-1 test.

This standard is also called the “preponderance of proof” or the “preponderance of evidence”.

Prescription

Gaining or losing a legal right because of the passage of time.

Prescription is “acquisitive” when someone gains a right. It is “extinctive” when a right is lost.

President of the Bar

A lawyer who is the head of the Bar, which is an organization that oversees the law profession in Quebec.

The President is elected by other lawyers every year. The President supervises the affairs of the Bar and prevents conflicts between members of the Bar.

Presumption

A kind of reasoning that creates a connection between facts that are known and facts that are not known. Based on the known facts, a conclusion can be drawn that an unknown fact is true.

A presumption can be established automatically by the law or by a court. For example, there is an automatic presumption in law that people who buy property together own equal parts of that property.

A “rebuttable” presumption is one that can be shown to be wrong through evidence. An “irrebutable” presumption can never be shown to be wrong through evidence.

Private benevolence

An organization created to benefit a particular individual or a private group – also called private benevolence – cannot become a registered charity. To qualify for registration, a charity must show it provides a real benefit to the public or a significant portion of the public.

Private foundation

When it registers a charity, the Canada Revenue Agency assigns the charity to 1 of 3 categories: charitable organization, public foundation or private foundation.

The choice of category depends on whether the charity focuses on carrying out its own activities or funding other organizations, the structure of its board of directors and its sources of funding.

Private foundations can either carry on their own activities or fund other organizations called qualified donees, or do both.

Registered charities must follow slightly different legal rules depending on which category they fall into.

Probation

A sentence (penalty) imposed on someone found guilty of a crime. This sentence puts certain limits on the person’s freedom. For example, the person might be prohibited from disturbing the peace or contacting someone.

Probation officer

Probation officers prepare “pre-sentence” reports at the request of the courts. Pre-sentence reports are read by judges before giving out sentences to people found guilty of crimes. The reports evaluate how well the guilty person can readjust to life after committing a crime.

Probation officers also accompany people as they try to reintegrate into society, and, if necessary, refer them to people in the community who can help them.

Probation with monitoring

This is when a person found guilty of a crime must regularly report to a probation officer or someone else named by the court.

Produce

To file a document into the court record or present it in the courtroom.

Profit

The amount by which revenues are greater than expenses.

Proof

The different ways to establish that a fact is true or a legal document exists. Examples of proof include statements of witnesses who saw or heard something, or an admission by a person that a fact is true.

Proof is also called "evidence".

Public benefit

To be eligible for registration, a charity must show it provides a real benefit to the public or a significant portion of the public.

Public foundation

When it registers a charity, Canada Revenue Agency assigns the charity to 1 of 3 categories: charitable organization, public foundation or private foundation. The choice of category depends on whether the charity focuses on carrying out its own activities or giving money to other organizations, the structure of its board of directors and its sources of funding.

Public foundations use at least half their resources to fund other organizations called qualified donees.

Registered charities must follow slightly different legal rules depending on which category they fall into.

Public official

A person employed by government who is responsible for laws, policies or decisions.

Purposes

The mission of an organization. In other words, what it hopes to accomplish. Purposes are different from “activities”, which are the programs and projects a charity uses to accomplish its purposes. Purposes are also called “objects”.

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