Glossary of Terms

Answer - a written statement of the defendant’s case wherein the plaintiff’s claims are admitted or denied.

Appearance - the formal proceeding or document by which a defendant submits to the jurisdiction of the court.

Circuit Clerk - this elected official is responsible for maintaining the court records, issuing summons and subpoenas, collecting fines, and carrying out other business activities which support the Circuit Court.

Complaint - initial document filed by the plaintiff in a civil case stating the claims against the defendant.

Counterclaim - claim presented by a defendant against the plaintiff following the claim of the plaintiff.

Defendant - in a civil case it is the person(s) or corporation from which the plaintiff wants to collect damages.

Evidence - any form of proof presented by a party for the purpose of supporting its arguments before the court.

Hearsay - evidence based on what a witness has heard someone else say rather than what the witness has personally experienced.

Inadmissible - that which, under the established rules of evidence, cannot be admitted or received in court.

Plaintiff - in a civil case the person(s) or corporation asserting a claim for damages allegedly sustained as a result of the conduct of the defendant.

Pro Se - (short form of "in propria persona," which is Latin for "in one’s own proper person.") To act as one’s own attorney in a civil or criminal matter.

Subpoena - a document issued by the court to compel a witness to appear and give testimony or to procure documentary evidence in a proceeding.

- the sworn evidence presented by witnesses.