logo

Abbreviations often used in court
(short forms of a word or phrase)

en español>

A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I   J   K   L   M   N   O   P   Q   R   S   T   U   V   W   X   Y   Z

§ (section): A distinct part or division of a writing, especially a law or code.

401k (Four O One K): Named after a section of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code, a 401(k) is a type of employer-sponsored retirement plan. It allows a worker to save for retirement while deferring income taxes by having a portion of his or her wage paid directly, or "deferred", into a special account that is usually used for investments.

ABA (American Bar Association): A national organization of lawyers and law students that promotes improvements in the delivery of legal services and the administration of justice.

ADR (alternative dispute resolution): Methods of resolving disputes without official court proceedings. These methods include mediation and arbitration.

A.K.A. (also known as): Used to indicate that a person is known by more than one name.

AOC (Administrative Office of the Courts): This is the staff agency of the Judicial Council, which has policy-making authority over the state court system. It serves the courts under the direction of the Chief Justice and the council.

APP (appellate): Having to do with appeals. An appellate court can review a lower court’s (called a "trial court" or "superior court") decision. For example, California Courts of Appeal review the decisions of the superior courts.

AT (attachment): (1) A document attached to court papers to give more information; (2) A way to collect a judgment by getting a court order that says you can take a piece of property.

Bus. & Prof. C. (California Business and Professions Code): The complete set of state laws, rules or regulations that deal with such things as licenses for doctors and nurses, certifications for workers in professions and vocations, regulations for real estate, weights and measures, business rights and regulations.

CalWORKs (California Work Opportunities and Responsibility to Kids): A state program that provides temporary financial assistance and employment-focused services to families with children under the age of 18 who have income and property below state maximum limits for their family size.

CAPI (Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants): A state program that provides monthly cash benefits to aged, blind, and disabled non-citizens (immigrants) who are not eligible for Supplemental Security Income/ State Supplementary Payment programs solely due to their immigrant status.

C.A.S.A. (Court-Appointed Special Advocates): These are trained court-appointed volunteers who advocate on behalf of abused and neglected children involved with dependency court.

CFR (Code of Federal Regulations): The annual collection of executive-agency regulations published in the daily Federal Register, combined with previously issued regulations that are still in effect.

CH (civil harassment): Abuse -- spoken, written or physical -- directed toward someone who is not related to, or in an intimate relationship with, the abuser. It includes stalking, harassing, sexually assaulting, or threatening violence.

CIV. C. (California Civil Code): The complete set of state laws, rules and regulations that relate to non-criminal disputes between people. For example, lawsuits to get property back, to force someone to complete a contract, or to protect someone’s civil rights.

CivProc (California Code of Civil Procedure): The complete set of state laws, rules or regulations that deal with civil lawsuits.

CLETS (California Law Enforcement Telecommunications System): A statewide computer system that lets police know that the court has made an order.

CM (caseflow management): How a court case is managed from the first paper filed with the court to the final decision by a judicial officer.

Comm. C. (California Commercial Code): The complete set of state laws, rules or regulations that deal with the transactions of goods and services, and the transfers of funds.

Corp. C. (California Corporations Code): The complete set of state laws, rules or regulations that deal with corporations, partnerships, and unincorporated associations.

CPS (Child Protection Services): A state agency that provides for services to abused and neglected children and their families. The CPS goal is to keep the child in his/her own home when it is safe, and when the child is at risk, to develop an alternate plan as quickly as possible.

CR (criminal): The laws that describe acts that the government has decided are injurious to the public and, therefore, prosecutable in a criminal court case. Crimes include felonies and misdemeanors.

DA (district attorney): A public official appointed or elected to represent the state in criminal cases in a particular judicial district (state, county or municipality).
DCSS (Department of Child Support Services): A department of the State of California’s Health and Human Services Agency set up to provide child support establishment, collection, and distribution services.

Dept. (Department): A judicial department is a judicial officer (a judge or commissioner) and his or her staff. The staff can include a court clerk, a court reporter, and a court attendant (such as a security guard).

DISC (discovery): The gathering of information (facts, documents, or testimony) before a case goes to trial. Discovery is done in many ways, including through independent research or by talking with the other side’s lawyer.

Disso. (Dissolution): To dissolve; to bring to an end. Often used to describe a divorce - the dissolution of a marriage.

DNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid): The biological material that governs the inheritance of our eye color, hair color, stature, bone density and many other physical traits. Our body's cells contain a complete sample of our DNA, and each of our sets of DNA is completely unique to us (with the exception of identical twins). A child will inherit some DNA material that is unique to his father, and some that is unique to his mother. Therefore, by comparing the DNA code of a man, woman and child, their parental relationship can be established.

D.O.B. (Date of Birth)

DV (domestic violence): Abuse -- spoken, written or physical -- directed toward a spouse or former spouse, cohabitant or former cohabitant, a person with whom the abuser has had a "dating or engagement relationship," or with whom the abuser has had a child. It includes hitting, kicking, hurting, scaring, throwing things, pulling hair, pushing, harassing, sexually assaulting, or threatening to do any of these things.

EA (elder abuse): Abuse – spoken, written or physical – directed toward a person who is 65 years or older. It includes physical or financial abuse, intimidation, molesting, assaulting (sexually or otherwise), hitting, stalking, destroying personal property, keeping under surveillance, blocking movements, or unwanted contact (directly or indirectly) by telephone, mail, e-mail, messenger, or by any other means.

Educ. C. (California Education Code): The complete set of state laws, rules or regulations that deal with education.

eg. (Latin exemplia gratia); For example. The term is used when clarifying a preceding statement by giving an example.

Elect. C. (California Elections Code): The complete set of state laws, rules or regulations that deal with local and state selection by vote, including voter qualifications, nomination of candidates, campaigning, procedures at polls, announcement of ballot results, and other issues related to elections.

EPO (emergency protective order): A victim of domestic violence, child abuse, abduction or elder abuse can ask the police for an emergency protective order. Police officers can get EPOs 24 hours a day. An EPO can last up to 7 days. It can include child custody orders and can order the abusive person to move out. To get a more permanent order, the person seeking protection must ask the court for a temporary restraining order (also called a "TRO").

etc. (Latin et cetera): “And other things.” The term usually indicates additional, unspecified items in a series.

et. seq. (Latin et sequentes): “And those (pages or sections) that follow.” The term is used to show that the page or section referred to is the beginning of a related series of pages or sections.

Evid. C. (California Evidence Code): The complete set of state laws, rules or regulations that deal with testimony, documents or tangible objects used to prove or disprove a fact, and the burden of proof at hearings and trials.

Fam. C. (California Family Code): The complete set of state laws, rules or regulations that deal with family matters like divorce ("dissolution"), legal separation of spouses, annulment of marriage or domestic partnerships, child custody and support, and domestic violence petitions.

FAPE (Free, appropriate public education): Used to describe special education rights.

FCR (Federal Case Registry): A national database that contains state Child Support Enforcement case data, and serves and a pointer system to help locate persons across state lines.

FEIN (federal employer identification number): A 9-digit number assigned to all employers by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). This is used for collecting child support from a parent's paycheck.

FICA (Federal Insurance Contribution Act): The act imposes a tax on employees and employers that is used to fund the Social Security system.

Fin. C. (California Financial Code): The complete set of state laws, rules or regulations that deal with banks, savings associations, credit unions, financial lenders, pawnbrokers, escrow agents, and the like.

F. & G. C. (California Fish and Game Code): The complete set of state laws, rules or regulations that deal with fishing and hunting.

FL (family law): The laws that relate to family matters, like divorce ("dissolution"), legal separation of spouses, annulment of marriage or domestic partnerships, child custody and support, and domestic violence petitions.

Food & Ag. C. (California Food and Agricultural Code): The complete set of state laws, rules or regulations that deal with food and agriculture.

FW (fee waiver): Permission to not pay the court's filing fees. People with very low income can ask for a fee waiver.

GA/GR (General Assistance and/or General Relief): A state program that provides relief and support to adults without resources who are not supported by their own means, other public funds, or assistance programs.

GC (guardianship): In California, guardianship is a court proceeding during which a judge appoints someone to care for a person under age 18 or to manage the minor's estate (property), or both. (In some states, conservatorship of an adult is called guardianship, but not in California.)

Gov’t. C. (California Government Code): The complete set of state laws, rules or regulations that deal with state boundaries, public land, elected officials, state employees, public works and contracts, and other matters related to government.

H. & S. C. (California Health and Safety Code): The complete set of state laws, rules or regulations that deal with a wide range is issues including communicable disease prevention and control, pest abatement, cemeteries, alcohol and drug programs, fires and fire protection, police protection, and housing issues.

Harb. & Nav. C. (California Harbors and Navigation Code): The complete set of state laws, rules or regulations that deal with harbors and navigation.

Ibid (Latin ibiden); “In the same place.” The term is used to refer readers to the reference right before it to identify the source.

i.e. (Latin id est); “That is…” The term is used when clarifying a preceding statement by restating the idea more clearly or expanding upon it.

IHSS (In-Home Supportive Services): A state program that will help pay for services provided to a person so that he or she can remain safely in his or her own home. To be eligible, the person must be over 65 years of age, or disabled, or blind. Disabled children are also eligible for IHSS.

Ins. C. (California Insurance Code): The complete set of state laws, rules or regulations that deal with types of insurance, business requirements for insurance agencies, insurance adjusters, and the insurance commissioner.

IRA (Individual Retirement Account): A personal savings plan that provides income tax advantages to individuals saving money for retirement purposes.

IV-D ("4-D"): Refers to title IV-D of the Social Security Act, which says that each state must create a program to find non-custodial parents, establish paternity, establish and enforce child support obligations, and collect and distribute support payments.

JAG (Judge Advocate General): The senior legal officer and chief legal adviser of the Army, Navy, or Air Force.

JC (Judicial Council): The governing body of the California courts. It provides policy guidelines to the courts, make recommendations to the governor and legislature, and adopts and revises California Rules of Court in the areas of court administration, practice, and procedure.

JUD (judgment): The official decision of a court that resolves the dispute between the parties to a lawsuit.

JV (juvenile): A juvenile court handles delinquency, status offense, and dependency cases involving people younger than the legal age of adulthood, which usually is 18 years but in some cases is 21 years.

Lab. C. (California Labor Code): The complete set of state laws, rules or regulations that deal with the payment, hours, working conditions and related issues of wage earners.

Medi-Cal: California's Medicaid health care program. It pays for a variety of medical services for children and adults with limited income and resources.

Mil. & Vet. C. (California Military and Veterans Code): The complete set of state laws, rules or regulations that deal with the military and veterans.

n.a. (not applicable; not available): Often used on forms to show that the question was read, but that either it does not apply to this case, or that the information asked for is not known to the person filling in the form.

n.b. (Latin nota bene); “Note well.” The phrase is used to emphasize an important point.

OR (own recognizance): When a person is released from custody and not required to pay bail because of his or her promise to come to court to answer a criminal charge. If the defendant does not return to court when promised, he or she can be charged with a misdemeanor

OSC (order to show cause): A court order telling a person to appear in court and present any evidence why the orders requested by the other side should not be granted or executed. A show cause order is usually based on a motion and affidavit asking the judge to make certain decisions.

“P’s and A’s” (points and authorities): "Points and authorities" refers to the written legal argument given to support a motion. It includes references to past cases, statutes (codes), and other statements of law that emphasize the legality of the motion requested.

Pen. C. (California Penal Code): The complete set of state laws, rules or re- gulations that deal with crimes, the apprehension of criminals, criminal procedure in the courts, penalties or punishment for a crime, and the prevention of crimes.

PLD (pleading): Written statement filed with the court that describes a party's legal or factual claims about the case and what the party wants from the court.

POS (proof of service): The form filed with the court that proves that court papers were formally served on (delivered to) a party in a court action on a certain date.

Prob. C. (California Probate Code): The complete set of state laws, rules or regulations that deal with the estates or trusts of someone who has died, the survivors’ rights and responsibilities, conservatorship for adults who are not able to take care of themselves, and guardianship for the child of parents who are not able to take care of him or her.

pro per: A "pro per" is a person who is representing his or her self in court proceedings. It is a short form of "in propria persona," from the Latin for "in one's own proper person." (This is also called pro se.)

pro se: Refers to persons that present their own cases in court without lawyers. It is from the Latin for "on one's own behalf." (This is also called pro per.)

Pub. Con. C. (California Public Contract Code): The complete set of state laws, rules or regulations that deal with competitive bidding statutes as a means of protecting the public from misuse of public funds.

Pub. Res. C. (California Public Resources Code): The complete set of state laws, rules or regulations that deal with conservation and use of the air, land, sea, forests, wildlife, minerals, and other natural resources.

Pub. Util. C. (California Public Utilities Code): The complete set of state laws, rules or regulations that deal with public utilities, such as pipelines, gas and electricity companies, telephone, telegraph, water and sewage.

QDRO (Qualified Domestic Relations Order): An order or judgment issued by a court and approved by a pension plan, which divides a pension plan in order to make a fair division of property or to pay for child or spousal support.

Rev. & Tax. C. (California Revenue and Taxation Code): The complete set of state laws, rules or regulations that deal with government revenue and taxation.

SC (small claims): A small claims case is a civil case for a monetary judgment of $7,500 or less. A small claims court is designed to be simple, quick, and less costly than a regular civil lawsuit. In small claims court there are no lawyers and no juries.

Sec. (section): A distinct part or division of a writing, especially a law or code. Often indicated with the symbol §.

SSI (Supplemental Security Income) Program: A federally funded program which provides income support to people who are aged 65 or older, blind or disabled. SSI benefits are also available to qualified blind or disabled children.

SSN (Social Security Number)

SSP (State Supplementary Payment): A state program which augments SSI. Both SSI and SSP benefits are administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA).

Sts & Hwys C. (California Streets and Highways Code): The complete set of state laws, rules or regulations that deal with state and county highways, street lighting, pedestrian malls, parking, toll bridges, ferries and roads, expenditure of highway funds, assessments, and related issues.

SUBP (subpoena): An official order to go to court at a stated time. Subpoenas are commonly used to tell witnesses to come to court to testify in a trial.

SUM (summons): A notice to a defendant or respondent that an action against him or her was filed in the court issuing the summons. It says that a judgment will be taken against him or her if the defendant or respondent doesn't answer the complaint or petition within a certain time.

TANF (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families): Time-limited public assistance payments made to poor families, based on title IV-A of the Social Security Act. TANF replaced Aid to Families With Dependent Children (AFDC, also called "welfare") in 1996.

TRO (temporary restraining order): A court order that says a person must not do certain things that are likely to cause harm that can't be fixed. It can be granted immediately, without notice to the opposing party and without a hearing, and is intended to last only until a hearing can be held. Often used in domestic violence cases to protect a person from violence or the threat of violence.

UCCJA (Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act): Uniform state laws that deal with the questions of which state should hear the matter when separated parents live in different states and have a dispute about the custody of their children.

UD (unlawful detainer): When a person continues to hold some real property that no longer rightfully belongs to them. "Unlawful detainer" also refers to a case in which a landlord tries to evict a tenant who, according to the landlord, no longer has the right to live on the property.

UIFSA (Uniform Interstate Family Support Act): Uniform state laws that provide mechanisms for establishing and enforcing child support obligations in interstate cases (when a noncustodial parent lives in a different state than his or her child and the custodial parent).

Unemp. Ins. C. (California Unemployment Insurance Code): The complete set of state laws, rules or regulations that deal with unemployment insurance.

USC[A] (United States Code [Annotated]): A multivolume publication of the complete text of the United States Code with historical notes, cross-references, and case notes of federal and state decisions that help to explain the sense or intention of specific Code sections.

Veh. C. (California Vehicle Code): The complete set of state laws, rules or regulations that deal with everything to do with roads and driving, including drivers’ licenses, registration of vehicles, safety regulations, bicycles, financial responsibility, and towing and loading.

Water C. (California Water Code): The complete set of state laws, rules or regulations that deal with the way the water of the State, both surface and underground, should be used for the greatest public benefit.

Welf. & Inst. C. (California Welfare and Institutions Code): The complete set of state laws, rules or regulations that deal with protective services for handicapped or deprived persons subject to social or legal disability, and to children and others subject to exploitation jeopardizing their present or future health, opportunity for normal development or capacity for independence.

WG (wage garnishment): A legal procedure that requires the employer of a judgment debtor to withhold a portion of the judgment debtor's wages to satisfy a judgment.