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Legal Terms that Start with "I"

A thing is immaterial if it cannot affect the outcome of a case. If a fact offered as evidence is immaterial, the court should sustain an objection to its introduction and strike same from the record. An example of an immaterial fact in a case involving a contract dispute between a homeowner and a swimming pool contractor would be the date on which the homeowner got his last haircut. If the fact presented cannot affect the outcome of the case, it is immaterial. See also relevant, pertinent, and material.
Originally written permission to publish a written work, the term is now commonly used to refer to a signature that approves some action, e.g., the signature of a judge granting a petition.
A court imputes when it imposes by its order (or the common law makes a presumption) that a person has some knowledge or other possession, even when the person denies knowing or having the thing imputed to him. For example, a doctor who elects to quit his post at the hospital and become a bartender after being divorced so he cannot afford to pay more money in child support to his ex-wife may have the earnings of a doctor imputed to him, so the court can require him to pay what he might have been required to pay if he did not voluntarily reduce his income. Similarly, one is imputed to know his own name and the place of his birth. The court will impute a fact or situation to a person to secure justice that might otherwise be avoided out of willing ignorance or purposeful change of circumstance.
In Forma Pauperis
In the nature of a pauper. This term is applied to describe a lawsuit brought by one who claims inability to pay the costs of bringing suit. Most courts will allow an indigent to proceed, even though he cannot (or claims he cannot) afford to pay the court’s costs, if he files an affidavit swearing under penalties of perjury that he is unable to pay. Frequently abused by people who have the ability to pay but think the rest of society owes them some benefit. 
In Judicio
This term, in judicio, is sometimes used by litigants who want to impress the court with their knowledge of obscure Latin phrases. It refers to the case at hand, i.e., the case being judged at the moment. It's much better not to try to impress the court with terms the judge may not understand. Use simpler references, e.g., "the instant case" or, even better, "this case", etc.
In Propria Persona
Frequently written in abbreviated form, "pro per", the term denotes those appearing in court without an attorney, i.e., appearing in their own proper person. See also pro se.
Imprisonment or other deprivation of the freedom to move about without restraint.
The state of being an indigent.
One who cannot (or claims he cannot) pay his own way. Also used to describe such persons, i.e., "John Smith is indigent."
Indispensable Party
Anyone whose presence in the case as a party is necessary to a complete resolution of all the material issues in the case is an indispensable party. Failure to join an indispensable party to a lawsuit is grounds for dismissal.
A conclusion that reasonably can be drawn from a particular fact or set of facts. In all cases that involve circumstantial evidence, inferences are drawn from direct facts that support the inference and from which facts no reasonable contrary inference can be drawn. Inferences in a court of law should not be fanciful, improbable, nor rely on other inferences. For more, see circumstantial evidence.
Informed Consent
Giving the go-ahead for a serious surgical procedure or signing a contract for something as simple as roof repairs implies knowledge on the part of the person agreeing. If a person doesn't really know what he's agreeing to, his consent is not informed, and the law may relieve him of the consequences. Unless there is informed consent, courts may hold the other party liable for damages, cancel the contract, or provide some other benefit to minimize the uninformed party’s injury. Ordinarily, the law assumes parties know what they’re getting into before they agree, however sometimes a party may be misled into agreeing without knowing all the possible adverse consequences. In some cases facts are hidden. People are told the benefits without being warned of risks. There is not a true meeting of the minds, because one party is not fully informed. And, where there is no meeting of the minds there can be no enforceable contract. Informed consent is permission granted by a person who has complete knowledge of the consequence of his or her consent, i.e., there is a complete meeting of the minds and so the party is bound by his consent because it is informed consent and therefore constitutes an enforceable agreement. The problem in court, of course, is proving how much information reason requires to be given and to what extent the person giving consent should reasonably have known the possible adverse consequences.
An order of the court commanding that a thing be done or not done. An injunction might require a party to move a building or refrain from advertising a competitor’s product. An injunction might take the form of a protective order, commanding one individual to stay away from another. Injunctions are very powerful and should be granted only in extreme cases where a money judgment would not suffice to make the injured person whole. In fact, if a money judgment would make the injured party whole, the injunction should be denied. If a money judgment cannot make the injured party whole, the injunction should be granted. (See our tutorial on causes of action.)
Motive to cause a result. Under some concepts of common law, every crime requires the element of intent, i.e., the act complained of must result from some direct motive of the accused to cause the act. In civil law, this is not always so, since a civil action will lie for damages resulting from bone-headed stupidity or blind ignorance as well as for damages resulting from the defendant’ direct intention to cause the plaintiff injury. Battery, for example, is a civil cause of action that requires proof of intent, while negligence is not. Intent is often difficult to prove, so in some cases the law allows a presumption of intent to be imputed if the plaintiff can first establish certain preliminaries that give rise to the presumption, and the presumption thereafter shifts the burden to the defendant to prove he did not have the requisite intent. See presumption and willful.
With intent, q.v.
inter alia
Literally among others. Seldom capitalized, since it doesn't appear at the beginning of sentences but adds to the words immediately preceding it. For example, "The plaintiff's principle argument, inter alia, is that ...", meaning the plaintiff has other arguments, among which is the principle argument the writer is about to explore.
A right or relationship that will be affected by the outcome of a case. A person who has no interest in a case is referred to merely as a person, while all persons whose rights are or may be affected by the outcome are called interested persons. If the interested persons are actually named as litigants in the case, they are properly called parties. If you hold legal title to a parcel of real property, you are said to have an interest in the property, and the interest you have is said to be vested. If you are named as a beneficiary in someone’s will, you are said to have an interest in the person’s property, however until the person dies he may change the will, so your interest is said to be not vested. An interest vests when it becomes fixed in the person holding the interest.
Interested Persons
Persons whose rights or relationships will be affected by the outcome of a case. In probate matters, an interested person is anyone who may have a right to recover property from the decedent’s probate estate.
To question.
A session of questioning. A witness may be interrogated at trial or at a deposition. An accused person may be interrogated at the police station or in a squad car. Any questioning is interrogation.
One of the really fun tools you have to get at the truth of matters you must prove to win your lawsuit is a discovery tool called interrogatories. Interrogatories are really nothing more than a set of written question the other side must answer under oath within a set time limit (varies slightly from jurisdiction to jurisdiction). By getting your opponent to answer your interrogatories you establish facts in your case. If your opponent answers truthfully, you can hold him to his answer for all purposes during the proceedings. If your opponent lies or answers incompletely, you can file a motion to compel him to answer truthfully or you may even file a motion for an order to show cause why he should not be held in contempt of court. If you catch him in a lie, you may win your case without ever going to trial. Use interrogatories. Be careful how you word your questions. In some jurisdictions you may be limited to a particular number of total questions you can ask.
A thing is irrelevant if it does not directly relate to an issue in the case. See relevant.