In this series, lawyers Heather Douglas and Heather Hui-Litwin translate common technical terms in civil litigation that are frequently unknown or misunderstood by newcomers to the civil process. Terms like “affidavit” and “pleadings” are never used in average daily conversation. Worse still, plain English words like “application” and “deliver” have special legal meanings attached to them. Even counting the number of days to a deadline in the rules involves special knowledge!

We remember how tricky it was for us to learn all these nuances in the rules of procedure. We want to share what we learned so that we can help young law students, new lawyers and self-represented litigants navigate the rules of court procedure a little bit easier.

So far, videos have been created to explain the following terms:

Cause of Action
Affidavit of Service
Default Judgement
Action vs. Application
Shall vs. May
How to count “days” in litigation
Commission, Notarize
Judge vs. Master
Limitations Period
Affidavit in the context of a Motion
Order vs. Judgement vs. Endorsement

In addition to the videos, Heather Hui-Litwin will also include supplemental information for some of the videos. These will be available in sub-menus under this tab “Legalese Translator”.

The series launched on June 1st, 2020. We will be posting videos every week. Subscribe and click the “bell” to stay notified!

Watch the trailer here:

Click here to go to the Playlist

We are continuing to add more videos to this list. If there are any words or phrases that you think we should include, drop us a line at We love to hear from you!