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.

Note that these videos are based on our knowledge of the Ontario Superior court (civil litigation) system. For legal advice on your own matter, it’s best to consult a lawyer practising in your province.

  1. Pleadings
  2. Cause of Action
  3. Service
  4. Affidavit of Service:
  5. Court Filing procedure in Ontario courts: What does “Deliver” mean:
  6. Default Judgement:
  7. Action v Application:
  8. Motion
  9. How are days counted in litigation in Ontario:
  10. Shall vs May:
  11. Irregularity:
  12. Commission vs Notarize:
  13. Difference between “Judge” vs. “Master” in Ontario:
  14. Limitations Period:

In addition to the videos, Heather Hui-Litwin will also include supplemental information for some of the videos. These will be available in the Blog

The Legalese Translator publishes at least one video every Monday morning.

In addition, our channel will feature additional content, such as our series on arbitration with John-Paul Boyd, to be released in August 2020!

So, please support our project! Subscribe, like and click the “bell” to stay notified! Tell your friends so that everyone can learn the basics about the legal system.

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!