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Legal Dictionary V

Vendor

The seller; the person selling.

Venue

Location; in a legal context it usually refers specifically to the location of a judicial hearing. For example, if a criminal case has a very high media profile in a particular city, the defense may ask for a "change of venue" to ensure objective witnesses.

Vehicle

Any thing designed to transport persons or objects, such as a car, bus, bicycle, etc.
Verba fortius accipiuntur contra proferentem
Latin: a principle of construction whereby if words of a contract are ambiguous or of two equally possible meanings, they should be interpreted against the author of the words and not against the other party.

Verdict

The decision of a jury. In criminal cases, this is usually expressed as "guilty" or "not guilty". In a civil case, the verdict would be a finding for the plaintiff or for the defendant.

Videlicet

Latin for "to wit" or "that is to say." "Viz." is the abbreviation of videlicet and is much more commonly used. It is often found in legal documents to advise that what follows provides more detail about a preceding general statement. Also spelled "vis".

Vis

See Videlicet.

Vicarious liability

When a person is held responsible for the tort of another even though the person being held responsible may not have done anything wrong. This is often the case with employers who are held vicariously liable for the damages caused by their employees.

Vir

Latin: man or husband. Refers to "Vir et uxor censentur in lege una persona", an old legal principle meaning that man and wife are considered to be one person in law. This principle has been abandoned in many countries.

Void or void ab initio

Not legally binding. A document that is void is as if it did not exist. A contract for immoral purposes or to commit a serious crime such as murder would be void or unenforceable. This differs from voidable (which see).

Voidable

The law distinguishes between contracts which are void and those which are voidable. Voidable contracts are those that have minor defects to them and are voidable at the option of the party victimized by the defect. For example, contracts signed by a person when they are totally drunk are voidable by that person upon recovering sobriety.

Voir dire

A mini-hearing held during a trial on the admissibility of contested evidence. For example, a defendant may object to a plaintiff's witness. The court would suspend the trial, immediately preside over a hearing on the standing of the proposed witness, and then resume the trial with or without the witness, or with any restrictions placed on the testimony by the judge as a result of the voir dire ruling. In a jury trial, the jury would be excused during the voir dire.

Volenti non fit injuria

Voluntary assumption of risk. This is used as a defense in tort when a person engages in an event, accepting and aware of the risks inherent in that event. This is a voluntary assumption of risk and they cannot later complain of, or seek compensation for, an injury suffered during the event. This is used most often to defend against tort actions as a result of a sports injury.