A written order from a judge requiring specific action by the person or entity to whom the writ is directed. Writs can be directed to other, lower court judges (writ of mandamus); to prison officials (writ of habeas corpus); and others.

World Court

The International Court of Justice, a judicial tribunal established by the United Nations to hear disputes submitted by nations and to issue advisory opinions upon request of a United Nations organ, such as the General Assembly or Security Council.…


An arrangement negotiated between a debtor and creditor as a way to take care of a debt, by paying it off or through loan forgiveness. Workouts are often created to avoid bankruptcy or foreclosure proceedings.

Workmen's Compensation

See: workers' compensation

Workers' Compensation Definition

A program that provides medical care and replacement income to employees who are injured or become ill due to their jobs. Financial benefits may also extend to the survivors of workers who are killed on the job. In most circumstances, workers'…

Workers' Compensation Acts

State statutes that 1) require employers to purchase insurance to protect their workers and 2) establish the liability of employers for injuries to workers while on the job or illnesses due to the employment. Workers' compensation is not based…

Worker Adjustment And Retraining Notification Act (Warn)

A federal law that requires employers with at least 100 employees to give workers some advance notice of an impending plant closing or mass layoff that will result in job loss or more than a 50% hours cut for a certain number or percentage of…

Work Product

The writings, notes, memoranda, reports on conversations with the client or witness, research, and confidential materials which an attorney has developed while representing a client, particularly in preparation for trial. A work product may…

Work Permit

See: Employment Authorization Document (EAD)

Work Made For Hire

Under copyright law, a work created by an employee within the scope of employment, or a commissioned work that falls within certain categories and is the subject of a written agreement. When a work is made for hire, the hiring party is considered…

Work For Hire

See: work made for hire

Work Credits

To receive any kind of Social Security benefit -- retirement, disability, dependents, or survivors -- the person on whose record the benefit is to be calculated must have accumulated enough work credits. A person can earn up to four work credits…

Words Of Procreation

Language in a will or deed, used to transfer property to a person and that person's descendants only. Typically, the words take the form "to A, and the heirs of his body," where A is the person inheriting the property.

Words Of Art

Terms used by people who specialize in a particular occupation and understood by other such specialists.

Woodson V. North Carolina (1976)

A U.S. Supreme Court case in which a mandatory death penalty for first degree murder was ruled unconstitutional because a defendant has the right to individual consideration of the facts in the case when determining the penalty.


A crime that can be either a misdemeanor (a conviction punishable by a small amount of jail time, typically one year or less) or a felony (a conviction punishable by time in state prison). Wobblers can be charged either way, and depending on…