Issue (legal)

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In genealogy and law, issue usually means a person's lineal descendants, natural born children, their children, and so on. These are distinguished from heirs, which can include other kin such as a brother, sister, mother, father, grandfather, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece, or cousin. This definition may be significant with respect to wills and trusts. No issue means to have no natural descendants.

In law, issue may also mean:

  • In evidence as well as civil and criminal procedure, there are issues of fact. Issues of fact are rhetorically presented by statements of fact which are each put to a test: Is the statement true or false?

Often, different parties have conflicting statements of fact. These statements are then presented as alternative questions and justification are presented by proposing evidence in favor or in opposition. Formally the issues follow the template "this statement is true and it is true because... (or it is false because) ... ".

The list of issues is the list of the questions the parties request the court to answer. The court's answers usually must be provided before a legally acceptable date and the court should give reason when it decides not to answer any of them. Plaintiffs as well as defendants sometimes do not present their issues according to these due process premises and it is the court that must deduce the probable statements of fact and assume what is in need of legal answers.

A good defense rests in part in the quality of the rhetoric used in presenting the statement of fact defining the issues.

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