Copy of `Compact Law - Legal Glossary`

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Compact Law - Legal Glossary
Category: Business and Law
Date & country: 20/11/2007, UK
Words: 87


Acknowledgment of Service Form
An acknowledgment of service form is used by a defendant in a civil case when they have received a claim against them from a claimant. It also gives the defendant an additional 14 days to file a defence.

Act of God
An act of God is often referred to in insurance policies as an exclusion to avoid insurance companies having to pay out compensation for severe natural events or disasters, for example earthquakes, floods, storms or other natural events. The severity of the event is such that little or nothing can reasonably be done to prepare for it or prevent it.…

Additional Award
An additional award is made in unfair dismissal claims, where an employment tribunal orders an employer to re-engage or reinstate and employee and the employer refuses to do so. The actual award is for between 26 - 52 weeks pay. The rate of pay for each week is governed by statute, rather than the employee's actual weekly rate of pay. The current s…

Administration
The payment of debts and distribution of assets from the estate of a deceased person to his or her beneficiaries. An administrator is appointed where a deceased person dies without making a Will or where an executor is not appointed under a Will or where an executor refuses to act.

Adoption
Where the rights and responsibilities for looking after a minor are transferred from the child's natural parents to another person or couple. The new parents take over from the natural parents. When making an adoption order the welfare of the child is the paramount consideration.

Adverse Possession
Where land or a property is occupied by someone (the squatter) who does not own it and that person treats the land or property as their own (this includes excluding others from it). The use of the land or property must be constant, using it occasionally or even regularly will not be enough. If the owner of the land or property does not enforce thei…

Affidavit
A sworn or affirmed written statement. The person swearing or affirming states that the contents of the statement are true. This must be done in front of a person authorised to take oaths; this is usually a court official or a solicitor. A solicitor will charge a fee for this, but no fee is charged if a court official undertakes it.

Agency Agreement
An agreement where a principal appoints an agent to represent the principal in a certain geographical area, usually known as a territory. The agent usually passes on sales leads to the principal, who handles the actual sale. In return the agent receives a fee or commission from the sale from the principal.

Ancillary Relief
A court order that is made as part of another order. Usually in the case of divorce where a property adjustment order, financial order or both are made as part of a divorce or nullity.

Annual General Meeting (AGM)
A meeting of company members held each calendar year. AGMs deal with the following key matters, company accounts, directors' and auditor's reports, declaration of share dividends and also the appointment and resignation of directors. 21 days' written notice must be given to members of the AGM.

Annual Return
Sent yearly by all companies to Companies House. The annual return includes the following information: the company's stated business activity, details of the registered office, directors and members/shareholders. Late filing or failure to file is a criminal offence with set fines according to how late a filing is. Companies House can also remove co…

Annulment
In the case of a marriage an annulment is a declaration by a court that a marriage was never actually legally valid.

Assignment of Debt
Where a debt owed to a party is assigned (sold) by that party to another. The party who owes the money then pays the new lender. Notice of assignment of a debt should be in writing.

Attachment of Earnings Order
An order made by a court to take money owed directly from the earnings of the person that owes the money. Their employer pays the money directly to the court, usually in instalments. This order is usually made for debts and as part of maintenance orders in family cases.

Bailiff
An official appointed by a court (usually a county court), referred to as an officer of the court. Their work usually involves enforcing court orders, such as warrants of execution, (the seizure of goods belonging to a debtor).

Bankruptcy
Where an insolvent person is made bankrupt by a court. A trustee in bankruptcy is appointed to distribute the bankrupt's assets amongst his creditors. Anyone owed £750 or more can file a bankruptcy petition at the High Court or the county court to declare the person bankrupt. The person who owes the debt can also apply to declare themselves bankrup…

Charging Order
Where a court makes an order for the assets of a debtor to be used a security for the payment of a debt and any interest owed on the debt.

Claim Form
A form completed by a claimant that provides their details, the defendant's and what the claimant is seeking against the defendant. It is used in civil cases only. I the claimant provides full details of the facts behind their claim, this is known as the 'particulars of claim'.

Codicil
A document used to add to, alter or remove parts of an existing Will. A codicil must be executed in the same way as a Will, (signatures and witnesses etc.).

Confidentiality Agreement
An agreement where a party agrees to disclose confidential information to another party, usually as part of commercial negotiations between the parties. Confidentiality agreements can also be mutual.

Contributory Negligence
This where a court decides that you have contributed in some way to the accident you have suffered at the hands of a third party. The more responsibility a court decides you have, the less compensation you will receive. For example, where a driver crashes a vehicle and a passenger was not wearing a seatbelt. The passenger will receive damages (comp…

County Court
The civil courts of England & Wales.

Decree Absolute
A decree to declare a divorce. That a marriage has ended; this allows the parties involved to remarry. Is also used for nullity cases and where a missing married person is presumed to be dead, so allowing the remaining partner to remarry.

Decree Nisi
The step before declaring a Decree Absolute. The Decree Absolute is usually made six weeks later. In theory the time between the nisi and the absolute is so that another party can take action to prevent the decree being made absolute.

Discrimination
The treating of one or more people unfairly, as compared to any other person or persons. Discrimination can be based upon the following grounds: sex, sexual orientation, race, nationality, religion or disability.

Distribution Agreement
An agreement where a principal appoints a distributor to represent the principal in a certain geographical area, usually known as a territory. The distributor purchases the product directly from the principal and sells the product in the territory making a profit from the difference between the wholesale (charged by the principal) and retail price …

Divorce
The legal end of a marriage once a decree absolute has been made.

Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT)
Tribunal that hears appeals regarding employment cases after a decision made in an employment tribunal.

Foreclosure
Where a mortgage lender (mortgagee) can apply to the High Court to force a borrower (mortgagor) to pay off their mortgage completely or have the lender seize and sell the property to in order to pay off the debt.

Garnishee Proceedings
Court order made so that a person who is owed money (creditor) can obtain full or part payment from a third party whom in fact owes or holds money for the debtor. Examples include orders made so that a bank account that contains money belonging to the debtor must be paid to the creditor. In this situation the bank is ordered to pay all or part of t…

Ghet
A Jewish divorce, a handwritten document given to the wife by her husband in the presence of two witnesses.

Help at Court
Formerly called ABWOR (advice by way of representation). Legal advice and representation for an individual at a court or tribunal.

Housing Ombudsmen
Under the Housing Act 1996 an official who deals with disputes between registered social landlords and tenants. (Registered social landlords do not include local authorities.)

Human Rights Act 1998
Act under which the European Convention on Human Rights became part of law throughout the UK.

Injunction
Court order that prohibits a person from doing something or continuing to do something.

Joint Venture Agreement
An agreement where two or more parties create an organisation (usually a company) to run a commercial venture or merge separate organisations. Each of the parties has a share in the joint venture.

Judgment in Default
Where a defendant in a civil case has not filed a defence or has not complied with court procedures, the claimant can make an application for judgment in default.

Judgment Summons
Where a person enforcing a judgment asks the court to issue a summons against the debtor. The debtor must attend the court and disclose (under oath) their assets.

Judicial Separation
A court order that allows a husband and wife to separate and not cohabit, however, their marriage is not over. Can be used where the parties have a religious objection to divorce or where the parties have not actually decided to divorce.

Limited Liability Partnership
A legal entity that is a cross between a partnership and a limited company. As a legal entity the partnership can enter into contracts in its own right, in the same way that a company can. This also means that the partnership bares the liability and the risk for that contract, rather than the partners personally - which they would under a tradition…

Maintenance
Wide term to cover the provision of food, clothing, shelter and other necessities. A parent must maintain any of their children who are minors and a husband or wife must maintain their spouse. Failure by a parent to maintain their minor child is a criminal offence.

Non Disclosure Agreement
An agreement where a party agrees to disclose confidential information to another party, usually as part of commercial negotiations between the parties. Non disclosure agreements can also be mutual. (More commonly known as confidentiality agreement.)

Notice to Quit
Notice from a landlord to a tenant to leave the landlord's property on a specified date, the date that the tenancy ends or after a set period, if the tenancy agreement allows for a break clause, for example after the first 6 months of a 12 month tenancy. The tenant can also give a notice to quit to the landlord to state that they intend to leave on…

Novation
Where an existing contract is substituted for a new contract. The terms of the contract may change and/or a new party may be added to the contract.

Nullity of Marriage
Where a marriage is defective at the time of the ceremony (or at some time after the marriage) and so is invalid. Examples of nullity include, where one party is still a minor or there has been no consent to the marriage.

Obstruction
The criminal offence of obstructing a road or allowing a road to be obstructed with a vehicle or other object. It can also include driving unreasonably slowly. It needs to be shown that other people or vehicles have been obstructed. The punishment for the offence is a fine.

Occupier's Liability
This is where the occupier of land or premises is liable for any injury caused to another party whilst on their land or premises. For example, if a customer at a supermarket slips on a spillage on the floor and is injured, the supermarket could be liable.

Ordinary Resolution
Where a decision made within a company by the members of the company voting on a particular issue must be passed by a simple majority (more than 50% of the members). The members can vote in person, or appoint a proxy to vote on their behalf. (An ordinary resolution can be used unless the Companies Acts or the company's articles of association speci…

PACE
Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984.

Parental Leave
Under the Maternity & Parental Leave Regulations 1999 working parents are entitled to take time off work to look after their children. Employees must have been employed with their employer for at least 12 months to qualify for the right to request parental leave. The regulations specify the amount of time off and other terms. The regulations specif…

Parental Responsibility
All the duties, rights and responsibilities by law that a parent has in relation to their child.

Parental Responsibility Order
An order made by a court, which gives parental responsibility to an unmarried father. The unmarried father can apply to the court to be granted parental responsibility.

Partnership Agreement
A written agreement between two or more individuals to set up a business to make a profit. Partnership agreements include amongst other points the duties of each partner, their capital contributions, the place of business and the nature of the business. Key areas also include provision for the retirement of partners and the facility for the remaini…

Patent
The granting of the exclusive right to commercialise or exploit an invention. To be granted a patent the invention must be new and not obvious. The person or organisation granted the patent has the exclusive right to exploit it for 20 years. Patents can be granted for the UK and other jurisdictions, such as the European Union and America.

Periodic Tenancy
A tenancy agreement where rent is payable at fixed intervals and carries on from one interval to the next until terminated. Or where an assured shorthold tenancy has expired and rent continues to be paid to and accepted by the landlord.

Perjury
Giving false evidence in court (lying under oath) or giving evidence that you believe to be untrue, (even if it subsequently turns out to be true). Perjury is a criminal offence punishable by a fine or up to 7 years in prison. Perjury can also be committed in a tribunal or any forum where the person giving the evidence must swear an oath or affirm.…

Presumption of Innocence
Presumption in court that anyone charged with a criminal offence is innocent until proven guilty.

Privileged Will
A will made by anyone under military service or at sea. A privileged will does not have to comply with the requirements of an ordinary will in order to be valid. For example, it can be oral - rather than written, made without witnesses, made by a minor - rather than an adult.

Privity of Contract
The rule that only parties to a contract can sue or be sued under the contract. Third parties not party to the contract cannot sue.

Prohibited Steps Order
An order made by a court in a family case to prevent certain actions being taken without the court first consenting. For example, a prohibited steps order can be made to prevent a child or children being taken abroad on holiday by one of their parents. This is done in circumstances where there is a custody dispute and there is a perceived risk that…

Provisional Damages
Provisional damages (compensation) are paid in personal injury case where the nature of the injury is such that it may get worse over time or where the injury may cause further related health problems in the future. This uncertainty means that a court will allow provisional compensation and for the injured party to come back within a specified peri…

Quango
Quasi-autonomous non-governmental organisation. An organisation set up or appointed by the government to carry out a specific brief or function. Quangos are not government departments, but they do carry out work on behalf of the government.

Quiet Enjoyment
The right of quiet enjoyment is the right of a tenant to enjoy a rented property without intrusion or disturbance by the landlord. For example, a landlord does not have the right to turn up unannounced to check up on a tenant and the property. The landlord and tenant can however agree a mutually convenient time for the landlord to enter the propert…

Quorum
Under a company's articles of association the minimum number of people that must be present at a meeting in order to carry on the business of the company.

Reasonable Force
A person may use reasonable force against another if in self-defence. Reasonable force can be used to protect both property and you. Also, if an intruder enters a property at night it is reasonable to assume that they intend to cause harm to the occupants and no just take possessions. In extreme cases the killing of another person can be self-defen…

Receiver
A person appointed by a court to secure assets belonging to another party, so that the court can deal with those assets.

Registered Office
The official address for a company kept on the Companies Registry. This address is used for the service of any documents and must be included on all letterheads and other company stationery.

Residence Order
A court makes a residence order to state where a child or children will live, where the parents cannot agree. A person other than a parent can also be granted a residence order.

Special Damages
Type of damages/compensation awarded in tort or contract claims. Special Damages are damages that must be proved by the party claiming, they are not assumed by a court. Losses that are particular to your case, for example, damage to you car in an accident or an injury that prevents you from playing your favourite sport. A court will have to decide …

Special Resolution
Where a decision made within a company by the members of the company voting on a particular issue must be voted for by at least 75% of the members, either voting in person or by proxy. Members of the company must be given at least 21 days' notice of any meeting where a special resolution is to be voted upon.

Specific Issue Order
An order made by a court regarding a specific issue relating to a child, for example, where a child should go to school. The court will make an order where the parents cannot agree. These orders are made as part of other matrimonial proceedings, such as divorce or separation. Any order made by the court will treat the child's welfare as paramount.

Statement of Truth
A statement made by a person or their lawyer in a civil case that he or she believes that the contents of a document are true. Statements of truth replace affidavits. Deliberately providing false information in a statement of truth is contempt of court.

Summary Judgment
In a civil case where a claimant seeking payment of a debt or damages in the High Court can obtain judgment without the defendant being able to defend the action. Summary judgment will be successful where the court believes that the defendant is unlikely to be successful in defending a claim.

Tenancy
Where the owner of land (the landlord) allows another party (the tenant) to take possession of the landlord's land for an agreed period, usually in return for payment of rent by the tenant to the landlord. The tenant is then able to use the land without interference from the landlord, as long as the tenant follows the terms of the tenancy.

Trade Mark
A symbol registered by the owner at the Register of Trade Marks (for UK trade marks), which is part of the Patent Office. The symbol can include a logo and/or words and must be sufficiently different from existing trade marks to avoid any confusion. Registration lasts for 10 years and can be renewed. Registration can also be made throughout the EU …

Trespass
The entering onto land without the owner's permission. Trespass can also relate to persons, (assault, battery and false imprisonment) and goods, (moving or interfering with goods).

Trustee in Bankruptcy
When a person is declared bankrupt a trustee in bankruptcy is given control of all of the bankrupt's assets. The trustee must collect all of these assets and sell them. The proceeds are then divided amongst creditors according to bankruptcy laws.

Unfair Dismissal
Where an employee has been dismissed and an employment tribunal finds that the dismissal has been unfair in accordance with the Employment Rights Act 1996.

Unreasonable Behaviour
A ground for divorce, where a petitioner finds the behaviour of the respondent unreasonable and so it is unreasonable for the petitioner to carry on living with the respondent.

Unsolicited Goods
Goods sent to a person who has not requested them. The person receiving the goods does not have to pay for them. After 6 months the goods become the property of the person who received them. If the receiving party contacts the sender and asks for the goods to be picked up (and they are not), the receiving party becomes the owner of the goods after …

Verbals
Remarks made by an accused in front of police. These can be written down by the police and may be read as evidence in court by the policeman or woman who wrote down the remarks

Vexatious Litigant
A person who regularly brings worthless court cases against another person or people. A court may make an order that the vexatious litigant is unable to start any future court actions without the prior permission of the court.

Vicarious Liability
Where a party is liable for the torts (wrongful act or omission) or crimes of another party. Mostly commonly occurs where an employer is liable for the actions of an employee.

Voluntary Arrangement
An agreement between a debtor and his creditors for the payment of debts owed to the creditors

Whistle-blowing
Under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 and employee may disclose information about his or her employer's business (where there is wrongdoing by he employer). The employee is then protected against the employer taking action against the employee in revenge.

Without Prejudice
A legal phrase that allows parties to discuss and negotiate a settlement to a legal claim, without admitting liability. Any documents headed 'without prejudice' cannot be used in evidence in any subsequent court case without the permission of both parties.

Wrongful Dismissal
Where an employee's contract is terminated, but the termination breaches the terms of the employee's contract. For example, where an employer has their contract terminated without a notice period or the notice period is insufficient.