Copy of `Lawpack - Legal glossary`

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Lawpack - Legal glossary
Category: Legal
Date & country: 10/01/2008, UK
Words: 131


Acquittal
A finding by a criminal court that the accused is not guilty of the offence for which he has been tried.

Affidavit or Affirmation
A written statement of fact made on oath and signed in the presence of an authorised person (e.g. a solicitor). Now called a Statement of Truth.

Agent
A person appointed to act on behalf of someone else (known as 'the principal').

Aggravated damages
See Exemplary damages.

Allotment
The issue of new shares in the capital of the company or the shares themselves.

Annulment
Invalidity; especially a declaration that a marriage has never existed in law because of some basic defect like bigamy.

Appeal
To ask a higher court or authority to change the decision of a lower one.

Arrangement Fees
Fees payable to lenders for arranging a loan. They may be added to the loan or paid upon completion.

Assault
An unlawful attack on someone by words or deeds. Physical contact is not essential.

Assets
Any description of property or rights other than land or an interest in land.

Attachment of earnings order
A court order obtained by a creditor to make a debtor's employer deduct and hand over to the creditor a proportion of the debtor's earnings to pay off the debt.

Authorised share capital
The nominal value of the share capital of a company. It cannot issue shares to a greater value without a special resolution to increase it.

Beneficial tenants in common
Persons who own property jointly but not necessarily in equal shares. If one dies his share passes to his heirs.

Bequeath
To leave money or property (other than land) to someone in a Will.

Board
See Directors.

Breach of contract
A failure by someone who has entered into a contract to perform its terms.

Breach of statutory duty
A failure to carry out duties or to fulfil obligations imposed by legislation.

Capacity
Competence to enter into a legal agreement. Minors and those of unsound mind generally lack capacity.

Child
See Minor.

Claimant, or plaintiff
Someone who makes a claim in court against a defendant for a remedy such as damages.

Co-respondent
The person with whom the respondent in a divorce case is alleged to have committed adultery.

Codicil
A document that changes some parts of a Will but does not cancel it altogether.

Collective agreement
An agreement reached as a result of negotiations between an employer and a trade union.

Complainant
Someone who lodges a complaint. See Claimant.

Compromise
An agreement between two or more persons to settle their differences without recourse to the court.

Conciliation
A method of settling a dispute with the aid of an independent person or body e.g. ACAS. Also see Mediation.

Confirmation
The Scottish equivalent of Probate.

Continuing power of attorney
See Enduring power of attorney.

Contract for services
A contract engaging the services of an independent contractor. Contrast this with a service contract between an employer and employee.

Creditor
Someone who is owed money by another. A secured creditor is one who has a Secured loan.

Cross-examination
Questioning a witness for the other side with the aim of extracting information or admissions helpful to one's own side. An advocate has a right to cross-examine but the judge may limit it if he feels the right is being abused.

Debtor
Someone who owes money to another person.

Decree absolute
The final order of a court dissolving a marriage.

Defence
The legal case put forward by a defendant in answer to a claim.

Defendant
A person against whom a claim is made.

Devise
A gift of land or other real property made in a Will. See Bequest.

Directions
Court orders laying down procedural steps to be taken by the parties.

Director
A member of the board that manages the affairs of a company. Directors must be appointed in accordance with the Articles of Association and details of their appointment must be filed at Companies House.

Disclaim
To renounce or give up one's right or claim to something.

Discrimination
Treating members of a group unfairly compared to the treatment of other people who are not members of that group.

DSS
Department of Social Security; the government agency that is responsible for paying out benefits.

Endowment mortgage
A mortgage arranged on the basis that the capital borrowed will be repaid from the proceeds of an Endowment policy.

Engrossment
The final signature copy of a document.

EPA, Equal Pay Act 1970
This Act requires that men and women be paid the same for doing the same or equal work.

Equity
The value remaining after all prior claims on an asset have been met. Hence the value of a house less the amount currently outstanding on the mortgage (known as the equity of redemption). Or the value of the shareholders' interest in a company. The system of law developed from the 16th century in the Court of Chancery alongside the Common law. The …

Estate
All the property belonging to a person at death.

Ex gratia
Given as a favour not required by a legal duty.

Execute
To sign a legal document following the procedure required for a deed or Will.

Expert witness
Someone qualified to give evidence about some aspect of a case on which the court requires assistance. Medical experts frequently appear both in prosecutions involving violence and civil claims about medical treatment. Foreign law is a question of fact in the English courts on which experts in the relevant law give evidence. Although experts are in …

False imprisonment
An unlawful restriction placed on someone's liberty or movements. It may be by physical force or merely by the fear of such force or by submission to a legal process but it must be a complete restriction; blocking one exit if another is available does not satisfy the test.

Freehold
The absolute ownership of land and rights over land for an indefinite time. Contrast Leasehold where the ownership is limited in time.

Frustration
An unexpected and unintentional event that makes the fulfilment of the terms of a contract impossible.

General power of attorney
A short form of power prescribed by the General Powers of Attorney Act 1971 by which the donor of the power authorises his attorney to do anything that he could have done himself. Such powers end if the donor becomes mentally incapable of managing his own affairs. Contrast Enduring Powers of Attorney.

Good faith
Done with honest intention.

Grant of letters of administration
An official document obtained by Administrators of an estate proving that they have the legal authority to deal with a deceased's estate.

Group litigation order
A court order which allows cases covering similar issues to be managed together.

Guarantee
An undertaking to be responsible for the performance of another person's legal obligations. A bank may ask the directors to guarantee a company's overdraft. A landlord may ask a tenant to find a guarantor that the rent will be paid and the tenant's covenants performed.

Highway Code
A booklet issued by the Department of Transport giving guidance on the use of the roads.

Hypothecation
See Pledge.

Implied terms
Terms that are not expressly stated in a contract but are derived from custom and usage or are necessary to make it work from a business point of view.

Incorporate
To create a limited company.

Indemnity
An undertaking by one person to save another harmless from loss. Most insurance policies and many guarantees come within the definition of indemnity.

Interest only mortgage
A mortgage under which the borrower only pays interest during the mortgage term and the whole of the capital is repaid at the end.

Intestate
Someone who dies without leaving a valid will. The estate itself is then also described as intestate.

ISA mortgage
This ressembles an endowment mortgage but the saving scheme is an ISA and the contibutions are restricted.

Issued shares
Shares which have been allotted by a company to its shareholders. Contrast Authorised capital.

Joint tenancy
See Beneficial joint tenants.

Legal Aid
Now replaced by Community Legal Services Funding.

Legatee
A person entitled to a legacy under a Will.

Letters of administration
An official document obtained by administrators of an estate proving that they have the legal authority to deal with a deceased's estate.

Litigation friend
Someone who represents a child (or patient) in litigation.

Memorandum of Incorporation
The part of a company's charter or byelaws that defines the extent of its objects and its authorised capital. A company cannot act outside its permitted objects. See Ultra vires.

No-win-no-fee
A conditional fee agreement between a solicitor and client that the solicitor will be paid only if the client's claim is successful.

OFT (Office of Fair Trading)
The organisation set up to police the Fair Trading Act designed primarily to protect the rights of consumers.

Ombudsman
An official appointed to investigate complaints by individuals against maladministration by public authorities. There is a Legal Services Ombudsman whose website is www.olso.org.

Order
See Judgment.

Pain, suffering and loss of amenity
All three are considered when deciding the amount of damages due for an injury. 'Loss of amenity' is the effect that the injury has on the victim's ability to perform everyday activities and participate in the enjoyments of life. See Judicial Studies Board Guidelines.

Particulars of Claim
The document by which a claimant gives details of the facts on which his claim is based.

Pecuniary legacy
A gift of money in a Will.

Pension mortgage
This resembles an Endowment mortgage but the saving scheme is a pension. It has various tax benefits but there are restrictions on total contributions and the borrower's age at the end of the term.

Per stirpes
Dividing property between a number of beneficiaries according to the branches of the family instead of equally between them.

Personal representatives
People who wind up the estate of someone who has died. The expression includes both executors appointed by a Will (who are granted probate) and administrators in the case of intestate estates (who are granted letters of administration). Administrators in Scotland are called 'executors-nominate'.

PIW
Period of incapacity for work. Four or more consecutive days when the employee is too ill to work.

Plaintiff, or claimant
Someone who makes a claim in court against a defendant for a remedy such as damages.

Power reserved letter
A letter issued by the Probate Registry which an executor signs to put his or her duties on hold for the time being.

Pro bono
Work done by a lawyer for no fee.

Quickie divorce
Informal name for the special procedure for undefended divorces based on the facts of adultery or unreasonable behaviour (99 per cent of divorces are achieved this way).

Rack rent
Full market rent. Contrast Ground rent.

Ratification
Confirmation of an act or of the validity of an act.

Real property, realty
The ownership of the freehold in land and certain interests over land like easements. Contrast Personal property.

Redemption
Any compounding of future payments but especially the discharge of a mortgage by paying off the loan and obtaining the release of the property. A redemption penalty may sometimes be payable for early redemption of a mortgage.

Redundancy
Dismissal from employment because the job no longer exists.

Registered office
The official address of a company as registered at Companies House.

Remuneration
The compensation payable for service under an employment agreement.

Repayment mortgage
A mortgage under which the borrower pays the interest and capital over the life of the mortgage.

Representative order
An order made where one person represents others in a case. This might be suitable where many litigants have the same interests as each other.

Residuary beneficiary
A beneficiary entitled to receive all or part of the residue of an estate.

Residuary gift, legacy
A legacy of all or part of the residue of an estate.

Resolution
A Board resolution is a decision taken by the directors of a company. An Ordinary resolution is a decision passed by a simple majority of shareholders of a company. A Special resolution is a decision passed by a 75 per cent majority of the shareholders of a company.

Respondent
A person against whom relief is sought by an applicant.