Copy of `Lawpack - Legal glossary`

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Lawpack - Legal glossary
Category: Legal
Date & country: 10/01/2008, UK
Words: 253

SAP (Statutory Adoption Pay)
An employer must pay SAP to any employee who is eligible. An employee who matches the government's criteria will receive money after adopting a child.

SDP (Sex Discrimination Act 1975)
This Act bans discrimination based on gender or marital status in employment or when making a job offer.

Secured debt, secured loan
Any debt that has been secured by charging an asset for its repayment. In default, the lender can repossess the security, sell it on the open market and apply the proceeds to repaying the debt but the lender will generally have to seek the court's approval first.

Self defence
The right to use such force as is necessary and reasonable to defend oneself or one's property. The test is subjective - did the defendant actually believe that the force he used was necessary and that it was reasonable? It is for the prosecution to prove that it was not.

Service charge
A charge made to tenants by the landlord or the management company to pay for services provided for the benefit of all the tenants of a property.

Service contract
An employment agreement by which an employer and employee agree the terms as to pay, hours, duties, holidays, etc of an employment. Contrast this with a Contract for services, which is made with a self-employed, independent contractor. It is a question of fact as to which category a particular agreement falls into.

Service of process
The act of delivering documents to the other party.

(a) A deed creating a trust (b) An agreement between the parties that ends a dispute.

Severance of a joint tenancy
The act of converting a joint tenancy into a tenancy in common. Any joint tenant can do this unilaterally at any time by executing an appropriate document and notifying his fellow joint tenants.

Someone who owns shares in a company; a member of a company. To become a member, a person must first be entered in the Register of Members. He then receives a share certificate, unless the company operates an automated registration system dispensing with paper certificates.

Statutory maternity pay. An employer must pay SMP to any employee who is eligible.

Someone who has been 'admitted to the rolls', i.e. is qualified as a solicitor. In order to practice, a solicitor must hold a practicing certificate issued annually by the Law Society.

A solicitor who can appear in the higher courts and represent a client in a trial.

Specific legacy or specific gift
A gift of a particular item of property in a Will.

Spent conviction
A conviction that, after a period of time, can be treated as if it never existed and does not need to be disclosed.

Statutory paternity pay. An employer must pay SPP to any employee who is eligible.

Statutory sick pay. An employer must pay SSP to any employee who is away from work after the first four days, up to 28 weeks.

Statement of truth
A statement included in many court documents - particulars of claim, defences, witness statements - stating that what is written is true.

An Act of Parliament.

Statute of Limitation
See Limitation.

Statutory books
The records that a company must keep by law containing registers of members, officers, shareholders and transfers, debentures etc. They should generally be kept at the registered office and may be open to public inspection.

Statutory duty
A duty placed on a person by an Act of Parliament.

Subject to contract
A useful expression to prevent a binding agreement arising accidentally during negotiation. It means, 'I am making no binding commitment at this stage because, in due course, there is to be a proper written agreement'. Not to be confused with 'without prejudice' which means something entirely different.

Substitutional beneficiary
A person named as an alternative beneficiary in case another one dies before receiving whatever has been given to him.

Survivorship clause
A clause in a Will stating what is to happen if a beneficiary dies before the testator or before the end of a specified period after the testator's death or before reaching a specified age.

Survivorship destination
In Scotland, this is a way of holding property so that, when one of the joint owners dies, his share passes automatically to the others. See Joint tenancy.

Tenancy in common
The joint beneficial ownership of property in specified (not necessarily equal) shares where, if one tenant in common dies, his share passes to his heirs. Although called a tenancy, this has nothing to do with leases.

Testator (or testatrix, if female)
The maker of a Will.

The Five Facts
See Divorce.

Title deeds
Original documents proving legal ownership of property. Where land is registered at HM Land Registry, the Register itself proves title and, since October 2003, the Land Registry has not issued Land Certificates.

A breach of a duty imposed by law (rather than by contract) which gives a right of action for damages.

All court cases are now allocated to one of three 'tracks'. (1) Small claims track for claims of no more than £5,000; (2) Fast track for any claim with a value of no more than £15,000 and which does not fall within (1), and (3) Multi-track for all claims not covered by (1) or (2).

Treasure trove
The Treasure Act replaced the English common law of treasure trove in 1997. All finders of gold and silver objects, and groups of coins from the same finds, over 300 years old have a legal obligation to report such items under the Act. If a coroner agrees, an independent panel of experts will value the treasure and the money will be split between t …

The hearing of a case at which the court considers the evidence (oral, written and physical), hears the legal argument and gives a judgment.

A legal relationship when one person (a trustee) holds property for the benefit of another (a beneficiary). There are countless trusts - charities, pension funds, private trusts - and they may be express, created by deed of Will, or implied, by operation of law.

A person appointed to hold property upon trust for another. Trustees have a duty to act in good faith, which means they cannot enrich themselves at the expense of their beneficiaries.

Ultra vires
This Latin phrase means beyond the powers. If an agent or a company or a public authority acts outside its powers, its action will be void and the individuals responsible may be held to account for the consequences.

Under offer
A property that has an offer accepted by the vendor but contracts have yet to be exchanged.

Unfair dismissal
A possible remedy based on statute for an employee who is unjustly dismissed. It is claimed by applying to the Employment Tribunal.

Unincorporated association
A group of people who have joined together for a particular reason, such as a club, but who have not formed a partnership, company, friendly society or industrial society. Unincorporated associations can own property, enter into contracts and employ people but they do so through one or more individuals, such as the club officers. As the association …

Unregistered land
Land or buildings the ownership of which is not registered at HM Land Registry, It is possible to find out whether land is registered by searching the Index Map at the Land Registry.

Unsecured debt, unsecured loan
A debt for which no security has been given by the borrower to the lender.

Vacant possession
Empty. On completion of a sale a seller is obliged to deliver the property with vacant possession which means clear of occupants and of objects which are not included in the sale. The same applies at the end of a tenancy.

Vicarious liablility
Liability of an employer for the wrongful acts of his employee.

Warrant of execution
A formal instruction to the bailiff to enforce a judgment by seizing the debtor's goods.

Winding up
Arranging the affairs of and then dissolving a company.

Without prejudice
A statement made by a party in, or in contemplation of, litigation, which is 'off the record'. To encourage the parties to engage in open discussion about settlement, such statements cannot generally be made known to the court. If they are expressed to be 'without prejudice save as to costs', they may be disclosed after the court has decided the ca …

A person who signs a deed or Will to confirm that it has been executed in his presence. Someone who testifies in proceedings.

Witness statement
The written evidence of a witness, which is usually read by the court as the witness's 'evidence in chief'. The witness promises that the statement is true and can be cross-examined on it.

Witness summons, subpoena
The document requiring a witness to come to court to give evidence or produce a document. Failure to do so may be treated as a contempt of court.

Written resolution
A resolution passed by all of the shareholders or all of the directors by signing a written copy rather than holding a meeting.

Wrongful dismissal
An employee's remedy when dismissed by an employer acting in breach of contract. See also Unfair dismissal.

Generally, any period of twelve months commencing on the relevant start date but - Accounting (or financial) year - the period covered by the accounts of a company or other body. Calendar year - twelve months ending on 31 December. Fiscal year - the tax year ending on 5 April. However, rates and Council tax are based on a year ending 31 March.