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Gorvins Residential Glossary of Terms

Glossary of Terms

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See claim.


The postponing of the hearing of a case until a later date.


A judgement or decision of a court, tribunal or adjudicator in alternative dispute resolution (ADR) cases where disputes are resolved outside of the court


An act by which the rights and duties of the natural parents of a child are extinguished and equivalent rights and duties become vested in the adopter(s).


A barrister or solicitor representing a party in a hearing before a Court.


Where two parties agree to a particular course of action.


An accusation made against someone, which may or may not be true.

Alternative dispute resolution

Schemes such as arbitration and mediation are designed to allow parties to find a resolution to their problem without legal action.

Amount offered in satisfaction

An amount of money offered by a defendant to pay a debt or to settle another type of claim, for example in a personal injury case.

Ancillary relief

Additional claims (e.g. in respect of maintenance) are attached to the petition for divorce/judicial separation/nullity.


To declare no longer valid.


Application to a higher court or another body for review of a decision taken by a lower court or tribunal.


A person appealing to a higher court or body against a decision made in a lower court or body.


The act of applying to a civil court to ask it to do something, for example, to start proceedings.


To place or assign.

Appraisement or appraisal

Valuation of goods seized under warrant of execution prior to sale.


A process in which both sides agree to use an independent arbitrator (an impartial person) who gives a binding decision in the matter.


Things that belong to a person or organisation, which are usually of some value.


A lawyer employed by a law firm.

Assured tenancy

A tenancy is defined by the Housing Act 1996 where the tenant enjoys the security of tenure.

Attachment of earnings order

An order that instructs an employer to deduct a regular amount, fixed by the court, from a debtor’s earnings and to pay that money into court. The court pays the money to the person or people to whom it is owed.


Result of an arbitration hearing or the number of damages assessed by a Court




Someone who a court judges is unable to pay what they owe.



Insolvent – unable to pay creditors and having all goods/effects administered by a liquidator or trustee and sold for the benefit of those creditors; as a result of an order under the Insolvency Act 1986.



A lawyer regulated by the Bar Standards Board that can specialise in presenting cases before a court, and in providing detailed opinions on specific areas of law. Beneficiary Someone who is named in a will to receive inheritance.



A gift of money or personal property made to someone else in a will.


Breach of contract

Failure by one party to a contract to uphold their part of the deal.




An action, suit or claim in a court of law. It can also mean the arguments put forward by parties in a court of law.



The offices where barristers may operate from.



Personal belongings that someone owns, besides cash or land, such as a piece of furniture.


Civil law

The area of law covering disputes you may have with a person or organisation (including such matters as unpaid debts, negligence and the enforcement of contracts). It does not include criminal, immigration, employment or family matters.



Proceedings issued in the County or High Court.



A person making a claim.


Claim form

Proceedings in a civil court start with the issuing of a claim form. The form, which is issued by the court (after the claimant has filed the form in court), includes a summary of the nature of the claim and the remedy (compensation or amends) sought



Someone who uses services provided by a lawyer or other professional.



An addendum signed and executed which amends or adds something to a will.



Working together to solve a problem.



Something given to someone to recompense them for loss, injury or suffering.


Common law

The law established, by precedent, from judicial decisions and established within a community.



Usually a sum of money offered in recompense (to make amends) for an act, error or omission that harmed someone. The harm suffered may have been loss, personal injury or inconvenience.



A person who makes a complaint.


Expressing discontent for something.



An agreement signed by different parties setting out the terms and conditions of an agreement – for example between a buyer and a seller in a property transaction.



The process involved in buying, selling or remortgaging a property that lead up to the transfer of a legal title for a property from one person to another.



A person named as an adulterer (or third person) in a petition for divorce.



In civil proceedings the general rule is the person who wins the case is entitled to his or her costs. The court may decide to reduce the costs to be paid by the losing side if it feels that the winner has behaved unreasonably. The award of costs is at the court’s discretion.



Another term used to describe a barrister.



A claim made by a defendant against a claimant in an action. There is no limit imposed on a counterclaim, but a fee is payable according to the amount counterclaimed.


County Court

County courts deal with civil matters such as disputes over contracts, unpaid debts and negligence claims. County courts deal with all monetary claims up to £50,000. There are 218 county courts in England and Wales. The county court is a court of the first instance – where civil cases start.


County court judgment (CCJ)

A judgment of the county court that orders a defendant to pay a sum of money to the claimant. CCJs are recorded on the Register of County Court Judgments for six years and can affect a defendant’s ability to borrow money


Court fees

The County Court will charge to issue a claim in a civil case and to launch enforcement proceedings if the defendant ignores the judgment of the court. You will also be charged if you make applications to the court.


Court of Protection

The branch of the High Court with jurisdiction over the estates of people mentally incapable of handling their own financial affairs



A formal agreement or a contract constituting an obligation to perform an act



Some who has lent money or provided goods or services, and who is owed money in return.



At fault or guilt of something.




Compensation that a court might award to someone who has suffered a loss or injury.



A person who owes money to someone or to an organisation.



An order of the Court in proceedings commenced by petition.


Decree Absolute

A final certificate, resulting from an application, dissolving a marriage.


Decree Nisi

Order for divorce unless cause to contrary is shown within a set period.



Court order setting out the rights of a party in the form of a statement.



A legal document which sets out the terms of an agreement, which is signed by both parties.


Defence or defending a claim (civil)

When the defendant disputes the claim made by the claimant.


Defendant (civil)

The person who has a claim made against them. They can defend (dispute the claim) or admit liability, in part or in full.



Person to whom freehold land is given by a will.



The inability of a person to handle their own affairs (e.g. through mental illness or a minor under 18 years of age) which prevents involvement in civil legal proceedings without representation.



Parties to a civil case must disclose (show to the other party) documents they intend to rely on in court to support their case



Being treated unfairly or differently because of factors such as your age or your gender.



Fees that are paid to organisations as required as part of legal services – for example, this could be a payment made by your lawyer to a local authority for property information when buying a house.



Someone acting in away they know to be deceitful or saying things they know to be untrue.



To make order or decision that a claim be ceased.



A civil problem not dealt with in court, (a civil dispute which comes to court is called a civil case); challenging the views of the opposing party in a civil case.



Dissolution or nullity of marriage.


Due diligence

The formal process of investigating the background of a business, either prior to buying it, or as another party in a major contract. It is used to ensure that there are no hidden details that could affect the deal.



Employment contract

A contract between an employer and an employee. This differs from other contracts in that it is governed by employment legislation – which takes precedence over normal contract law.


Enforcement / enforcing a judgment

When a judgment/order has not been paid or terms obeyed with, enforcement proceedings can be issued to ensure compliance. A court can order such action as the seizure of a defendant’s property for sale.



The value of everything owned by someone when they die.



Something that is used as proof to support a particular argument or viewpoint.


Exclusion clauses

Clauses in a contract that are intended to exclude one party from liability if a stated circumstance happens. They are types of exemption clauses.



Someone named in a will, who has been chosen to manage the estate of the person making the will when they die.



Someone who is very knowledgeable or skilfil in a particular area, who may be asked to provide information to a court.


Exemption clauses

Clauses in a contract that try to restrict the liability of the party that writes them.


Express terms

The terms actually stated in the contract. These can be the written terms, or verbal ones agreed before or at the time the contract is made (see implied terms).


Fee earners

Employees of firms providing legal services who charge people using those services for their work. Forfeited (to the Crown) – where someone dies intestate, or their will is invalid, their estate might be passed on to the state if relatives cannot be traced.



The process of delivering or presenting forms and other documents to a court. For example a claim or a defence to a claim must be filed.


Fixed costs

Costs in civil cases that are set at a certain level and can be claimed in specific circumstances. For example, if a defendant does not acknowledge a claim, the claimant can obtain judgment and an order for fixed costs to offset the cost of beginning the claim.



Commercial agreements that allow one business to deal in a product or service controlled by another. For example, most car manufacturers give franchises to sell their cars to local garages, who then operate using the manufacturer’s brand.



Someone acting in a way that deceives or is dishonest to result in their own financial or personal gain.




Something that is the cause of a particular action being taken, for example infidelity is often given as the grounds for divorce.



Someone who promises to make payment for another if payment is not made by the person responsible for making the repayments of a loan or hire purchase agreement.



A person appointed to safeguard/protect/manage the interests of a child or person under mental disability.




Legal proceeding where the facts of a particular issue are looked at, and evidence is presented to help decide what the outcome should be.




Not having or showing any favouritism to one side in a dispute.



Compensation for – or protection against loss or damages that might be given by someone who is bound by a contract, to someone else bound by the same contract.



Someone free from outside control or influence to act in the way they choose



Also known as a minor: A person under 18 years of age which prevents them from acting on their own behalf in legal proceedings.



Parts of someone’s estate that passes to someone else following that person’s death, often in line with what is written in their will.


In-house lawyer

Lawyers working for organisation such as banks or local authorities to provide legal advice to the organisation.



A court order which either restrains a person from a course of action or behaviour, or which requires a person to follow another course of action.



Being unable to pay debts when they are due, which can in some cases lead to a court declaring bankruptcy.



A method of paying a debt in several parts at intervals. Payment by instalments is agreed to make the burden of repayment lighter



Employing a lawyer to represent you in a legal situation: an instruction describes the type of work you want them to do.



Acting with honest and with strong moral principles.



An involvement or legal right that someone might have in something, such as a business or possessions.



A charge for borrowed money, a percentage of the sum borrowed.


Interest Rate Swap

An interest rate swap is an agreement between two parties (known as counterparties) where one stream of future interest payments is exchanged for another based on a specified principal amount.



Someone who dies without having made a will.




An officer appointed to administer the law and who has authority to hear and try cases in a court of law



The decision or sentence issued by a court in legal proceedings


Judicial discretion (civil)

Judges have the power to decide how best to manage the case on the individual facts. They do not necessarily have to look at how similar cases are managed. The judge has very wide case management powers under Rule 3 of the civil procedure rules to decide on the evidence parties produce how best to manage their case.



The area and matters over which a court has legal authority.



A person under 17 years of age.



No Terms available




A person or organisation which owns land and / or buildings which are leased to tenants.


Landlord and Tenant Act

Act which empowers applications (seeking extension of a lease or some other action concerning tenancy.



The system made up of rules established by an act of parliament, custom or practice enjoining or prohibiting certain action.


Law firm

Organisations that employ lawyers to provide legal advice and legal services.


Law Society of England and Wales

The Law Society is the organisation that represents solicitors and their interests in England and Wales.



A professional who is qualified and authorised to provide legal services to people. To be a lawyer in England and Wales they must be regulated under the Legal Service Act 2007.


Lay representative

A person, not legally qualified, who accompanies another during a court hearing. The person may be a colleague, friend or spouse.



The letting of land or tenements, e.g. rent etc, for property for a prescribed period



‘Permission’. Some steps in legal action require the permission of the court. For example a losing party may be granted leave to appeal.


Legal advice

Advice about the law and your options from a qualified legal representative or advice centre


Legal Aid

State funded assistance, for those on low incomes, to cover legal fees. Please note: Gorvins are not able to offer this service.


Legal Personal Representative

The person to whom a grant of probate or letters of ADMINISTRATION has been issued.


Legal services

Support that clients may receive from lawyers, such as legal advice or defence in court.


Legal services provider

A lawyer or a law firm, or alternative business structures that provide legal services.


Letters of Administration

authority granted by a Probate Registry to someone interested in the estate of a person who has died without leaving a will. The order allows the ‘administrator’ to carry out the duties relating to the estate.



when someone is legally responsible for something.



Responsibility or obligation. For example, a debt is a liability or responsibility.



A written and published statement/article which infers damaging remarks on a persons reputation.



Permission to carry out an act that would otherwise be considered illegal



Legal proceedings or court action. Litigation can be either civil or criminal proceedings.


Litigation friend

A person who conducts legal proceedings on behalf of a child or a mentally incapacitated person.



The process of filing (delivering) documents to a court. See also filing.



Maintenance Pending Suit

A temporary order for financial provision made within divorce proceedings until such time as the proceedings are finalised (i.e. by issue of the Decree Absolute)



Administration that leads to injustice because of such factors as excessive delay, bias or arbitrary decision-making. Matter(see Originating Application) Proceedings commenced by way of originating application



A process for resolving disagreements in which an impartial third party (the mediator) helps people in dispute to find a mutually acceptable resolution. If mediation fails court proceedings can be initiated or re-activated



Someone below 18 years of age and unable to sue or be sued without representation, other than for wages. A minor sues by a next friend and defends by a guardian



A legal word that can describe someone’s actions if they behave in an unlawful or wrong way on purpose.


Mitigation Reasons

Submitted on behalf of a guilty party in order to excuse or partly excuse the offence committed in an attempt to minimise the sentence


Money Claim

A claim for money only in the county court. The claim can be for a fixed on unspecified amount. See also unspecified amount of money


Money Claim Online (MCOL)

An online Service that allows claimants to start legal proceedings which relate to money. Defendants can use the service to respond to a claim against them also


Money laundering

A process where money is obtained from crime is channelled into genuine businesses to disguise where the money came from.



A loan of money advanced to purchase property. The transfer of the property is withheld as security for payment



The party obtaining the loan



The party that advances the loan


Next Friend

(see GUARDIAN) A person representing a minor or mental patient who is involved in legal proceedings



Northampton Bulk Centre

Bulk users in court actions are businesses and local authorities. Their claims are issued by this centre in the name of Northampton County Court. This centre deals with administrative casework on a larger scale than most courts. For example, they will issue debt recovery and hire purchase claims in multiples for businesses



A lawyer providing document witnessing and other legal services.


Notice of Issue Notice

Sent by a Court to the claimant giving notification of the case number allocated to their action and details of fees paid. Confirms date of service


Notice to Quit

Gives prior notice, when served in possession proceedings, of termination of a tenancy



Application to the Court for a declaration that a marriage be declared ‘void’ or be annulled i.e. declared never to have existed or to have subsisted until the Court dissolved it



Disagreement with an argument or set out by another at the hearing



A requirement to take a particular type of action, that may have a legal basis through a contract.


Official Receiver

A civil servant who works for the Department of trade and Industry and is appointed by the Court to act as:-

  1. i) a liquidator when a company is being wound up;
  2. ii) a trustee when an individual is made bankrupt.

The duties of an official receiver will include examining the company/bankrupt’s property which is available to pay the debts and distributing the money amongst the creditors



Independent ‘referees’ who consider complaints against public and private organisations in a wide range of fields including housing, health and banking. They are often used as a last resort when complaints cannot be resolved through an organisation’s own complaints procedure. Ombudsman services are free to use. Recommendations made by ombudsmen are not binding on the person making the complaint (complainant). They can still go to court even if the ombudsman decided against them



A failure to perform a particular act where there was a duty or legal requirement for that act to be carried out.


Oral evidence

Evidence given to a court, verbally rather than in writing


Oral Examination

A method of questioning a person under oath before an officer of the Court to obtain details of their financial affairs



A direction by a Court


Originating Application (see MATTER)

A method of commencing proceedings under the authority of a specific act of parliament, e.g. Landlord and Tenant Act, whereby the applicant asks the Court to grant an order in their favour



An order within an injunction to force a person to leave a property.



The way something turns out – in legal services this can mean the result for a client that comes from the actions of their lawyer.


Out -of-court settlement

An agreement between two sides in a court case to settle the case privately before the court makes its decision.




A broad term sometimes used to describe someone who supports lawyers in their work.



People working at senior levels within the ownership of law firms who may receive benefits such as equity shares in the firm. Some partners are known as “salaried partners” and remain as an employee of the firm.


Particulars of claim

This document contains details of the claimant’s claim which must be contained in the claim form or served shortly after the claim form has been served. The particulars should be a concise statement of the facts of the claim.


Party / parties

People involved in court proceedings either as the defendant(s) or claimant(s).



A person who is deemed incapable of handling his/her own affairs by reason of mental incapacity and who is under the jurisdiction of the Court of Protection.


Personal Application

Application made to the Court without legal representation.


Personal injury claim

A civil claim, which relates to physical or mental harm suffered by a claimant, due to the defendant’s alleged negligence.


Personal Service

Personal delivery (i.e. not by mail) of a claim, summons or notice



A method of commencing proceedings whereby the order required by the petitioner from the Court is expressed as a prayer, e.g. the petitioner therefore prays that the marriage be dissolved (divorce proceedings).



A person who presents the petition.






Documents setting out claim/defence of parties involved in civil proceedings.


Possession Claim Online (PCOL)

An online Service which allows claimants to start legal proceedings related to property online. Defendants can use the service to respond to a claim against them also.



Proceedings Legal proceedings by a landlord to recover land or property such as a house or flat.


Pre-action protocols

These are steps to be followed by parties to a dispute prior to legal action. The aim is to increase co-operation between parties and therefore the chances of an early settlement.



The decision of a case which established principles of law that act as an authority for future cases of a similar nature.


Preliminary hearing

A hearing in which the Judge ensures that the parties understand what they must do to comply with any directions and offers guidance on such matters as the use of an expert witness. This hearing is before the final hearing.



A legal permission provided by a Probate Registry for someone to deal with someone else’s estate after they die: a Probate Registry is an office where someone can be interviewed in order to be provided with a probate permission.



The document commencing a claim or subsequent action


Public interest

The overall welfare of the general public. Public trustee A person (usually a barrister or solicitor) appointed by the Lord Chancellor as

  1. i) trustee for trusts managed by the Public trust Office;
  2. ii) Accountant General for Court Funds;

iii) Receiver (of last resort) for Court of Protection patients


Putative Father

The alleged or supposed father of an illegitimate child




To annul; i.e. to declare no longer valid


Queen’s Counsel

Barristers of at least ten years standing may apply to become queen’s counsel. QCs undertake work of an important nature and are referred to as ‘silks’ which is derived from the Courts gown that is worn. Will be known as king’s counsel if a king assumes the throne



Respondent (Family)

The person on whom a petition or originating application is served.


Respondent (Civil & Crime)

The defending party (person) in an appeal or in a petition to the courts. See also Appellant.


Response pack

A response pack is sent to the defendant in a civil claim with the claim form or with the particulars of claim (if they were served separately). The pack contains all the forms needed to reply to the claim.



The likelihood that a particular choice or action might lead to a loss or damage.


Roll of solicitors

A list of all solicitors regulated by the SRA: Solicitors must be on the roll and hold a current practising certificate (PC) to be able to practise as a solicitor in England and Wales.




A penalty imposed on a person involved in a case if he or she, for example, fails to comply with directions or refuses to consider an alternative to court. Even though a person wins a case, the judge may order them to pay the other party’s costs.



Paying a debt or settling an obligation by an act or deed.



Delivery by post, or in person, of the claim form, or other court documents.



A voluntarily agreement by the claimant and defendant to settle their civil case.



Spoken words which have a damaging effect on a person’s reputation.



Member of the legal profession chiefly concerned with advising clients and preparing their cases and representing them in some Courts. May also act as advocates before certain Courts or tribunals. In England and Wales their name must appear on the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s roll of solcitors and they must hold a practising certificate issued by the Solicitor’s Regulation Authority.


Specified amounts of money

A specific and easily calculable amount of money, such as a debt owed to a claimant.


Specified claim

A type of claim which is issued for a fixed amount of money allegedly owing. Previously known as a liquidated claim.



The occupation of land or property without the owner’s consent.



The occupation of land or property without the owner’s consent.



A written account by a witness of the facts of details of a matter.


Statement of case

The statement of case contains the outline of the claimant’s case and includes: (i) a claim form, (ii) the particulars of claim – where these are not included in the claim form; (iii) the defence and (iv) a reply to the defence (v) any counterclaim.


Statement of truth

Every statement of case must be verified by a statement of truth, signed by the parties involved. A statement of truth is a statement that says that a party believes the facts they have written down are true.


Stay of Execution

An order following which judgment cannot be enforced without leave of the court


Striking a case out (striking out)

The court can strike out a case (prevent all further proceedings) if a party fails to comply with a rule, practice direction or court order. It can also happen if it appears there are no reasonable grounds for bringing or defending a claim. Either party (the defendant or the claimant) can ask the court to strike a case out.



A summons issued to a person directing their attendance in Court to give evidence.



Legal proceedings commenced by petition.



Person bringing a suit before the Courts.


Summary Assessment (of costs)

When a court makes a cost order it may make a summary assessment of costs immediately after it has made the order. The court will usually make a summary assessment.


Summary Judgment

A judgment obtained by a claimant where there is no defence to the case or the defence contains no valid grounds. A summary judgment can be obtained without a trial or hearing. A defendant can also obtain summary judgment if he or she can establish that the claimant has no real prospect of succeeding on the claim. You have to apply to the court for a summary judgement hearing to take place.


Summary procedure

A procedure by which the court when making an order about costs, orders payment of a sum of money instead of fixed costs or detailed assessment.



A person’s undertaking to be liable for another’s default or non-attendance at Court.




A person which holds land or property under a lease.



A person who makes a will.


Third party

A person who is not party to a legal case, but may be relevant because he or she owes the defendant money. In that case the defendant can issue a third party notice against such a party


Third party debt order

An order issued by a Claimant, against a third party, to seize money or other assets in their keeping, but belonging to the debtor. Orders can be granted preventing a defendant from withdrawing money from their bank or building society account. The money is paid to the claimant from the account. A third party debt order can also be sent to anyone who owes the defendant money.



An action in tort is a claim for damages to compensate the claimant for harm suffered. Such claims arise from cases of personal injury, breach of contract and damage to personal reputation. As well as damages, remedies include an injunction to prevent harm occurring again.



A public hearing in which the evidence in a case, and the law which applies, are examined.


Trial (civil)

Civil trials are generally held before one or more judges without a jury. The form and length of a civil trial will depend on the track to which the case has been allocated.


Trial bundles

These are the documents that are likely to be referred to in a trial or tribunal hearing. Identical bundles are prepared for the judge and the parties to the case.


Trial contents

The contents of the trial include any written statements and documents in trial bundles.


Trial Window

A period of time within which the case must be listed for trial.



A tribunal is a body outside of the court structure. They hear disputes relating to specific areas such as immigration, employment and some tax matters and adjudicate on them. Tribunals are thought to be cheap and fast and allow expert knowledge to be applied.



Property legally entrusted to a person with instructions to use it for another person (or persons benefit).



A person who holds or administers property in a trust for another (or others).




A promise, which can be enforced by law, made by a party (person) or their legal representative during legal proceedings.


Unspecified amount of money

An unspecified amount of money is one which is not precise. For example, if you are claiming damages (compensation) for loss or injury, you might not be able to work out exactly what those damages are.


Unspecified Claim

A claim where the amount to be awarded is left to the Court to determine, e.g. damages to be assessed for personal injuries. Previously known as an unliquidated claim.



Varied order

If a defendant has been ordered to pay an amount in full or by instalments, which they cannot afford, they can ask the court to vary the order to allow payment by instalments or by reduced instalments.



Something is voluntary when it is entered into without compulsion, as a result of the free choice of the person(s) concerned.




High Court action making a minor a ward of court


Warrant of Delivery

Method of enforcing a judgment for the return of goods (or value of the goods) whereby a bailiff is authorised to recover the goods (or their value) from the debtor and return them to the creditor.


Warrant of Execution

A method of enforcing a judgment, The bailiff is authorised to remove goods belonging to a defendant from their home or business for sale at public auction.


Warrant of Possession

This gives court bailiffs the authority to take possession of a property and evict the defendant in cases, where an order for possession has been granted by a court.


Warrant of Restitution

A remedy available following illegal re-entry of premises by persons evicted under a warrant of possession. The bailiff is authorised to evict all occupants found on the premises and re-deliver the premises to the plaintiff.



A declaration of a person’s intentions to distribute his/her estate and assets.


Winding up

The voluntary or compulsory closure of a company and the subsequent realisation of assets and payment to creditors.



A person who gives evidence in Court, called to give evidence because they witnesses an event (see also Expert witness)


Witness summons

A document issued by a court which requires a person to give evidence in court or to produce a report or other documentation for the court.


Written evidence / statement

A written statement of relevant facts which is submitted to the court.



No Terms available


No Terms available


No Terms available


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