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NALA 76 Lower Gardiner Street, A Plain English Guide Dublin 1, Ireland. 01 855 4332 to Legal T erms firstname.lastname@example.org www.nala.ie What is the National Adult Literacy Agency? The National Adult Literacy Agency (NALA) is a non-profit membership organisation, concerned with national co-ordination, training and policy development in adult and from that time has campaigned for recognition andin 1980 response to the adult literacy problem in Ireland. NALA receives a grant from the Department of Education and offices. In addition, the Department of Social, Community andnal Family Affairs provide NALA with a grant towards staffing and publicity costs. The Department of Health and Children and FÁS also fund specific development work. 01 855 433• literacy@nal•.www.nala.ie A Plain English Guide to Legal Terms 2003 A Plain English Guide to Legal Terms Published by National Adult Literacy Agency 76 Lower Gardiner Street, Dublin 1. © 2003 National Adult Literacy Agency The copyright in this guide belongs to the National Adult Literacy Agency. ISBN 1-871737-29-x The views expressed in this publication are not necessarily the views of the National Adult Literacy Agency. Introduction The language used in law is changing. There are many legal phrases that non-lawyers don’t understand. This guide is intended to help non-lawyers understand legal phrases and to give lawyers guidance in explaining the legal phrases they use. Although it comprises over 60 pages with over 1,400 words explained, this is not a complete dictionary of legal terms in use in Ireland. The explanations in this guide are not intended to be alternatives. Lawyers will continue to use legal phrases when necessary. This publication is designed to explain ideas and concepts rather than to give legal definitions. We invite your suggestions for additions. Please e-mail us at email@example.com your ideas. The National Adult Literacy Agency (NALA) would like to thank Patrick O’Connor, B.C.L., LL.B., Solicitor of Swinford, County Mayo who edited the legal content of the guide. He was President of the Law Society of Ireland in 1999. NALA would also like to thank: ▯ The Plain English Campaign in the UK for providing the bulk of the initial information from their ‘A to Z of legal terms in plain English’. ▯ Kieron Wood for making available ‘Glossary of legal terms’ from his website (http://welcome.to/barrister) as a reference point from his website. ▯ The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions for their ‘Glossary of Legal terms’. 3 A Plain English Guide to Legal Terms Abrogation A Annulment; repeal (of a law) Ab initio* Abscond From the beginning. When a person fails to present Abandonment themselves before the court Giving up a legal right. when required. Abatement Absolute ▯ Cancelling a writ or action; Complete and unconditional. ▯ stopping a nuisance; Absolute owner ▯ reducing the payments to creditors in proportion if The only owner of property there is not enough money to Absolute privilege pay them in full; or ▯ reducing the gifts in a will, inefence which can be used in proportion, when there is nota case of defamation if the enough money to pay them in statement from which the full. defamation arose was: made in either house of the Oireachtas Abduction (Dáil or Seanad) in fair and Taking someone away by force. accurate news reporting of court proceedings; or made Abovementioned during court proceedings. Describing something which has been referred to before in Abstract of title the document. A document summarising the title deeds to a property. Please note: Words marked * are Latin in origin Words marked † are French in origin 5 A Plain English Guide to Legal Terms Abuse of process Accused When court proceedings are The person charged with a brought against a person criminal offence. without any good reason and with malice. Acknowledgement Admitting that someone has a Abuttals claim or admitting that a debt The parts of the boundaries of exists. a piece of land which touch land alongside. Acquiescence Action or inaction which legally Acceptance binds someone. When an offer is accepted Acquit unconditionally a legally When a court lets a person go binding agreement is created. Acceptance of service without any penalty. If a court decides that a person is not When a solicitor accepts court guilty of a crime, or the case proceedings on behalf of a client.has not been proved, it will acquit the person. Acceptor The organisation which will pay Acquittal the cheque or bill of exchange The court's decision that a it has accepted. person is innocent of the crime they were charged with. Accessory Someone who encourages or Act of bankruptcy helps another person to commit An act which, if carried out by a crime. a person with debts, could have Accomplice led to bankruptcy proceedings against that Someone who helps another person. person to commit a crime. Act of God Accounts An event resulting from natural The record of spending and causes without human financial situation. intervention (such as floods or earthquakes). Accumulation Reinvesting income generated Action by a fund back into the fund. Proceedings in a civil court. 6 Active trust Active trust Additional voluntary contribution (AVC) A trust where the trustees have other responsibilities rather Extra money people in than to just let the beneficiariesoccupational pension schemes have the trust's assets when can pay in to increase their they ask for them. pension benefits. Actual loss Ademption An insurance term which When a gift in a will cannot be means that the insured item no made because the item no longer exists. longer exists. Actuary Adjourned sine die An expert on pension scheme When a court case has no date assets and liabilities, life fixed for it to continue. expectancy and probabilities Adjournment (the likelihood of things happening) for insurance Postponing a court hearing. purposes. Adjudge Actus reus* To give an official judgement An act which is illegal, about something. Ad hoc* Adjudication For a particular purpose. Formal judgment or decision of a court. Ad idem* In agreement. Administrative law Law which applies to hearings Ad infinitum* before quasi-judicial or Endlessly or forever. administrative tribunals. Ad interim* Administrator For the time being. Someone who has been Ad valorem* appointed to manage the estate of someone who has died In proportion to the value. without leaving a will. Admissibility of evidence Evidence which can be presented in court. 7 A Plain English Guide to Legal Terms Admission Advocate One side in a case agreeing The lawyer who speaks in court that something the other side for a client. has alleged is true. Affidavit Admonition A written statement which is Reprimanding of a defendant sworn to be true by the person by a judge. signing it. Adoption Affirm The system which people use to Solemnly promise to tell the become parents even though truth in court or in an affidavit. they are not the child's natural Affirmation parents. Solemnly promising to tell the Adoptive child truth when giving evidence. A child who has been legally Affray adopted. Fighting unlawfully. Adoptive parent Aforementioned A person who has legally adopted a child. Describing something referred to previously in a document. ADR Alternative dispute resolution Aforesaid such as arbitration, mediation Describing something which and conciliation. has been said or referred to before in a document. Adverse possession Occupying of land, without Age of consent The age when a girl can legal title for long enough – consent to have sexual normally 12 years – to be recognized as the legal owner intercourse. ("squatter's rights"). Agency Adverse witness The relationship between a A witness who gives evidence principal and an agent. which damages the case of the side which asked the witness to Agent testify for them. Person with power to contract or act on behalf of others. 8 Aggravated assault Aggravated assault All that A serious type of assault. Words used in a conveyance to Aggravated damages introduce the description of the property which is being Exceptional damages awarded transferred. by a court where a defendant's behaviour towards the plaintiff Allegation or victim has been particularly An unproved statement humiliating, malicious or declaring that something has vindictive. happened. Aider and abettor Alleviate One who advises or encourages To lessen. the commission of a crime. Allocation rate Aiding and abetting The proportion of money left to Helping someone to commit a be invested after charges have crime. been taken off when money is paid into a fund. Airspace The space in the atmosphere Allotment directly above a piece of land. Shares allocated to a buyer. Alias Alternate director A false name. A person appointed by a director to take the director's Alien place. Someone from a foreign country. Alternative dispute resolution Alienation Transferring the ownership of Method by which disputes are resolved, other than through property from one person to litigation, usually by mediation another. or arbitration. All and sundry Alternative verdict Everybody. A person being found guilty of a less serious crime than the one they were charged with. 9 A Plain English Guide to Legal Terms Amalgamation Annuitant Two or more companies The person who gets paid a combining. yearly amount. Ambiguity Annuity Capability of more than one An amount paid out every year meaning. to someone. Ambulatory will Annul A will which can be revoked or Cancel. changed while the person who made it is still living. Ante* Before. Amicus curiae* Advisor to the court on a point Antecedents Details about the past of a of law who is appointed by the defendant or a person. court to represent a person. Amnesty Antedate Not punishing a person for an A date before a document was offence committed. drawn up. Antenuptial agreement Ancient lights The right not to have the light A legal agreement between two you receive from a neighbour's people who are to get married. land blocked. Anton Piller order Annual accounts An order by the Court which The summary of financial gives the applicant permission transactions during the year. to search the defendant's premises for evidence, inspect Annual general meeting it and take it away. The yearly meeting of the Appeal members of an organisation. Annual return Challenge to a court decision in a higher court. A return which must be sent Appearance by a company to the Registrar of Companies each year. The act of replying to a summons or turning up in court and accepting its jurisdiction to proceedings. 10 Appellant Appellant Arraignment The person who is appealing to Procedure for calling accused a court against a decision of a before court to answer charges lower court. and to say whether he or she is guilty or not guilty. Appellate jurisdiction The authority a court has to Arrears hear an appeal against a Accumulated debt which has decision made by a lower court. not been paid on the due date. Applicant Arrest The person asking a court to do To seize someone suspected of something. committing a crime and take Appointee them into custody. Arson The person who gets the benefit of the use of a power of Setting fire to something to appointment. cause damage to it. Appointor Articles The person who uses a power The clauses in a document. of appointment. Articles of association Apportionment The document which set out a Division of rights and liabilitiescompany's rules. Appurtenances Assault Minor rights in land. Touching – or threatened touching – of another person Arbitrage without that person's consent. Borrowing money at a low rate of interest to lend out again at Assent a higher rate. A document used by personal Arbitration representatives to transfer property to a beneficiary. Settling a dispute by using a referee. Asset Something owned Arbitrator Referee who settles a dispute Assign without the need to use the Transfer. courts. 11 A Plain English Guide to Legal Terms Assignment Attorney The formal transfer of the A person appointed to act for rights to something. another person. Assurance Attorney General Insurance cover for an event Legal adviser to the which will definitely happen Government. such as death. Audi Alteram Partem* Assure Hear the other side. Transfer the ownership of something. Audit An independent examination of Assured records and financial The person whose life is statements. insured or who is entitled to Auditor's report receive the benefit from the assurance cover. A report and opinion by an independent person or firm on Attachment and committal financial records. Bringing a person before court with threat of imprisonment for Auterfois convict* failure to obey the court’s Formerly convicted. One may order. not be convicted twice for the same offence. Attachment of earnings A court order that deductions Authentication be made from a person's Verification of document for legal purposes. earnings. Attachment Authorised investments Investments in which a trustee Procedure by which judgement on property maybe enforced. is permitted to invest trust money. Attest Authorised share capital To witness a signature on a document. The highest amount of share capital that a company can Attestation issue. Authentication of an act or document by a witness. 12 Autopsy Autopsy Banker's draft An examination of a dead body A cheque drawn by a bank on to find the cause of death. itself. Averment Bankrupt Positive factual allegation in an Someone who has had a affidavit. bankruptcy order made concerning him. B Bankruptcy order Bail An order that a court issues against someone if they cannot To pay, or promise to pay, an pay their debts when they are amount of money so that an due to be paid. accused person is not put in prison before the trial. Bankruptcy search A document which states Bailee whether or not someone is A person looking after items to bankrupt. keep them safe for the owner. Bar Bailiff The collective term for An officer of the court who carries out the court's orders. barristers. When a person becomes a barrister it is called Bailiwick 'being called to the bar'. The area over which a bailiff Bare trust has jurisdiction. A trust which holds property Bailment on behalf of a person until they ask for it back. Transferring possession of goods from the owner to Bare trustee someone else. Someone who holds property Bailor on behalf of another person until asked to return it. The owner of goods which are in the possession of another Bargain and sale person for safekeeping. A contract to sell any property or investment in land that a Balance sheet person owns. Summary of a financial position. 13 A Plain English Guide to Legal Terms Barrister Beneficiary A member of one branch of the Someone who benefits from a legal profession who advises will, a trust or a life insurance clients, generally works in the policy. courts, and who receives instructions from a solicitor. Bequeath Barristers do not normally deal To give something to a person with members of the public. in a will. Barter Bequest A way of paying for things by Something given in a will. exchanging goods instead of Bigamy using money. The offence committed by Battery someone who is already Using physical force on married but still goes through a someone either intentionally or marriage ceremony with without their agreement. someone else. Bearer Bill of costs Person who has a document in The account a solicitor sends to their possession. a client giving details of any outlay the solicitor has paid on Bench behalf of the client, the fee The name for the judges in a charged and expenses. court. Bill of exchange Bench warrant A signed written order A warrant issued by a court for instructing the person to whom the arrest of an accused person it is addressed to pay an who has failed to attend court. amount of money to someone. A cheque is a type of bill of Beneficial interest exchange. Belonging to a person even though someone else is the Bill of lading legal owner. A document recording the goods a ship carries and the Beneficial owner terms the goods are carried The actual owner of property. under. 14 Bill of sale Bill of sale Bonded goods A document which transfers Goods for which a bond has ownership of goods from one been paid to the Revenue person to another. Commissioners (Customs and Excise) as security for the duty Binding effect owed on the goods. An agreement that must be kept to. Bonded warehouse A warehouse approved by The Binding over Revenue Commissioners An order by a court in a (Customs and Excise) for criminal case. storing goods imported into the Binding precedent country until the duty on them Following the decisions made has been paid or the goods have been exported to another by higher courts. country. Blackmail Bonus shares Demanding payment from a Free shares that a company person in return for not offers to its shareholders in revealing something shameful proportion to their existing about them. shareholdings. Bodily harm Book value Physical injury or pain. The value of a fixed asset, such Bona fide* as a building or machine, as In good faith. recorded in the accounts. Bona vacantia* Bought note Goods or an estate belonging to A document showing details of nobody. a purchase by someone for a third party. Stockbrokers Bond produce bought notes for their clients. A written promise to repay a debt at an agreed time and to Breach of contract pay an agreed rate of interest Failing to carry out a duty on the debt. under a contract. 15 A Plain English Guide to Legal Terms Breach of duty Bye-law or bylaw Failing to carry out something A law made by a local authority which is required by law or or an organisation which has doing something the law power to do so. forbids. Breach of trust C When a trustee does something Call which is against the trust's rules or fails to do something Asking people to pay for new required by the trust's rules. shares they have applied for. Break clause Called-up capital A clause in a contract which All the shares called by a allows it to be ended. company when it issues shares. Brief A document prepared by a Canon law solicitor which contains the The name for the rules used for instructions for the barrister to governing a Christian church. follow when acting in court. Capacity Building preservation notice Someone's ability to enter into a legal agreement. A notice that a building is listed. Capital allowances Burden of proof Allowances that you can sometimes claim when you buy A rule of evidence that requires a party to a court action to long-term assets to use in your prove something, business. otherwise the contrary will be Capital gain assumed by the court. For example, in criminal trials, the The profit you make if you sell prosecution has the burden of or dispose of an asset for more proving the accused guilty than it cost you. beyond a reasonable doubt. Capital gains tax Burglary A tax charged on a capital gain. Entering a building without Capital punishment permission with the intention Punishing someone for a crime of stealing or doing damage. by killing them. 16 Capital redemption reserve Capital redemption reserve Caution A company has this reserve in A warning given by a Garda to its financial records if any of a suspected criminal when he the shares it has issued are is arrested; a document sent to cancelled. the Land Registry by someone who may have a right over Care order land, which requests that no An order by a court instructing dealings in the land are a local authority to care for a registered until the person with child. the right has been told. Careless driving Caveat* Driving a car without A formal warning. consideration for other people. Caveat emptor* Cartel 'Buyer beware'. An agreement between businesses to restrict Central Criminal Court competition and keep prices The High Court sitting to deal high. with serious criminal offences such as rape and murder. Case law Law that is based on the Certificate of incorporation results of previous court cases. A certificate stating that a company has been Case stated incorporated. The written statement setting out the facts of a case. Certificate of origin Causation A certificate stating in which country the goods being One thing being done causing imported were made. something else to happen. Cause of action Certiorari* An order by the High Court The reason someone is entitled that a case should be reviewed. to sue someone else. Challenge for cause When the defence objects to a juror and says why it objects. 17 A Plain English Guide to Legal Terms Challenge to a jury Charges clause When either side in a case A clause which appears in objects to the people who have some contracts and sets out been selected to serve on the who should pay for certain jury before they are sworn in. items. Challenge without cause Charging clause When a person objects to a Trustees can charge the trust juror but does not say why. for their services if there is a charging clause. Chambers Judge's personal rooms where Charging order cases may be heard in private A court judgement which a or “in camera”. creditor may get against the Charge person or organisation which owes the money giving the Formally accuse someone of creditor security over the committing a crime; Use debtor's property for repayment property as security for a debt of the debt. (such as a mortgage); or a direction given by a judge to Charity tell the jury what they must do. An organisation set up to do good for the community. Charge certificate A certificate which the Land Chattel Registry issues to the lender Any property except freehold who has lent money on the land. security of registered land. Chattels personal Charge sheet The name for goods which can The document on which a be touched such as watches, garda records details of the clothes and furniture. accusation against a suspect. Chattels Chargeable event Moveable property. An event that may create a tax liability. Cheat A person who fails to send tax Chargeable gain returns to the tax Revenue A gain on which capital gains Commissioners or fails to pay tax is payable. the tax owing. 18 Cheque Cheque Circuit Court A written order addressed to a Court above the District Court bank instructing the bank to and below the High Court, with pay an amount of money to the power to award damages up to person or organisation named k38,000 (as at September 2003) on the cheque. and deal with most criminal cases. Cheque card A card issued by a bank to a Circuit judge customer. A judge who is in charge of cases in the Circuit Court. Child abuse Molestation or ill-treatment Circumstantial evidence suffered by a child. Evidence which suggests a fact Child Support Maintenance but does not prove the fact is true. The amount of maintenance the parent not living with their Citation child must pay. Quoting from a completed case to support an argument; or a Child notice sent out by someone Person under 18. wanting grant of probate or letters of administration asking Children in care people to come forward if they Children looked after by a local authority. object to it. Citizen's arrest Chose An item of property. An arrest by someone who is not a Garda. The offence must Chose in action be in the course of being A right such as a patent, or a committed or have already been committed when the right to recover a debt. arrest is made. Chose in possession Civil court An object which physically A court which does not hear exists, such as furniture. criminal cases. 19 A Plain English Guide to Legal Terms Claim Codicil Apply for a right; demand a Amendment to or addition of remedy; or an application for an existing will. something such as a right. Codifying statute Claimant A statute used to bring together The person making a claim. all the law on a particular subject. Class action Legal action taken by a number Coercion of different persons where the A defence that a crime was facts and the defendants are committed because the person similar. accused was forced to do it. Clause Cognisance A section in a contract. Notice. Clayton's Case Collateral This case established a Extra security for a debt. presumption that money Collusion withdrawn from an account is presumed to be debited against Illegal and usually secret the money first deposited “first agreement between two or more in, first out”. people to deceive a court or defraud another person. Clearing bank One of several major banks Commissioner for Oaths which work together to A person appointed by the Chief Justice to administer the exchange and pay for cheques swearing of oaths. which their customers have written. Committal for sentence Close company When judges have found A company controlled by a few someone guilty of a crime but people or by its directors. they think their sentencing powers are not enough. Closing order An order prohibiting the use of a licenced premises when the owner has been convicted of certain crimes. 20 Committal for trial Committal for trial Common seal When a judge looks at the The seal companies use to evidence in a case and then validate important company sends the case to be heard in documents. the Court. Commorientes* Committal order Closely related people who die An order used to send someone at the same time and it is to prison for contempt of court. unclear which of them died first. Committal proceedings Community service order A court hearing where a An order to do work in the District Judge decides if there community without pay. is enough evidence of a serious Company secretary crime to justify a trial by jury. Committee of inspection A person appointed by the directors of a company who is A committee appointed from responsible for making sure the creditors of a company in that the company complies liquidation to oversee the with the Companies Acts. liquidator's work. Company Common duty of care Legal entity which permits a The duty of the occupier of group of shareholders to create premises or land to take an organization to pursue set reasonable care of visitors to objectives. make sure that they are kept Compensation safe. Common law Money paid to make up for damage, injury or loss caused. Judge made law which has Compensation for loss of developed over centuries, also referred to as “unwritten law”. office Common law (as practised in Compensation an employer Ireland, England and the USA) pays to an employee whose is often contrasted with civil contract has been ended. law systems (as in France or Germany) where laws are set Compensation order An order by a court to a down in a written code. criminal to compensate the victim of the crime. 21 A Plain English Guide to Legal Terms Completion Condition Transferring property in A fundamental part of an exchange for payment. agreement. Compos Mentis* Condition precedent Of sound mind. Something which must happen before an agreement starts. Composition with creditors An arrangement between a Condition subsequent debtor and the creditors. Something which may happen in the future. Compulsory purchase Taking land when it is needed Conditional agreement for a public project, such as An agreement which depends roads or housing. on a certain thing happening in Compulsory winding up the future. Conditional discharge The liquidation of a company by order of the court. A court may decide not to Concealment punish a criminal immediately for an offence and may Failure to disclose information conditionally discharge the which the other side would criminal instead. need to consider when deciding whether or not to go ahead Conditional sale agreement with a transaction. An agreement by which the seller remains the owner of the Concealment of securities goods until all the instalments Hiding or destroying a document to gain benefit for yourself or have been paid and all other conditions have been met. cause other people loss of benefiConsecutive sentence Conclusive evidence When someone is sentenced for Evidence which cannot be different crimes and the disputed. sentences have to be served one after another. Concurrent sentence When someone is sentenced for Consent different crimes and the To agree to something. sentences are to be served at the same time. 22 Consent Order Consent Order Constructive trust Court order agreed between Trust imposed by a court in both sides. certain circumstances regardless of the intention of Consideration the parties involved. The price or value. Contempt Consign Deliberate disregard of a court To leave property in the order. custody of another. Consumer credit agreement Consignee An agreement by a creditor to The person goods have been provide credit to a consumer. sent to. Contemporaneous Consignor The person who sent the goods. Existing at the same time Contempt of Court Conspiracy Disobeying a court order; Combinations of persons for an abusing a judge during a court unlawful purpose. case; or interfering in the Construction administration of justice. Legal process of interpreting a Contemptuous damages phrase or document. A small amount of damages. Constructive Contingency fee Describing something which The claimant's lawyer gets paid may not be set out in the law the fee only if the case is won. but will nevertheless be considered to exist. Contingent legacy A gift in a will which will only Constructive dismissal Because the employer has be made if certain conditions are met. broken fundamental terms of Contract the contract of employment the employee has been forced to An agreement between two or resign. more people to do or not to do something. Constructive notice Presuming something is known. 23 A Plain English Guide to Legal Terms Contract for services Copyright A contract under which A legal right which stops things materials and services are being copied without provided. permission. Contract of exchange Coroner A contract to exchange goods A judicial person who or property without money investigates the cause of death being involved. when a person has suffered a sudden, violent or suspicious Contract of service death. The contract between employer and employee. Corporate body (or corporation) Contributory negligence A group of people acting Ones own carelessness together such as a club. contributing to the damage done to you or your property. Corporation tax A tax which companies pay. Conversion Exchanging one sort of Corpus* property for another or acting A body. unlawfully to deprive someone of their ownership of goods. Corpus delicti* The body of a person who has Convey been killed unlawfully; or the Transfer. facts which make up an offence. Conveyance The name of the document Costs which transfers the ownership The legal expenses of an action, of land. such as lawyers' fees, witness Conveyancing expenses and other fees paid out in bringing the matter to Carrying out all the actions court. needed to transfer the ownership of a piece of land. Counsel An advocate – usually a Conviction barrister or a solicitor. Being found guilty of a criminal offence. 24 Counterclaim Counterclaim Criminal damage Making a claim in court against The criminal offence of causing someone who has already made damage to someone else's a claim against you. property either recklessly or intentionally. Counterfeit Something that is forged or Criminal responsibility copied with the intention of When someone reaches the age deceiving. when the law says they are able to commit a criminal Counterpart offence they have reached the An exact copy of a document. age of criminal responsibility. Coupon Cross-examine A dated piece of paper attached To question a witness for the to a bond. other side. Court of Appeal Culpa* A court which hears appeals A fault. against the decisions of other courts. Cum dividend With dividend. Covenant A legally binding promise. Curfew Ordering someone to stay at a Creditor named place at stated times of A person you owe money, goods the day or night. or services to. Curtilage Creditors' voluntary Land around a dwelling house winding up If a company is insolvent used by the occupants for their enjoyment or work. (cannot pay its debts when they Customs duties are due for payment) the members can pass a special Duties which are charged on resolution to have the company imports of goods. wound up (liquidated). Crime Act or omission forbidden by criminal law. 25 A Plain English Guide to Legal Terms Debt securities D Debts which can be bought and Damages sold. Financial compensation Debtor ordered by a court to offset losses or suffering caused by Person who owes money, goods another person's action or or services to a creditor. inaction. Deceit Dangerous driving When one person deliberately A standard of driving which misleads a second person with falls far below that of a careful, statement which causes the competent driver and it would second person to do something be obvious to such a driver that causes them damage. that it was dangerous to drive Decree that way. Order by a court. De facto* Decree absolute In fact or in reality. The final court order. De jure* Decree nisi* Rightfully. A provisional court order. De minimis non curat lex* Deed The law will not take account of A legal document which trifling matters. commits the person signing it De novo* to something. From the beginning, anew. Deed of arrangement Debenture A written agreement which can A document issued by a be made when a debtor is in company which acknowledges financial trouble between the that some or all of the debtor and the creditors. company's assets are security for a debt Defamation Making a statement, either Debt orally (slander) or in writing Money owed. (libel) which damages someone's reputation. 26 Default Default Descendant Failing to do something which Persons born of or from had been agreed to. children of another. Defence Determination The name for the lawyers End or finish. defending proceedings brought against someone. It is also in a Detinue civil case, a written statement byA right involving the the defendant setting out the defendant's retention of facts that the defence will rely on.operty belonging to the plaintiff after the plaintiff has Defendant demanded its return. A person defending a court Devise action. Delegatus non potest Gift of real property by will. Diminished responsibility delegare* A delegate cannot delegate. A defence sometimes used for someone charged with murder Dependant that they suffered lowered Someone who depends on powers of reasoning and someone else for support. judgement because of their unusual state of mind. Deponent A person who swears on oath Diocese that a statement is correct. The area covered by a Bishop's authority. Deposition A statement by a witness made Diplomatic immunity under oath. Immunity given to certain Depreciation members of foreign embassies, such as ambassadors, for The drop in value of an asset crimes they may have due to wear and tear committed. Derogation Direction/directing Damaging someone's rights or Judges must give juries entitlements. instructions on points of law. This is called directing the jury. 27 A Plain English Guide to Legal Terms Director District Court A person appointed to help First court in the Irish judicial manage a company's affairs. system, with power to award damages up to k6,349 (as at Director of Public September 2003) in civil cases, Prosecutions and to deal with most minor Independent official, a lawyer criminal cases. who decides whether to prosecute in criminal cases and District Judge in whose name a criminal Judge of the District Court. prosecutions are taken. Dividend Disbursement Proportionate distribution of A payment made on behalf of a profits made by a company in client. the form of a money payment Discharge to shareholders. Release from. Divorce The legal end to a marriage. Disclaim/disclaimer To give up a claim or a right or Doli Incapax* refuse to take over a contract. A person under the age of 14 but older than 7 is presumed Discretionary trust to be doli incapax but this A trust in which the trustees presumption is open to can decide who will benefit rebuttal: Under the age of 7 from the trust and how much they will get. the child is incapable of committing the offence. Disposal (dispose of) Domicile Selling, transferring or giving The country where your away. permanent home is even if you Distrain/distress are living somewhere else. To seize goods as security for Domicile of choice an unpaid debt. The country in which you make your home intending it to be Distraint permanent. Seizure of personal property to compel a person to fulfil a legal obligation. 28 Domicile of origin Domicile of origin Duces tecum* The domicile a newborn child Type of witness summons has. which requires a person to Domiciled appear before a court with specified documents. permanently based in a country. Duress Dominant tenement Threatening or pressurising someone to do something by Property or land that benefits force. from an easement such as a right of way. Duty A tax charged by the Donatio mortis causa* Government. Gift made by a dying person with the intent that the person receiving the gift shall keep it if the donor dies from his existing Easement complaint. A right to use someone else's land such as a right of way. Donee Emolument Beneficiary of a trust or person Wages, benefits or profits given a power of appointment. received as compensation for Donor holding office or employment. Person who gives property for Enabling legislation the benefit of another. Legislation which authorises Drawee bodies to create detailed rules The person who will pay a bill to accomplish general of exchange such as a cheque. principles set out in that In the case of a cheque the legislation. drawee is the bank that the cheque is drawn on. Endorsement of claim Summary of the facts Drawer supporting a legal claim. The person that has written a bill of exchange, such as a Endorsement person who has written a Writing on a document. cheque. 29 A Plain English Guide to Legal Terms Endowment policy Estate A type of insurance policy which All a person owns at the date of will pay out a lump sum on a their death; or the right to use fixed date in the future, or when land for a period of time. you die, if this happens earlier. Estimate Endowment A guide to do stated work for a Transfer of money or property set price. to a charitable organisation for a specific purpose. Estoppel A rule of law that a person Enduring power of attorney cannot deny something they A power of attorney which takes previously said if someone else effect in the future. A person acted on what was said and capable of dealing with their own their position was changed as a affairs at present can sign an result. enduring power of attorney. It will come into effect when they are no Et seq* longer capable of looking after and in the following pages. their own affairs. It gives authority to the person appointed Euthanasia to act for the person who signed Killing someone to end their the power of attorney. suffering. Engrossment Evidence Testimony of witnesses at a The final version of a document trial or the production of ready for it to be signed. documents or other materials to Equitable mortgage prove or disprove a set of facts. A type of mortgage Ex aequo et bono* Equity Most legal cases are decided on The principles of equity are the strict rule of law but where based on fairness. a case is decided ex aequo et bono the judge may make a Escrow decision based on what is just A deed which has been and fair in the circumstances. supplied but cannot become effective until a future date or Ex parte* Court application made without until a particular notice to the other side. event happens. 30 Ex* dividend Ex* dividend Exclusive licence Without dividend. A licence under which only the Ex gratia* licence holder has any rights. Describing something done or Execute given as a favour rather than a To carry out a contract. legal obligation. Executed Ex turpi causa non oritur Describing a document which actio* is made valid by being signed. A person may not sue for damage arising out of an illegal activity.Executive director A director who works full time Ex* works as a director of the company. Available from the factory. Executor Examination-in-chief Person appointed in a will to Questioning of a witness by the deal with an estate. party who called that witness. Executory After the examination-in-chief, the other side's lawyer may Describing something such as question the witnesses in a contract which has not been cross-examination. The first started yet. party may re-examine them but only about issues raised during Executrix the cross-examination. A woman appointed in a will to deal with an estate. Excess of jurisdiction Exemplary damages Someone acting without Damages given as a authority. punishment. Exchange of contract Exhibit Swapping identical contracts. Document or object shown to a Excise duty judge or jury as evidence in a A type of tax levied on certain trial. goods. Expert witness Exclusions An expert in a particular area The things a contract does not who is called to give an opinion provide cover for. in a court case. 31 A Plain English Guide to Legal Terms Express trust False pretence Trust specifically created by a Misleading someone by settlor usually in a document deliberately making a false such as a will. statement. Extradition False representation The handing over of a criminal Lying in a statement to to the country the crime was persuade someone to enter a committed in. contract. Extraordinary general Fee simple meeting Freehold estate in land. A general meeting of the members of a company which Fee tail is not the annual general Form of tenure that can only meeting. be transferred to a lineal descendant. Extraordinary resolution A resolution for consideration byFeme covert † the members of a company at a A woman who is married. general meeting of the members. Feme sole† Extraterritoriality A woman who is not married or no longer married. Operation of the laws of a state beyond the territorial limits of Fiduciary that state. In a position of trust. Fieri facias* F A writ of fieri facias commands Factor a sheriff to take and sell Someone buying or selling for a property to pay a debt owed by commission; or an organisation a judgment debtor. which provides finance for a business by advancing money Final judgement on the value of the invoices the The court's final decision in a business sends out. civil case. False imprisonment Wrongfully keeping someone in custody. 32 Fitness to plead Fitness to plead Fostering Whether or not the person Looking after other people's charged is capable of making children. an informed decision. If, because of mental illness, a Fraud person charged with an offence Lying or deceiving to make a is unable to understand what is profit or gain an advantage or going on the person may not be to cause someone else to make fit to plead guilty or not guilty. a loss or suffer a disadvantage. Fixed charge Fraudulent conveyance Ownership of land being A charge which provides transferred with the intention security for money lent. Floating charge of defrauding someone. Fraudulent preference A charge used to provide security for money lent to a company. Someone who is insolvent paying one of their creditors Forbearance while knowing there is not When one party to an enough money to pay the agreement does not pursue others. rights under the agreement even though the other party Fraudulent trading has not kept to its terms. Running a business with the intention of defrauding its Force majeure† creditors. An event which cannot be Free of encumbrances controlled and which stops duties under an agreement No one else having any rights from being carried out. over property. Freehold Foreclosure Repossessing property. Describing land that only the owner has any rights over. Forfeiture The loss of possession of a Freeholder property because the tenancy Person who owns freehold conditions have not been met property rights. by the tenant. Frustration Stopping a contract. 33 A Plain English Guide to Legal Terms Functus officio* Grant Having discharged his/her Proof that you are entitled to duty. deal with a dead person's estate. Futures contract A binding contract to buy or Grant of probate sell something on a date in the A Court certificate proving that future at a fixed price. the executors of a will are entitled to deal with the estate. G Gross negligence Act or omission in reckless Garnishee disregard of the consequences Person who owes a third party a debt which is attached by for the safety or property of court order for the benefit of a another. Guarantee judgment creditor. Garnishee order A promise by a person to repay a debt owed by a second A c
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