A Plain English Guide to Legal Terms 01 855 4332 • email@example.com • 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 firstname.lastname@example.org with 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: G 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’. G Kieron Wood for making available ‘Glossary of legal terms’ from his website (http://welcome.to/barrister) as a reference point from his website. G The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions for their ‘Glossary of Legal terms’. 3 A Plain English Guide to Legal Terms A Abrogation 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 G Cancelling a writ or action; Complete and unconditional. G stopping a nuisance; G 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 G A defence which can be used in reducing the gifts in a will, in a case of defamation if the proportion, when there is not statement from which the enough money to pay them in defamation arose was: made in full. 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 Abstract of title has been referred to before in 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 unconditionally a legally Acquit binding agreement is created. When a court lets a person go without any penalty. If a court Acceptance of service 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 led to bankruptcy Accomplice 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 Accumulation earthquakes). Reinvesting income generated Action by a fund back into the fund. Proceedings in a civil court. 6 Active trust Active trust Additional voluntary A trust where the trustees have contribution (AVC) other responsibilities rather Extra money people in than to just let the beneficiaries occupational 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 (the likelihood of things Adjournment 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 appointed to manage the estate Ad valorem* 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 parents. Affirmation Solemnly promising to tell the Adoptive child truth when giving evidence. A child who has been legally adopted. Affray Fighting unlawfully. Adoptive parent A person who has legally Aforementioned 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 legal title for long enough – The age when a girl can normally 12 years – to be consent to have sexual 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 Agent side which asked the witness to 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 introduce the description of the Aggravated damages 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 Method by which disputes are Transferring the ownership of 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 of law who is appointed by the Details about the past of a court to represent a person. defendant or a person. Amnesty Antedate Not punishing a person for an A date before a document was offence committed. drawn up. Ancient lights Antenuptial agreement 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 members of an organisation. Appeal Challenge to a court decision in Annual return a higher court. A return which must be sent by a company to the Registrar Appearance 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 them into custody. Appointee The person who gets the benefit Arson 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 liabilities. company'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 representatives to transfer Arbitration 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 receive the benefit from the Auditor's report 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 earnings. legal purposes. Attachment Authorised investments Procedure by which judgement Investments in which a trustee on property maybe enforced. is permitted to invest trust money. Attest To witness a signature on a Authorised share capital 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 An order that a court issues Bail 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 barristers. When a person carries out the court's orders. 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 Balance sheet or investment in land that a 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 has been paid or the goods Following the decisions made 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 recorded in the accounts. In good faith. Bona vacantia* Bought note A document showing details of Goods or an estate belonging to a purchase by someone for a nobody. third party. Stockbrokers Bond produce bought notes for their A written promise to repay a clients. 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 which is against the trust's Call 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 notice that a building is a legal agreement. listed. Capital allowances Burden of proof Allowances that you can A rule of evidence that requires sometimes claim when you buy 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 The profit you make if you sell example, in criminal trials, the or dispose of an asset for more prosecution has the burden of than it cost you. proving the accused guilty 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 A certificate stating in which Causation country the goods being One thing being done causing imported were made. something else to happen. Certiorari* Cause of action 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 person or organisation which Charge 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 but does not prove the fact is Child Support Maintenance 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 Children in care letters of administration asking people to come forward if they Children looked after by a local object to it. authority. Citizen's arrest Chose An arrest by someone who is An item of property. not a Garda. The offence must Chose in action be in the course of being committed or have already A right such as a patent, or a 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 withdrawn from an account is Collusion 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 exchange and pay for cheques Chief Justice to administer the which their customers have swearing of oaths. 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 crime to justify a trial by jury. Company secretary A person appointed by the Committee of inspection 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 safe. Compensation Money paid to make up for Common law damage, injury or loss caused. Judge made law which has developed over centuries, also Compensation for loss of 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 Compensation order Germany) where laws are set down in a written code. An order by a court to a 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 the future. Compulsory winding up The liquidation of a company Conditional discharge by order of the court. A court may decide not to punish a criminal immediately Concealment 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 have been paid and all other to gain benefit for yourself or conditions have been met. cause other people loss of benefit. Consecutive sentence Conclusive evidence When someone is sentenced for Evidence which cannot be different crimes and the disputed. sentences have to be served Concurrent sentence one after another. 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 Existing at the same time The person who sent the goods. 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 be made if certain conditions Because the employer has are met. broken fundamental terms of the contract of employment the Contract 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 expenses and other fees paid Conveyancing 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 used by the occupants for their If a company is insolvent enjoyment or work. (cannot pay its debts when they are due for payment) the Customs duties 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 D Debt securities 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, a 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 Defamation for a debt 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 by A right involving the the defendant setting out the defendant's retention of facts that the defence will rely on. property belonging to the plaintiff after the plaintiff has Defendant demanded its return. A person defending a court action. Devise Gift of real property by will. Delegatus non potest delegare* Diminished responsibility 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 members of foreign embassies, Depreciation 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 to shareholders. Discharge 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 the child is incapable of they will get. 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 Distraint your home intending it to be 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 appear before a court with Domiciled specified documents. permanently based in a country. Duress Threatening or pressurising Dominant tenement 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 E the donor dies from his existing Easement complaint. A right to use someone else's land such as a right of way. Donee Beneficiary of a trust or person Emolument given a power of appointment. Wages, benefits or profits received as compensation for Donor holding office or employment. Person who gives property for the benefit of another. Enabling legislation 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 Euthanasia authority to the person appointed to act for the person who signed Killing someone to end their the power of attorney. suffering. Engrossment Evidence The final version of a document Testimony of witnesses at a ready for it to be signed. trial or the production of 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* until a particular Court application made without event happens. notice to the other side. 30 Ex* dividend Ex* dividend Exclusive licence Without dividend. A licence under which only the licence holder has any rights. Ex gratia* 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. After the examination-in-chief, Executory 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 Executrix only about issues raised during the cross-examination. A woman appointed in a will to deal with an estate. Excess of jurisdiction Exemplary damages Someone acting without authority. Damages given as a 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 by Feme 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 Operation of the laws of a state no longer married. beyond the territorial limits of Fiduciary that state. In a position of trust. F Fieri facias* 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 A charge which provides Ownership of land being security for money lent. transferred with the intention of defrauding someone. Floating charge A charge used to provide security Fraudulent preference 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 controlled and which stops Free of encumbrances duties under an agreement No one else having any rights from being carried out. over property. Foreclosure Freehold 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 for the safety or property of a debt which is attached by another. court order for the benefit of a judgment creditor. Guarantee A promise by a person to repay Garnishee order a debt owed by a second A court order to a third party person if the second person who owes money to a fails to repay it. judgement debtor to pay the money to the judgement Guarantee company creditor. A company whose members only have to pay the amount General damages they have agreed to contribute Damages a court will give to if the company has to be compensate for a wrong done. wound up. General meeting Guarantor A meeting of the members of a A person or organisation that company to make decisions promises to pay a debt owed by about the company. a second person, if the second Goodwill person fails to repay it. Intangible business asset based Guardian on the reputation of a business A person appointed to look resulting from the attraction after the interests of a child or and confidence of repeat of someone who is not capable customers and connections. of looking after their own affairs. 34 Guardian ad litem* Guardian ad litem* Hire A person who has authority to To pay to borrow something for manage the person or property a period. of a child or a person under mental disability for the Hire purchase purposes of a legal action. A form of credit which allows the purchaser to have Guilty possession of the goods shown A court's verdict that the in the hire purchase person charged with a crime agreement. committed it. Holding company A company which controls H another company usually by owning more than half of its Habeas corpus* shares. A procedure to have a person brought before a court to Hostile witness enquire into the lawfulness of A witness who refuses to testify that person’s detention. in support of the person who called him or testifies in a way Hearsay which differs from their Evidence of which a witness previous statement. does not have direct knowledge from his own senses but which is based on what others have I said. In pari delicto* Hearsay evidence If two parties are equally to Evidence given in court of blame for a situation a court something said to the witness could refuse to provide a by another person. remedy to either of them because they are in pari Hereditament delicto. Any property that can be inherited. In personam* All legal rights are either in High Court personam or in rem. An in Court above the Circuit Court personam right attaches to a with full jurisdiction to decide particular person. all matters of law and fact. 35 A Plain English Guide to Legal Terms In rem* Injunction In rem rights relate to property Court order that forbids a party and are not based on any to do something (prohibitory personal relationship. injunction) or compels him to do something (mandatory Incorporeal injunction). Intangible legal rights, such as copyrights or patents. Insolvent Not able to pay debts as they Incorporeal hereditament become due. Intangible property rights which may be inherited such Intangible property as easements and profits à Property which does not prendre. physically exist such as a patent. Inculpatory Incriminating. Inter alia* Among other things. Indenture Deed executed by both or all Inter partes* parties. Between the parties. Indict Inter vivos* Using legal means to officially Between living persons. accuse someone of committing an offence. Interest A legal right to use property. Indictable offence An offence which can be tried Interim order by a jury in the Circuit Court. Temporary court order of limited duration. Indictment Formal written accusation Interlineation initiating the trial of a criminal Addition to a document after it offence before a jury in the has been signed. Circuit Court Interlocutory injunction the Central Criminal Court, the High Court or the Special An injunction which lasts only Criminal Court. until the end of the trial during which the order was sought. 36 Interlocutory judgement Interlocutory judgement A provisional judgement. J Joinder of parties Interrogatories Uniting parties as plaintiffs or Formal questions in a civil case defendents in a court case. from one side which the other side must answer under oath. Joint and several liability Liability of more than one Intestacy person, under which each may When someone dies without be sued for the entire amount leaving a will. of damages due by all. Intestate Joint lives policy Person who dies without A life assurance policy on more making a will. than one person's life. Intimidation Joint tenancy Threatening or frightening Two or more people having someone into doing something. identical shares in land. Invitation to treat Joint will An offer to receive an offer. A single will which two or more IOU people make to cover all their estates. A written confirmation of a debt signed by the debtor Joyriding which implies an undertaking Stealing a vehicle and then to pay the sum owed at some using it. future date. Judge Ipso facto* A person whose job is to By the mere fact. adjudicate in court cases. Since Issue 2002 Solicitors and Barristers can be appointed as judges to all The matter to be decided in a the courts in Ireland (Supreme, court action. High, Circuit and District). Issued share capital Judge advocate Share capital which has been A lawyer who advises a military allocated to shareholders who court which is trying an have asked for shares. offence. 37 A Plain English Guide to Legal Terms Judge Advocate General Judicial precedent A lawyer who is in charge of The practice of lower courts military justice. following the decisions of higher courts. Judge in chambers A hearing by a Judge which is Judicial review not held in open court. Proceedings in which a court is asked to rule on a decision of Judgement an administrative body or A decision by a court. quasi-judicial tribunal. Judgement creditor Judicial separation A person who is owed money A court order that two married who has been to court and people should live apart. obtained a judgement for the money owed. Junior barrister A barrister who is not a Senior Judgement debtor Counsel. A person who owes the money a court judgement says is Junior counsel owed. Barrister who is not a Senior Counsel. Judgement in default Getting a judgement because a Jurat† person failed to do something. Memorandum at end of affidavit stating where and Judgment when it was sworn followed by Verdict pronounced by a court the signature and description of law. of person before whom it was Judicial discretion sworn. A degree of flexibility about the Jurisdiction way courts do things. The territory in which a court Judicial immunity can operate; or the power it has to deal with particular cases or Immunity that a judge has the power it has to issue orders. from being sued for damages when acting as a judge. Juror One of the people who are acting as a jury. 38 Jury Jury Knock for knock A group of people, usually 12, An agreement between who review all the evidence in a insurance companies that they court case and then come to a will pay for their own verdict. policyholders' losses regardless of who was to blame. Jury service Serving on a jury. Know-how Expertise. Just and equitable winding up A winding up ordered because fairness cannot be achieved for L all the members of a company. Land Justification G The buildings built on the Claiming that a defamatory land; statement is true. G the subsoil; G the airspace above the land Juvenile offender necessary for ordinary use of A person aged between 7 and the land; and 17 who has committed a G property fixed to the land. criminal offence. Landlord Owner of a building or land K who leases the land, building or Kidnap part of it to another person who is called the tenant or lessee. To take someone away by force against their will. Lawsuit Kin A claim made in a court of law. Relationship by blood. Lay litigant King's Inns Non-lawyer who brings a legal action without the assistance of The body responsible for a barrister or solicitor. educating and training of barristers in Ireland. Lease A contract between the owner of a property and a tenant, giving the tenant sole use of the property for an agreed time. 39 A Plain English Guide to Legal Terms Leasehold Letter of credit Property held by a tenant with A letter one bank sends to a a lease. second bank asking them to pay money to a named person. Legacy A gift left to someone in a will Letters of administration not including land. An authority the High Court gives to a person to deal with a Legal Aid Scheme dead person's estate. It is given A scheme for paying legal costs when someone dies intestate. out of public funds for people who cannot afford to pay for Liabilities them. The debts that a person or organisation owes. Legal Aid Government scheme providing Liability advice or assistance from a A debt or obligation. Solicitor or Barrister free or at a reduced rate. Libel A false statement made in Legal professional privilege writing or in some other Confidential communications permanent record. between a lawyer and client may not be revealed in court Licence unless the client waives the An authority to do something. privilege. The communications Licensee must relate to court proceedings or intended The holder of a licence to do litigation. something. Legatee Lien The person who receives a The right to keep possession of legacy. something owned by someone who owes a debt until the debt Lessee has been settled. The person a property has been Life assurance policy leased to. (or life insurance policy) Lessor A contract between the The person who lets a property policyholder and the insurance by lease. company. 40 Life assured Life assured Liquidation The person whose life is Sale of all the assets of a assured by a life assurance company or partnership by a policy. liquidator and use of the proceeds to pay off creditors. Life imprisonment A sentence given to a criminal Liquidator to be imprisoned for the rest of The person appointed to wind their life. up a company. Life interest Lis pendens* An interest which will pass to Registration of a pending action someone else when the present against the owner of land. owner dies. Litigant Life tenant A person involved in a lawsuit. Someone entitled to use property for their life. Litigation Taking legal action through the Life tenant courts. Beneficiary of a life estate. Loan capital Limitation of actions Money borrowed by a person, The Statute of Limitations sets usually a company. down times within which proceedings must be brought. Loan creditor A person or organisation which Limited company has lent money. A company which limits how much its members will have to Locus in quo* pay if the company is wound up. The place where something took place. Lineal descendant Direct descendant, the child of Locus standi* its parents. Person's right to take an action or be heard by a court. Liquidated damages Damages agreed beforehand by the parties to a contract in case one of them should later break the terms of the contract. 41 A Plain English Guide to Legal Terms M Mandamus* High Court order commanding Maintenance an individual, organisation, Money paid to support a administrative tribunal or court spouse (husband or wife) and to perform a certain action children. usually to correct an earlier action or failure to fulfil some Majority duty. The age when a person gains full legal rights and responsibilities. Mandate In Ireland it is when a person An authority to act given by becomes 18 years old. one party to another. Mala fides* Manslaughter Bad faith. Killing someone illegally which is not murder. Male issue Male descendants of men. Market overt† A lawful market in which as Malfeasance long as someone buying goods An unlawful act. is not aware that they do not belong to the seller the buyer Malice will get a good title to the Intending to do something goods. which is against the law. Martial law Malicious falsehood Government of a country by A written or spoken lie told to the military. harm somebody and which does do harm. Material facts Facts which are a key part of a Malicious prosecution defence or a claim. A prosecution which is brought unreasonably. Matricide The killing of a mother by her son or daughter. Matrimonial home The house that a husband and wife live in as a married couple. 42 Mediation Mediation Messuage† Form of alternative dispute A house together with its land resolution involving an agreed and outbuildings. mediator acting as a facilitator to help the parties negotiate an Minor agreement. A person under the age of 18 years. Memorandum and Articles of Association Minority The memorandum gives Under the age of full legal details of: rights and responsibilities. G a company's name, G objects and Minutes G share capital. A record of the meetings held G the limits of the shareholders' by members, directors and liability if the company has to others of organisations of be wound up. companies. The articles set out the Misadventure members' rights and the An unexpected accident which directors' powers. happens while lawfully doing Mens rea* something. Guilty mind. Most crimes Miscarriage of justice require proof of guilty intention The court system failing to give before a person can be justice to a person. convicted. Misconduct Mercantile law Deliberately doing something Law dealing with commerce. which is against the law or Merchantable quality which is wrong. The assumption in the law that Misdirection goods sold by a business will A judge instructing a jury be fit for their purpose. wrongly. Mesne Rates Misfeasance Income lost by an owner when Improperly doing something property is occupied without which a person has a legal permission. right to do. 43 A Plain English Guide to Legal Terms Misjoinder Moratorium When a person has been An agreement not to take wrongly named as a party to a action for an agreed period law suit a court will usually of time. amend the proceedings to strike out the name of the Mortgage misjoined party. Using property as security for a debt. Misrepresentation A material statement which Mortgagee induces a party to enter into a The lender of the money which contract. is secured by a mortgage. Mistrial Mortgagor A trial that has been made The person who borrows the invalid. money to buy a property. Mitigation Motive Facts which while not negating Reason for a person doing an offence or wrongful action something. tend to show that the defendant Muniments may have had some excuse for acting the way he did. Documents which are evidence of a right to something. Moiety One half, fifty percent. N Molest/Molestation Natural justice Behaviour by a person which The requirement for application annoys or greatly troubles of principles of fairness and another person. justice for example audi Money laundering alteram partem* (hear the other Making money from crime and side). then passing it through a business to make it appear legitimate. 44 Natural person Natural person Non est factum* Human being with legal and Not his deed. constitutional rights and duties, including the right to: Nondisclosure G life, The failure by one side to a G information, contract to reveal a fact to the G travel, other side that would influence G a good name, their decision to go ahead with G earn a living, the contract. G sue and be sued, G sign contracts, Non-exclusive licence G receive gifts, and An agreement giving someone the G appear in court either by right to use something but which himself or through a lawyer. does not prevent other people being given similar agreements. Naturalisation Nonfeasance Giving a citizen of one country citizenship of another. Not doing something that one is bound to do by law. Negligence Non-joinder Carelessness. If a person who should have Negligent been a party to legal Lacking proper care to do a proceedings has been omitted duty properly. the court may amend the pleadings to include the non- Negotiable instrument joined party. A document which is signed and is an instruction to pay an Not guilty amount of money. A court's verdict that the person charged with a crime Nemo jude in sua causa* did not commit it. Nobody may be a judge in his own case. Not negotiable Cannot be transferred. Next of kin Person's nearest blood relation. Notary A lawyer, usually a solicitor, Nolle prosequi* who is authorised to certify Recorded decision not to documents, take affidavits and prosecute further. swear oaths. 45 A Plain English Guide to Legal Terms Notice Obligee A warning of something which Someone who under a contract is about to happen. receives money or has something done. Notice to quit A notice to end a tenancy on a Obligor stated date. Someone who is bound by a contract to pay money or do Novation something. Replacing an existing agreement with a new one. Occupational pension scheme Nudum pactum* A pension scheme organised by An empty agreement. an employer for its employees. Nuisance Occupier Doing something that harms The person who is in control of other people's rights. a piece of land such as a tenant. O Offensive weapon Oath An object that is intended to physically injure someone. Swearing the truth of a statement. Offer Obiter dicta* A promise to do something or not to do something. By the way. Observations by a judge on law or facts not Offeree specifically before the court or The person who receives a not necessary to decide an issue. legally binding offer. Objects clause Offeror A clause which forms part of a The person who makes a legally company's Memorandum of binding offer. Association It sets out the purposes the company was Official secret formed for. Information which the Government classifies as Obligation confidential. A legal duty to do something. 46 Omission Omission A failure to do something. P Panel Onus The list of people who have Burden. been summoned for jury Oppression service. The offence of public officials Pardon using their official positions to Releasing someone from a harm or injure people. court's punishment. Option Pari passu* A type of contract under which Equally. money is paid for a right to buy or sell property or goods at a Parole fixed price by a particular date Release from prison early. in the future. Partition Order Division. Formal written direction by a judge. Partnership Two or more persons carrying Originating summons on a business together. A summons that sets out the questions the court is being Party asked to decide. The plaintiff or defendant in a lawsuit. Outlaw A person who was not Passing off protected by the law. Pretending that the goods and services offered are those Out-of-court settlement supplied by another business. Agreement between two persons to settle a matter Patent before a court has heard the Exclusive privilege granted to matter or given its decision. an inventor to make, use or sell an invention for a period of Overt act years. An act done openly. Patricide The killing of a father by his own son or daughter. 47 A Plain English Guide to Legal Terms Pawn Per quod* To pledge goods as security for In accordance with or whereby. a loan. Per quod servitium amisit* Payee By which he lost the service. The person money is being paid to. Per se* In itself or by itself. Payment into court Money paid to the court by the Per stirpes* defendant for payment to the Describes property divided plaintiff. equally between the offspring. Payor Peremptory Person who makes a payment An order which admits of no on a bill of exchange. excuse for non-compliance. Penalty Performance A sum of money which has to Doing what is required under a be paid if the terms of a contract. contract are broken or a Perjury punishment given to someone who commits a crime. Deliberate lie under oath. Penalty points Perpetuity Points given as punishment for Forever. driving offences. If enough Personal guarantee penalty points have been A pledge by a person to repay a collected the offenders may debt owed if another fails to have their driving licences pay it. taken off them. Personal injury Pendente lite* An injury caused to a person. During litigation. Personal property Per* All property except land. Through or by. Per pro* On behalf of. 48 Personal representative Personal representative Plea bargain Person who administers the When the accused pleads guilty estate of a deceased person. instead of not guilty in return Where a person dies without a for a concession by the will, the court appoints an prosecution. administrator. A personal representative named in a will Plead is called an executor. To declare to the court whether you are guilty or not guilty. Personalty Personal property. Pleadings Written claims delivered by one Personation claimant to another setting out Pretending to be someone you the facts and legal arguments are not. supporting his position. High Court pleadings include: Perverting the course of G an Originating Summons, justice G Statement of Claim, Doing something to interfere G Defence, with the justice system. G Counterclaim, and G Reply. Petition Circuit Court pleadings Formal written submission to include: court seeking redress of an G a Civil Bill, injustice. G a Defence, Picket District Court pleadings are: G a civil summons, Peaceful public demonstration, G notice of intention to defend, on or near an employer's and/or premises in furtherance of G counterclaim. trade dispute. Plaintiff Pledge Letting someone take The person who goes to court possession of goods but the to make a claim against ownership does not change. someone else. Plea Plenipotentiary Someone who has been given The defendant’s answer to complete authority to act. accusations. 49 A Plain English Guide to Legal Terms Poaching Practising certificate Taking game from someone Certificates showing a person is else's land without permission. entitled to practise law. The Law Society issues these Polygamy certificates to the solicitors who Being married to more than may practise law in Ireland. one person at once. Preamble Possess An explanation of a proposed To have property under your law. control. Precatory words Possession Words that express a wish, Having something under your hope or desire rather than a control. clear command. Possessory title Precedent Gaining title through Court judgment which is cited possession sometimes referred as an authority in a later case to as “squatters title”. involving similar facts. Post-mortem Precedent cannot bind a higher court. A Circuit Court decision The examination of a dead body cannot bind a High Court judge. to establish the cause of death. A Supreme Court judgment Power of appointment binds all courts although it does not bind that Court itself in A person giving another person future cases. the power to dispose of the first person's property. Precept Power of attorney An order given by an official body or person. A document which gives power to the person appointed to act Pre-emption for the person who signed the The right to buy property document. before others are given the chance to buy. Preference When insolvent paying one creditor while leaving other creditors unpaid. 50 Preference shares Preference shares Pro tempore (pro tem)* A share entitled to a fixed Temporary or for the time dividend. being. Preferential creditor Probate A creditor who has to be paid Authority to deal with a dead in full before unsecured person's estate. creditors can be paid anything. Probate law Prescription The law which regulates wills Way of acquiring property and other matters related to rights, such as an easement, the distribution of a deceased by long and continued use or person's estate. enjoyment, commonly referred to as “squatters title”. Probate Registry The registry which deals with Prima facie* the forms which are needed On the face of it when someone applies for probate. Principal Someone who authorises Probation another person to act for them. If a court convicts someone of an offence, the Judge may Private law order that the offender is Domestic law which regulates supervised by a probation the relationships between officer for a period of time. individuals and in which the State is not directly concerned. Process A process is a summons or writ Privilege which is used to order someone Special legal right such as a to appear in court; the whole of benefit, exemption, power or a case from beginning to end. immunity. Procurator Privity of contract A person who has been given Only the parties to a contract authority to manage another can sue each other over person's affairs such as under breaches of contract. a power of attorney. Pro rata* In proportion. 51 A Plain English Guide to Legal Terms Product liability Prospectus The liability of manufacturers Document or notice in which a and sellers to compensate company sets out details of a people for unsafe goods which proposed share or bond issue. have caused injury to people or property. Prostitution Selling sexual services for Profit à prendre† money. Profit to be taken from land. Proviso Prohibition A clause in a legal document Legal restriction on the use of which qualifies another section something or on certain of the agreement. conduct. Provocation Promisee Causing someone to lose their A person who has been self-control by doing or saying promised something. something which would cause a reasonable person to Promisor temporarily lose their self- A person who has promised control. something. Proxy Promissory note A person appointed by a A written promise to pay an shareholder to go to a meeting amount of money to someone of shareholders. at a given time. Proxy form Property A form for shareholders by Property is something which which if it is delivered to a belongs to a person and over company before the which he has total control. shareholders' meeting the Prosecution person who is the proxy will be able to vote at that meeting. Team of people bringing proceedings against someone Public mischief else. Something that someone does which damages the general community. 52 Public nuisance Public nuisance Quiet possession A crime by which the general Using property without public is put in danger or interference. suffers damage to its health, property and so on. Quo warranto* By what authority. Punitive damages Exceptional damages ordered Quorum* by a court where an act or The lowest number of omission was of a particularly qualifying people needed for a serious, extensive or malicious meeting to be able to make a nature. decision. Putative father The man found by a court to be R the father of a non-marital Racial discrimination child. Treating someone less favourably because of their Q race, colour, nationality or culture. Quango An organisation set up by the Rack rent Government to do a particular The full market value rent of a activity. It is partly independent property. and does not form part of the Rape Government. Having sex with a person Quantum meruit* without their permission or As much as he has deserved. forcing them to have sex against their will. Quantum* Amount or extent. Ratio decidendi* The reason for the decision. Quid pro quo* Something for something. Real Relating to immovable property Quiet enjoyment such as buildings or land. Allowing a tenant to use land without interference. Real estate Land owned by someone who has died. 53 A Plain English Guide to Legal Terms Real property Redundancy Land and buildings, minerals Being dismissed from a job in the land and rights over the because it no longer exists. land. Registered land Realty Title of land recorded in the Real property. Land Registry. Reasonable force Registered office Necessary force. The official address where documents can be served on a Rebuttable presumption company. Presumed fact based on the proof of other facts. Registrar of Companies An official in charge of the Receiver office which keeps records of Someone appointed to sell registered companies. assets to raise money to repay lenders. Reinsurance An insurance company Receiving insuring part of a risk it is Gaining control of stolen covering. property. Release Recognisance G To give up a valid claim An undertaking, given by against someone; someone to a court, to make G to free someone from prison; sure that they do what the or court requires. G a document used to cancel a Record claim one person has against another. The documents in a court case from beginning to end. Remainder Recovery An interest which starts when a previous interest finishes. Regaining possession of land by taking court proceedings. Redemption Paying off all the money borrowed. 54 Remand Remand Repossession or repossess Being kept in prison or paying A mortgagee recovering vacant bail. If an accused person is possession of the property placed on remand they are mortgaged. either kept in prison for a short period or have to pay bail or get Representation G Acting on behalf of someone someone to pay it for them. else, such as a Solicitor Remedy acting for a client; Using the law to get G taking someone else's place compensation for damage done such as when a court gives or for rights infringed. an executor the right to deal with a dead person's affairs; Renouncing probate or A proposed executor refusing G a statement in a contract. to act. Representative action Rent One or more people in a group Money or other consideration of people with the same paid by a tenant to a landlord grievance taking legal action in exchange for the exclusive representing the possession and use of land, group. buildings or part of a building. Reprieve Repeat offender A judge suspending or A person who continues to cancelling punishment for an commit the same offence. offence. Replevin Res ipsa loquitur* Legal action to recover goods. Proof is not needed because the Reply facts speak for themselves. A plaintiff’s answer to a claim. Rescission In a civil case the defendant The cancellation of a contract. may offer a defence to the claim and make a Reservation of title counterclaim. A contract which leaves ownership of the goods with the seller until the goods have been paid for. 55 A Plain English Guide to Legal Terms Reserved costs Restitutio in integrum* Apportionment of payment of Restoration to the original legal fees to be decided at a position. later stage. Restitution Reserved judgment An order for the return of Decision to be given at a later stolen goods to the victim of date. the theft or for compensation to be paid to the victim. Reserves Money set aside in accounts Restraining order which can be spent in later years. An order which a court may issue to prevent a person from Residence doing a particular thing. Place where someone usually lives. Restriction When placed on a piece of land Residuary legacy the owner cannot sell or What remains to be given out mortgage the land. from an estate after all debts, taxes and specific legacies have Restrictive covenant been paid. A deed which restricts how a piece of land can be used. Residue What is left of an estate after Resulting trust all debts, taxes, expenses and Trust which comes into being specific legacies have been when an express trust fails. dealt with. Retainer Resisting arrest A payment to a lawyer to act in A person trying to prevent a a case. Garda arresting him. Retention of title Resolution Reservation of title. A decision taken by the members of a company in a meeting. Reversion Future interest in property Respondent retained by a transferor or his Person against whom a heirs. summons is issued, or a petition or appeal brought. Revocation Cancellation. 56 Revoke Revoke To cancel or withdraw. S Sale or return Revolving credit agreement An arrangement under which A loan agreement under which goods can be kept by the a person can borrow again to potential buyer for a period top up the loan, as long as they while their resale is attempted. do not go over their credit limit. Salvage Rider Compensation paid by the Addition attached to a owners for saving ships, aircraft completed document. and property from the sea. Right of way Sanction A legal right obliging the owner To ratify, to approve or to of land to allow authorised punish. people to cross it. Satisfaction Rights issue G Paying a debt; An issue of extra shares by a G settling an obligation by an company. act; or G settling an obligation by Riot substituting something A gathering of people using, or satisfactory for what was threatening to use, violence to originally required. achieve a common end. Riparian rights Scheme of arrangement An agreement between a Rights of owners of land on a person with debts who cannot river bank. pay them when they are due Robbery and the creditors. Using or threatening to use Scienter* force while carrying out a theft. Knowledge. Scrip A certificate showing the extra shares and fractions of shares the owner is entitled to. 57 A Plain English Guide to Legal Terms Scrip dividend Sedition A dividend paid in shares Writing things or saying things instead of cash. which encourage people to rise up against the Government. Scrip issue Free shares offered to the Seisin* members of a company in Actual or constructive legal proportion to their possession. shareholdings. Senior Counsel Search Barrister who has taken silk or Inspection of the registers who has been called to the maintained by organisations Inner Bar. such as the Land Registry. Sentence Search warrant The penalty a court imposes on Written order normally issued someone found guilty of an by a judge or Peace offence. Commissioner giving Gardaí permission to enter private Separation order property, to search for and seize A court order that a husband evidence of the commission of a and wife can live separately. crime, the proceeds of crime or Sequestration property that they suspect may be used to commit a crime. Temporary confiscation of property by court order until the Securities owner purges his contempt by Stocks, shares, debentures and obeying an earlier court order. so on where there is a right to Service receive interest or dividends from the investment. Delivery of court documents by one party to the other. Security Servient tenement Something of value pledged by a borrower. Land subject to an easement. Security of tenure Settle Protection from a landlord Means to: G create a settlement; attempting to obtain possession G end a case by agreement; or of the property the tenant is G draw up a contract and renting. agree its terms. 58 Settlement Settlement Sheriff When property is given, usually A court officer, usually a by a will or a deed, on a trust County Registrar, who may for the benefit of people decided seize goods. by the settlor. Shoplifting Settlor Stealing goods from a shop. The person who gives property to a settlement. Silent partner Person who invests in a Several company or partnership shares Separate. in the profits or losses but takes no part in administering Shadow director or directing the organisation. A person who has not been appointed a director of a Simpliciter* company but nevertheless gives Simply. instructions to the directors which they comply with. Sine die* Indefinitely. Share capital The money invested directly in Slander a company by its members. Saying something untrue about a person. Share certificate A document which certifies who Slander of title owns shares in a company. Falsely and maliciously denying someone's title to property Share premium account including real property, a An account in a set of books business or goods. recording the extra amount over face value that shares Small Claims Court have been issued for. A section of the District Court which deals with small claims. Share There is a simplified way of A portion of a company. A making a claim where the claim share certificate constitutes is for no more than k1269.77 proof of share ownership. (as at September 2003). 59 A Plain English Guide to Legal Terms Smuggling Specific performance Importing or exporting goods A court order to complete a illegally to avoid a ban on them contract. or to avoid the duties on them. Squatter Sold note A person who occupies land A note that shows details of illegally. investments which have been sold, including the sale price Stalking and any charges taken. A form of harassment where a Stockbrokers produce sold person is made to feel alarmed notes for their clients. or distressed by another person's actions. Soliciting A prostitute attempting to get Stamp duty clients in a street or other A tax on the transfer public place. documents for certain types of transaction. Solicitor A lawyer who can deal with any Stare decisis* legal matter, give advice and To stand by decisions. Policy appear in court. All solicitors whereby once a court has made a are listed on the Roll of decision on a certain set of facts Solicitors kept by the Law lower courts must apply that Society of Ireland. Solicitors precedent in subsequent cases can appear for their which embody the same facts. clients in all the Courts in Statement of claim Ireland and can be appointed judges to all of them. The claimant's written statement setting out the claim Special Criminal Court in a civil case in the High Non-jury court with three Court. judges set up to deal with Status terrorist offences. How the law regards a person Special resolution such as whether the person is A resolution which must be a minor or a bankrupt. approved by holders of at least Statute 75% of the shares with voting rights. An Act of the Oireachtas (Dáil and Seanad). 60 Statute book Statute book Stockbroker All the existing statutes in a A person who buys and sells country. stocks and shares for clients. Statute law Strict liability The law created by the Liability without need to prove Oireachtas. wrongful intent, negligence or fault. Statute of limitations A statute which sets out the Sub judice* time limits within which a Something being dealt with by court action must take place. a court which cannot be discussed outside the court. Statutory accounts Company accounts which have Subduct been filed with the Registrar of To withdraw. Companies. Subject to contract Statutory audit An agreement which is not An audit required by law. binding until a contract has Certain companies have to have been signed. their accounts audited by suitably qualified accountants. Subpoena A summons or order requiring Statutory books the person to whom it is Books of account which addressed to attend at a court companies must keep by law to on a specific date and at a show and explain all their stated time. transactions. Subrogation Statutory instrument Substitution of one person or A power delegated by the thing for another by operation Oireachtas to make or amend of law without the agreement of laws of a subsidary nature. the person from whom the rights are transferred. Stay of execution The suspension of the carrying Subscribers out of a court order. The people who set up a limited company. 61 A Plain English Guide to Legal Terms Subsidiarity Summary judgement Subsidiary activities. Obtaining judgement without a trial. Subsidiary A company controlled by Summary offence another company. An offence that can be tried by a District Court judge. Substituted service If a party appears to be Summary proceedings avoiding service of legal A trial by a District Court documents, a court may be judge, where the defendant has asked to direct that instead of the right to choose which court personal service documents should hear the case, but has can be served by post or in agreed to be tried in the some other way. District Court. Successor Summary trial Person who takes over the A trial by a District Judge. rights or property of another. Summing up Sue The judge's summary of a case. To start legal proceedings in the civil court against someone. Summons Written command to a person Sui generis* to appear in court. Something that belongs in a particular category or is the Superior courts only one of its class. The High and the Supreme Courts. Sui juris* Someone who can enter into a Supra* contract without any restriction. See above or before in the document. Suicide The act of killing oneself Supreme Court intentionally. Final court of appeal in Ireland, headed by the Chief Justice. Suit Proceedings brought by one Surcharge person against another in a A penalty charged if tax is civil court. paid late. 62 Surety Surety Tax point Someone who takes The date when Value Added responsibility for someone Tax arises on goods or services else's debts or promises, and supplied or made available to a guarantees that they will be customer. paid or done. Taxable supply Surety Supplying goods and services Person who has pledged on which Value Added Tax can himself by deed to ensure that be charged. another person fulfils an obligation – such as appearing Taxation in court or paying back a loan. The levying of taxes. Suspended sentence Taxation of costs A sentence that is postponed The scrutiny of a Solicitor's bill until the offender is convicted to a client. The scrutiny is done of another offence. by a court officer known as a taxing master. T Teeming and lading To hide the loss of cash Tangible asset received from one customer by An asset which can be using cash from other physically touched. customers to replace it. Tangible property Tenancy in common Property that physically exists. Tenants-in-common share property rights, but may hold Tax different parts of a piece of land Money raised by the or unequal shares. Government to pay for the services it provides. Tenant Person to whom a landlord Tax avoidance grants temporary and exclusive Reducing tax bills by using use of land or a building, legal means. usually in exchange for rent. Tax evasion Breaking the law to reduce tax bills. 63 A Plain English Guide to Legal Terms Tender Theft Supplying a price for a job. If Taking someone else's property an organisation asks firms to dishonestly with the intention send in tenders for supplying of never returning it. something they are asking for firm written offers to do the Threatening behaviour work to an agreed standard Using threats, abuse or insults and at a stated price. against another person. Tenement Timeshare Property held by a tenant that An arrangement where people could be subject to rights in his can buy a share in part of a favour. property for a period of time in each year. Tenure How a piece of land is held by Title the owner. The right to own something. Term Title deeds A clause which form part of a The documents which prove contract. who owns a property and under what terms. Terra* Land. Toll A payment in return for being Terrorism allowed to travel over a road, Using violence for political bridge and so on. purposes. Tort† Testament Doing something which harms A will. someone else. Torts include wrongs such as: Testator G negligence, A person who makes a will. G nuisance, G defamation, Testify G false imprisonment, and Give evidence. G trespass. Testimony Tortfeasor The evidence a witness gives Someone who commits a tort. in court. 64 Tracing Tracing Trespass Equitable right of a plaintiff to Unlawful interference with reclaim specific property, another person or his property through the court, where the or rights. property has passed on to others. Trespassing Going on land without the Trademark owner's permission. A mark which is registered at trademark registries and which Trial is used on products produced An examination of the evidence by the owner. in a case and the law which applies. Transcript The official record of a court case. Tribunal A body set up to act like a Transferable securities court outside the normal court Securities such as debentures system. A forum to hear which can have their ownership disputes and with the authority changed. to settle them Transferee Trust Person who receives property A financial arrangement under being transferred. which property is held by named people for someone else. Transferor The person who transfers Trust corporation something to someone else. A company which acts as a trustee and holds trust assets. Treason The crime of betraying your Trust deed country. A legal document which is used to create, change or control a Treasure trove trust. Treasure found in a hiding place and whose owner cannot Trustee be traced. A person who holds property and looks after it on behalf of someone else. 65 A Plain English Guide to Legal Terms U Unreasonable behaviour Behaviour by a married person Uberrimae fidei* that justifies the other partner Of the utmost good faith. in the marriage living apart. Ultra vires* Unregistered company Beyond one's powers. A company which is not registered under the Underlease Companies Acts. The lease of a property by a tenant of the property to Unregistered land someone else. Land which is not recorded in the Land Registry. Undertaking A promise which can be Unsecured creditor enforced by law. Someone who has lent money without getting any security for Undue influence the loan. Unfair pressure which may invalidate a contract. Unfair contract terms V Prevents a party to a contract Variation unfairly limiting their liability. Alteration of the terms of court order. Unfair dismissal Sacking an employee unfairly. Vendee A person who buys something. Unit trust A trust which manages Vendor investments. A person who sells something. Unjust enrichment Verdict Profit unjustly obtain by The jury's decision at the end a wrongdoer. of a case. Usury Vexatious litigant Excessive or illegal interest rate. A person who regularly brings court cases which have little chance of succeeding. 66 Vicarious liability Vicarious liability Warrant Where someone becomes A certificate which gives the responsible under the law for person holding it the right to buy wrongs done by someone else. shares at a given price; a Judge's written instruction to arrest Videlicet* someone or to search a property. That is to say. Warrant Void (Bench Warrant) – An order Without legal effect. issued by a judge for the arrest Voidable of a person, usually someone who has failed to turn up in Able to be cancelled in certain answer to a summons. circumstances. Warranty Voire dire† A term in a contract. To speak the truth. Waste Volenti non fit injuria* Abuse, destruction or permanent Those who consent may not be change to property by a person injured. who is merely in possession of it Voluntary arrangement such as a tenant. An agreement between a debtor Wayleave and the creditors. A right through or over a piece of land often for a particular W purpose, such as for a pipeline. Waiver Will Renunciation of a right or A legal document which people benefit. use to leave as a gift money and property when they die. Ward of court Winding up A person who is protected by the High Court such as a Disposing of all a company's minor. assets and paying all its debts. Without prejudice The document may not be used as evidence that a contract or agreement exists. 67 A Plain English Guide to Legal Terms Witness Wrongful trading Someone who watches a Continuing to trade while signature being put on knowing that there is little a document, and then signs as prospect of the company being well to verify the signature's able to pay its debts. authenticity; or attends court to testify about events they know about Y Words of art Year Words which have a fixed When used without any other meaning in law so that their qualification a 12-month use in a legal document can calendar period beginning on have only one interpretation. 1st January. Words of limitation Young offender Words in a conveyance or will A person between the ages of which limit the duration of an 14 and 17 who has committed estate. a crime. Words of purchase Young person Words in a conveyance or will Person under 18 years. which specifically name the person to whom land is being transferred. Z Zero hours Writ of execution None, Nil. A type of writ used when a court judgement needs enforcing. Writ A summons or order from a court of law. Wrongful dismissal Ending an employee's contract without following the contract's terms. 68 NALA 76 Lower Gardiner Street, Dublin 1, Ireland. 01 855 4332 email@example.com 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 literacy work in Ireland. The Agency was established in 1980 and from that time has campaigned for recognition and response to the adult literacy problem in Ireland. NALA receives a grant from the Department of Education and Science, which enables the Agency to staff national and regional offices. In addition, the Department of Social, Community and 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.