A written document sworn on oath before a person with authority to administer it. The


Defence to a criminal charge on the grounds that the accused was somewhere other than


Said to be the case, but not yet proved.


An appeal is when a higher court reviews the decision made by a lower court.


A person who appeals (q.v.) a decision of a court or tribunal.

Appellate jurisdiction

‘Appellate jurisdiction’ is the authority of a court to deal with appeals that relate to


To take into custody.


Refuge or protection from persecution, usually in another country.

Bail justice

A person who is not a judge or magistrate but who has authority to grant

Balance of Probabilities

The standard of proof (q.v.) required in civil law (q.v.) cases, i.e. it is more


A person who is left something in a will, or a person for whose benefit

Beyond Reasonable Doubt

The standard of proof (q.v.) required in criminal cases.


A pre-existing attitude or opinion that favours one side over another in a dispute.


(1) A deed (q.v.) in which a person undertakes to do or refrain from doing


Former name of local laws (q.v.).


The ability to understand and give legal consent to an action or arrangement.

Case Law

The law based on decisions made by judges in previous case. See: common law.


Community Based Order (CBO) is a sentencing order, as an alternative to imprisonment, requiring a

Civil Law

Law which is not criminal or church law (usually the former), it may mean law

Code of Practice

A set of guidelines for fair practice developed for a specific industry or occupation. May

Combined Custody and Treatment Order

A sentence that is served partly in prison and partly in the community undergoing supervised

Common Law

The part of English law traditionally based on common custom and being unwritten. Law which

Common Law Defence

A defence based on decisions in previous cases.

Compensation Order

A court order that a person found guilty of a criminal offence must pay for


A person who begins a prosecution against another in the Magistrates’ Court, a plaintiff.


Process of resolving disputes which involves negotiations between parties, assisted by a conciliator. Conciliation aims

Conduct Money

Money which must be provided to a witness subpoenaed (q.v.) to court to cover the


Protection against disclosure to an outside person of information revealed in a professional relationship, e.g.

Conflict of Interest

A situation where a person’s own interests, or a duty towards someone else, may affect


Agreement to an action or arrangement. See also: informed consent.

Contest Mention Hearing

A preliminary hearing in criminal cases where parties can try to reach agreement on some


To breach, neglect or refuse to comply with a particular requirement or condition.


The rights belonging to the owner or licensee of literary, artistic and dramatic works, films


An agreement creating an obligation contained in a deed (q.v.) or land title. A covenant

Cross Examination

The questioning of a witness by the opposing party (q.v.) in a court case.

Custodial Sentence

A sentence of imprisonment.


Control; e.g. when arrested and not free to leave; formerly, care and control of a


A court order for money to be paid as compensation for a loss suffered as


To be treated as.


Publication of false and derogatory statements about another person, without any justification recognised by law.


A formal denial of an alleged fact raised by the plea of not guilty.


A person who has been charged with a criminal offence, or whom a civil action

Delegated Legislation

See: Regulations.




Giving particular information to another party as required by a contract or legal process.


A procedure by which documents relevant to a civil (q.v.) action are exchanged between the


Power to choose whether to do or not to do a certain thing, e.g. investigate


A framework, set of rules, procedural steps, or test, often established through precedent (q.v.) in

Duty Lawyer

A lawyer at the court who provides free legal assistance to people appearing in court

Duty of Care

The obligation of a person to exercise reasonable care in the conduct of an activity.


To make people obey (a law, the terms of an agreement, etc). Also: enforceability.


The action of recovering land or property from an occupier or tenant by legal proceedings.

Examination in Chief

Questioning of a witness in court by the party that called that witness, c.f. cross-examination.


Amount of money the insured person has to pay towards the cost of settling a


A document or thing shown to a witness when giving evidence, produced for inspection to


The process used when a person in one state or country has committed a crime

Forensic Procedure

Examination of the body of a person suspected of having committed an offence, or the

Freedom of Association

The right to belong, or not belong, to an industrial association (trade union).


A person who has the right and duty to protect another person, his or her

Habeas Corpus

To have the body. A prerogative writ (q.v.) directed to a person who holds someone

Identification Parade

A police “line up” held so a witness to an offence can try to identify

In Lieu

In place of. So: time in lieu – agreement to allow time off instead of payment for


Not allowed; i.e. not able to be used as evidence in a court action.

Incorporated Association

A not-for-profit community organisation with a separate legal identity and a structure regulated by legislation.

Indictable Offence

A serious crime which is generally triable before a judge and jury.


The document that lists the charges against the accused in County or Supreme Court proceedings.


The legal term for a person under 18, used particularly in family law and civil


A person who lays an information, i.e. a criminal charge (q.v.). Usually a police officer.

Informed Consent

Agreement given for something to be done, after the procedure has been fully explained so

Infringement Notice

Notice showing that an offence (usually a driving offence) has been committed and the penalty


A court order which directs someone either to do, or to refrain from doing, a


Unable to pay debts in full.

Intensive Correction Order

A non-custodial sent­ence (q.v.) with very strict conditions attached.


The asking of questions. In criminal cases, the questioning of suspects by police. In civil

Intervention Order

Court order restraining a person from harmful or annoying conduct.

Judicial Review

Review by a court of an adminis­trative act (q.v.) on the basis of fault in


The ‘jurisdiction’ of a court is the authority of that court or tribunal to hear


A panel of people selected from the general public to decide the guilt or innocence


A document of agreement between a landlord and a tenant, for rental of premises.


Legal responsibility, e.g. for breaking a contract, committing a crime. It may be civil (q.v.)


The publication of defamatory material in permanent form. See also: defamation, slander.


Court proceedings in civil matters (q.v.). A litigant is one of the opposing parties (q.v.)