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Action

proceedings issued in the High or County Court

Adjournment

the postponement of a case until a later date

Adjudication

the judgment or decision of a Court or tribunal

ADR

this stands for 'alternative dispute resolution'. It is used as a way to resolve disputes without going to Court. Mediation is an example of this

Adversarial

procedures and processes which aim to display the truth, through adversarial (conflict-based) techniques i.e. cross-examination

Advocacy

appearing for an individual at a Court hearing

Advocate

someone (usually a barrister or solicitor) representing a party in a Court hearing

Affidavit

sworn written statement for use in Court proceedings

Affirmation

declaration made by a witness who has no religious beliefs (or who has religious beliefs that prevent them taking the Oath) that confirms the evidence he or she is giving is truthful

Appeal

an application to a higher Court for review of a decision of a lower Court

Arbitration

an alternative method of resolving disputes paid for by the parties, determined by an arbitrator

Balance of probabilities

the standard of proof in civil proceedings

Barrister

barristers are specialists in advocacy, usually under instruction from a solicitor

Brief

a set of papers giving the details of a client's case for use in Court

Chambers/set

the offices where barristers work

Civil

matters concerning private rights rather than offences against the State

Civil Procedure Rules (CPR)

the rules which set out the procedure for bringing, defending and conducting claims in the Civil Courts

Claim

this refers to the demand for damages or other civil remedy against another party

Claim Form

the form that commences official legal proceedings

Claimant

the person bringing the claim, formerly known as the Plaintiff

Clinical Negligence

an action for damages arising from the alleged negligence of a medical practitioner

Common law /case law

refers to the legal system that has developed in England and Wales through precedents set by Court rulings rather than through Acts of Parliament.

Compensation

a sum of money awarded to make amends for an injury, breakage, hardship and/or inconvenience caused by another

Conditional Fee Agreement

an agreement linking the lawyers fees to the success of the case, often referred to as a No Win No Fee Agreement

Contentious

a dispute that calls for a legal remedy

Contributory Negligence

partial responsibility of a Claimant for the claim in which he or she is claiming damages

Counsel

another name for a barrister

Counterclaim

a claim made by the Defendant in response to the original claim

County Court

the Court for less complex types of claim which are worth less than £15,000 (£50,000 for personal injury claims)

Court of Appeal

Court which is divided into Civil and Criminal Divisions and hears appeals against decisions made in the High or County Courts

Damages

money claimed by a party as compensation for being harmed in some way, or to recover financial loss

Defamation

the publication of an untrue statement about a person that tends to lower his reputation in the opinion of right-thinking members of the community or to make them shun or avoid him

Defendant

someone who is being sued in a civil claim

Disbursements

payments a lawyer will make on their clients behalf to a third party i.e. Court fees, experts fees, accident report fees, travelling expenses and investigation fees

Duty of Care

the legal obligation to take reasonable care to avoid causing damage. There is no liability for a negligent act or omission unless the act or omission that causes damage is a breach of the duty of care owed to the Claimant.

Employers Liability Claim

a claim for personal injury arising from harm sustained whilst carrying out duties in the course of employment

Fast Track

the track that defended claims with a value of between £5,000 to £25,000 are allocated to in the Court system and which is then governed by certain specific procedural rules

General Damages

the compensation payment for the injuries suffered by a Claimant in a personal injury claim.

High Court

the Court for larger or more serious claims with three divisions

Insurance

the cover provided by an insurer to protect the insured from certain risks

Interim Hearing

a Court hearing that does not finally dispose of the claim

Interim payment

money that a Court instructs the Defendant to pay (or they agree to pay) whilst waiting for a settlement or for the Court's final decision

Judgment

a Court's decision on a case it has heard

Junior

name for a barrister who is not a QC

Jurisdiction

the area and matters over which a Court has legal authority

Legal aid

limited facility for the fees and expenses of counsel and solicitors retained by those of modest means paid from a fund administered by the Legal Services Commission

Legal Expenses Insurance

insurance to cover legal expenses often purchased or supplied in conjunction with motor or household insurance or which may be purchased after the event to specifically cover legal expenses in a particular claim

Letter of Claim

one of the initial mandatory steps within the Pre -Action Protocols

Limitation period

the period of time available to a Claimant to bring an action against a Defendant.

Litigation

contesting an issue at law through Court proceedings

Litigation Friend

the person who conducts the claim on behalf of a Minor or other person who lacks the mental capacity to conduct the claim themselves

Mediation

alternative process to Court (see ADR)

Minor

a person under 18 years of age who must be represented by a Litigation Friend as they are unable to act on their own behalf

Motor Insurers' Bureau

the Bureau responsible for claims made against uninsured or untraced drivers

Multi-Track

the track that defended claims with a value in excess of £25,000 are allocated to in the Court system and which is then governed by certain specific procedural rules

Negligence

the act of failing to take reasonable care and breaching the Duty Of Care

Nuisance

an interference with the enjoyment of property rights

Oath

a solemn calling upon God to witness to the truth of statements

Order

a direction by a Court

Plaintiff

a person bringing a claim (now called Claimant)

Pleadings

documents setting out the claim/defence of the parties involved in the proceedings (now known as Statements of Case)

Pre-Action Protocol

the procedure stipulated by the Civil Procedure Rules to be followed in particular categories of claims

Provisional Damages

this refers to money that the Court says the opponent must pay (or agrees to pay), on the understanding that the Claimant may return to Court at a later date for further damages if their condition deteriorates

QC

barristers (or less commonly solicitors) with a minimum standing of ten years may apply to become Queens Counsel. QCs are often referred to as 'silks' and are involved on larger or more important claims

Quantum

the amount of damages (compensation) awarded

Right of Audience

the entitlement to appear before a Court and speak on behalf of a party to the proceedings

Silk

a senior barrister sometimes referred to as a leader or leading counsel (also see QC)

Small Claims Track

the track that defended claims with a value of up to £5,000 (non injury) and £1,000 (injury) are allocated to in the Court system and which is then governed by certain specific procedural rules

Special Damages

fixed and quantifiable losses associated with a claim for personal injury damages such as loss of earnings, vehicle damage, etc

Statement of Truth

the signature at the end of a Statement of Case, application or other document verifying that the contents of that document are true

Statements of Case

documents setting out the claim/defence of the parties involved in the proceedings

Sub Judice

in the course of trial - whilst a Court case is under consideration proceedings are sub-judice and details cannot be disclosed

Success fee

the percentage of basic charges added to the legal bill under a Conditional Fee Agreement if a personís claim for damages is successful

Summons

an order to appear or to produce evidence to a Court

The Bar

a term used to describe the barristers' branch of the legal profession

Third Party

someone joined into Court proceedings by a Defendant

Tort

a civil wrong

Trespass

a wrongful direct interference with another person or with his possession of land or goods

Trial Window

a period of time within which the claim must be listed for trial

Vicarious liability

the legal liability imposed on one person for wrongs committed by another, although the person made vicariously liable is not personally at fault

Without prejudice

this refers to negotiations between the Claimant and Defendant which take place with a view to a settlement and which cannot be revealed to the Court except under limited circumstances

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