Glossary

Acronyms and initialisms in legal writing

Glossary

An acronym is a word or name composed of the first letters of each word of a title or description. For example, NATO is an acronym for North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. An initialism is an abbreviated name or description composed of the first letters of the full name or description, pronounced as a set of Continue reading

Actio personalis moritur cum persona

Glossary

Latin maxim meaning that a personal right of action dies with the person. Continue reading

Ademption

Glossary

The failure of a gift under a will by reason of the fact that it does not, or has ceased to, exist. Such a gift is adeemed, and the intended beneficiary may get nothing instead. Continue reading

Affidavit

Glossary

A document setting out evidence which the witness providing it has sworn to be true in the presence of someone legally qualified to administer an oath.   Continue reading

Appellant

Glossary

The person who brings an appeal in a civil or criminal case. An appellant’s notice is the document in which the appellant sets out why (the grounds on which) the decision of a lower court should be quashed (cancelled), reversed or varied (changed to a different decision) by the higher court.   Continue reading

Arbitration

Glossary

A system of alternative dispute resolution (ie resolution of a dispute otherwise than by a court) in which the disputing parties refer the matter to an arbitrator or a tribunal of arbitrators (usually 3) selected by a process determined in the arbitration agreement. An agreement to arbitrate (or arbitration clause) is often included in a Continue reading

ATE, BTE insurance

Glossary

ATE (After the Event) insurance is a form of litigation insurance that indemnifies the insured against the financial risk of losing a claim in proposed legal proceedings. The amount of the premium may be dependent on or proportional to the amount successfully recovered in the proceedings. Although it may enable litigants who could not otherwise Continue reading

Autrefois acquit, autrefois convict

Glossary

“Autrefois acquit” roughly translates as “previously acquitted”, and “autrefois convict” as  “previously convicted”. These expressions, in medieval law French, are used to describe pleas by a defendant in criminal proceedings asking the court to halt the proceedings on the ground that they have already been tried and acquitted (or convicted) in respect of the same Continue reading

Bona vacantia

Glossary

Latin for “vacant goods”, used to refer to ownerless property, which by law passes to the Crown. It mainly refers to unclaimed estates (ie the property of deceased persons, where it is not clear to whom it should pass, if anyone) or the assets of dissolved companies. The Bona Vacantia Division (BVD) is a subdivision Continue reading

Cafcass

Glossary

The Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass) represents children in family court cases in England. Cafcass was formed on 1st April 2001 as part of the Government’s commitment to supporting families and children. It brought together the services previously provided by the Family Court Welfare Service, the Guardian ad Litem Services and the Children’s divisions Continue reading