Jargon Buster Civil Law Category - S-U


A penalty imposed on a person involved in a case if he or she, for example, fails to comply with directions or refuses to consider an alternative to court. Even though a person wins a case, the judge may order them to pay the other party’s costs


Delivery by post, or in person, of the claim form, or other court documents

Set aside judgment

See judgment set aside


A voluntarily agreement by the claimant and defendant to settle their civil case.

Skeleton argument

A written summary of the main points of a case to be heard by an appeal court.


Queens Counsel, a senior barrister sometimes referred to as a leader or leading counsel

Small Claims Track

The path that defended claims of no more than £5,000 (and personal injury and housing disrepair claims of no more than £1,000) are allocated to


Member of the legal profession chiefly concerned with advising clients and preparing their cases and representing them in some Courts. May also act as advocates before certain Courts or tribunals

Specified amounts of money

A specific and easily calculable amount of money, such as a debt owed to a claimant

Specified Claim

A type of claim which is issued for a fixed amount of money allegedly owing. Previously known as a liquidated claim


A written account by a witness of the facts of details of a matter

Statement of case

The statement of case contains the outline of the claimant’s case and includes: (i) a claim form, (ii) the particulars of claim – where these are not included in the claim form; (iii) the defence and (iv) a reply to the defence (v) any counterclaim

Statement of truth

Every statement of case must be verified by a statement of truth, signed by the parties involved. A statement of truth is a statement that says that a party believes the facts they have written down are true


A suspension of court proceedings. This remains in effect until an order has been followed. No action may be taken in the case other than an application to have the stay lifted. A case can also be stayed when an offer of payment is accepted or if the court feels it is necessary

Stay of Execution

An order following which judgment cannot be enforced without leave of the court

Striking a case out (striking out)

The court can strike out a case (prevent all further proceedings) if a party fails to comply with a rule, practice direction or court order. It can also happen if it appears there are no reasonable grounds for bringing or defending a claim. Either party (the defendant or the claimant) can ask the court to strike a case out

Summary Assessment (of costs)

When a court makes a cost order it may make a summary assessment of costs immediately after it has made the order. The court will usually make a summary assessment

Summary Judgment

A judgment obtained by a claimant where there is no defence to the case or the defence contains no valid grounds. A summary judgment can be obtained without a trial or hearing. A defendant can also obtain summary judgment if he or she can establish that the claimant has no real prospect of succeeding on the claim. You have to apply to the court for a summary judgement hearing to take place

Summary procedure

A procedure by which the court when making an order about costs, orders payment of a sum of money instead of fixed costs or detailed assessment


A review of the evidence and directions as to the law by a judge immediately before a jury retires to consider its verdict


Order to appear or to produce evidence to a court

Supreme Court of Judicature

Collective name encompassing - High Court of Justice, Crown Court and Court of Appeal

Telephone hearing

Hearings which can be conducted by telephone unless otherwise ordered are:

  • all allocation hearings 
  • listing hearings 
  • case management hearings 
  • and interim applications.

They are under an hour. Any other application, requires the consent of all the parties and the agreement of the court



A person which holds land or property under a lease

Third party

Person who is not party to a legal case, but may be relevant because he or she owes the defendant money. In that case the defendant can issue a third party notice against such a party

Third party debt order

An order issued by a Claimant, against a third party, to seize money or other assets in their keeping, but belonging to the debtor. Orders can be granted preventing a defendant from withdrawing money from their bank or building society account. The money is paid to the claimant from the account. A third party debt order can also be sent to anyone who owes the defendant money


An action in tort is a claim for damages to compensate the claimant for harm suffered. Such claims arise from cases of personal injury, breach of contract and damage to personal reputation. As well as damages, remedies include an injunction to prevent harm occurring again

Track allocation

See Allocation Case management tracks Allocation questionnaire


A public hearing in which the evidence in a case, and the law which applies, are examined

Trial (civil)

Civil trials are generally held before one or more judges without a jury. The form and length of a civil trial will depend on the track to which the case has been allocated

Trial bundles

These are the documents that are likely to be referred to in a trial or tribunal hearing. Identical bundles are prepared for the judge and the parties to the case

Trial contents

The contents of the trial include any written statements and documents in trial bundles

Trial Window

A period of time within which the case must be listed for trial


A promise, which can be enforced by law, made by a party (person) or their legal representative during legal proceedings

Unspecified amount of money

An unspecified amount of money is one which is not precise. For example, if you are claiming damages (compensation) for loss or injury, you might not be able to work out exactly what those damages are

Unspecified Claim

A claim where the amount to be awarded is left to the Court to determine, e.g. damages to be assessed for personal injuries. Previously known as an unliquidated claim