Civil Law Jargon Buster

Acknowledgement of service

When the particulars of a claim form (outlining details of the claim) are served on (delivered to) a defendant, they receive a response pack including a form which they must use to acknowledge they have received the claim. The defendant must file (return) the acknowledgment form within 14 days of receiving the particulars of the claim. The particulars can be served with, or separately from the claim form.

Adjourned Generally

Temporary suspension of the hearing of a case by order of the Court (maybe for a short period).


The postponing of the hearing of a case until a later date.


A judgment or decision of a court, tribunal or adjudicator in alternative dispute resolution (ADR) cases where disputes are resolved outside of the court.

Administration order

An order by a County Court directing a debtor to pay a specified monthly installment into Court in respect of outstanding debts. The Court retains the payments made and at intervals distributes it between the creditors on a pro-rata basis.

Administrative Court

The Administrative Court is part of the High Court. It deals with applications for judicial review.

Admission (including part admissions)

A party involved in a claim may admit the truth of all or part of the other party’s case, at any stage during proceedings. For example, a defendant may agree that he or she owes some money, but less than the amount being claimed. If the defendant makes an admission, the claimant may apply for judgment, on the admission.


A barrister or solicitor representing a party in a hearing before a Court.


A written statement of evidence confirmed on oath or by affirmation to be true and taken before someone who has authority to administer it


Declaration by a witness who has no religious belief, or has religious beliefs that prevent him/her taking the oath. They declare by affirmation that the evidence he/she is giving is the truth


The process by which a judge assigns a defended civil case, to one of three case management tracks, the small claims track, the fast track or the multi-track.

Allocation Questionnaire

A case (claim) is allocated to a case management track, when an allocation questionnaire has been returned completed by the people involved (parties) in the case. Reponses to the questionnaire provide a judge with information on case value and other matters, to assist him or her to allocate the case to the correct track

Alternative dispute resolution

These are schemes such as arbitration and mediation which are designed to allow parties to find a resolution to their problem, without legal action. A party’s refusal to consider ADR could lead to sanctions (penalties) against that party, by a judge, even if the party wins the case


The process by which corrections to court documents, such as statements of case, can be made. A statement of case can be amended at any time, before it is served or with permission of all other parties or the court, (once served). The court may reject the amendment, even if the party concerned has permission of other parties to the case

Amount offered in satisfaction

An amount of money offered by a defendant to pay a debt or to settle another type of claim, for example in a personal injury case


Application to a higher court or other body for review of a decision taken by a lower court or tribunal. The higher court may overturn or uphold (i.e. reject) the lower court’s decision. Often, permission (leave) is required, to for an appeal to occur.


A person appealing to a higher court or body against a decision made in a lower court or body


Person making the request or demand, e.g. person who issues an application


The act of applying to a civil court to ask it to do something, for example to start proceedings


To place or assign

Appraisement or appraisal

Valuation of goods seized under warrant of execution prior to sale

Arbitrator or Arbitration

A process in which both sides agree to use an independent arbitrator (an impartial person) who gives a binding decision in the matter. The person making the claim (claimant) has to choose between going to arbitration and court – it is not usually possible to take a claim to court after it has been through arbitration

Assisted person (legally)

A party to legal proceedings who is receiving legal aid

Assured tenancy

A tenancy defined by the Housing Act 1996 where the tenant enjoys security of tenure

Attachment of earnings order

An order that instructs an employer to deduct a regular amount, fixed by the court, from a debtor's earnings and to pay that money into court. The court pays the money to the person or people to whom it is owed

Automatic transfer

Providing that a number of criteria are met, proceedings must be transferred automatically to the court nearest to the defendant’s home.


Result of an arbitration hearing or the amount of damages assessed by a Court


Bailiffs and enforcement officers are people authorised to remove and sell possessions in order to pay the money a debtor owes to a person or an organisation. They may also conduct evictions, and arrest people.

A bailiff can also serve (deliver) court documents on people


Insolvent - unable to pay creditors and having all goods/effects administered by a liquidator or trustee and sold for the benefit of those creditors; as a result of an order under the Insolvency Act 1986


The collective term for Barristers


(see Counsel; Silk) A member of the bar: a lawyer entitled to represent clients in all the courts

Bench warrant

A warrant issued by the judge for an absent defendant to be arrested and brought before a Court

Bill of costs

(see Taxation of costs, Summary assessment and Detailed assessment.)

Bound / binding

A binding decision is one that must be obeyed by the people concerned. For example, it is not possible to go to court after a binding decision has been issued by an arbitrator


Written instructions to counsel to appear at a hearing on behalf of a party prepared by the solicitor and setting out the facts of the case and any case law relied upon

Business address

Premises or place from which business activities take place


An action, suit or claim in a court of law. It can also mean the arguments put forward by parties in a court of law

Case disposal

The case is taken out of the court process (see Disposal).

Case Management Conference (CMC)

This is a meeting between all parties to a case and the Judge to check the progress of the case, with regards to costs and other matters. The numbers of CMCs held depend on the complexity of the case

Case management tracks

Civil cases are allocated to one of three case management tracks, depending on financial value, issues of law and the likely duration (length) of the case. The three tracks are (i) the small claims track in which cases to the value of five thousand pounds can be considered and the claimant does not have to have legal representation (ii) the fast track for cases of value between five and fifteen thousand pounds and (iii) the multi- track for cases of value over fifteen thousand pounds. Legal representation is advisable in the fast and multi-tracks

Case number

A unique reference number allocated to each case by the issuing Court

Case value

The financial value of a case - known as case value - is one of the factors used to asses which track a case (claim) should be allocated to. See also case management tracks


A notice given to the registrar that effectively prevents action by another party without first notifying the party entering the caveat

Certificate of service

A document stating the date and manner in which the parties were served (given) a document. For example where a claim form is served by the claimant court rule requires the claimant to file a certificate of service within seven days of service of the claim form otherwise he may not obtain judgment in default.


i) Private room, or Court from which the public are excluded in which a District Judge or Judge may conduct certain sorts of hearings

ii) Offices used by a barrister

Chancery Division

The Chancery Division is part of the High Court It deals with cases involving land law, trusts and company law.

Charging Order

A court order directing that a charge be put on the judgment debtors’ property, such as a house or piece of land to secure payment of money due. This prevents the debtor from selling the property or land - without paying what is owed to the claimant

Circuit Judge

A judge between the level of a High Court Judge and a District Judge, who sits in the County Court and/or Crown Court.


Matters concerning private rights and not offences against the state

Civil case or claim

A civil dispute that involves court action. See claim

Civil Justice or civil law

A branch of the law which applies to the rights and dealings of private citizens, (including such matters as unpaid debts, negligence and the enforcement of contracts). It does not include criminal, immigration, employment or family matters

Civil Procedure

The rules and procedures to be followed for civil cases in the county courts and High Court

Civil Procedure Rules

The rules and procedures for proceedings in civil courts England and Wales. An important feature is active case management by the courts.


Proceedings issued in the County or High Court. Previously know as an Action. See also Civil case or claim

Claim form

Proceedings in a civil court start with the issuing of a claim form. The form, which is issued by the court (after the claimant has filed the form in court), includes a summary of the nature of the claim and the remedy (compensation or amends) sought


The person issuing the claim. Previously known as the Plaintiff


A person named as an adulterer (or third person) in a petition for divorce

Common Law

The law established, by precedent, from judicial decisions and established within a community


Usually a sum of money offered in recompense (to make amends) for an act, error or omission that harmed someone. The harm suffered may have been loss, personal injury or inconvenience


A person who makes a complaint


Expressing discontent for something

Contempt of Court

Disobedience or wilful disregard to the judicial process.

In civil cases, for example, failing to appear as a witness without informing the court or the party that called you. A person found to be in civil contempt of court could be fined.


Contents of trial (civil)

see trial contents

Contributory Negligence

Partial responsibility of a claimant for the injury in respect of which he/she claims damages


Evidence by one person confirming that of another or supporting evidence, for example forensic evidence (bloodstain, fibres etc) in murder cases

Costs (civil)

In civil proceedings the general rule is the person who wins the case is entitled to his or her costs. The court may decide to reduce the costs to be paid by the losing side if it feels that the winner has behaved unreasonably. The award of costs is at the court’s discretion


A Barrister or solicitor in legal proceedings


A claim made by a defendant against a claimant in an action. There is no limit imposed on a counterclaim, but a fee is payable according to the amount counterclaimed

County Court

County courts deal with civil matters such as disputes over contracts, unpaid debts and negligence claims. County courts deal with all monetary claims up to £50,000. There are 218 county courts in England and Wales. The county court is a court of the first instance – where civil cases start

County court judgment (CCJ)

A judgment of the county court that orders a defendant to pay a sum of money to the claimant. CCJs are recorded on the Register of County Court Judgments for six years and can affect a defendant’s ability to borrow money


Body with judicial powers (see also Courtroom)

Court fees

The County Court will charge to issue a claim in a civil case and to launch enforcement proceedings if the defendant ignores the judgment of the court. You will also be charged if you make applications to the court

Court of Appeal

Divided into:

i) civil and

ii) criminal divisions and hears appeals:

i) from decisions in the High Court and county courts and,

ii) against convictions or sentences passed by the Crown Court, (see also Public trustee Monies held in Court, in the name of the Accountant General, for suitors, minors, Court of Protection patients etc)



A person to whom money is owed by a debtor


The questioning of a witness for the other side in a case.


An amount of money claimed as compensation for physical/material loss, e.g. personal injury, breach of contract

Date of service (civil claims)

The date of service of the claim is the date upon which the defendant receives the claim form issued by the court on behalf of the claimant. If the ‘particulars of claim’ section is completed or the particulars of claim are attached, the defendant must acknowledge receipt within 14 days

Debt recovery after judgment

See Enforcement


A person who owes money to someone or to an organisation


Court order setting out the rights of a party in the form of a statement

Default Judgment

May be obtained without a hearing by the claimant if the defendant fails to reply or pay within a 14 day period after service of the claim. A claimant can apply for a default judgment if the amount claimed is specified or for a judgment on liability if the amount claimed is unspecified.

Defence or defending a claim (civil)

When the defendant disputes the claim made by the claimant


Person giving evidence by affidavit


A statement of evidence written down and sworn on oath, or by affirmation

Designated Civil Judge

A Judge designated to deal with the Civil Justice Reforms for a group of courts

Detailed Assessment (of costs)

When a court makes a costs order it may make a detailed assessment of costs, usually at the conclusion of proceedings. A costs officer would carry out the assessment. See also Summary assessment.

Determination (civil)

If the defendant offers to pay to the claimant an amount by instalments and the claimant refuses the offer, an officer of the court will make an assessment of what would be reasonable for the defendant to pay

Directions (civil)

case management instructions given by the judge which give a time-table for pre-trial procedures. In cases allocated to the small claims track the judge will usually give standard directions, in cases allocate to the multi-track, there may be several hearings on directions


Parties to a civil case must disclose (show to the other party) documents they intend to rely on in court to support their case


Notice given by the Court, on instruction by the claimant, that they no longer wish to proceed with the case

Discovery of documents

(see INSPECTION OF DOCUMENTS) Mutual exchange of evidence and all relevant information held by each party relating to the case


To make order or decision that a claim be ceased

District Judge

A judicial officer of the Court whose duties involve hearing applications made within proceedings and final hearings subject to any limit of jurisdiction Previously known as Registrars

District Registry

see High Court

Divisional Court

As well as having an original jurisdiction of their own, all three divisions of the High Court have appellate jurisdiction to hear appeals from lower Courts and tribunals. The Divisional Court of the Chancery Division deals with appeals in bankruptcy matters from the County Court. The Divisional Court of the Queen's Bench Division deals largely with certain appeals on points of law from many Courts. The Divisional Court of the Family Division deals largely with appeals from Magistrates Courts in matrimonial matters a 'next friend' or 'guardian ad litem'


Method of pursuing a civil action after judgment has been made in favour of a party. Process carried out by Magistrates Court to collect fines and other monetary orders made in the Crown Court

Enforcement / enforcing a judgment

When a judgment/order has not been paid or terms obeyed with, enforcement proceedings can be issued to ensure compliance. A court can order such action as the seizure of a defendant’s property for sale

Entering judgment on admission

The claimant can ask the court to enter judgment on admission when the defendant has admitted all or part of the case and offered payment or other restitution

Entry of Judgment

Decision of the Court in favour of one or other of the parties


Documentary or other material which is used to support a person’s case in a court of law


Item or document referred to in an affidavit or used as evidence during a Court trial or hearing

Expert Witness

Person employed to give evidence on a subject in which they are qualified or have expertise

Family Division

see High Court

Fast Track

The path to which defended claims of not more than £15,000 are allocated. See also: Allocation; Case Management tracks


A decree or command

Fieri-Facias (FI-FA)

(see Sheriff) High Court version of warrant of execution in County Court. A directive by a High Court to a sheriff to seize sufficient goods of a debtor to satisfy judgment debt


The process of delivering or presenting forms and other documents to a court. For example a claim or a defence to a claim must be filed

Fixed costs

Costs in civil cases that are set at a certain level and can be claimed in specific circumstances. For example, if a defendant does not acknowledge a claim, the claimant can obtain judgment and an order for fixed costs to offset the cost of beginning the claim

Group Litigation Orders

A Group Litigation Order can be made in a claim in which there are multiple parties or claimants. The order will provide for the case management of claims which give rise to common or related issues of fact or law


Someone who promises to make payment for another if payment is not made by the person responsible for making the repayments of a loan or hire purchase agreement


A person appointed to safeguard/protect/manage the interests of a child or person under mental disability (see Next Friend)


A hearing is the trial of the case. Hearings are usually held in public

High Court

A civil Court which consists of three divisions:-

i) Queen's Bench (can be known as King's Bench Division if a King is assuming the throne) - civil disputes for recovery of money, including breach of contract, personal injuries, libel/slander;

ii) Family - concerned with matrimonial maters and proceedings relating to children, e.g. wardship;

iii) Chancery - property matters including fraud and bankruptcy


High Court Enforcement Officers

An enforcement officer appointed by the Lord Chancellor to enforce High Court judgments and orders

High Court Judge

see Judge and High Court

Home court (civil)

The court nearest to the defendant’s home or place of business

Housing claim

The procedure that a landlord may use in a county court to recover land or property (and money for arrears of rent or damage to property, if applicable). See also Possession Claim Online (PCOL)


A court order which either restrains a person from a course of action or behaviour, or which requires a person to follow another course of action.


see Bankrupt

Inspection of Documents

(see Disclosure of documents) Arrangements made by the parties to allow mutual exchange and copying of documents


A method of paying a debt in several parts at intervals. Payment by instalments is agreed to make the burden of repayment lighter


A charge for borrowed money, a percentage of the sum borrowed

Interim order

An order made during proceedings which is not a final order


Interim, pending a full order/decision, e.g. interlocutory judgment for damages pending further hearing to assess amount to be awarded and entered as final judgment

Issue / issuing

To initiate legal proceedings in pursuit of a claim


An officer appointed to administer the law and who has authority to hear and try cases in a court of law


The decision or sentence issued by a court in legal proceedings

Judgment on liability

See Default judgment

Judgment set aside

A judgment or order can be set aside (made void) at the request of a party to the case in certain circumstances, for example if they were too ill to attend court on the day of the judgment

Judicial directions

See directions

Judicial discretion (civil)

Judges have the power to decide how best to manage the case on the individual facts. They do not necessarily have to look at how similar cases are managed. The judge has very wide case management powers under Rule 3 of the civil procedure rules to decide on the evidence parties produce how best to manage their case

Judicial review

The High Court can review decisions of inferior (lower) courts, public bodies and other bodies to ensure that the decision making process has been lawful


i) Relating to the Administration of justice or to the judgment of a Court

ii) A judge or other officer empowered to act as a judge

Junior Counsel

(see Counsel; Silk) A member of the bar: the branch of the legal profession which has rights of audience before all Courts


The area and matters over which a court has legal authority


The letting of land or tenements, e.g. rent etc, for property for a prescribed period


Leave means ‘permission’. Some steps in legal action require the permission of the court. For example a losing party may be granted leave to appeal.

Legal Aid / Public Funding

State funded assistance, for those on low incomes, to cover legal fees.

Legal counsel

See Counsel, Barrister, Solicitor

Legal representation

See Counsel, Barrister, Solicitor


Responsibility or obligation. For example, a debt is a liability or responsibility.


A written and published statement/article which infers damaging remarks on a persons reputation


Permission to carry out an act that would otherwise be considered illegal

Listing Questionnaire

This form is used to ensure that all issues are resolved and that the parties are ready for trial. Used for Fast track and Multi track claims only

Litigant in person

A person who starts or defends a case without legal representation. Such a person is entitled to be accompanied by another person who may advise them, but may not address the court


Legal proceedings or court action. Litigation can be either civil or criminal proceedings.

Litigation friend

A person who conducts legal proceedings on behalf of a child or a mentally incapacitated person


(see Registrar) Judicial officer of the High Court in the Royal Courts of Justice who normally deals with preliminary matters before trial

Master of the Rolls

Senior judge of the Court of Appeal (Civil Division)


(see Originating Application) Proceedings commenced by way of originating application


A process for resolving disagreements in which an impartial third party (the mediator) helps people in dispute to find a mutually acceptable resolution. If mediation fails court proceedings can be initiated or re-activated

Mesne Profits

Sum of money claimed by the owner of property against someone not legally entitled to be in possession. Calculated from the date the notice to quit expires until the date possession is given up


Someone below 18 years of age and unable to sue or be sued without representation, other than for wages. A minor sues by a next friend and defends by a guardian

Money Claim

A claim for money only in the county court. The claim can be for a fixed on unspecified amount. See also unspecified amount of money


A loan of money advanced to purchase property. The transfer of the property is withheld as security for payment


The party that advances the loan


The party obtaining the loan

Multi Track

The path that defended claims over £15000 are allocated to

Notice of Issue

Notice sent by a Court to the claimant giving notification of the case number allocated to their action and details of fees paid. Confirms date of service

Notice to Quit

Gives prior notice, when served in possession proceedings, of termination of a tenancy


To call upon God to witness that what you say at the hearing is the truth or binding. (see affirmation)


Disagreement with an argument or set out by another at the hearing

Official Receiver

A civil servant who works for the Department of trade and Industry and is appointed by the Court to act as:-

i) a liquidator when a company is being wound up;

ii) a trustee when an individual is made bankrupt. The duties of an official receiver will include examining the company/bankrupt's property which is available to pay the debts and distributing the money amongst the creditors

Official Solicitor

A solicitor or barrister appointed by the Lord Chancellor and working in the Lord Chancellor's Department. The duties include representing, in legal proceedings, people who are incapable of looking after their own affairs i.e. children/persons suffering from mental illness


Independent ‘referees’ who consider complaints against public and private organisations in a wide range of fields including housing, health and banking. They are often used as a last resort when complaints cannot be resolved through an organisation’s own complaints procedure. Ombudsman services are free to use. Recommendations made by ombudsmen are not binding on the person making the complaint (complainant). They can still go to court even if the ombudsman decided against them

Oral evidence

Evidence given to a court, verbally rather than in writing

Oral Examination

A method of questioning a person under oath before an officer of the Court to obtain details of their financial affairs


A direction by a Court

Originating Application

(see MATTER) A method of commencing proceedings under the authority of a specific act of parliament, e.g. Landlord and Tenant Act, whereby the applicant asks the Court to grant an order in their favour


An order within an injunction to force a person to leave a property

Part 8 Claim

An alternative procedure for issuing a claim to the court

Part admission

See admission

Particulars of claim

This document contains details of the claimant’s claim which must be contained in the claim form or served shortly after the claim form has been served. The particulars should be a concise statement of the facts of the claim

Party / parties

People involved in court proceedings either as the defendant(s) or claimant(s)

Party and Party

Costs that one party must pay to another

Penal Notice

Directions attached to an order of a Court stating the penalty for disobedience may result in imprisonment


See leave

Personal Application

Application made to the Court without legal representation

Personal injury claim

A civil claim, which relates to physical or mental harm suffered by a claimant, due to the defendant’s alleged negligence

Personal Service

Personal delivery (i.e. not by mail) of a claim, summons or notice


Documents setting out claim/defence of parties involved in civil proceedings

Possession Claim Online (PCOL)

An online Service which allows claimants to start legal proceedings related to property online. Defendants can use the service to respond to a claim against them also

Possession Proceedings

Legal proceedings by a landlord to recover land or property such as a house or flat.

Power of Arrest

An order attached to some injunctions to allow the police to arrest a person who has broken the terms of the order

Practice Directions

These are steps to be followed by parties to a dispute prior to legal action. The aim of the to increase co-operation between parties and therefore the chances of an early settlement

Pre-action protocols

These are steps to be followed by parties to a dispute prior to legal action. The aim is to increase co-operation between parties and therefore the chances of an early settlement

Pre-trial checklist

A pre-trial checklist is completed before the trial. The checklist is for the parties and the Judge, as a reminder of the issues to be considered. The checklist will then be reviewed at a pre-trial review just before the final hearing.

Pre-trial Review

A meeting at which the Judge considers the issues before the timetable for the trial /final hearing date is finalised


The decision of a case which established principles of law that act as an authority for future cases of a similar nature

Preliminary hearing

A hearing in which the Judge ensures that the parties understand what they must do to comply with any directions and offers guidance on such matters as the use of an expert witness. This hearing is before the final hearing


See Queen's Counsel


In a damages claim the amount to be determined by the court


To annul; i.e. to declare no longer valid

Quasi-judicial functions

A quasi-judicial function is an executive function that involves the exercise of discretion (judgment). Court staff perform quasi-judicial executive functions such as managing the issuing of claims, serving court documents and deciding what would be reasonable for the defendant to pay – for example, see determination.

Queen's Counsel

Barristers of at least ten years standing may apply to become queen's counsel. QCs undertake work of an important nature and are referred to as 'silks' which is derived from the Courts gown that is worn. Will be known as king's counsel if a king assumes the throne

Queens Bench Division

A division of the High Court. The QBD has jurisdiction (reasonability for) civil disputes involving the recovery of money, including breach of contract; personal injuries; libel and slander


Transferring the case from one allocated track to another. This can happen if the value of the case increases

Redetermintaion (civil)

If the defendant or claimant objects to the rate of repayment set by a court officer, the judge will decide on the matter. See Determination.

Response pack

A response pack is sent to the defendant in a civil claim with the claim form or with the particulars of claim (if they were served separately). The pack contains all the forms needed to reply to the claim


Where a defendant who has been evicted by a bailiff illegally re-enters the property the claimant must issue a warrant of restitution with the court in order to regain possession

Right of Audience

Entitlement to appear before a Court in a legal capacity and conduct proceedings on behalf of a party to the proceedings


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.


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

Skeleton argument

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

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

Varied order

If a defendant has been ordered to pay an amount in full or by instalments, which they cannot afford, they can ask the court to vary the order to allow payment by instalments or by reduced instalments

Vexatious litigant

A person who regularly brings court cases which have little chance of succeeding. The Attorney General can apply to the High Court for an order to prevent such as person form starting legal proceedings without permission.

Warrant of Committal

Method of enforcing an order of the Court whereby the penalty for failing to comply with its terms is imprisonment; the bailiff is authorised to carry out the arrest and deliver the person to prison (or in some instances the Court)

Warrant of Delivery

Method of enforcing a judgment for the return of goods (or value of the goods) whereby a bailiff is authorised to recover the goods (or their value) from the debtor and return them to the creditor

Warrant of Execution

A method of enforcing a judgment, The bailiff is authorised to remove goods belonging to a defendant from their home or business for sale at public auction

Warrant of Possession

This gives court bailiffs the authority to take possession of a property and evict the defendant in cases, where an order for possession has been granted by a court.

Warrant of Restitution

A remedy available following illegal re-entry of premises by persons evicted under a warrant of possession. The bailiff is authorised to evict all occupants found on the premises and re-deliver the premises to the plaintiff

Winding up

The voluntary or compulsory closure of a company and the subsequent realisation of assets and payment to creditors


A person who gives evidence in Court, called to give evidence because they witnesses an event (see also Expert witness)

Witness summons

A document issued by a court which requires a person to give evidence in court or to produce a report or other documentation for the court

Written evidence / statement

A written statement of relevant facts which is submitted to the court.