Legal Jargon

The process at a hearing whereby a party’s solicitor or barrister can ask follow up questions to issues that were raised during the cross examination.

A witness statement is a formal document, addressed to the Court, in which a witness sets out all the facts that they are aware of that apply to the case. They are normally treated as ‘evidence in chief’.

The ‘without prejudice’ rule means that statements made in discussions or communications as part of a genuine attempt to settle a dispute are private and cannot later be put before the Court as evidence of admissions against the interests of the party that made them. For example, a suggestion of a way to settle a dispute made by one party during mediation cannot later be used to indicate that the party had accepted responsibility or to frame any compensation or damages. ‘Without prejudice’ exists to encourage parties to negotiate an agreement rather than depend on the court to make a judgement, both to save cost and reduce pressure on Court. The contents of ‘without prejudice’ communications cannot be divulged to the Court unless it is “without prejudice save as to costs”, when it can then be divulged after the final hearing has been dealt with or the case has been settled.

In the context of an employment dispute, ‘without prejudice’ refers to private settlement discussions that should not be referred to in regular correspondence or to the Employment Tribunal. These can be to settle the dispute, or sometimes employers use this term to discuss possible exit packages with an employee.

Undertakings are a common part of the legal process, and are defined as a legally-binding promise to do, or not do, something.

The person(s) appointed in a will to take care of the deceased’s children until they reach adulthood at the age of 18.

The form completed and sent to the court at the same time as a financial consent order to give the judge an idea of the assets and liabilities of the parties so they can decide if the proposed order is fair.

A document summarising the points in dispute between the parties that is filed prior to the first court appointment.

A written declaration (statement) signed before a Justice of the Peace or a person who is authorised to administer oaths (such as a solicitor) but which is not sworn on any religious book (not “made upon oath”).

In conveyancing matters this is a document similar to a statement made under oath (affidavit), however, it is not sworn. Statutory declarations are commonly used to allow a person to declare something to be true for the purposes of satisfying some legal requirement or regulation when no other evidence is available – for example the use of a right of way.

The process where the parties agree the outcome without the matter progressing to trial.

The formal requirement to give or send documents to an interested party in accordance with specific rules.

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