Legal Glossary


We have listed below some common legal terms, together with a brief explanation of what they mean.


Accident Claims

When a person has an accident that is not their fault and they can claim personal injury compensation.

Ancillary Relief

The facility the Court has to divide property, assets, pensions and to determine maintenance upon divorce where parties cannot reach agreement. 

Authorised Guarantee Agreement

Where a tenant who is selling a lease guarantees the performance of the tenant's covenants by the person to whom he is selling.

Breach of Covenant

Where a landlord or a tenant fails to carry out an obligation that he ought to do.

Break Clause

Provision in a lease allowing the tenant (and/or the landlord) to bring an end to the contractual term of the lease before it has run its full course.


A document signed by someone as an addition to their Will. It can alter any previous provisions stated in the Will, or add further gifts, etc. to the Will.


Dealing with the legal side of buying, selling, re-mortgaging or otherwise transferring ownership of a property- for example - checking title, carrying out searches, etc. and ensuring that the buyer gets good title on completion.

Court of Protection

A division of the Supreme Court dealing with the appointment of someone to deal with the affairs of a person who has become mentally incapable. The Court oversees the management of the property and affairs of the incapable person.

Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA)

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority administers the criminal injuries compensation scheme throughout England, Scotland and Wales. They pay compensation to people who have been the victim of a violent crime.


A deed is a legal instrument used to grant a right. The deed is best known as the method of transferring title to real estate from one person to another. However, by the general definition, powers of attorney, commissions, patents, and even diplomas conferring academic degrees are also deeds.


The legal proceedings which end a husband and wife’s marriage.

Escrow Agent

An independent third party who acts as agent for seller and buyer. Upon completion of the transaction and following notification by the buyer that all is in order with the asset to be purchased, the Agent will remit the price to the seller, send documents to the buyer and carry out other agreed instructions.


The person named in a Will to deal with the estate of someone who has died. Their duties include collecting in the assets of the estate, paying any outstanding debts and distributing the remaining estate funds to the beneficiaries named in the Will.

Grant of Probate

A document issued by the Probate Registry confirming that the Will of a deceased person has been registered and authorising the executors of the Will to receive the estate assets and to deal with the estate as directed by the Will.

Grievance & Disciplinary Procedures

An employer is expected to follow certain steps where disciplinary action is contemplated.  Likewise, where an employee has a grievance, certain steps need to be followed, both by the employee in bringing the grievance and by the employer in handling the grievance.  The ACAS Code of Practice outlines the recommended steps to be taken in both disciplinary and grievance situations.  Failure to comply with these steps may result in the reduction or increase of compensation by up to 25%.


Someone who can be appointed in a Will to be the person to look after any infant children of a deceased person.


Headway is a charity set up to give help and support to people affected by brain injury and those who care for them.

Inheritance Tax

A tax due to the government on the value of certain lifetime gifts or on the value of the estate of someone who has died. There are some exemptions from the tax depending on the value of the gift or estate assets and the type of gift or estate asset involved.

Joint Property

Any assets owned by two or more persons where if one owner dies his or her share passes to the remaining owners.

Land Charges

Typically a charge registered against the property will be a mortgage or secured loan but the term also includes covenants, easements, cautions etc. The owner of the property is responsible for all charges no matter when they were registered.

Land Registry

A government institution which exists to register titles for individual plots of land.  The register is now open to the public, who can obtain details of any registered title.  The register records particulars of the proprietor(s) of the property, all covenants, easements and charges on the property, and recently the purchase price of the property. The Land Registry charges a fee for registering all transfers and mortgages. Not all land in England and Wales is registered at the Land Registry at the moment as it was not always compulsory to do so.

Lasting Power of Attorney

From 1 October 2007, Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPAs) cannot be made any more.  Those EPAs in existence before this date can still be used, but must be registered at the Office of the Public Guardian when the donor begins to lose mental capacity.  Donors wishing to appoint Attorneys must now make Lasting Powers of Attorney.  These are documents which appoint Attorneys to act in respect of the donor’s property and financial affairs and/or health and welfare.  Both types of power must be registered before use and, in addition, the donor must have lost mental capacity before an Attorney can act in respect of the donor’s health and welfare.

Legal Expenses Insurance

Insurance against paying the other side's costs if you lose.

Letters of Administration

A document issued by the Probate Registry to the person entitled to deal with the estate of someone who has died without leaving a Will.

Letter of Instruction

A Letter setting out detail of the basis upon which we will act as Escrow Agent; including the deposit and price, the documents to be lodged with us and the formula for completion of the transaction.

Local Search

Investigations with the local authority. A Local Authority Search will give information on planning permissions granted in respect of the property, any compulsory purchase orders, plans for new roads in the vicinity of the property, whether the property is a listed building or situate in a conservation area etc. Note that the Local Authority search is specific to the property itself and will not give any information on adjoining properties.

Maternity Leave

Maternity leave is divided into 3 periods being ordinary maternity leave, compulsory maternity leave and additional maternity leave. Entitlement to maternity leave is governed by the Maternity and Parental Leave Regulations 1999 as amended in 2002.


A loan which is secured on a property. If you fail to keep up the payments the lender can evict you and sell the property to get their money back. If you still owe money after the property is sold, the lender can pursue you until you pay it all off.

Motor Insurers' Bureau (MIB)

The Motor Insurers' Bureau compensates the victims of negligent uninsured and untraced motorists.

No Win - No Fee

When JWK Solicitors embark on an accident compensation claim, we will consider whether to enter into a "No Win - No Fee" Agreement.

Personal Injury Trust

If an injured person does not opt into a Personal Injury Trust, the value of their compensation award and the income generated from it will be assessable capital and assessable income for the Department for Work and Pensions and local authority means-testing rules. The effect of a Trust is therefore to ringfence the value it contains and to keep compensation outside the scope of state benefits and local authority means tests.

Possession Proceedings

Taking action in a court of law to recover land and buildings.


When you pay-off your existing mortgage and replace it with another.

Rent Arrears

Money owed by a tenant to a landlord beyond the date on which it should have been paid as rent.

Road Traffic Accident (RTA)

When a person has an accident associated with a motor vehicle that is not their fault and they can claim personal injury compensation.


When people, whether married or not, separate and end their relationship. This can occur without any formal divorce proceedings taking place.

Trips and Slips

When a person has an accident, by falling or slipping via an obstacle that should not be there, and they can claim personal injury compensation.

Trust Fund

An asset held by up to four persons (the Trustees) for the benefit of some other person or persons. An example is a gift under a Will to a surviving child to be paid when they become 18.

TUPE (Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations)

These regulations protect employees when a business changes hands to a new owner.

Unlawful Eviction

Obtaining possession of land and buildings without a court order and without following proper procedure.


A document in which a person sets out their wishes detailing who should realise their property following their death and appointing the people who they wish to be the executors to deal with their estate.

Working Time Regulations

These regulations were introduced to implement the European Working Time Directive which lays down minimum conditions relating to weekly working time, rest entitlements and annual leave and makes special provision for working hours and health assessments in relation to night workers.

Workplace Accidents

When a person has an accident at work that is not their fault and they can claim personal injury compensation.

JWK can help you. Get in touch today

Do you have a question or would you simply like some more information? You can contact JWK Solicitors on 01524 598300 between 9am to 5pm every weekday or use our enquiry form.