Partington: Introduction to the English Legal System 3e Glossary Entries marked * Source: A Dictionary of Law. Ed. Elizabeth A. Martin.

Oxford University Press, 2002. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press. 4 July 2006 www.oxfordreference.com

A
Acts of Parliament The name given to the legislative output of Parliament. Also known as Statute law Administrative Court The part of the High Court that deals with judicial review (which see) cases. Alternative dispute resolution The label given to a variety of ways of resolving disputes other than by going to court. These include: mediation, conciliation, early neutral evaluation (which see). Many argue that a better label would be 'appropriate dispute resolution'. Audit Audit is a term widely used to refer to the process of checking that money has been spent properly and cost-effectively. In the context of government, audit is designed to ensure that public expenditure has been lawful and without waste. The body responsible for auditing central government is the National Audit Office; local government expenditure is monitored by the Audit Commission. There is a separate Audit Commission for Wales. Audit Commission See: Audit

B
Bail A person who is charged with committing a criminal offence may be detained in custody (remanded) or released on bail. If released, the person is require to surrender themselves back into custody at a specific time and place. Bail may be conditional (i.e. granted subject to the person bailed agreeing to defined conditions) or unconditional. The Bail Act 1976 creates a presumption that bail should be granted unless specified circumstances exist which suggest that it should not. Under the Criminal Justice Act 2003, the presumption is reversed in defined circumstances (see 3rd ed of the book at p 105, box 5.5) * Barrister A legal practitioner admitted to plead at the Bar. A barrister must be a member of one of the four Inns of Court, by whom he is called to the Bar when admitted to the profession. Barristers normally take a three-year law degree at university, followed by a one-year course at Bar school after which they are called to the Bar. Thereafter they take a pupillage in chambers and then seek a permanent place as a "tenant". The primary function of barristers is to act as advocates for parties in courts or tribunals, but they also undertake the writing of opinions and some of the work

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which must (normally) be passed by both Houses before becoming an Act. 2006. the Abortion Act 1967 was introduced by a private member (David Steel) and was successful because it had the support of the government of the day. who is also responsible for the payment of the barrister's fee. or other body. unless predominantly financial. The government sometimes prefers a private member to sponsor a particularly controversial Bill that they themselves support. Bills are either public or private. by whom it is presented. A hybrid Bill proceeds as a public Bill until after second reading in the first House. in whose gift membership lies. In general. The Bill is presented by the minister or other member in charge. if reintroduced in a subsequent session. and the procedure governing their passing by Parliament depends basically on this distinction. A Bill that has not become an Act by the end of the session lapses. A public Bill.Partington: Introduction to the English Legal System 3e Glossary preparatory to a trial. local authority. it must go through all stages again. For example. its function is to formulate government policy and to carry it into effect (particularly by OXFORD H i g h e r © Oxford University Press. Barristers have the right of audience in all courts: they are either Queen's Counsel (often referred to as leaders or leading counsel) or junior barristers. Education . In the House of Commons the government sets aside certain Fridays for debate on private member's Bills. it follows the procedure for public Bills. passed by being read three times. All rights reserved. With certain exceptions a barrister may only act upon the instructions of a solicitor. It is introduced on a petition by the promoter. and a ballot at the beginning of each session of Parliament determines the members whose Bills are to have priority on those days. Thereafter. for example. Its first reading is a formality. and evidence for and against it is heard. which is preceded by public advertisement and by notice to those directly affected. and then sent to the other House. A private member's Bill that is not supported by the government stands little chance of successfully completing all stages and becoming an Act. between which it goes through a Committee stage and a Report stage during which amendments may be made. A hybrid Bill is a government bill that is purely local or personal in character and affects only one of a number of interests in the same class. after which it is treated similarly to a private Bill. Their general immunity from law suits in negligence for criminal and civil litigation has been abolished. Its Committee stage in the first House is conducted before a small group of members. can be introduced in either House (less controversial Bills are introduced in the Lords first). it is headed by the Prime Minister. C * Cabinet A body of ministers (normally about 20) consisting mostly of heads of chief government departments but also including some ministers with few or no departmental responsibilities. it is introduced by the government or by a private member (private member's Bill). * Bill A draft of a proposed Act of Parliament. A private Bill is one designed to benefit a particular person. a government Bill to nationalize one only of several private-sector airlines would be hybrid. As the principal executive body under the UK constitution. a public Bill is one relating to matters of general concern. but it is debated on second and third readings.

Partington: Introduction to the English Legal System 3e Glossary the initiation of legislation). In this sense.e. where basic principles of law have been articulated through judicial decisions. A person may be charged with an offence before all the evidence is available to justify a decision to prosecute. Secondly. All rights reserved. 2006. the civil code. Charge bargaining A process of deciding what charges should be brought against an alleged criminal. Civil law systems are thus seen as distinct from common law systems. Germany and South Africa. The fact that a person has been charged with an offence does not mean that they will necessarily be prosecuted. Thus 'civil law systems' are those. such as France. see 3rd ed of the book at p 104) Charge The process of deciding that person suspected of committing a crime will be charged with the offence. in the Ministers of the Crown Act 1937. such as that of England and Wales. Cause lawyering See: Test cases Caution The police have power to issue either a formal caution or a conditional caution to those who have admitted guilt to the committing of less serious crimes. (For further detail. e. See: Common law OXFORD H i g h e r © Oxford University Press. The Cabinet is bound by the convention of collective responsibility. or suffers any other major defeat in the House of Commons. but not necessarily the final stage. a member who disagrees with a decision must resign. It is thus an important stage in an investigation. Civil law This phrase is used in two distinct ways in the context of the English legal system. See also: plea bargaining. The Cabinet has no statutory foundation and exists entirely by convention. the key principles of law are found in codes of law (the criminal code. but also family law and administrative law. the administrative code). civil law includes not only areas of law like contract law and property law. Education . which provided additional salaries to "Cabinet Ministers". In these countries. although it has been mentioned in statute from time to time. the phrase is used to describe the nature of a legal system and the law which is applied there. the whole Cabinet must resign.g. this may encourage a prosecutor not to proceed with a more serious charge. First it is used in a rather technical sense to refer to those areas of law that fall outside the scope of the criminal law (which defines the offences which people commit if they break the law). If the government loses a vote of confidence. whose law is based on 'civilian' codes of law first created in the days of the Roman Empire. Where a defence is willing to plead guilty to a less serious charge. This enables a case to be dealt with without any trial process being taken through the courts. all members should fully support Cabinet decisions. i.

Conciliation is the label used most frequently in the context of employment disputes. (criminal contempt) Conduct that obstructs or tends to obstruct the proper administration of justice. there are no special rules to protect one partner on the death of the other (as happens with married couples who have not left a will). Cases may also be committed for sentencing. where – historically – the bulk of the law derived from decisions of the courts. rather than Acts of Parliament passed in the legislature. * Contempt of court 1. or more general collective cases (e. At common law criminal contempt includes the following categories. whether involving individual cases. Common law Principles of law developed by the judges in their reported decisions.Partington: Introduction to the English Legal System 3e Glossary Civil partnership A concept created by the Civil Partnerships Act 2004 which enables those in samesex relationships to obtain legal recognition of that relationship. Separation of Powers. the law of England and Wales gives no special protection to those in a common law marriage. Conciliation A form of Alternative Dispute Resolution (which see). For example. All rights reserved. Often hard to distinguish in practice from mediation (which see). like England. See: Civil law See also: hierarchy of the courts.g. breach of an injunction or improper use of discovered documents. Rule of Law. Although legislation is still now the principal source of new law made in the UK. Constitutionalism Principles which underpin the Constitution. breach of the injunction can result in the defendant being jailed. it is under-pinned by common law rules.g. This is a feature of criminal trials where a case formally started in the Magistrates' Court is committed for trial at the Crown Court. e. See also: Common law marriage Committal The process of transferring a case from one court to another more senior one. If the injunction is served on the defendant with a penal notice attached. See: Sovereignty of Parliament. where the court which dealt with the case thinks its power of sentencing are too limited given the seriousness of the offence. resolving problems with general terms and conditions of employment). law reporting Common law marriage This phrase is often used to describe a heterosexual relationship where a man and woman live together without getting marriage. as opposed to countries whose law is based on the codes of civil law originally developed in the days of the Roman Empire. (1) Deliberately interfering with the outcome of particular legal OXFORD H i g h e r © Oxford University Press. Common law countries are those. 2. Common law countries (mostly countries of the former British Empire) are those based on these principles. (civil contempt) Disobedience to a court judgment or process. 2006. Contrary to belief. Education .

declaring that in their opinion the provisions in the Bill are compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights. Council of Europe This is the continent's oldest political organisation.Partington: Introduction to the English Legal System 3e Glossary proceedings (e. even though no particular proceedings are pending. It is responsible for the European Court of Human Rights. Contempt of court is a criminal offence punishable by a jail sentence and/or a fine of any amount ordered by the court. Education . attempting improperly to pressurize a party to settle legal proceedings) or bribing or intimidating witnesses. if the proceedings are active. The Act also protects (subject to certain exceptions) sources of information against disclosure in court. All rights reserved. the jury. It is also contempt under the Act to obtain or disclose any particulars of jury discussions and to bring into court or use a tape recorder without permission. in which the intention to interfere with the course of justice is not required. which took over from the Lord Chancellor's Department (LCD) in 2003. (4) Interfering with the general process of administration of justice (e.g. It comprises 46 members states including 21 countries from central and Eastern Europe. OXFORD H i g h e r © Oxford University Press. mean that argument to the contrary cannot be advanced in the courts.g. Such publications constitute strict-liability contempt. by disclosing the deliberations of a jury). or a judge. founded in 1949. any communication that creates a substantial risk that the course of justice in particular legal proceedings will be seriously impeded or prejudiced. by any means. but there are various special defences. Crimes against humanity See: War Crimes D DCA Department for Constitutional Affairs. (2) Contempt in the face of the court. of course.g. 2006. using threatening language or creating a disturbance in court. Under the Contempt of Court Act 1981 it is a statutory contempt to publish to the public. e. Declaration of incompatibility A ruling by a court that a provision in an Act of Parliament is not compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. The fact that the declaration is made does not. It is based in Strasbourg in North-eastern France. It is quite distinct from the 25-nation European Union (which see). Counsel Another name for barrister (which see). Declaration of compatibility The declaration that Ministers and other bring Bills to Parliament must made. (3) Scandalizing the court by "scurrilous abuse" of a judge going beyond reasonable criticism or attacking the integrity of the administration of justice.

Local government elections (apart from those to fill casual vacancies) are held at statutory intervals (see local authority). or reject both. Education . such as the House of Commons or a local authority. Different rules apply in Northern Ireland. (see 3rd ed at p 92) E Early neutral evaluation A form of Alternative Dispute Resolution (which see). Any dispute as to the validity of the election of a Member of Parliament or a local government councillor is raised on an election petition. Doctrine of Precedent See: Precedent Due Process The concept used by lawyers to test whether judicial proceedings are fair. All rights reserved. Voting is secret and normally in person. second that those adjudicating cases should not be biased. 2. Other changes make it easier for the disabled to vote and created an offence of supplying false particulars on a nomination form. commonly applied to wills. based on the principle that a person must accept both benefits and burdens under one document. A doctrine of equity. The conduct of elections is regulated by the Representation of the People Acts 1983 and 1985. It involves someone with legal expertise. The process of choosing by vote a member of a representative body. 2006. but any elector can obtain a postal vote without having to specify a reason.g. It arises when there are two gifts in one document. The only requirement is that the applicant is included in the Register of Electors. It has two elements. based on the written papers presented. a general election involving all UK constituencies is held when the sovereign dissolves Parliament and summons a new one. on the death of the sitting member) during the life of a Parliament. Northern Ireland and Wales. often but not necessarily a judge.Partington: Introduction to the English Legal System 3e Glossary Devolution The label given to the process of devolving power from the government in Westminster to other parts of the United Kingdom: Scotland. giving an initial view of the likely outcome of a case. Legislation is currently before Parliament which could give increased legislative power to the Welsh Assembly Government. a by-election is held if a particular constituency becomes vacant (e. For the House of Commons. one of A's (the creator's) property OXFORD H i g h e r © Oxford University Press. devolved government to Northern Ireland has been suspended. but without hearing any argument about the evidence or the law. First. Applications for a particular election must be received by the Electoral Registration Officer six working days before an election. At the present time. which is decided by an election court consisting of two High Court judges. The Representation of the People Act 2000 made some changes to electoral registration and absent voting and allowed for experiments involving innovative electoral procedures. See also: Natural Justice. The phrase is also used in the context of thinking about theories which should underpin the criminal justice system. * Elections 1. that people should know the case against them and have the opportunity to rebut that case.

Empirical evidence Evidence of (social) phenomena based on (social) scientific investigations. Equity is thus a regulated scheme of legal principles. In the 17th century conflict arose between the common-law judges and the Chancellor as to who should prevail. had ossified into a body of precedent with fixed principles. as distinct from that administered by the courts of common law. commonly an ecclesiastic ("the keeper of the king's conscience"). equitable interests over property. The Court of Chancery had varying types of jurisdiction (see auxiliary jurisdiction. especially an equitable interest. 2006. or equity of redemption. The common law did not recognize certain concepts (e. All rights reserved. equity had (and still has) certain doctrines (see election. use of focus groups.Partington: Introduction to the English Legal System 3e Glossary to B and one of B's property to C. relief against forfeiture and penalties. and equitable remedies. By the 15th century. conversion. reconversion. but new developments are still possible ("equity is not past the age of child-bearing"): recent examples of its creativity include the freezing injunction and the search order. he would be imprisoned for contempt of the order until he chose to comply (see in personam). exclusive jurisdiction) and many of its general principles were stated in the form of maxims of equity. Education .g. The Judicature Acts also provided that in cases in which there was a conflict between the rules of law and equity. General principles began to emerge. concurrent jurisdiction. the Court of Chancery was abolished (though much of its work is still carried out by the Chancery Division). 3. Moreover. performance of contract. who relied on the advice of his Chancellor. These ambitions are underpinned OXFORD H i g h e r © Oxford University Press. who dealt with cases on a flexible basis: he was more concerned with the fair result than with rigid principles of law (hence the jurist John Selden's jibe that "equity varied with the length of the Chancellor's foot"). to do justice in each case. Under the Judicature Acts 1873–75. since it relied primarily on the remedy of damages. such as questionnaires. if a defendant refused to comply with the Chancellor's order. the rules of equity should prevail. The main areas of equitable jurisdiction now include trusts. Erskine May See: Standing Orders European Union A grouping of 25 European nations committed to the creation of a free market in the movement of goods. with the establishment of the High Court of Justice to administer both common law and equity. analysis of statistical data and the like. once flexible. or to reject both gifts. * Equity 1. service and capital. That part of English law originally administered by the Lord Chancellor and later by the Court of Chancery. petitions were referred directly to the Chancellor. and by the early 19th century the Court of Chancery was more organized and its jurisdiction. uses and trusts) and its remedies were limited in scope and flexibility. 2. participant observation. A share in a limited company. An equitable right or claim. James I resolved the dispute in favour of the Chancellor. In the Middle Ages litigants were entitled to petition the king. or mere equity. B must choose whether to accept the gift of A's property to him and transfer his own property to C. satisfaction). people.

I Independence There are two ways in which the concept of independence is used in thinking about legal issues. which took over running of all courts from the Court Service and the Magistrates' Courts Service in 2005. First. H HMCS Her Majesty's Court Service. Ideas in a Green Paper are less fixed than when they appear in a White Paper (which see). Plans to reform the composition of the House of Lords as a legislative body have been under consideration for many years and are still under discussion. This principle is central to the development of the common law (which see) whereby principles of law are developed by judges in the senior courts. that such clauses undermine Parliament's function of debating and scrutinising legislative proposals. often successfully. Independence of the judiciary lies at the heart of one of the fundamental principles of the British Constitution namely that the judiciary must work separately OXFORD H i g h e r © Oxford University Press. House of Lords At present the House of Lords is both part of the legislature – a non-elected Upper House that considers Bills and conducts other Parliamentary business. Education . independence of the judiciary. second. See also: Regulatory Reform Hierarchy of the courts The principle that some courts have more authority than other courts. 2006. Green papers are usually the basis for a consultation exercise with members of the public. Henry VIII clauses These are clauses in a Bill which give Ministers power to amend a statute by simply making regulations. They are never popular with MPs. independence of the legal profession. All rights reserved. without having to pass an amending Bill through Parliament. Its court functions will be transferred to a new Supreme Court in October 2009. such as Committee hearings and Questions to Ministers – and the highest court in the land. They are so called because of their use by Henry VIII. Only those members of the House of Lords (the Law Lords) who have been appointed to determine legal cases can sit in the House of Lords in its judicial capacity. designed to narrow the gaps between poorer and richer regions in those countries who are members of the EU. G Green Paper Statement of government thinking on a particular policy issue. who argue.Partington: Introduction to the English Legal System 3e Glossary by more detailed regional and social policies.

Middle Temple. This is no long a practice requirement and chambers are now found in many locations out side the Inns. Until relatively recently there was a requirement that all barristers who practice in London should have their chambers (as barristers' office are called) within the physical confines of the 4 Inns. They also provide supplementary legal training. without fear of retribution. and also to the reporting of detailed decisions of the senior courts in cases involving issues of principle or interpretation of statutes (Acts of Parliament).g. All rights reserved. Provincial bars outside London have also increased rapidly in number. J Judicial review The legal procedure for challenging the legality of decisions taken by public bodies.2 OXFORD H i g h e r © Oxford University Press. namely the Ministers and Civil Service and other government departments. in some cases. Education . 2006. e. the government of the day (the Executive) effectively controls the bulk of what goes on in Parliament. the occasional spectacular back-bench revolt shows the potential for Parliament to act independently of Government. Judges make law through their leading decisions in cases as much as Parliament does though its powers to enact legislation. In the British context. in advocacy and other forms of professional legal education.Partington: Introduction to the English Legal System 3e Glossary from the executive arm of government. Lincoln's Inn and Grey's Inn. Through its use of the Whips (which see also) and its control over the Parliamentary timetable. e. the county court has a judicial review functions. and cases that challenge the authority of the government. reviewing the legality of local authority decisions on homelessness. The primary function of the Inns is to provide financial support to those planning to go to the bar.g. this separation of powers (which see also) is not absolute. The functions of the court in judicial review cases are discussed in the 3rd ed at pp 154-5. Judicial review cases are heard mostly in the Administrative Court (which see). Inns of Court There are four Inns – Inner Temple. However. see 3rd edition of the book at Box 3. All barristers (which see) are members of an Inn. and of the legislature – the law-making body. Independence of the legal profession refers more broadly to the principle that lawyers are ethically required to take up unpopular cases. For different types of legislation. See also: Natural Justice L Law reporting This refers both to the reporting of trials in the press and other mass media. See also: Neutral Citation Legislation The rules of law made by or under the authority of the legislature. But all those who practice outside the Inns are still members of an inn.

2006. Any decision reached in contravention of natural justice is void as ultra vires. where the idea of natural law originated. rights. is invalid if made by a person with any financial or other interest in the outcome or any known bias that might have affected his impartiality. against departure from the standard of even-handed justice required of those who occupy judicial office) – nemo judex in causa sua (or in propria causa) (no man may be a judge in his own cause). Neutral citation This is a way of referring to cases (by case number and standard paragraph numbers) designed to ensure that everyone can be easily referred to the same point in the judgment. Theories of natural law have been an important part of jurisprudence throughout legal history. There are two principal rules. All rights reserved. The system has been in operation since early 2001. Natural law is distinguished from positive law. which is the body of law imposed by the state.e. The philosophers of ancient Greece. OXFORD H i g h e r © Oxford University Press. Natural law is both anterior and superior to positive law. originally developed by the courts of equity to control the decisions of inferior courts and then gradually extended (particularly in the 20th century) to apply equally to the decisions of administrative and domestic tribunals and of any authority exercising an administrative power that affects a person's status. The second rule is known as audi alteram partem (hear the other side). It states that a decision cannot stand unless the person directly affected by it was given a fair opportunity both to state his case and to know and answer the other side's case. This means that any decision.Partington: Introduction to the English Legal System 3e Glossary Legislature See: Westminster M Mediation A form of Alternative Dispute Resolution (which see). no matter how the case has been printed out. This may include arriving at conclusions that a court could not reach. or liabilities. It involves a third party exploring with those in dispute ways of resolving the dispute to the satisfaction of both sides. The first is the rule against bias (i. N National Audit Office See: Audit * Natural justice (1) Rules of fair play. Education . (2) The permanent underlying basis of all law. however fair it may seem. considered that there was a kind of perfect justice given to man by nature and that man's laws should conform to this as closely as possible.

to search. Ratio decidendis of the High Court are binding on inferior courts. subject to some exceptions. normally recorded in a law report.Partington: Introduction to the English Legal System 3e Glossary P PACE Abbreviation for the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 – the legislation which contains the principal statement of the powers of the police. Probate granted in common form can be revoked by the court at any time on the application of an interested party who proves that the will is invalid. on the application of executors appointed by a will. probate is granted in common form on the executors filing an affidavit. The ratio decidendis of the Court of Appeal are binding on all lower courts and. but not on itself. ratio decidendis of the House of Lords are binding upon the Court of Appeal and all lower courts and are normally followed by the House of Lords itself. but only if the legal reasoning is from a superior court and. Many of the decisions about whether people can or cannot be released are taken by the Parole Board. Practice directions Informal procedural rules which supplement the formal rules of court procedure produced by the Rules Committees (which see) * Precedent A judgment or decision of a court. to the effect that the will is valid and that the executors are authorized to administer the deceased's estate. * Probate A certificate issued by the Family Division of the High Court. used as an authority for reaching the same decision in subsequent cases. In England and Wales the process is less overt. All rights reserved. OXFORD H i g h e r © Oxford University Press. judgments and decisions can represent authoritative precedent (which is generally binding and must be followed) or persuasive precedent (which need not be followed). whether or not they were parties to the action. This is a particular feature of the US system of criminal justice. the level of sentence imposed is reduced. (see 3rd ed p 134. if a defendant in a criminal trial agrees to plead guilty to an offence. probate in solemn form is granted.) Plea bargaining This is a process whereby. though judges are now required to indicate the amount of 'discount' they are awarding to a defendant who has pleaded guilty when they pass sentence. All parties who knew of the probate action and of their interest in the estate are bound by the court's order. It is that part of the judgment that represents the legal reasoning (or ratio decidendi) of a case that is binding. When the will is disputed. from the same court in an earlier case. The ratio decidendis of inferior courts do not create any binding precedent. but only if the court decides that the will is valid after hearing the evidence on the disputed issues in a probate action. on the Court of Appeal itself. When there is no apparent doubt about the will's validity. In English law. 2006. to arrest. including the powers to stop. and to question Parole The process of releasing those in prison on licence. Education . in general. Accordingly.

such as the European Convention on Human Rights. Appointments are now made by a new procedure involving the legal profession. First. Further details are in the 3rd ed of the book. In this book. Education . Royal Commissions are established rather less frequently these days than they used to be some years ago. in particular 'pre-action' protocols. such as the Royal Commission on the Environment. Such measures are always hotly debated in Parliament. Restorative justice A theory of criminal justice that argues that those found guilty of crimes should make amends to the victim of the criminal act Royal Commission An official body set up to investigate a particular issue. Most prosecutions are started by the Crown Prosecution Service. Second. amendments to International Treaties. though other agencies such as the Serious Fraud Office and the Prosecution Service for Revenue and Customs (which deal with tax cases) also have prosecution powers. for example the poor or the disabled. The current law is designed to ensure that governments do not make inappropriate use of the power and limit its exercise to genuine attempts to remove regulatory burdens rather than change the law more generally. All rights reserved. and totally different. Most are for a limited period. OXFORD H i g h e r © Oxford University Press. Protective legislation The label given to legislation that has the particular function of creating rights to protect the disadvantaged. designed to encourage parties to potential litigation to try to find alternative ways of resolving their disputes. are contained in Protocols. They are often. defined rules of practice relating to the practice of litigation are referred to as protocols. depending on its context. chaired by a senior judge. though by no means always. R Regulatory Reform A relatively new concept designed to enable governments to remove unnecessary regulatory burdens by creating new procedures for amending legislation that is already on the statute book.Partington: Introduction to the English Legal System 3e Glossary Prosecution The process of bringing a criminal case to court. Q QC Abbreviation for Queen's Counsel – senior barristers who are authorised to use this title. Protocol This is a concept used in many different ways. such as the Inquiry into Criminal Procedure. QCs used to be appointed on the recommendation of the Lord Chancellor. two distinct types of protocol arise. 2006. Some are permanent.

the equal subjection of all (including officials) to the ordinary law administered by the ordinary courts. It was propounded by Montesquieu (De l'Esprit des Lois. followed by two years as an employee under a training contract (previously called articles of clerkship). Those taking a nonlaw degree spend two years at law college. executive. the legislature and the executive depend on one another and their members overlap. Solicitors form much the larger part of the English legal profession (compare barrister). so that the government has no arbitrary authority over the citizen. Rules Committees Committees of judges. Education . A feature attributed to the UK constitution by Professor Dicey (Law of the Constitution. taking a common professional examination in the first year. and the fact that the citizen's personal freedoms are formulated and protected by the ordinary law rather than by abstract constitutional declarations.Partington: Introduction to the English Legal System 3e Glossary * Rule of Law 1. 2006. See also: Parole * Separation of Powers The doctrine that the liberty of the individual is secure only if the three primary functions of the state (legislative. But other regulatory agencies (such as the bodies which regulate conditions of health and safely in factories or offices or nuclear installations) can also impose sanctions. There are separate rules committees for family. and judicial) are exercised by distinct and independent organs. The doctrine had a great influence over the form adopted for the constitution of the USA and many other countries. 1885). All rights reserved. A new tribunals rules committee is in the process of being established. however. The supremacy of law. Practising solicitors must possess a practising certificate. criminal and civil. 2. Sentencing The judicial process of determining the punishment to be imposed on those found guilty of committing criminal offences. Sentencing policy is extremely controversial. 1748). then a one-year legal practice course and examination at a law college. * Solicitor A legal practitioner admitted to practice under the provisions of the Solicitors Act 1974. after which they are admitted as solicitors. It embodied three concepts: the absolute predominance of regular law. who regarded it as a feature of the UK constitution. practitioners and civil servants that set down the procedural rules that courts and those who appear in them must follow. In fact. Use of sanctions is seen most clearly in the context of the criminal law. Solicitors normally take a three-year law degree at university. while the judiciary is largely independent. undertaking the general aspects of OXFORD H i g h e r © Oxford University Press. S Sanctions Used in this context to refer to the powers given to the courts and other governmental bodies to penalise those who have broken the law.

Test cases are often brought by agencies or other bodies which are seeking to establish some new legal principle. It also protects other interests. from Latin tortus. i. and Northern Ireland Assembly have devolved power in certain areas. In this context. and the 'unified common approach' (See 3rd ed p 65) T Test cases The name given to cases specially brought before the court to test the interpretation of a statute or a principle of law. The law of tort is mainly concerned with providing compensation for personal injury and property damage caused by negligence. It in the higher courts that ambiguities and uncertainties in legislative provision are interpreted by the judges. The Welsh Assembly. New legislation often generates test cases as the meaning of provisions in untested Acts of Parliament is challenged in court. it can legislate only for territories that are recognized by international law to be within its competence. false imprisonment). such as reputation (see defamation). the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. when the compatibility of actions of public bodies or legislative provisions with the European Convention on Human Rights is in question. twisted or crooked] A wrongful act or omission for which damages can be obtained in a civil court by the person wronged. * Sovereignty of Parliament The constitutional principle that the legislative competence of Parliament is unlimited. Standing Orders are used to relating to the rules relating to the Practice and Procedure of Parliament. Many of the rules are brought together in a book. the mischief rule. Standing Orders Many organisations work under the authority of standing orders – rules relating to the procedures they adopt to go about their work. They have rights of audience in the lower courts but may not act as advocates in the Supreme Court (except in chambers) or the House of Lords unless they have acquired a relevant advocacy qualification under the terms of the Courts and Legal Services Act 1990. the UK. The effectiveness of the Human Rights Act 1998 has been another source of legal challenge before the courts. title to OXFORD H i g h e r © Oxford University Press. A solicitor may be sued for professional negligence and owes the duties of a fiduciary to his client. these include the duty to preserve the confidentiality of the client's affairs. the golden rule. Statutory Interpretation A key judicial function. wrong. and UK dependencies. personal freedom (see assault. Parliament does not assume unlimited authority. Scottish Parliament.Partington: Introduction to the English Legal System 3e Glossary giving legal advice and conducting legal proceedings. however. 2006. All rights reserved. referred to by the name of its original 19th century author Erskine May. however. Education . rule. other than a wrong that is only a breach of contract. No court in the UK can question its power to enact any law that it pleases. * Tort [Old French: harm. They apply principle: the literal.e. In practice.

Assault is both a crime and a tort. but in some cases an injunction can be obtained to prevent repetition of the injury. 2006. Negligent driving by a taxi-driver that causes injury to his passenger is both the tort of negligence and breach of the contract to carry the passenger safely to his destination. ill-treatment. The crime is prosecuted by agents of the state in the name of the Crown. enjoyment of property (see nuisance). conspiracy. and commercial interests (see intimidation. Many torts are also crimes.Partington: Introduction to the English Legal System 3e Glossary property (see conversion. All rights reserved. and wanton destruction of population centres or devastation that is not justified by military necessity. The passenger may sue either in tort or for breach of contract. planning. both to get over the effect of the criminal act and to help them if they go to court as a witness. Education . racial. Other remedies are self-help and orders for specific restitution of property. Dangerous driving is a crime and may give rise to an action in tort if it causes injury to another person. or deportation of civilian populations. and other inhumane acts committed against any civilian population before or during World War II and persecution on political. deportation. or both. or religious grounds (but only if the persecution is connected with war crimes or crimes against peace). but torts whose main function is to protect rights rather than to compensate for damage (such as trespass) are actionable without proof of damage. This has had major implications for the relationship between state sovereignty and humanitarian intervention. the prohibition of crimes against humanity denies the right of any state to treat its citizens as it pleases. enslavement. i. consisting essentially of murder. The Nuremberg Tribunal also defined a new category of crimes against humanity. these acts are crimes against humanity whether or not they violate the domestic law of the country where the crime was committed.e. passing off). killing hostages. In consequence. The person principally liable is the one who committed the tort (the tortfeasor) but under the rules of vicarious liability one may be liable for a tort committed by another person. OXFORD H i g h e r © Oxford University Press. V Victim Support The general name given to the processes and bodies that offer the victims of crime support. It is now arguable that this definition is of general application and is wider than that of war crimes. Most torts are actionable only if they have caused damage. The main remedy for a tort is an action for damages. It must usually be shown that the wrong was done intentionally or negligently. According to the Charter of the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal of 1946. trespass). The Tribunal also created a third category of crimes against peace. Some torts are also breaches of contract. extermination. murder or illtreatment of prisoners of war. plundering property. war crimes include murder. It is left to the injured person to seek compensation from the wrongdoer by means of an action in tort. but there are some torts of strict liability. W * War Crimes Any violation of the laws or customs of war amounting to a criminal act.

See also International Criminal Court. deriving from the fact that many. irrespective of the accused's nationality at the time. Westminster A quick way of referring to the Palace of Westminster – comprising the House of Commons and the House of Lords – which together make up the legislature. The opposition parties also use whips to enforce discipline in the ranks of the opposition. More recently. War crimes tribunals were established at the end of World War II with jurisdiction to try and punish those who allegedly committed war crimes while acting in the interests of the European Axis countries or Japan. the body responsible for enacting legislative proposals into law. Whips Members of the Government responsible for ensuring that members of their party in Parliament vote in accordance with the wishes of the Government. See also: Green Paper Y Youth justice The name given to the range of practices and procedures for dealing with young people accused of committing criminal offences. under Chapter VII of the UN Charter. published before a Bill on the subject is published. though by no means all. White Paper Statement of government policy on a particular issue. Warrant The authority given to the police by a magistrate to make an arrest or to search premises. Education . the UN Security Council has set up ad hoc war crimes tribunals in relation to the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia (1993) and Rwanda (1994). Prosecutions may be brought with the consent of the Attorney General for homicide offences. OXFORD H i g h e r © Oxford University Press. are located in the Whitehall area of London. Whitehall A shorthand term used to refer collectively to the central government departments of State. 2006. It is generally considered that these definitions now form part of customary international law. All rights reserved. or waging a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties. The War Crimes Act 1991 gives jurisdiction to UK courts to try those charged with war crimes committed in German-held territory during World War II.Partington: Introduction to the English Legal System 3e Glossary preparing.

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