A quick guide to some legal terms used in the last two posts

A quick guide to some legal terms used in the last two posts

A quick guide to some legal terms used in the last two posts


The last two posts on this blog part 1 can be found here and part 2 here contained some legal terminology that it’s perhaps best to explain here.

possession order A possession order is a court order directing that possession of a property (or piece of land) is given to the owner (usually the claimant).

claimant In a civil case the claimant is the person (or organisation) suing the other party (or parties) who are referred to as the defendants.

defendant In a civil case the defendant is the person/s (or organisation/s) being sued.

defence If a defendant refutes some (or all of the allegations) made by the claimant they can submit a defence. The Civil Procedure Rules (the rules a court and parties to a case follow) has various provisions that relate to defences here.

overriding principles The Civil Procedure Rules contain some “overriding principles”. This is the old way it used to be referred to and in the new version of the Civil Procedure Rules it’s referred to as “overriding objective”. These makes sure the case is dealt with justly and at proportionate cost. For example both parties have to be on an equal footing and the case has to be dealt with by the court that’s proportionate to things like the amount of money involved, the importance of the case, the complexity of the issue, the financial position of each party, ensuring its dealt with fairly and allotting it an appropriate share of the court’s resources. These are set out in detail in part 1 of the Civil Procedure Rules.

statement of truth Many documents filed with the court (and other parties) during the case have to also contain a statement of truth, the list of documents this applies to is set out in part 22 of the Civil Procedure Rules. There’s a form for the statement of truth which is ‘I believe that the facts stated in this witness statement are true.’ for witness statements and ‘[I believe][the (claimant or as may be) believes] that the facts stated in this [name document being verified] are true.’ for other documents. Statements of truth also have to be signed, in the case of a witness statement by the witness making the statement. More detail on statements of truth can be found in practice direction 22.

litigants in person This refers to parties to a case (whether the claimant or defendant) who don’t have legal representation. However they do have “rights of audience”, that is the right to address the court in person.

standard disclosure This relates to part 31.6 of the Civil Procedure Rules detailing which documents have to be disclosed by the parties to a case.

allocation questionnaire Prior to a final hearing, parties used to each fill out a questionnaire answering questions such as how long they expected they needed, whether they were going to rely on expert witnesses, which track the case should be on, whether the pre-action protocols were complied with etc. Allocation questionnaires were abolished as part of legal reforms in April 2013 and replaced with directions questionnaires as well a change in that a court officer now proposes which track the case should be on.

track, small claims, fast track, multi track Each case is allocated to a track. The small claims track deals with things like personal injury claims, tenants seeking an order on their landlords to carry out minor repairs and claims less than £1000 (for example a business suing for an unpaid invoice). The fast track is for larger claims up to the value of £25,000 and can involve expert witnesses. The multi-track is for claims that don’t normally get dealt with as small claims or on the fast track.

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