In Plain English
Search A to Z, or browse away. If you can't find what you're looking for, complete the form and we'll let you know as soon as we've added the definition.
This covers your litigation expenses if you're unsuccessful in legal proceedings and have to pay an opponent's legal fees.
Someone who is allowed to act on behalf of someone else. For example, an estate agent who acts on behalf of the seller of a house to find a buyer.
An arrangement between two or more parties to do, or not do, something (i.e. a course of action). For example, when a formerly married couple agree the terms of their divorce.
A claim, often made without proof, that someone has done something unlawful.
Refers to the other ways people can resolve a dispute without going to court. The most common ADRs are arbitration and mediation.
An application for financial support, following the presentation of a petition for divorce, nullity or judicial separation.
A non-trial ADR procedure where a third party (the arbitrator) looks at both sides of the dispute and decides how it should be resolved.
Something (usually of value) that is owned.
A person usually employed by a law firm, often a lawyer who may oversee handling your case.
The most common tenancy if you rent from a private landlord or letting agent. It’s normally six months long and you have no right to stay past the end date if your landlord has given you valid notice to leave.
Used mostly by public-sector landlords. It tends to be a lifelong tenancy which only ends if you leave or are evicted.
The protection offered by a country or state to a political refugee who has left their home country.
A person or organisation that is declared by law as unable to repay their debts.
A lawyer who is typically called upon by the solicitor to represent a case in court, i.e. to plead the case on behalf of the client and the client’s solicitor.
Someone who is entitled to a benefit or a gift, usually under a will or trust.
Someone who is entitled to a benefit or a gift, usually under a will or trust.
A gift of money or personal property made in someone's will.
A person or firm that arranges contracts and acts as the middleman between a buyer and a seller for a commission.
A form of misselling where energy brokers don’t declare the commission they receive for recommending an energy supplier to a buyer.
Personal possessions that can be moved from one place to another.
The area of law covering personal disputes, e.g. marriage and property, rather than crime.
A person making a claim
Someone who uses services provided by a lawyer or another legal professional.
A legally binding agreement between an employer and an employee. This document confirms that the employee will give up their legal claim against their employer and in return the employer will pay financial compensation.
If a claim on a CFA is unsuccessful, the solicitor usually receives no payment for their work. If the claim is successful, the solicitor claims a higher-than-normal fee to account for their risk in taking the case on.
A legally binding agreement signed by two or more parties setting out the terms of an arrangement. For example, a Partnership Agreement between business partners with the aim of making a profit.
The legal transfer of property from one person to another.
Lawyers who settles the legal costs of court cases.
Another term for a barrister.
A superior court of record which makes financial or welfare decisions on behalf of people who don't have the mental capacity to make those decisions for themselves.
A person or organisation to whom money is owed.
They deal with the most serious criminal cases. If you plead not guilty, your case will be heard in front of a judge and jury who, after hearing all the evidence, will decide whether you are guilty or not.
The organisation that prosecutes criminal cases investigated by the police in England and Wales.
An award, usually money, paid to a person or organisation for loss or injury.
A request made by an individual to an organisation for access to any personal data the organisation has on them.
Fees that are paid to organisations as required as part of legal services. For example, search fees in a property transaction.
When someone is treated unfairly because of their disability, race, religion or belief, sex or sexuality, and age. These are known as ‘protected characteristics’ under the Equality Act 2010.
Support for people who are in the last months or years of their life. It is a form of palliative care.
There are two main equity release plans: lifetime mortgages and home reversion plans. These allow you to access the cash tied up in your home if you’re over 55.
The sum of a person’s assets.
An item or information that tends to prove or disprove something.
Someone appointed in a will to carry out the directions of the will.
Employees of firms who deliver legal services.
A regulatory body which oversees the financial services industry in the U.K.
A review of your personal finances.
Intentional deception or concealment to secure unfair or unlawful gain to the harm of the victim.
A privacy and security law (passed in 2018) that applies to most U.K. companies and organisations. It ensures that personal information is used fairly, lawfully, and transparently.
The basis or motive of an action.
A court order which allows individual claims linked by common or related issues to be managed collectively.
A legal proceeding where the facts of a particular issue are looked at, and evidence is presented to help decide what the outcome should be.
If you’ve consistently asked your landlord to repair your home and they’ve refused to do so, you may be eligible for housing disrepair compensation.
Compensation for loss or damages served by one party to the other within a contract or otherwise.
Someone free from outside control or influence who can act in the way they choose.
The practice of receiving parts of someone’s estate upon their death.
An individual or company that can no longer meet their financial obligations, i.e. pay their debts when they’re due.
When a client employs a solicitor or barrister to act on their behalf.
Ideas you create and legally own because you own the relevant copyright, trademark, or patent. This could be anything from inventions to names and images.
These are hearings that take place between the first and final hearing.
A public official with the authority to preside over court proceedings and issue legal rulings.
A group of people who review all the evidence in a (criminal) court case and then reach a verdict.
This lets you appoint someone to make (financial or welfare) decisions on your behalf, particularly if you suffer an accident or an illness and cannot make your own decisions. It goes beyond ordinary power of attorney.
A generic term used to describe anyone who is a Licensed Legal Practitioner qualified to give legal advice. This covers solicitors, barristers, and advocates in the U.K.
Government funding that can help you pay for some or all of your legal costs, if you’re eligible to receive it.
A client’s right to have the information they share with their solicitor or barrister in confidence protected from disclosure; that is, unless they consent otherwise.
A legal document that allows someone (like a third-party or agent) to act on your behalf within agreed limits. For example, dealing with service providers on your behalf.
When someone is legally responsible for something.
A person involved in a lawsuit.
Someone who represents themselves in court proceedings.
The process of taking a dispute to a court of law.
A non-trial ADR process where the disputing parties meet with a neutral third party who assists them in negotiating a settlement.
A breach of principles, rules, or regulations, usually by a regulated professional; for example, a solicitor.
The deliberate, reckless, or negligent sale of products or services where the suitability of the product or service is misrepresented to the buyer.
The act of concealing the source of illegally obtained money.
A type of secured loan used to purchase or maintain a home, land, or other types of real estate.
A business that operates in several different countries.
Typically refers to your nearest blood relative. However, if you make a written agreement beforehand, your partner can be considered next-of-kin if you fall ill or die.
If your claim is unsuccessful, you won’t have to pay any solicitors fees. You only pay if your claim is successful.
A legal requirement by which one or more parties are instructed to act or to refrain from acting.
An official who has been appointed to look into complaints against businesses and organisations. There are different kinds for different sectors, e.g. Legal, Financial and Property.
A failure to act where there was a legal requirement for that act to be carried out.
This allows someone to make financial decisions on your behalf. It's only valid while you still have the mental capacity to make your own decisions.
This is usually the final decision following an application or an investigation.
An agreement between the two disputing sides to resolve the case privately outside of a court proceeding or before the court comes to a final decision.
Two or more people working together in business.
A type of insurance sold alongside products that require you to make repayments on, like a loan, credit card or mortgage. Largely sold between 1990 and 2010.
Refers to the 2014 Supreme Court ruling on undisclosed commission and unfair relationships between lenders and borrowers.
A legal document which gives you the authority to deal with someone else’s estate when they die, according to the instructions in the will.
Typically legal advice or representation undertaken voluntarily and without payment or at a reduced fee.
The welfare or well-being of the general public.
Someone who is regulated by a regulatory body, such as the SRA.
When you either move your mortgage to a new deal with another lender or move to a different deal with your current lender.
The reward or compensation an individual receives in exchange for the work or services they provide.
A right of a lawyer to appear and conduct proceedings in court on behalf of their client.
The possibility of suffering harm or loss.
A scheme that is fraudulent or deceptive where the goal is to cheat people out of their property, money, or even to harm them.
A loan that is backed by collateral put up by the borrower. For example, a mortgage in which the property backs up the loan.
A lawyer who provides specialist legal advice and is responsible for representing and defending a client's legal interest.
The regulatory body for solicitors in England and Wales.
A written or verbal contract between a tenant and their landlord.
A person or group independent of the two sides primarily involved in a situation, particularly a dispute.
Refers to the FCA’s commission tipping point as a result of the Plevin case, which states that commission over 50% is unfair and should be paid back to customers.
Specialist courts whose judges and members have the authority to judge and/or determine claims or disputes.
A legal relationship between persons in which one has the power to manage assets and the other has the privilege of receiving the benefits from those assets.
Where a lender fails to disclose (to the borrower) commission payments that they made to the broker in return for them providing them with business.
Where an employer terminates an employee's contract without a fair reason to do so. An employee is entitled to make a claim for unfair dismissal once they have been employed for two years.
A loan that is not backed by collateral, resulting in higher interest rates.
An impartial decision reached by a jury at the end of a trial, after all the facts and evidence are presented.
a legal document that expresses a person's wishes about the way their estate should be handled after they die.