Glossary of legal terms; A - L
Abduction: removal from the jurisdiction by a parent or putative father of a child under the age of sixteen across an international border without the consent of those with parental responsibility (PR) or leave of the Court.
Achieving Best Evidence (ABE): Home Office protocol developed to ensure that interviews of children and vulnerable adults are conducted in such a way as to produce evidence that can be used in court without leading the witness or otherwise influencing the result.
Acknowledgement of Service: form sent to the respondent which must be signed to confirm receipt of a petition or application and returned to the court.
Annulment: declaration by a court that a marriage was never valid.
Barder Event: change of circumstances which occurs immediately after the making of a financial order and which invalidates the basis upon which the order was made.
Best Interests of the Child: requirement that, “In all actions concerning children, whether undertaken by public or private social welfare institutions, courts of law, administrative authorities or legislative bodies, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration”.
Capacity (1): intellectual ability to carry out certain functions such as to have sexual relations and marry, or understand a case and instruct a solicitor.
Child Arrangements Programme: “road-map” which shows both courts and litigants how a case should progress through the system and keeps cases on track.
Child Assessment Order: order made by the Court on application by the local authority that a child be subjected to a medical, psychiatric or other assessment to assess whether he is suffering or likely to suffer significant harm.
Child Maintenance: money paid periodically by liable parents to persons with care as a contribution towards the upkeep of their children.
Child of the Family: biological child of a married couple or any child who is treated by the couple as their child, including step-children and adopted children, but not a fostered child.
Civil Partnership: arrangement which allowed same-sex couples to acquire rights and responsibilities similar to those of a married couple.
Cohabitation: arrangement in which a couple live together but do not marry and thus do not enjoy the legal protections granted a married couple.
Collaborative Law: non-adversarial, non-competitive approach to resolving disputes cooperatively using specialist lawyers.
Conciliation: form of alternative dispute resolution which takes place in-court under the direction of the judge or CAFCASS.
Conformed Copy: official copy of a court document which carries the Court’s seal and any handwritten notes which may be on the original.
Connell Order: form of maintenance order in which the Court orders one spouse to pay a global amount for the maintenance of the other (and children), less whatever the Child Maintenance Service calculates he should pay.
Consanguinity: relationship through blood.
Defined Contact: pattern of contact defined by a detailed schedule in order to eliminate the chances of misunderstanding and dispute.
Deponent: person who gives evidence by affidavit, affirmation or deposition.
Direction: instruction by a judge contained within an order for someone to do something.
Domestic Violence: any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are, or have been, intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality.
Examination: questioning of a party’s witness.
Family Assistance Order: order that CAFCASS or social services “advise, assist and befriend” a family.
Financial Provision Order: order that one party pay the other a periodical payment or lump sum or transfer property to them.
Financial Statement: form on which parties to a divorce must disclose their financial details.
Future Harm: harm which has not yet befallen a child but which may at some unspecified future date.
Guardian: person who has the legal authority and duty to care for the person and property of a “ward”.
Heads of Agreement: written summary of an agreement – usually financial – reached through successful mediation, which can be worked up into a court order.
Hearing: court session conducted before a judge.
Hearsay: statement which is not given in oral evidence, but which is nevertheless accepted as evidence.
Imerman Documents: documents which have been obtained illegally or fraudulently.
In Absentia (Latin: “in the absence of”): of a decision made by the Court despite the fact that one party has chosen not to attend.
In Curia (Latin: “in a court”): a hearing conducted in open court.
Indirect Contact: contact conducted through letters, cards and emails only.
Informal Notice: application made in haste without the usual documentation.
In Loco Parentis (Latin: ‘in the place of a parent’): relating to anyone who assumes the responsibilities of a parent.
Intervenor: third party who becomes involved in a case because of a specific issue.
Join: to become a party to a case.
Judge: officer of the court who presides over proceedings with responsibility to manage a case effectively, ensure correct procedure is followed and issue directions and orders based on the evidence and the law.
Judicatory: system of courts of law and tribunals.
Jurisprudence: body of common law established by case precedents.
Lay Advisor: someone without legal qualification who gives advice on behalf of an organisation in the lay advice sector.
Leave: permission of the Court.
Legal Aid: funding from the taxpayer to enable a litigant to purchase legal services.
Lex Fori (Latin: “the law of the forum”): law applicable in the particular jurisdiction in which the case is heard.
Liability Order: court order enabling the Child Maintenance Service to enforce payment.
Liberty to Apply: right of a litigant to apply for further appropriate orders or directions.
Lump Sum Order: spousal maintenance order which orders the payment of a sum at once or in instalments in lieu of periodical monthly payments.