Glossary of legal terms; M - Z
Magistrate: officer of the court who tries simpler cases.
Maintenance: money paid by a spouse for the financial support of the other or by a parent for the support of a child.
Maintenance Order: order that one party should pay monies for the maintenance of another.
Mareva Injunction: court order which freezes a party’s assets and prevents their removal from the jurisdiction.
Non-Accidental: injury to a child which cannot be explained as accidental.
Notice of Proceedings: form on which the Court informs the respondent of the application or petition.
Official Copy: copy of an official document supplied and marked as such by the office which issued the original.
Opinion: in the Scots courts, a judgment.
Ordinary Residence: out-dated concept referring to a person’s abode in a particular place or country.
Ors: abbreviation of “others”.
Orse: abbreviation of “otherwise”.
Parenting Plan: a proposal for the parenting of a child after separation which will enable parents to produce a parenting agreement
Paternity Fraud: fraudulent identification by a mother of a particular man as the father of her child.
Pension Attachment Order: requires a spouse to pay part of his pension to the other party.
Pension Earmarking: process for arranging that, when a pension comes to be paid, a proportion is paid to the other party.
Pension Offsetting: act of off-setting the value of a pension against some other shared asset such as the marital home.
Perjury: wilfully making a statement in court while under oath which the individual knows to be false or does not believe to be true.
Pre-Action Protocol: statements of best practice about pre-action conduct which have been approved by the President of the Family Division and which are annexed to a practice direction.
Pre-Marital or Pre-Nuptial Agreement: written statement agreed by a couple before marriage, setting out the division of financial assets and other arrangements in the event of divorce.
Private Family Law: cases brought by private individuals usually following divorce or parents’ separation, concerning disputes over finances or matters relating to parenting.
Privilege: a party’s right in certain protected situations to refuse to disclose or produce a document or to answer a question of some special interest recognised by law.
Proceedings: legal action taking place in a court.
Property Adjustment Order: spousal maintenance order which adjusts the share in property – usually a house.
Public Family Law: cases brought by local authorities concerning the protection of children from harm.
Reciprocal Enforcement of Maintenance Orders (REMO): process by which maintenance orders issued in one jurisdiction may be registered and enforced in another.
Recital: item of background information placed at the top of an order which does not constitute part of the order itself.
Recovery Order: court order made to parents, police or social services to locate a child and return him to those with parental responsibility.
Reserve: for a judge to assign a case to himself so that no other judge may hear it. Alternatively, to hand down a judgment at a later date rather than deliver it on the day.
Revised Family Law Programme: scheme of case management introduced in April 2010 and designed to reduce demand for and pressure on CAFCASS and the family justice system and to expedite the progress of cases through the system.
Rose Agreement: heads of agreement which has not yet been worked up into an order but which is approved by the judge and is therefore binding on the parties.
Safeguarding Letter: letter produced to the Court by CAFCASS at the FHDRA to identify safety issues relating to the child. Formerly known as a Schedule 2 Letter.
Sears Tooth Agreement: deed between litigant and solicitor that assigns all or part of a capital settlement to the solicitor to cover legal fees.
Section 17 Assessment: initial assessment undertaken by social services when parents request their involvement.
Section 20 Agreement: voluntary agreement made by parents that a child should be taken into local authority accommodation.
Seised: having possession of; a court is “seised” of a case when it has sufficient evidence to pass judgement.
Significant Harm: harm that “must be something unusual; at least something more than the commonplace human failure or inadequacy” it can also arise from the cumulative effect of several minor harms.
Stare Decisis: (Latin: short for Stare decisis et non quieta movere, meaning; “to stand by decisions and not disturb settled matters”) the principle which requires judges to abide by the precedent set in previous cases.
Statement of Arrangements: old part of the divorce petition which is no longer used but still features on some forms issued by the courts.
Statement of Truth: brief, signed declaration at the foot of a document that the writer believes the facts contained within it to be true.
Strike Out: Court’s refusal to take a case because it has no hope of success. Alternatively, order of a court to delete written material so that it may no longer be relied upon.
Sub Nomine: (Latin: “under the name of”; usually abbreviated to sub nom) indicating that litigation commenced under one name and continued under another.
Supported Contact: contact conducted under supervision by contact centre staff with the parent and child in the same room as other families.
Taking a Case Out of the List: removal of a hearing from that day’s schedule.
Tariff: level of contact ordered by the Court.
Therapeutic Jurisprudence: model of jurisprudence in which the traditional role of a court is discarded and the judge’s role is not to uphold justice and the rule of law but to secure the best therapeutic outcome for the client.
Tomlin Order: form of consent order designed to stay further action, but which is enforceable by either party if the other defaults.
Transfer of Proceedings: change of proceedings from one court to another
Unilateral Divorce: decision to end a marriage made by one spouse only and without reference to the other.
Unreasonable Behaviour: any behaviour by the respondent to a divorce which in the eyes of the petitioner makes it unreasonable to expect him or her to remain married.
Visiting Contact: contact in which the child is able to visit the non-resident parent during the day but does not stay overnight.
Welfare Officer: CAFCASS officer who has been asked to produce a welfare report.
Xydhias Agreement: financial agreement negotiated between spouses which has not yet been drawn up into an order but which may nevertheless prove binding.