Glossary

A
Arbitration
The determination of a dispute by one or more third parties (arbitrators) rather than by a court (and a judge).
Alternative Dispute Resolution
Any of a variety of techniques for resolving civil disputes without the need for conventional litigation (i.e. action through the Courts). These include informal methods such as arbitration or structured methods such as mediation.
B
Breach of Contract
An actual failure by a party to a contract to perform his obligations under that contract or an indication of his intention not to do so.
C
Counterclaim
A cross-claim brought by a defendant in civil proceedings that asserts an independent claim of the defendant but is not a defence to the claim made in the action by the claimant.
Contract
A legally binding agreement between parties which can be oral or written.
Conditional fee agreement
Also known as a CFA. An agreement in writing between the lawyer and client for the provision of legal services in litigation, where the payment for the services is only due if the proceedings are successful.
CFA
Conditional fee agreement. An agreement in writing between the lawyer and client for the provision of legal services in litigation, where the payment for the services is only due if the proceedings are successful.
Causation
The relationship between an act and the consequence it produces.
D
Disbursements
A cost incurred by your lawyer on your behalf, which is then fully recoverable by the lawyer from you.
Damages
An award of money given by the court as compensation.
E
Encumbrance
A right or interest in the land owned by somebody other than the owner of the land itself.
G
Good faith
An act carried out in good faith is one carried out in honesty.
I
Injunction
A court order addressed to a particular person that either prohibits him from doing or continue to do a certain act.
Indemnity
An agreement by one person (x) to pay another (y) sums that are owed or may become owed to him by a third person (z).
Implied term
A term of a contract not agreed to by the parties in words but regarded by the courts as necessary to give effect to their presumed intentions.
L
Litigation
The taking of legal action by a litigant.
Litigant
A person who is party to a court action.
Liquidated damages
(See Damages). Liquidated damages are a sum agreed in advance by the parties to a contract as an amount to be paid in the event of a breach.
Limitation of actions
Statutory rules limiting the time within which civil actions can be brought.
M
Mitigation
A reduction in the loss resulting from a tort or a breach of contract. The part that has suffered a loss is under a duty to take all reasonable steps to mitigate his loss when claiming damages.
Mediation
A form of dispute resolution where an independent third party (the mediator) assists the parties involved in the dispute to achieve a mutually acceptable resolution.
N
Negligence
Carelessness amounting to the culpable breach of a legal duty of care.
P
Punitive damages
Damages given in order to punish the defendant rather than to compensate the claimant.
S
Settlement of action
The voluntary conclusion of a civil litigation action by agreement of the parties.
W
Warranty
A term or promise within a contract, breach of which may give rise to a claim for damages.