Alternative Dispute Resolution – Methods used to attempt to resolve disputes outside of court proceedings.

Appeal – A party may feel they have the right to question a judgement once it has been made and apply to a higher court to reverse a lower court’s decision. For an appeal to be successful, there would need to be strong grounds that the judgement was wrong or unjust, based on an irregularity or a procedural flaw.

Arbitration – A form of alternative dispute resolution and a method of resolving a dispute without court proceedings. An independent third party listens to both sides’ positions and decides, which both parties agree to be bound by.

Bankruptcy – A form of insolvency which writes off debts if a person does not have the means to repay sums due to its creditors. A court will make a bankruptcy order following presentation of a bankruptcy petition.

Civil Procedure Rules – The rules used by County Courts, the High Court and the Court of Appeal in England and Wales.

Claimant – The party (organisation or person) making a claim.

Compensation – A sum received in recompense for the loss, injury or suffering for which you are claiming.

Consent Order – An order agreed by the parties and approved by a Judge in court proceedings. It can be used to record settlement terms between the parties or, alternatively, agreement in relation to the timetable for the claim.

Contract – A legally binding agreement signed by two or more parties clearly setting out the terms of an arrangement.

Costs – an all-encompassing term to describe the legal costs and expenses incurred by either party in litigation

Counsel – An alternative term used to describe a barrister.

Counterclaim – Where a defendant responds to a claimant’s claim by making a claim in response and as part of the same proceedings.

Court Fees – A term used to describe the various court fees that must be paid during different stages of a court dispute, such as an issue fee.

Cross-examination – Where a witness is questioned by a party who did not call the witness.

Damages – Another word for compensation where monies are awarded to a person or organisation for loss, injury or suffering.

Defence – A defendant’s response to a claimant’s particulars of claim outlining which elements of the claim the defendant admits, does not admit or denies.

Defendant – The party (organisation or person) who the claim is made against.

Disbursements – Money paid to third parties by solicitors on their client’s behalf during litigation. Examples include court fees, barristers’ fees and experts’ fees.

Disclosure – Parties in litigation are required to acknowledges the existence of, and notify the other party of, documents in their possession relating to the claim. This is irrespective of whether the documents support or undermine the disclosing party’s case.

Evidence in Chief – Where a witness gives evidence for the party who called the witness.

Expert witness – A person who has the professional expertise to provide an opinion on the particulars of a dispute. This is usually an independent third party

Grounds – The legal basis or foundation on which a claim is made.

Indemnity – An express obligation, within a contract or otherwise, which allows one party to recover the amount that an organisation or person is liable to pay from a third party.

Injunction – Where a party is prevented from carrying out a certain action, or alternatively, forced to carry out a certain action, by a court order.

Insolvent – The state of an organisation or person being unable to pay debts when they are due or where liabilities exceed assets.

Liability – Something an organisation or person is legally obliged and responsible for.

Limitation Period – The time period within which a party must begin court proceedings to be able to bring a claim against another party.

Mediation – A form of alternative dispute resolution, where an independent third party meets with both parties to attempt to facilitate a settlement without the need for court action.

Obligation – The requirement, often with a legal basis through a contract, for a person or organisation to take a specific action.

Part 36 Offer – Part 36 of the Civil Procedure Rules sets out a framework for the parties to make offers to settle. The rules surrounding Part 36 are complex.

Particulars of Claim – When a claimant brings a claim to court, they present a ‘particulars of claim setting out the basis of the claim being made.

Pleadings – Formal written statements setting out the particulars of the parties’ cases in a civil dispute. Particulars of claim, defences and replies are pleadings.

Pre-action Protocol – procedures set out in the civil procedure rules which the parties are expected to follow before issuing court proceedings.

Privilege – The right of a party not to disclose a document to the opposing party for inspection on the basis that it is privileged. Documents created between the client and legal advisors relating to a case can be subject to ‘legal professional privilege’.

Proceedings – A description of the full extent of the claim, from its inception on a claim form to an agreed settlement or the ending of a trial.

Reply – A legal document produced by a claimant in response to the defence made by the defendant.

Service – The act, in accordance with civil procedure rules, of the parties serving certain documents on other parties in court proceedings.

Settlement – A mutual agreement made between the disputing parties to end the dispute without it going to trial, often reached through arbitration, mediation or another form of alternative dispute resolution.

Stay – Where court proceedings are put on hold based on certain terms.

Third Party – A person or organisation independent to the two parties (the claimant and defendant) involved in the dispute.

Tomlin Order – A court order staying court proceedings based on terms agreed between the parties and set out in a schedule attached to the order.

Tribunal – A person or body of people who have the authority to judge and/or determine claims or disputes.

Unlawful – An act or document that is illegal or contrary to social convention.

Warranty – A contract term which often results in claims for damage or loss from an aggrieved party, if it is breached.

Winding Up Order – A form of insolvency which winds up a company and writes off its debts if the company does not have the means to repay sums due to its creditors. A court will make a winding up order following presentation of a winding up petition.

Without Prejudice – A description of discussions or correspondence relating to settlement which cannot be disclosed to the court to avoid prejudicing the claim.

Without Prejudice Save As To Costs – A description of discussions or correspondence relating to settlement which cannot be disclosed to the court to avoid prejudicing the claim, until such time as the court is considering whether one of the parties should be ordered to pay the other’s legal costs.

Witness statements – Vital evidence provided by people who can speak or give a statement on the issues raised in the pleadings.