The release of a defendant from custody, until his/her next appearance in Court, subject sometimes to security being given and/or compliance with certain conditions.

Balance of probabilities

The standard of proof in civil proceedings.


A person who cannot pay the debts owed to his creditors as they fall due or with an excess of liabilities over assets and who has not been discharged from bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy Order

The court order making an individual bankrupt.


Barristers are specialists in advocacy, usually under instruction from a solicitor.

Bench Warrant

A warrant issued by the magistrates or judge for an absent defendant to be arrested and brought before a Court either on bail or in custody.

Beneficial owner

A beneficial owner is the true owner of a security or property, which may be registered in another name. An example is a shareholder, who may have registered his securities in the name of a broker or nominee.


Anyone who receives anything from a will.


A gift left in a will.

Bodies corporate

An entity that has legal personality, in other words is capable of enjoying and being subject to legal rights and duties. An example would be a limited company.

Bona vacantia

A term for ownerless property which passes by law to the Crown.

Breach of contract

A failure by a party to a contract to abide by the terms of the contract or to perform the obligations outlined in the contract.

Breach of privacy

An unwarranted or unauthorised intrusion of an individuals privacy by government, media or other institutions or individuals.

Breach of warranty

A warranty is made by one party to another, a statement of fact usually relating to condition or quality of goods. A breach of warranty occurs when the promise is broken, i.e. product is defective or not as a reasonable buyer should expect.

Break clause

A clause in a lease giving either or both parties the right to terminate a lease in specified circumstances.

Bridging loan

Short term loan enabling the borrower to bridge the gap between the purchase of a new house and the sale of the old one.


A set of papers giving the details of a client’s case for use in Court.

Building lease

A long-term lease, imposing an obligation on the lessee to erect one or more buildings on the leased land, which will become the property of the landlord after the lease expires.