Capital allowances

Tax allowances that the owner of an asset can offset against taxable income or profits. They provide a deduction for tax purposes in lieu of the depreciation charged in accounts.

Capital value

The value of an asset, freehold or leasehold, as distinct from its annual or periodic (rental) value.


The value of an asset assessed in relation to the expected future income (rental) stream.


Either a Simple Caution (non-statutory warning given by the police, following admission of guilt, as an alternative to prosecution, which though not a conviction will go on the police database), or a Conditional Caution (warning under the Criminal Justice Act 2003) following admission of guilt, which though not a conviction will go on the police database).


If a property seller is also buying another property then this will result in a chain of transactions (there can be a number of linked sales like this).


The offices where barristers work.


A formal accusation against a person.

Chargeable gift

A gift on which inheritance tax may be charged.


Personal possessions ie clothes/furniture as distinct from land.

Child abduction

The illegal removal of a child from its home, often from one country to another.


Calling on someone to do something.


Matters concerning private rights rather than offences against the State.

Civil partnership

The Civil Partnerships Act 2004 enables same sex couples to register their relationship, thus securing largely the same treatment as marriage.

Civil Procedure Rules (CPR)

The rules which set out the procedure for bringing, defending and conducting claims in the Civil Courts.


This refers to the demand for damages or other civil remedy against another party.

Claim Form

The form that commences official legal proceedings.


The person bringing the claim, formerly known as the Plaintiff.


A separate section of a legal document such as a statute, contract or will.

Clean break

An order dealing with all the finances between the parties with a view to ensuring finality.

Clinical Negligence

An action for damages arising from the alleged negligence of a medical practitioner.


A person with whom the respondent is alleged to have committed adultery.

Code of practice

Rules established by regulatory authorities, administrative bodies, trade associations, etc., which are used to suggest and guide behaviour.


A modifying clause added to a will.

Collective agreement

An agreement reached as a result of negotiations between an employer and a trade union.

Collective mark

Trade marks owned by an organisation (such as an association) whose members use them to identify themselves with a level of quality or accuracy, geographical origin or other characteristic(s) set by the organisation.

Commissioner for Oaths

A person entitled to administer oaths.


Either Committal for Trial when following examination by the Magistrates of a case involving an either way offence it is sent to the Crown Court, or Committal for Sentence where the Magistrates consider that the offence justifies a sentence greater than they are empowered to impose and they commit the defendant to the Crown Court for sentence to be passed by a judge.

Common law

Laws arising from court rulings rather than from Acts of Parliament.

Common law/case law

Refers to the legal system that has developed in England and Wales through precedents set by Court rulings rather than through Acts of Parliament.

Community Penalties

Alternatives to prison which deal with the offender in the community rather than in prison. These include community punishment, community rehabilitation orders and drug treatment and testing orders.

Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA)

A voluntary agreement for a company is a procedure whereby a plan of reorganisation or composition in satisfaction of debts, is put forward to creditors and shareholders.


In determining the initial rent, or the market rent during the course of a rent review, parties and those acting on their behalf will have regard to evidence of rents for similar properties. Comparables may also be used to analyse properties’ sale values.


A sum of money awarded to make amends for an injury, breakage, hardship and/or inconvenience caused by another.

Compensation Order

A court order requiring the offender to pay compensation to the victim.


The point in a property transaction at which the legal transfer of a property from the seller to the buyer is finalised (contracts will have previously been exchanged see exchange). The buyer can take possession of the property from the completion date.

Completion Statement

A written calculation of all the income and payments due in respect of the transaction.

Compulsory Liquidation

The placing of a company into liquidation as a result of an application to the court, usually by a creditor.

Concurrent Sentence

A direction by a Court that a number of sentences of imprisonment or community penalty should run at the same time.

Conditional Discharge

A discharge of a convicted defendant without sentence on condition that they do not re-offend within a specified period of time.

Conditional Fee Agreement

An agreement linking the lawyers fees to the success of the case, often referred to as a No Win No Fee Agreement.

Confidentiality agreement

A signed document that legally binds the parties to keep the information confidential, and contractually restricts disclosure of this information to anybody else.

Connected Persons

Directors or shadow directors and their associates, and associates of the company.

Consecutive Sentence

An order for a subsequent sentence of imprisonment or community penalty to commence as soon as a previous sentence expires. Can apply to more than two sentences.

Consent order

An order made by a court which gives effect to the terms agreed between a husband and wife, or between civil partners.

Consequential loss

Financial loss which is the result of physical damage to property, beyond the direct cost of repairing the physical damage (or replacing the damaged goods).


To form a legal contract, an agreement must involve each party paying a price for whatever he received from the other party. This price is consideration, which can be money, an act, forbearance or a promise. A contract is not valid without consideration.


The process of determining the true meaning of a written document.

Constructive dismissal

Resignation by an employee in circumstances such that he or she is entitled to resign by reason of an act or course of action by the employer.

Contact (formerly Access)

The arrangement by which a child sees the parent, or other individual, with whom he or she does not live.


A dispute that calls for a legal remedy.

Contingent gift

A gift that is conditional on the occurrence of a particular event, i.e. a beneficiary reaching the age of 21.


This is the agreement between the buyer and the seller. It sets out the main terms of what has been agreed such as the property to be bought and sold, the price and the names of the parties, and any special terms.

Contract for service

A type of contract that defines an independent contractor.

Contract of service

A type of contract in which an individual agrees to be paid a regular wage, work regular hours; in other words, an employment contract.

Contract out

Attempting to exclude or limit liability.

Contracting out

Agreement between landlord and tenant that the security of tenure provisions of Part II of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 shall not apply.

Contractual obligations

An obligation made under a legally binding agreement, e.g. an obligation to pay, or to provide a service.

Contributory Negligence

Partial responsibility of a Claimant for the claim in which he or she is claiming damages.


The legal work needed to buy and sell a property.


When an offender has pleaded or been found guilty of an offence in a court, he or she is said to have been convicted. The conviction then appears on the offender’s criminal record.


A persons exclusive right to reproduce, publish or sell his or her original work of authorship (as a literary, musical, dramatic, artistic or architectural work).


Another name for a barrister.


A claim made by the Defendant in response to the original claim.

County Court

The Court for less complex types of claim which are worth less than £15,000 (£50,000 for personal injury claims).

Court of Appeal

Court which is divided into Civil and Criminal Divisions and hears appeals against decisions made in the High or County Courts.


May be either a clause in a document requiring a party to do something or to refrain from doing something; or a term denoting the worth of a tenant which will have a bearing on the value of the lease.

Creditors’ Committee

A creditors’ committee is formed to represent the interests of all creditors in supervising the activities of an administrator or trustee in bankruptcy, or receiving reports from an administrative receiver.

Creditors’ Voluntary Liquidation (CVL)

Relates to an insolvent company. It is commenced by resolution of the shareholders, but is under the effective control of creditors.

Crown Court

The Crown Court deals with all crime committed or sent for trial by Magistrates Courts. Cases for trial are heard before a judge and jury. The Crown Court also acts as an appeal court for cases heard and dealt with by the Magistrates.

Crown or Treasury

A term used to refer to the government. If you do not have a will and have no next of kin, the Crown will receive your estate following your death.

Crown Prosecution Service (CPS)

The Crown Prosecution Service decides whether there is enough evidence to take a case to court, and whether it would be in the public interest.

Curfew Order

A curfew order is a form of house arrest. People must stay indoors, usually at their home, for the curfew period. An electronic tag, worn on the ankle or wrist, notifies monitoring services if the offender is absent during the curfew hours.

Custodial Sentences

Sentences where the offender is locked up in a prison, Young Offender Institution or Secure Training Centre.


See residence order.