Parental responsibility

The rights and responsibilities that parents have towards their children.

Passing off

Actionable misrepresentation by a party that goods or business are those of another.


The grant of an exclusive right to exploit an invention i.e. to use it and benefit from it.

Patent application

A technical document describing in detail an innovation for which a patent is sought.

Patent Attorney

Qualified under the rules of the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys.

Paternity leave

The right for eligible employees to take paid leave to care for their baby or to support the mother following birth.

Pecuniary Legacy

A gift of money under a will.

Pension sharing

The division of a pension fund between husband and wife, or civil partners.

Periodical payments

See maintenance.

Personality right

Combination of rights owned by a person to exploit his or her image and consequently to sue any party for any unauthorised exploitation of that image.


The document in which a divorce or judicial separation is applied for.


The person who is applying for a divorce or judicial separation.


A person bringing a claim (now called Claimant).

Planning Permission

Approval by the local authority to the building or change of use of a property or extension to an existing property.

Plant variety rights

A form of intellectual property designed to protect new varieties of plants in a similar fashion to a patent. Also sometimes know as plant breeders’ rights and governed by the Plant Varieties Act 1997.


A defendant’s reply to a charge put to him by a court; ie guilty or not guilty.


Documents setting out the claim/defence of the parties involved in the proceedings (now known as Statements of Case).

Power of Attorney

A legal document in which one person gives another the power to carry out actions on their behalf behalf but which is only valid to the extent for the performance of those actions and whilst the person giving the power has capacity (see Enduring and Lasting Powers of Attorney).

Pre nuptial agreement

A formal written agreement entered into by a couple before marriage recording their intentions as to the division of assets if the relationship breaks down. Although not always legally binding, in certain circumstances the agreement can be accepted by the courts. Equivalent agreements can be entered into before a civil partnership.

Pre-Action Protocol

The procedure stipulated by the Civil Procedure Rules to be followed in particular categories of claims.


Someone who dies before the individual who has made the will.


A payment or other transaction in the six month to two year period preceding a liquidation, administration or bankruptcy, which places a creditor or a person connected with the insolvent, in a better position than they would have been otherwise. A liquidator, administrator or trustee in bankruptcy may recover any sums which are found to be preferences.

Preferential Creditor

Defined in Schedule 6 of The Insolvency Act 1986. Has priority over ordinary creditors when funds are distributed by a liquidator, administrative receiver or trustee in bankruptcy.


Property developments that have been let to tenants (on long or short leases) whilst the schemes are being planned or are under construction.


The price an actual or prospective lessee pays to a lessor, usually in return for the rent being reduced to below what otherwise would be payable. Or a sum paid at the outset for the purchase of a lease.

Prime location

The most desirable or sought after location.

Prime property

A term used to define property of particular interest to investors. Broadly, prime property is likely to be a modern or recently refurbished building, finished to a high specification, well situated in a commercially strong geographical location and let to a good tenant.


The amount of the loan on which interest is calculated.

Probate, Grant of

The document which confirms to executors that they have authority to act, and which validates the will.

Prohibited steps order

An order prohibiting specific steps in relation to a child i.e. a change of surname or removal from the jurisdiction.

Proof of Debt

The document submitted in an insolvency to establish a creditor’s claim.

Property adjustment order

An order that a property should be transferred.

Property Information Form

This is a questionnaire about the property completed by the sellers. It covers such items as guarantees, neighbour disputes and boundaries.


A creditor who claims is referred to as “proving” for his debt, and the document by which he seeks to establish his claim is his “proof”.

Provisional Damages

This refers to money that the Court says the opponent must pay (or agrees to pay), on the understanding that the Claimant may return to Court at a later date for further damages if their condition deteriorates.

Provisional Liquidator

The person appointed by the court to deal with the affairs of the company until a compulsory winding up order is made.


The authority given by a creditor or member to another person (proxyholder) to attend a meeting and speak and vote at a meeting on their behalf.

Publicity rights

A collection of rights held by individuals enabling them to control the commercial use of their identity and persona, such as name, voice, signature, photograph and likeness.


Another name for the buyer of a property.