legal words glossary auto industry

AutoLaw Glossary – Legal Words

This glossary has been created to help you understand the meaning of certain legal expressions and words as used in the Civil Procedure Rules. You might come across these legal words and expressions when you encounter key legal issues within the motor trade industry. If you are still unsure about a certain legal word or phrase, please send us a message or give us a call. Head over to our contact page for details.


A written, sworn statement of evidence.

Aggravated damages

Additional damages which the court may award as compensation for the defendant’s objectionable behaviour.


Where two parties reach consensus on a set of facts or course of action.


A claim made against someone, often without proof. Or a claim that someone has engaged in an unlawful act.

Alternative dispute resolution

Collective description of methods of resolving disputes otherwise than through the normal trial process.


A way of seeking to resolve a dispute without going to court: a third party (the arbitrator) looks at both sides of the dispute and makes a decision as to how it should be resolved. Those involved may agree to be bound by the decision of the arbitrator.


Things owned by a person or organisation which usually have some value.


A person, usually employed by a law firm, who may be in charge of handling your case: often a lawyer, they are considered by the firm employing them to be a ‘senior assistant’.


The legal status of a person or organisation that is unable to repay debts owed to its creditors.


A lawyer regulated by the Bar Standards Board, often specialising in courtroom representation, drafting pleadings and expert legal opinions.

Base rate

The interest rate set by the Bank of England which is used as the basis for other banks’ rates.


A collection of independent, self-employed barristers who share employed clerks to administer work, and who share the expense of such clerks, office buildings and brand name.

Civil law

The area of law covering disputes you may have with a person or an organisation.


A person making a claim.


Someone who uses services provided by a lawyer or another legal professional.


Recompense for loss, injury, or suffering.

Compromise agreements

In a workplace dispute, if you can reach an agreement with your employer without going to a tribunal, this can be recorded in a ‘compromise agreement’. This is a legal document which confirms the terms of the settlement you have agreed, in exchange for which you give up your legal claim against your employer. You may be able to get your employer to make a contribution to your legal costs as part of the agreement.


An alternative to alternative dispute resolution where the parties to a dispute use a conciliator, who meets with the parties both separately and together in an attempt to resolve their differences.


Requirements, restriction or permission added onto a document.

Consumer Protection Laws

Laws designed to protect consumers against unfair trade and credit practices involving faulty and dangerous goods or dishonest claims or tactics. Warranty – An express or implied promise that a product or service is of acceptable quality or standards. This includes the Sale of Goods Act, Consumer Rights Act. Consumer Credit Act, The Consumer Contract Act and Misrepresentation.


An agreement signed by two or more parties setting out the terms of an arrangement – for example, between a buyer and a seller in a property transaction.


A right of someone to recover from a third person all or part of the amount which he himself is liable to pay.


A term used to describe a barrister.


A claim brought by a defendant in response to the claimant’s claim, which is included in the same proceedings as the claimant’s claim.


A person or organisation to whom money is owed.

Cross-examination (and see ‘Evidence in chief’)

Questioning of a witness by a party other than the party who called the witness.


At fault or guilty of something.


A sum of money awarded by the court as compensation to the claimant.

Defence of tender before claim

A defence that, before the claimant started proceedings, the defendant unconditionally offered to the claimant the amount due or, if no specified amount is claimed, an amount sufficient to satisfy the claim.

Evidence in chief (and see ‘Cross-examination’)

Evidence in chief evidence given by a witness for the party who called him.

Exemplary damages

Damages which go beyond compensating for actual loss and are awarded to show the court’s disapproval of the defendant’s behaviour.


A right of someone to recover from a third party the whole amount which he himself is liable to pay.


A court order prohibiting a person from doing something or requiring a person to do something.

Joint liability (See Several Liability below)

Parties who are jointly liable share a single liability and each party can be held liable for the whole of it.

Limitation period

The period within which a person who has a right to claim against another person must start court proceedings to establish that right. The expiry of the period may be a defence to the claim.


Cases are allocated to different lists depending on the subject matter of the case. The lists are used for administrative purposes and may also have their own procedures and judges.


The process of taking legal action involves assistance with disputes and claims which may arise in the course of any commercial transaction or deal.

Official copy

A copy of an official document supplied and marked as such by the office which issued the original.

Practice form

Form to be used for a particular purpose in proceedings, the form and purpose being specified by a practice direction.

Pre-action protocol

Statements of understanding between legal practitioners and others about pre-action practice and which are approved by a relevant practice direction.


The right of a party to refuse to disclose a document or produce a document or to refuse to answer questions on the ground of some special interest recognised by law.


A seal is a mark which the court puts on a document to indicate that the document has been issued by the court.


Steps required by rules of court to bring documents used in court proceedings to a person’s attention.

Set aside

Cancelling a judgment or order or a step taken by a party in the proceedings.

Several liability (see Joint Liability above’)

A person who is severally liable with others may remain liable for the whole claim even where judgment has been obtained against the others.


A stay imposes a halt on proceedings, apart from taking any steps allowed by the Rules or the terms of the stay. Proceedings can be continued if a stay is lifted.

Strike out

Striking out means the court ordering written material to be deleted so that it may no longer be relied upon.

Without prejudice

Negotiations with a view to a settlement are usually conducted ‘without prejudice’, which means that the circumstances in which the content of those negotiations may be revealed to the court are very restricted.