Home Random Page



╬xford_dictionary_of_law 11 page

child witness

See video evidence; witness.

Chiltern Hundreds, stewardship of the

stewardship of the Chiltern Hundreds

An appointment that, as a nominal office of profit under the Crown, disqualifies its holder from membership of the House of Commons. Although the appointment has been a sinecure since the 18th century, it has been retained as a disqualifying office to enable members to give up their seats during the lifetime of a parliament (a member cannot by law resign his seat). After obtaining the stewardship (an application for which is never refused), the member resigns the office so as to make it available for re-use.

A second office used for the same purpose is the stewardship of the Manor of Northstead. The law relating to both these offices is now contained in the House of Commons Disqualification Act 1975.



A thing. Choses are divided into two classes. A chose in possession is a tangible item capable of being actually possessed and enjoyed, e.g. a book or a piece of furniture. A chose in action is a right (e.g. a right to recover a debt) that can be enforced by legal action.

Church of England

The established Church in England, of which the sovereign is the supreme head. Structurally, the Church consists of the two provinces of Canterbury and York, which are divided into dioceses, and these into parishes. For each province there is an archbishop (that of Canterbury being Primate of All England, and that of York Primate of England), and for each diocese a bishop. A suffragan bishop has no diocese of his own but assists an archbishop or a diocesan bishop. The archbishops and other senior bishops are members of the House of Lords.

The governing body of the Church is the General Synod (formerly the Church Assembly, but renamed and reconstituted by the Synodical Government Measure 1969). It consists of a House of Bishops, a House of Clergy, and a House of Laity and has legislative functions. A Measure passed by each House and granted the royal assent following a resolution of each House of Parliament has the force of an Act of Parliament. There are also diocesan synods, and certain matters require the approval of a majority of these before they can be finally approved by the General Synod. The Dioceses Measure 1978 authorizes the reorganization of diocesan structure and the creation of area synods, to which diocesan synods may delegate functions.

See also ecclesiastical courts.

c.i.f. contract

C.I.F. contract

(cost. insurance. freight contract)

A type of contract for the international sale of goods by which the seller agrees not only to supply the goods but also to make a contract of carriage with a sea carrier, under which the goods will be delivered at the contract port of destination, and a contract of insurance with an insurer, to cover them while they are in transit. The seller performs his contract by delivering the relevant documents to the buyer: an invoice specifying the goods and their price, a *bill of lading evidencing the contract of carriage, a policy of insurance, and any other documents specified in the contract. The contract will normally provide for payment against documents. The risk of accidental loss or damage normally passes to the buyer on or as from shipment. c.i.f. is a defined *incoterm under Incoterms 2000.

circuit administrator

A civil servant having responsibility for the administration of the courts within a circuit (See circuit system). He liaises closely with the *presiding judge of the circuit in the allocation of resources and particularly the sittings of judges and recorders.

circuit judge

Any of the judges appointed under the provisions of the Courts Act 1971 from among those who have had a ten-year Crown Court or county court *advocacy qualification, or who are *recorders, or who have held a full-time appointment of at least three years duration in one of the offices listed in the Courts Act 1971. They sit in the *county courts and the *Crown Court and may, by invitation of the Lord Chancellor, sit as High Court judges. All judges of county courts and other judges of comparable status were made circuit judges in 1971.

circuit system

The system of dividing England and Wales into regional circuits for the purpose of court administration. It is based upon the traditional regional groupings adopted by the Bar and consists of the South-Eastern, Western, Midland and Oxford, Wales and Chester, Northern, and North-Eastern circuits. Each circuit is administered by a *circuit administrator and supervised by two *presiding judges.

See also circuit judge.

circumcision, female

female circumcision

It is an offence, punishable with up to five years' imprisonment, to excise or otherwise mutilate the external genital organs of a woman, or to *aid and abet a woman mutilating herself in this way. Girls living in the UK who come from countries where female circumcision is the normal practice are, however, still sent abroad by their parents for such an operation. Male circumcision is lawful in the UK.

See also consent; wounding.

circumstantial evidence

indirect evidence

(circumstantial evidence, indirect evidence)

Evidence from which the judge or Jury may infer the existence of a fact in issue but which does not prove the existence of the fact directly. Case law has described circumstantial evidence as evidence that is relevant (and, therefore, admissible) but that has little probative value.

Compare direct evidence.



1. A notice, issued in the Probate Registry by an executor proving a will in solemn form (See probate), calling upon persons to come forward if they object to the grant of probate to him.

2. The quoting of a legal case or authority.

citizen's arrest

An *arrest by anyone other than a police officer. Such an arrest is lawful.

See also arrestable offence.

citizenship of the UK and Colonies

A form of citizenship created by the British Nationality Act 1948. By the British Nationality Act 1981, it was replaced as from 1 January 1983 by *British citizenship, *British Dependent Territories citizenship, and *British Overseas citizenship.

City Code on Takeovers and Mergers

A body of rules regulating those engaged in the conduct of *takeovers and *mergers of public companies. It is administered by a Panel representing the major City financial institutions, e.g. the *Stock Exchange and the Issuing Houses Association. The principal aim is to ensure that company members (rather than the directors) decide upon the merits of accepting a bid, that they are fully informed about what is going on, and that shareholders of the same class are treated equally in the event of a takeover or merger. The rules are not legally binding, but if they are contravened sanctions may be imposed on the company, including having the facilities of the securities markets withdrawn from them. Decisions of the Panel are subject to *judicial review.

City of London

That part of *Greater London which, for local government purposes, is administered by the City of London Corporation. In addition to special powers under ancient royal charters, the Corporation has all the functions of a London borough council, which it exercises principally through a Court of Common Council consisting of the Lord Mayor, aldermen elected for life, and common council men elected annually. Limited governmental functions are exercised through a separate Court of Aldermen, and formal functions through a Court of Common Hall.

civil court

A court exercising jurisdiction over civil rather than criminal cases. In England the principal civil courts of first instance (*court of first instance) are the *county courts and the *High Court. *Magistrates' courts have limited civil jurisdiction, mainly confined to matrimonial proceedings.

civil defence

Establishments and units organized or authorized by the competent authorities to carry out humanitarian tasks intended to protect the civilian population against the dangers of hostilities or disasters and to help it to recover from the immediate effects of these.

civil law

1. The law of any particular state, now usually called *municipal law.

2. Roman law.

3. A legal system based on Roman law, as distinct from the English system of *common law.

4. *private law, as opposed to *public law, military law, and ecclesiastical law.

civil liability contribution

The right of a person who is liable for damage to recover from any other person who is liable for the same damage a contribution to represent that person's share of responsibility for the damage. When two or more people are liable for causing the same damage, the injured person is entitled to recover full compensation for his losses from anyone of them. The wrongdoer who is sued may then ask for contribution from the other wrongdoers. Since the Civil Liability (Contribution) Act 1978, the right to contribution is available in all forms of civil liability, whether tort, breach of contract, breach of trust, or otherwise. The court assesses the. amount of contribution on the basis of what would be just and equitable, taking into account the parties' responsibility for the damage.

Civil List

The sum authorized by statute to be paid annually out of the "Consolidated Fund for meeting the expenses of the royal household and for making allowances to certain members of the royal family. It may be increased in amount by Treasury order, but this is liable to annulment by the House of Commons. Certain members of the royal family have volunteered to be taxed on their Civil List allowances.

Civil Procedure Rules


(Civil Procedure Rules, CPR)

The new procedural code, which was enacted in 1998 and revoked the *Rules of the Supreme Court with effect from 26 April 1999. The Rules, a result of the reforms proposed by Lord Woolf's Access to Justice (Final Report) 1996, now govern proceedings in the civil cases of the Court of Appeal (Civil Division), the High Court, and the county courts. The CPR have been supplemented by *Practice Directions and *pre-action protocols. They have no application in certain areas, including the Mental Health Act 1983 Part IV and family and adoption proceedings.

civil remedy

See remedy.

Civil Service

The body of *Crown servants that are employed to put government policies into action and are paid wholly out of money voted annually by Parliament. Civil servants include the administrative and executive staff of central government departments (e.g. the Home Office and Treasury) and the industrial staff of government dockyards and factories. Civil servants may serve in established or unestablished capacities, with effects on pension entitlement, etc. The police (not being Crown servants), the armed forces (not being civil), government ministers, and those (e.g. judges) whose salaries are charged on the Consolidated Fund are not civil servants.

civil wrong

An infringement of a person's rights, for which the person wronged may sue for damages or some other civil remedy. Examples are *torts and breaches of contract (*breach of contract).



A demand for a remedy or assertion of a right, especially the right to take a particular case to court (right of action). The term is used in civil litigation.

See also claim form; part 20 claim.



A person applying for relief against another person in an action, suit, petition, or any other form of court proceeding. Before the introduction of the *Civil Procedure Rules in 1999, a claimant was called a plaintiff.

Compare defendant.

claim form

(in civil proceedings)

A formal written statement setting out details of the claimant: defendant, .and the remedy being sought. The claim form may also contain details of the claim (the particulars of claim); alternatively, these can be served separately. Since the introduction of the Civil Procedure Rules in 1999, the usual method of initiating civil proceedings is by issuing a claim form; all previous methods (e.g. writ of summons, originating summons) have now been rendered obsolete.

See also part 8 claim form; statement of case.

claim of privilege

See privilege.

class gift

A gift to people of a certain specified category (e.g. "to my daughters"), rather than to people named individually, (e.g. "to my daughters A and B").

classification of animals

At common law animals were formerly classified as wild by nature (ferae naturae) or tame by nature (mansuetae naturae), referring to the species in general rather than the individual animal. The owner of a wild animal was strictly liable for any damage it caused. The owner of a tame animal was liable for damage it caused if he knew that it had a vicious tendency abnormal in the species (the scienter rule). Special rules applied to damage done by cattle (See catile trespass; distress damage feasant) and dogs. The common law classifications have been largely replaced by modern statutes.

For purposes of civil liability in England, animals are classified as belonging to a dangerous or a nondangerous species (Animals Act 1971). A dangerous species is one not commonly domesticated in the British Isles, fully grown members of which are likely to cause severe damage. The keeper of an animal of a dangerous species is strictly liable for any damage it causes. Liability for damage done by other animals arises either under the Animals Act, if the animal was known by its keeper to have characteristics not normally found in that species, or only normally found in particular circumstances, which made it likely to cause that kind of damage; or under ordinary rules of tort liability. Thus carelessly allowing a dog to stray on the highway can make the keeper liable in negligence if it causes an accident, and excessive smell from a pig farm can be an actionable nuisance. The Animals Act also imposes *strict liability for damage done by trespassing livestock, which includes cattle, horses, sheep, pigs, goats. and poultry. The keeper of a dog that kills or injures livestock is liable for the damage, except when the livestock was injured while straying on the keeper's land. If livestock is worried by a dog, the owner of the livestock (or the owner of the land on which the livestock lives) may kill or injure the dog to protect the livestock.

In Scotland, there is strict liability for damage caused by animals belonging to a species likely to kill or severely injure persons or animals or cause material damage to property under the Animals (Scotland) Act 1987. The Act also excuses the killing or injuring of an animal that attacks or harries people or livestock.

Dangerous wild animals may require a licence under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 (See dangerous animals). Keeping dogs of a species bred for fighting is an offence under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991. The use of *guard dogs is controlled by the Guard Dogs Act 1975. Other statutes protect various species, control importation of animals, and deal with animal diseases.

class rights

Rights that attach to a clearly defined class of share (e.g. preference *shares) or are conferred upon a person for so long as he is a holder of any shares. In the latter case shareholders become a class in their own right. Typical class rights would relate to *dividends, return of capital on a *winding-up, or the right to appoint a director to the board. Class rights may only be altered either in accordance with a clause in the constitutional documents of the company (See articles of association) or with the consent of the class affected under the Companies Act 1985. Shareholders from the class affected who did not agree to the alteration may apply to court to have the change cancelled within 21 days.



1. A subdivision of a document. A clause of a written contract contains a term or provision of the contract. Clauses are usually numbered consecutively (1, 2, etc.); subclauses may follow a clause, numbered 1.1, 1.1.1, etc.

2. A section of a *Bill.

clean break

The principle that, upon divorce, spouses should try to settle their financial affairs in a final manner, by a lump sum order, rather than a continuous periodical payments order. Under the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, the courts have a duty to consider whether they can achieve a clean break in their orders for financial relief even when there are children. However, the Child Support Act 1991 makes it possible for a parent with care of a child to apply directly to the Child Support Agency for a maintenance assessment even when the divorce court has achieved a clean break (See child support maintenance).

clean hands

A phrase from a *maxim of equity; he who comes to equity must come with clean hands, i.e. a person who makes a claim in equity must be free from any taint of fraud with respect to that claim. For example, a person seeking to enforce an agreement must not himself be in breach of it.



1. A certificate acknowledging a ship's compliance with customs requirements.

2. An indication from a taxing authority that a certain provision does not apply to a particular transaction. The procedure is laid down by statute in some cases.

clearance area

Formerly, an area declared as such by a housing authority (usually a district or London borough council) on the ground that the houses in it were unfit for human habitation or otherwise dangerous or injurious to health and were best demolished. The authority must also have been satisfied that alternative accommodation existed and that its resources were sufficient it then acquired the area and carried out the demolition. The power to designate a clearance area was abolished by the Housing Act 1974.

See also rehabilitation order.

Compare housing action area.

Clerk of the House

The principal permanent officer of the House of Commons.

Clerk of the Parliaments

The principal permanent officer of the House of Lords.

clerk to the justices

justices' clerk

magistrates' clerk

(clerk to the justices, justices' clerk, magistrates' clerk)

A person who has a five-year magistrates' court qualification, or a barrister or solicitor of not less than five years' standing as an assistant to a magistrates' clerk, who is appointed to assist magistrates in court, particularly by giving advice about law practice or procedure on questions arising in connection with the discharge of their or his functions. The clerk or one of his staff will sit in court with the justices in order to advise them, but should not retire with them when they consider their verdict. He may, however, advise them in private during their retirement, at their request, but should return to the court when his advice has been given.

See also Magistrates' Court.



A person who employs a solicitor to carry out legal business on behalf of himself or someone else. The relationship between a solicitor and his client is a *fiduciary one and any other transactions between them may be affected by *undue influence. A solicitor's client cannot consult a barrister directly but only through his solicitor; the solicitor is therefore the barrister's client.

clog on the equity of redemption

Any provision in a *mortgage deed to prevent redemption on payment of the debt or performance of the obligation for which the security was given. Such provisions are void. An example is an option contained in the mortgage deed for the mortgagee to purchase the mortgaged property before or after the mortgage has been redeemed. Unconscionable provisions in a mortgage (for example, one to prevent redemption for 100 years) are also void. However, a company may issue irredeemable *debentures. A provision that would otherwise be unconscionable may be valid if the transaction containing it is a commercial arrangement rather than a mortgage. Thus, such provisions in mortgages of public houses or garages by their tenants or owners to breweries or oil companies will be upheld, provided that they do not infringe the contractual rules against *restraint of trade. Under the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1994 unfair redemption penalties may also be subject to challenge.



Land that is enclosed.

close company

A company under the control of its directors or five or fewer participators. The participators have or are entitled to acquire a share or interest in the capital or income of the company and can include *loan creditors. Special tax provisions apply to such companies.

closed-shop agreement

A collective agreement requiring members of a particular group of employees to be or become members of a specified trade union. A pre-entry agreement is one that prohibits an employer from engaging a relevant employee unless he is already a member of the union concerned. A post-entry agreement requires employees to join the specified union within a certain time after the employment commences.

Under the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992, all employees are free to join a trade union or not, as they wish. If an employer takes action, short of dismissal, against an employee to enforce membership of a union, the employee can complain to an *employment tribunal, which can order the employer to pay him compensation. Dismissal for failure to belong to a trade union is automatically unfair (See inadmissible reason). In this case there are special minimum rates of *compensation payable. If, as a result of trade union pressure, an employer dismisses an employee for failing to belong to a union, the employer can join the union as a party to the dismissal proceedings and pass the liability to pay compensation on to the union.

A union that attempts to enforce a closed shop by industrial action loses the immunity from legal action that it would otherwise have if the action was in furtherance of a *trade dispute.

The effect of these provisions is that, while closed-shop agreements are not in themselves illegal, they are unenforceable by either employers or unions.

close of pleadings

Formerly, a stage in the course of pleading in an action in the High Court that occurred 14 days after service of the reply, defence to counterclaim, or defence. This stage has been taken over by the functions of *case management and track *allocation.

closing order

An order made by a local housing authority under the Housing Act 1985 prohibiting the use of a house, which it considers unfit for human habitation, for any purpose not approved by the authority.



The curtailing of debate on a question, particularly in the House of Commons, by carrying a motion (which cannot itself be debated) "that the question be now put". The result is that a vote on the question under debate must be taken immediately.

Compare guillotine.



An association regulated by rules that bind its members according to the law of contract. Club property is either vested in trustees for the members (members' club) or owned by a proprietor (often a company limited by guarantee; See limited company) who operates the club as a business for profit (proprietary club). The committee is usually liable for club debts in the case of a members' club; the proprietor in the case of a proprietary club.


See command papers.


See command papers.

coastal waters

See exclusive economic zone; fishery limits; territorial waters.



A complete written formulation of a body of law, (e.g. the Code Napoleon in France). A code of English law does not exist, but a few specialized topics have been dealt with in this way by means of a *codifying statute (e.g. the Sale of Goods Act 1893, re-enacted with modifications by the Sale of Goods Act 1979).

codecision procedure

A procedure introduced by the *Maastricht Treaty that gives the *European Parliament a power to veto certain legislative proposals. If the *Council of the European Union and the European Parliament fail to agree after a second reading of the proposal by the Parliament, a conciliation committee of the Council and Parliament will attempt to reach a compromise. If no compromise is reached, the Parliament can reject the measure by absolute majority voting.

Compare assent procedure; cooperation procedure.

code of practice

A body of rules for practical guidance only, or that sets out professional standards of behaviour, but does not have the force of law, e.g. the Highway Code. Under the provisions of the Fair Trading Act 1973 the *Director General of Fair Trading has the duty of encouraging trade associations to prepare and distribute to their members codes of practice for guidance in safeguarding and promoting the interests of UK consumers. Several such codes have been approved by the Director General. Codes of practice have also been published by *ACAS, the Health and Safety, Equal Opportunities, and Racial Equality Commissions, and the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, providing guidance to employers, employees, and their representatives on the fulfilment of their statutory obligations in relevant fields. Codes of practice under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 regulate searches and the *interrogation of suspects by the police.

Generally, failure to comply with a code of practice does not automatically expose the party in breach to prosecution or any civil remedy. It may, however, be relied on as evidence tending to show that he has not fulfilled some relevant statutory requirement.



A document supplementary to a will, which is executed with the same formalities under the Wills Act 1837 (See execution of will) and adds to, varies, or revokes provisions in the will. It must be proved with the will. A codicil confirming a will normally republishes the will (See republication of will) and may revive a will that has been revoked if that is the testator's clear intention. If many changes are made to the will it is better to execute a new will.

codifying statute

A statute that sets out the whole of the existing law (i.e. both statute law and common law) on a particular subject. Such statutes are extremely rare; an example is the Law of Property Act 1925.

Compare consolidating statute.

See also interpretation of statutes.



A defence available only to married women who have committed a crime (other than murder or treason) in the presence of, and under pressure from, their husbands. Its scope is unclear but may be wider than that of *duress in that it may cover economic and moral as well as physical pressure, though unlike duress it has to be proved (See burden of proof). If a wife is acquitted on grounds of coercion, her husband may be liable for the offence in question through his wife's innocent agency and/or for a crime involving a *threat.



Persons descended from a common ancestor.


pl. n.

See cohabitation.



Living together as husband and wife. Married persons generally have a right to expect their spouses to live with them. Unmarried people living together as husband and wife (cohabitants) do not usually have the status of a married couple (See also common-law marriage). But under the cohabitation rule the resources and requirements of an unmarried couple living together are aggregated for the purposes of claiming social security benefits under the Social Security Acts even in the absence of a sexual relationship (See income support).



Joint rule by two or more states of an entity that has a distinct international status (Compare condominium). An example is the occupation and rule of Germany after 1945 by the four victorious powers.


1. adj. Describing the relationship between people who share a common ancestor but are descended from him through different lines of descent.

See also consanguinity.

2. adj. Ancillary; subordinate but connected to the main subject, etc.

3. n.

Security that is additional to the main security for a debt (or an advantage to the mortgagee that is additional to the payment of interest). For example, a lender may require as collateral the assignment of an insurance policy in addition to the principal security of a mortgage on the borrower's home.

collateral benefits

Benefits received from a third party by the victim of a tortious injury in consequence of the injury, such as insurance money, sick pay, disability pensions, loans, social security benefits, or gifts from a disaster appeal fund. Some collateral benefits are taken into account when assessing the damages to be paid by the person liable for the injury; others, such as insurance money and gifts, are not. Under the Social Security Administration Act 1992, the amount of social security benefits received by the victim for the first five years after the injury must, with a few exceptions, be deducted from the total damages and repaid to the Department for Work and Pensions by the person liable for the injury (or his insurer).

Date: 2015-01-29; view: 526

<== previous page | next page ==>
╬xford_dictionary_of_law 10 page | ╬xford_dictionary_of_law 12 page
doclecture.net - lectures - 2014-2018 year. Copyright infringement or personal data (0.012 sec.)