Home Random Page



╬xford_dictionary_of_law 17 page

(2) A contract between the credit company and the supplier whereby the supplier agrees to accept payment by use of the card and the credit company agrees to pay the supplier the price of the goods supplied less a discount.

(3) A contract between the cardholder and the supplier, who agrees to supply the goods on the basis that payment will be obtained from the credit company.

credit limit

1. The maximum credit allowed to a debtor.

2. (under the Consumer Credit Act 1974) The maximum debit balance allowed on a running-account credit agreement during any period.



1. One to whom a debt is owed.

See also judgment creditor; loan creditor; secured creditor; unsecured creditor.

2. (under the Consumer Credit Act 1974) The person providing credit under a *consumer-credit agreement or the person to whom his rights and duties under the agreement have passed by assignment or operation of law.

creditors' committee

A committee that may be appointed by creditors to supervise the trustee appointed to handle the affairs of a bankrupt. A committee consists of between three and five creditors and their duty is to see that the distribution of the bankrupt's assets is carried out as quickly and economically as possible.

See also bankruptcy.

credit sale agreement

A contract for the sale of goods under which the price is payable by instalments but the contract is not a *conditional sale agreement, i.e. ownership passes to the buyer. A credit sale agreement is a *consumer-credit agreement; it is regulated by the Consumer Credit Act 1974 if the buyer is an individual, the credit does not exceed £25,000, and the agreement is not otherwise exempt.



An act (or sometimes a failure to act) that is deemed by statute or by the common law to be a public wrong and is therefore punishable by the state in criminal proceedings. Every crime consists of an *actus reus accompanied by a specified *mens rea (unless it is a crime of *strict liability), and the prosecution must prove these elements of the crime beyond reasonable doubt (See burden of proof). Some crimes are serious wrongs of a moral nature (e.g. murder or rape); others interfere with the smooth running of society (e.g. parking offences). Most *prosecutions for crime are brought by the police (although they can also be initiated by private people); some require the consent of the *Attorney General. Crimes are customarily divided into *indictable offences (for trial by judge and jury) and *summary offences (for trial by magistrates); some are hybrid (See offences triable either way). Crimes are also divided into *arrestable offences and nonarrestable offences. The *punishments for a crime include death (for treason), life imprisonment (e.g. for murder), imprisonment for a specified period, suspended sentences of imprisonment, conditional discharges, probation, binding over, and fines; in most cases judges have discretion in deciding on the punishment (See sentence). Some crimes may also be civil wrongs (See tort); for example, theft and criminal damage are crimes punishable by imprisonment as well as torts for which the victim may claim damages.

crimes against humanity

See war crimes.

crimes against peace

See war crimes.

criminal conviction certificate

A certificate given to those who request details of information held about their criminal records. The certificate is obtained from the *Criminal Records Agency, which was set up under the Police Act 1997.

criminal court

A court exercising jurisdiction over criminal rather than civil cases. In England all criminal cases must be initiated in the *magistrates' courts. Summary offences (*summary offence) and some *indictable offences are also tried by magistrates' courts; the more serious indictable offences are committed to the *Crown Court for trial.

criminal damage

The offence of intentionally or recklessly destroying or damaging any property belonging to another without a lawful excuse. It is punishable by up to ten years' imprisonment. There is also an aggravated offence, punishable by a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. of damaging property (even one's own) in such a way as to endanger someone's life, either intentionally or recklessly. Related offences are those of threatening to destroy or damage property and of possessing anything with the intention of destroying or damaging property with it.

See also arson.

Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme

A state scheme for awarding payments from public funds to victims who have sustained *criminal injury, on the same basis as civil damages would be awarded (See also compensation). Damage to property is not included in the scheme. The scheme is administered by a board that may refuse or reduce an award (1) if the claimant fails to cooperate in providing details of the circumstances of the in jury or in assisting the police to bring the wrongdoer to justice, or (2) because of the claimant's activities, unlawful conduct, or conduct in connection with the injury. Dependants of persons dying after sustaining criminal injury may also claim awards. The board may apply for a county court order directing a convicted offender wholly or partly to reimburse the board for an award made. The Criminal Injuries Compensation Act 1995 (in force from 1 April 1996) set out new rules for payment.

See also riot.

criminal injury

For purposes of the *Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme, any crime involving the use of violence against another person. Such crimes include rape, assault, arson, poisoning, and criminal damage to property involving a risk of danger to life; traffic offences other than a deliberate attempt to run the victim down are not included. The injury sustained includes pregnancy, disease, and mental distress attributable either to fear of immediate physical injury (even to another person) or to being present when another person sustained physical injury.

criminal libel

See libel.

Criminal Records Agency

A state body that provides individuals with information about their criminal records in the form of a *criminal conviction certificate. The agency was set up under the Police Act 1997 and comes into operation in 1997. The Act also provides for full and enhanced checks to be undertaken on individuals with criminal records and for the information obtained to be passed, with their consent, to bodies registered for that purpose.


pl. n.

Appeals by both parties to court proceedings when neither party is satisfied with the judgment of the lower court. For example, a defendant may appeal against a judgment finding him liable for damages, while the claimant may appeal in the same case on the ground that the amount of damages awarded is too low.



The questioning of a *witness by a party other than the one who called him to testify. It may be to the issue, i.e. designed to elicit information favourable to the party on whose behalf it is conducted and to cast doubt on the accuracy of evidence given against that party; or to credit, i.e. designed to cast doubt upon the credibility of the witness. Leading questions (*leading question) may be asked during cross-examination.

See also credit.



The office (a *corporation sole) in which supreme power in the UK is legally vested. The person filling it at any given time is referred to as the sovereign (a king or queen: See also Queen). The title to the Crown is hereditary and its descent is governed by the Act of Settlement 1701 as amended by His Majesty's Declaration of Abdication Act 1936 (which excluded Edward VIII and his descendants from the line of succession). The majority of governmental powers in the UK are now conferred by statute directly on ministers, the judiciary, and other persons and bodies, but the sovereign retains a limited number of common law functions (known as *royal prerogatives) that, except in exceptional circumstances, can be exercised only in accordance with ministerial advice. In practice it is the minister. and not the sovereign, who today carries out these common law powers and is said to be the Crown when so doing. At common law the Crown could not be sued in tort, but the Crown Proceedings Act 1947 enabled civil actions to be taken against the Crown (See Crown proceedings). It is still not possible to sue the sovereign personally.

Crown Agents for Overseas Governments and Administrations

A body operating under the Crown Agents Act 1979 to provide commercial, financial, and professional services to overseas governments, international bodies, and public authorities. After the discovery of heavy financial losses between 1968 and 1974, the body was restructured by the 1979 Act and a tribunal of inquiry was set up to investigate its activities during those years.

Crown Court

A court created by the Courts Act 1971 to take over the jurisdiction formerly exercised by *assizes and *quarter sessions, which were abolished by the same Act. It is part of the *Supreme Court of Judicature. The Crown Court has an unlimited jurisdiction over all criminal cases tried on *indictment and also acts as a court for the hearing of appeals from *magistrates' courts. Unlike the courts it replaced, the Crown Court is one court that can sit at any centre in England and Wales designated by the Lord Chancellor.

See also three-tier system.

Crown Court rules

Rules regulating the practice and procedure of the *Crown Court. The rules are made by the Crown Court Rule Committee under a power conferred by the Courts Act 1971.

Crown privilege

The right of the Crown to withhold documentary evidence in any legal proceedings on the grounds that its disclosure would injure the public interest. It was expressly preserved by the Crown Proceedings Act 1947 (See Crown proceedings). In certain limited cases, however, the courts have demanded to inspect documents for which *privilege is claimed and rejected the claim as unwarranted.

Crown proceedings

Actions against the Crown brought under the Crown Proceedings Act 1947. The prerogative of perfection (the King can do no wrong; See royal prerogative) originally resulted in immunity from legal proceedings, not only of the sovereign personally but also of the Crown itself (including government departments and all other public bodies that were agencies of the Crown). It gradually became possible, however, to take proceedings against the Crown for damages for breach of contract or for the recovery of property. The form of the proceedings was a petition of right (not an ordinary action), and the procedure governing them was eventually regulated by the Petition of Right Act 1860. The Crown Proceedings Act 1947 replaced petitions of right by ordinary actions. It also made the Crown liable to action for the tort of any servant or agent committed in the course of his employment, for breach of its duties as an employer and as an occupier of property, and for breach of any statutory duty that is binding on the Crown. It does not affect the presumption of interpretation (See interpretation of statutes) that statutes do not bind the Crown, nor does it affect *Crown privilege.

Formerly, members of the armed forces were unable to sue the Crown in tort for death or personal injury caused by a fellow member of the armed forces while on duty. This right was extended to them by the Crown Proceedings (Armed Forces) Act 1987, but controversially the right was not made retrospective.

Crown Prosecution Service


An organization created by the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985 to conduct the majority of criminal prosecutions. Its head is the *Director of Public Prosecutions, who is answerable to Parliament through the *Attorney General. The CPS is independent of the police and is organized on a regional basis, each region having a Chief Crown Prosecutor. It also advises police forces on matters related to criminal offences.

Crown servant

Any person in the employment of the Crown (this does not include police officers or local government employees). The Crown employs its servants at will and can therefore dismiss them at any time. However, since 1971 statute has given civil servants the right to bring proceedings for *unfair dismissal before employment tribunals. A civil servant can bring proceedings against the Crown for arrears of pay but a member of the armed forces cannot. Crown servants are subject to the Official Secrets Act 1989. Since the 1980s the number of Crown servants has been reduced substantially, as the government has pursued a policy of *privatization of former public-sector functions. Some bodies have become executive agencies (*executive agency).



Formerly, behaviour serious enough to injure a spouse's physical or mental health. Cruelty is no longer a basis in itself for granting a divorce or orders in magistrates' courts.



An event or a condition that is complied with, causing a floating *charge to stop 'floating' over a company's fluctuating assets (e.g. cash, stock-in-trade) and to fasten upon the existing assets (and value) at that time. This will occur when a *receiver has been appointed under the terms of the charge to arrange payment of the debt from assets subject to the charge. Alternatively, other events or conditions may be stated under the terms of the charge when created (e.g. that the company goes into liquidation (See winding-up) or by notice to the company by the holder of the charge. Until crystallization the company is free to deal with assets subject to the charge as it wishes.

cum testamento annexo

See letters of administration.

cur. adv. vult


(cur. adv. vult, c.a.v.)

(Latin: curia advisari vult, 'the court wishes to consider the matter')

An abbreviation in law reports indicating that the judgment of the court was delivered not extempore at the end of the hearing but at a later date.

curfew order

A community order under the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 that requires an offender over 16 to remain at a specified place at particular times. The maximum duration of an order is six months. The periods of curfew must be specified; they must not be less than two hours or more than 12 hours.

curtain provisions

Provisions in the Settled Land Act 1925 enabling the title of the *tenant for life of settled land to be proved by the deed that vests the fee simple in him. The trust instrument that declares the beneficial interests in the land is not revealed to a purchaser: as those interests are overreached (See *overreaching) by the sale, they do not concern him.

custodian trustee

A trustee who has care and custody of trust property; other trustees (the managing trustees) are responsible for its management.



1. Imprisonment or confinement. The current policy behind the use of custody was established in the Criminal Justice Act 1991 and has been consolidated by the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000. There is a twin-track approach, under which long custodial sentences will be levied on very serious crimes, particularly those of violence, but custody may be replaced with "community penalties" (punishment in the community, e.g. reparation in the community) for the less serious ones. The Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000 establishes a framework for custodial sentencing that reflects this proportionality principle and includes a policy of reducing prison for non-serious offences. To this end, Section 79 of the Act introduces a "custody threshold" that has to be surmounted before any court can impose a custodial sentence, and section 80 imposes limits on the length of any custodial sentence given.

2. (in family law) Formerly, the bundle of rights and responsibilities that parents (and sometimes others) had in relation to a child. "Custody", which featured in various statutes, has now been replaced by the concept of *parental responsibility introduced by the Children Act 1989.



A practice that has been followed in a particular locality in such circumstances that it is to be accepted as part of the law of that locality. In order to be recognized as customary law it must be reasonable in nature and it must have been followed continuously, and as if it were a right, since the beginning of legal memory. Legal memory began in 1189, but proof that a practice has been followed within living memory raises a presumption that it began before that date. Custom is one of the four sources of *international law. Its elaboration is a complex process involving the accumulation of state practice, i.e. (1) the decisions of those who advise the state to act in a certain manner, (2) the practices of international organizations, (3) the decisions of international and national courts on disputed questions of international law, and (4) the mediation of jurists who organize and evaluate the amorphous material of state activity. One essential ingredient in transforming mere practice into obligatory customary law is *opinio juris.

customs duty

A charge or toll payable on certain goods exported from or imported into the UK. Customs duties are charged either in the form of an ad valorem duty, i.e. a percentage of the value of the goods, or as a specific duty charged according to the volume of the goods. All goods are classified in the Customs Tariff but not all goods are subject to duty. The Commissioners of Customs and Excise administer and collect customs duties. Membership of the EU has required the abolition of import duties between member states and the establishment of a *Common External Tariff.

Compare excise duty.


See corporate venturing scheme.



Crime committed over the Internet. No specific laws exist to cover the Internet, but such crimes might include *hacking, *defamation over the Internet, *copyright infringement, and *fraud.

cycle track

A route over which riders of pedal cycles have a right of way. It is an offence under the Cycle Tracks Acts 1984 to place a motor vehicle on a cycle track.



The Welsh title for the council of a county or a county borough.

cy-pres doctrine

(French: cy, here; pres, near)

A doctrine that in some circumstances enables a gift to charity that would otherwise fail to be diverted to another related charitable purpose. If, for example, the purpose for which a charitable gift is made cannot be achieved in exactly the way intended, or if the funds available are more than sufficient to achieve the purpose, the court or the Charity Commissioners may make a scheme for the funds to be applied to a charitable purpose as close as possible to the original one. If the gift fails after it has come into effect, cy-pres will operate automatically. If a gift fails at its inception, the application of the doctrine will depend on a court's perception of the settlor's intention; to apply the funds of cy-pres, a general charitable intention must be found.

Daily Cause List

See cause list.



Loss or harm. Not all forms of damage give rise to a right of action; for example, an occupier of land must put up with a reasonable amount of noise from his neighbours (See nuisance), and the law generally gives no compensation to relatives of an accident victim for grief or sorrow, except in the limited statutory form of damages for bereavement (See fatal accidents). Damage for which there is no remedy in law is known as damnum sine injuria. Conversely, a legal wrong may not cause actual damage (injuria sine damno). If the wrong is actionable without proof of damage (such as trespass to land) and no damage has occurred, the claimant is entitled to nominal damages. Most torts, however, are only actionable if damage has been caused (See negligence). In *libel and some forms of *slander, damage to reputation is presumed.


pl. n.

A sum of money awarded by a court as compensation for a tort or a breach of contract. Damages are usually a *lump-sum award (See also provisional damages). The general principle is that the claimant is entitled to full compensation (restitutio in integrum) for his losses. Substantial damages are given when actual damage has been caused, but nominal damages may be given for breach of contract and for some torts (such as trespass) in which no damage has been caused, in order to vindicate the claimant's rights. Damages may be *aggravated by the circumstances of the wrong. In exceptional cases in tort (but never in contract) *exemplary damages may be given to punish the defendant's wrongdoing. Damages may be classified as unliquidated or liquidated. Liquidated damages are a sum fixed in advance by the parties to a contract as the amount to be paid in the event of a breach. They are recoverable provided that the sum fixed was a fair pre-estimate of the likely consequences of a breach, but not if they were imposed as a *penalty. Unliquidated damages are damages the amount of which is fixed by the court, Damages may also be classified as *general and special damages.

The purpose of damages in tort is to put the claimant in the position he would have been in if the tort had not been committed. Recovery is limited by the rules of *remoteness of damage. The claimant must take reasonable steps to mitigate his losses and so may be expected to undergo medical treatment for his injuries or to seek alternative employment if his injuries prevent him from doing his former job. Damages may also be reduced for the claimant's *contributory negligence. The purpose of damages in contract is to put the claimant in the position he would have been in if the contract had been performed, but, as in the case of damages in tort, recovery is limited by rules relating to remoteness of damage. Again as in the case of torts, the claimant is also under a duty to take all reasonable steps to mitigate his losses and cannot claim compensation for any loss caused by his failure to do this. If, for example, a hotel reservation is cancelled, the hotelier must make all reasonable attempts to relet the room for the period in question or as much of it as possible.

Damages obtained as a result of a cause of action provided by the *Human Rights Act 1998 will be provided on the basis of the principles of *just satisfaction developed by the European Court of Human Rights.

dangerous animals

Animals the keeping or use of which is regulated by statute because of their propensity to cause damage. Under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976, the keeping of apes, bears, crocodiles, tigers, venomous snakes, and other potentially dangerous animals requires a local-authority licence. The Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 made the breeding, sale, or possession of dogs belonging to a type bred for fighting (e.g. pit bull terriers) an offence, enabled similar restrictions to be imposed in relation to other dogs presenting a danger to the public, and made it an offence to let a dog get dangerously out of control in a public place. The use of *guard dogs is strictly controlled by the Guard Dogs Act 1975.

See also classification of animals.

dangerous driving

The offence of driving a motor vehicle in such a way as to fall far below the standard that would be expected of a competent and careful driver, or in a manner that would be considered obviously dangerous by a competent and careful driver. This offence is defined by the Road Traffic Act 1991 and has replaced the old offence of reckless driving (defined in the Road Traffic Act 1988). The maximum penalty is a *fine at level 5 on the standard scale or six months' imprisonment; *disqualification is compulsory.

See also causing death by dangerous driving.

dangerous machinery

An employer is under a duty to safeguard employees from dangerous machinery. By the Factories Act 1961, all dangerous parts of machinery must be securely fenced, unless they are in such a position or of such construction that they are as safe as if they were securely fenced. The Mines and Quarries Act 1954 deals with the safety of machinery in mines and quarries, and the EU Machinery Directive also lays down rules in this field. The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 contains general provisions on *safety at work.

See also defective equipment.

dangerous things

See Rylands v Fletcher, rule in.



An organized collection of information held on a computer. Databases are usually protected by *copyright in the UK under the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 and the EU Directive 96/9 (implemented by the Copyright and Rights in Databases Regulations 1997). Copyright protects the structure, order, arrangement on the page or screen, and other features of the database in addition to the information in the database itself.

data protection

Safeguards relating to personal data, i.e. personal information about individuals that is stored on a computer and on "relevant manual filing systems". The principles of data protection, the responsibilities of data controllers (formerly data users under the Data Protection Act 1984), and the rights of data subjects are governed by the Data Protection Act 1998, which came into force on 1 March 2000.

The 1998 Act extends the operation of protection beyond computer storage, replaces the system of registration with one of notification, and demands that the level of description by data controllers under the new Act is more general than the detailed coding system required under the Data Protection Act 1984. Under the 1998 Act, the eight principles of data protection are:

(1) The information to be contained in personal data shall be obtained, and personal data shall be processed, fairly and lawfully.

(2) Personal data shall be held only for specified and lawful purposes and shall not be used or disclosed in any manner incompatible with those purposes.

(3) Personal data held for any purpose shall be relevant to that purpose and not excessive in relation to the purpose(s) for which it is used.

(4) Personal data shall be accurate and, where necessary, kept up to date.

(5) Personal data held for any purpose shall not be kept longer than necessary for that purpose.

(6) Personal data shall be processed in accordance with the rights of data subjects.

(7) Appropriate technical and organizational measures shall be taken against unauthorized and unlawful processing of personal data and against accidental loss or destruction of, or damage to, personal data.

(8) Personal data shall not be transferred to a country or territory outside the European Community area unless that country or territory ensures an adequate level of protection for the rights and freedoms of data subjects in relation to the processing of personal data.

Data controllers must now notify their processing of data (unless they are exempt) with the Information Commissioner via the telephone, by requesting, completing, and returning a notification form, or by obtaining such a form from the website (http://www.dpr.gov.uk/notify/1.html). Notification is renewable annually; a data controller who fails to notify his processing of data, or any changes that have been made since notification, commits a criminal offence.

The Information Commissioner can seek information (via an information notice) and ultimately take enforcement action (via an enforcement notice) against data controllers for noncompliance with their full obligations under the 1998 Act. Appeals against decisions of the Information Commissioner may be made to the Data Protection Tribunal, which comprises a chairperson and two deputies (who are legally qualified) and lay members (representing the interests of the data controllers and the data subjects). There are other strict liability criminal offences under the 1998 Act other than non-notification. They include (1) obtaining, disclosing (or bringing about the disclosure), or selling (or advertising for sale) personal data, without consent of the data controller; (2) obtaining unauthorized access to data; (3) asking another person to obtain access to data; and (4) failing to respond to an information and/or enforcement notice.

Data subjects have considerable rights conferred on them under the 1998 Act. They include: (1) the right to find out what information is held about them; (2) the right to seek a court order to rectify, block, erase, and destroy personal details if these are inaccurate, contain expressions of opinion, or are based on inaccurate data; (3) the right to prevent processing where such processing would cause substantial unwarranted damage or substantial distress to themselves or anyone else; (4) the right to prevent the processing of data for direct marketing; (5) the right to compensation from a data controller for damage or damage and distress caused by any breach of the 1998 Act; and (6) the right to prevent some decisions about data being made solely by automated means, where those decisions are likely to significantly affect them.

Date: 2015-01-29; view: 656

<== previous page | next page ==>
╬xford_dictionary_of_law 16 page | ╬xford_dictionary_of_law 18 page
doclecture.net - lectures - 2014-2019 year. Copyright infringement or personal data (0.009 sec.)