Home Random Page



╬xford_dictionary_of_law 22 page



A label with the EU logo that is used on products that comply with environmental requirements in particular directives.

economic duress

Historically within contract law, a claim that a contract was voidable for duress could only be successful if a threat to the person (i.e. physical duress) had induced the contract. Now, however, a contract may be voidable for economic duress. The essential elements are that an illegitimate threat is made (e.g. to breach an existing contract or to commit a tort) and that the injured party has no practical alternative to agreeing to the terms set out by the person making the threat.

See also voidable contract.



See electronic conveyancing.


(European Currency Unit)


A currency medium and unit of account of the *European Monetary System, which was replaced by the euro in 1999 (See European Monetary Union). Its value was calculated from the values of the currencies of individual member states of the European Union, The ECU was not a unit of currency as such, although some prices were quoted in ECU by the European Commission and other bodies. The ECU was used in the *Exchange Rate Mechanism, and some bonds were issued by member states in ECUs.

education authorities

The authorities responsible for the statutory system of education introduced by the Education Act 1944, i.e. the Secretary of State for Education and Skills and local education authorities. In England and Wales the latter are county councils or unitary councils and, within *Greater London, the London borough councils. The Education Reform Act 1988 introduced measures under which schools could, with the approval of the Secretary of State, opt out of local education authority control to become grant-maintained schools, and many have done so. A new framework for schools has been introduced by the School Standards and Framework Act 1998.


See European Economic Area.


(European Economic Community)

See European Community.


See exclusive economic zone.

effective date of termination

The date on which a contract of employment comes to an end, i.e. the date of expiry of any *notice given or of a fixed-term contract or the date of the employee's dismissal or resignation if no notice is given. However, an employee dismissed without the statutory minimum notice is treated as having worked for that period after his dismissal for the purpose of calculating whether or not his length of service (See continuous employment) qualifies him to apply to an employment tribunal in respect of redundancy, unfair dismissal, etc.

effective remedy

A right contained in Article 13 of the European Convention on Human Rights but not incorporated directly by the *Human Rights Act 1998. The Article stipulates that the state must provide systems that give effective remedies for violations and arguable claims of violations of the other rights contained in the Convention. This article requires that such systems can both determine such claims and provide for redress for those violations that are substantiated.


See European Free Trade Association.

eggshell skull rule

The rule that a *tortfeasor cannot complain if the injuries he has caused turn out to be more serious than expected because his victim suffered from a pre-existing weakness, such as an unusually thin skull. A tortfeasor must take his victim as he finds him.


See enterprise investment scheme.

ejusdem generis rule

See interpretation of statutes.

Elder Brethren

See assessor.



1. The process of choosing by vote a member of a representative body, such as the House of Commons or a local authority. For the House of Commons, a general election involving all UK constituencies is held when the sovereign dissolves Parliament and summons a new one; a by-election is held if a particular constituency becomes vacant (e.g. on the death of the sitting member) during the life of a Parliament. Local government elections (apart from those to fill casual vacancies) are held at statutory intervals (See local authority). The conduct of elections is regulated by the Representation of the People Acts 1983 and 1985. The Representation of the People Act 2000 made some changes to electoral registration and absent voting and allowed for experiments involving innovative electoral procedures. Other changes make it easier for the disabled to vote and created an offence of supplying false particulars on a nomination form. Voting is secret and normally in person, but any elector can obtain a postal vote without having to specify a reason. The only requirement is that the applicant is included in the Register of Electors. Applications for a particular election must be received by the Electoral Registration Officer six working days before an election. Different rules apply in Northern Ireland. Any dispute as to the validity of the election of a Member of Parliament or a local government councillor is raised on an election petition, which is decided by an election court consisting of two High Court judges.

2. A doctrine of equity, commonly applied to wills, based on the principle that a person must accept both benefits and burdens under one document. or reject both. It arises when there are two gifts in one document, one of A's (the creator's) property to Band one of B's property to C. B must choose whether to accept the gift of A's property to him and transfer his own property to C. or to reject both gifts.

election court

See election.

election petition

See election.

elective resolution

A decision by all the members of a *private company (at a meeting called on at least 21 days' notice) to dispense with complying with specified provisions of the Companies Act 1985, for example holding the annual general meeting and laying the accounts before it or the annual appointment of auditors.



1. A person entitled to vote at an *election. For parliamentary and local government elections, a register of electors is maintained. A new register comes into force on 16 February each year and governs elections held during the following 12 months. It records electors by reference to their residence on the preceding 10 October (the qualifying date) and includes people who will become 18 (and so entitled to vote) in the year following its publication. Inclusion on the register is a requirement for voting. A person on it cannot be prevented from voting but incurs penalties if he votes without in fact being entitled to do so.

See franchise.

2. (in equity) One who makes an election.



See abstracting electricity.

electromagnetic compatibility

The capability of electromagnetic products, such as computer equipment, machines, etc, to be used together without special modification. The EU electromagnetic compatibility directive, which is now part of English law, sets out the minimum requirements to ensure that the use of computers, etc., does not cause interference with other electromagnetic products.

See also ceo.

electronic conveyancing


The transfer of land by electronic means instead of by paper documents. The government has announced its intention to introduce such a method of transferring land, and the Electronic Communications Act 2000 paves the way for such transfers. It is already possible to discharge mortgages of registered land electronically. *land registration (which is already computerized) has made electronic conveyancing and registration possible.

electronic data interchange


(electronic data interchange, EDI)

The use of electronic data-transmission networks to exchange information. Significant commercial contracts set out the terms on which such information is supplied, and much commerce is now done on this basis (known as paperless trading), either through a closed network called an intranet, to which only members of a limited group have access, or through an open network, i.e. the Internet. Some international legal rules have been agreed in this field, including the Uniform Rules of Conduct for Interchange of Trade Data by Teletransmission (See UNCID).

electronic signature

An item of data incorporated into or associated with an electronically transmitted document or contract for use in establishing the authenticity of the communication. Under the Electronic Communications Act 2000 electronic signatures are recognized in legal proceedings and as having legal effect. An electronic signature can be purchased from such bodies as the Post Office and Chamber of Commerce on production of relevant identification documents.

See also digital signature.

electronic surveillance

The use of *telephone tapping, hidden microphones (bugging) or cameras, or similar means to obtain evidence. The police and other state bodies may be permitted to use such devices provided that the Secretary of State has issued a warrant under the Interception of Communications Act 1985. Evidence obtained by electronic surveillance can usually be used in court proceedings; it has been compared with the evidence of an eavesdropper. The Police Act 1997 provides for a system in which independent commissioners of police oversee the arrangements and investigate complaints in relation to intrusive *surveillance operations.

eleemosynary corporation

(from Latin: eleemosyna, 'alms')

Originally, a lay (rather than an ecclesiastical) charity. An eleemosynary corporation is now a charity directed to the relief of individual distress.



The detention of ships in port: a type of *reprisal. Ships of a delinquent state may be prevented from leaving the ports of an injured state in order to compel the delinquent state to make reparation for the wrong done.

See also angary.



The dishonest appropriation by an employee of any money or property given to him on behalf of his employer. Before 1969 there was a special offence of embezzlement; it is now, however, classified as a form of *theft.


pl. n.

Cultivated crops that are normally harvested annually. A tenant for life of settled land may continue to harvest crops he has sown if his interest in the land ceases for any reason other than by his own act. For example, he may continue to harvest his crops if his interest ends on the death of another person but not if his interest was for life until remarriage and he remarries. When he dies, his personal representatives are entitled to reap for the benefit of his estate any crops sown by him before his death.

emergency powers

Powers conferred by government regulations during a state of emergency. The existence of such a state is declared by royal proclamation under the Emergency Powers Acts 1920 and 1964. A proclamation, which lasts for one month but is renewable, may be issued whenever there is a threat (e.g. a major strike or natural disaster) to the country's essentials of life. The regulations made may confer on government departments, the armed forces, and others all powers necessary to secure the supply and distribution of necessities and the maintenance of public peace and safety.

emergency protection order

A court order under the Children Act 1989 that gives a local authority or the NSPCC the right to remove a child to suitable accommodation for a maximum of eight days (with a right to apply for a seven-day extension) if there is reasonable cause to believe a child is suffering or is likely to suffer significant harm unless the order is made. The order gives the applicant *parental responsibility in so far as it promotes the *welfare of the child. In some cases it may be preferable to remove the abuser from the home rather than t child. The Children Act 1989 provides for the inclusion of an *exclusion requirement in an emergency protection order. The effect of this is to exclude the abuser from the family home. The order may only be made when another person in the same household as the child consents to the exclusion order and is able and willing to care properly for the child.

See also section 47 enquiry.

eminent domain

See expropriation.


pl. n.

A person's earnings, including salaries, fees, wages, profits, and benefits in kind (e.g. company cars). They are subject to *income tax under Schedule E in the Income and Corporation Taxes Act 1988.



To swear a jury to try an issue.



A person who works under the direction and control of another (the *employer) in return for a wage or salary.

See also child employee; contract of employment; employer and employee.

employees' inventions

Products, equipment, or techniques invented by an employee in the course of his employment. Under the Patents Act 1977 these belong to the employer if the invention was made in the course of the employee's normal duties and these were likely to lead to an invention or in the course of any duties involving a special obligation to further the employer's business. These provisions cannot be changed in a contract of employment. The employee may, however, be awarded compensation by the Comptroller General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks if the invention is of outstanding benefit to the employer (this virtually never applies). Copyright works also belong to the employer if the employee produces them in the course of his employment.

employees' share scheme

A method of sharing company profits with employees either by distributing shares already paid up by the company, either to the employees themselves or to trustees for them, or by conferring upon them options to acquire shares on favourable terms. Certain schemes carry tax concessions.



A person who engages another (the *employee) to work under his direction and control in return for a wage or salary (See also contract of employment). Companies are associated employers if one of them controls the other or others or if they are themselves controlled by the same company.

employer and employee

The relationship between the parties to a *contract of employment. (It was formerly known as master and servant.) The relationship is governed by the express and implied terms of the contract and by statutory rules that the contract cannot exclude. These relate, for example, to *unfair dismissal, *redundancy, *maternity rights, *trade union membership and activity, and health and *safety at work. On the principle of *vicarious liability, third parties may hold an employer responsible for certain wrongs committed by his employee in the course of his employment.

employers' association

An organization whose members are wholly or mainly employers and whose principal purposes include the regulation of relations between employers and workers or trade unions. Under the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992, employers' associations have similar legal status to *trade unions, being immune from certain civil legal proceedings in tort relating to interference with contracts and restraint of trade.

employer's liability

The liability of an employer for breach of his duty to provide for his employees competent fellow-workers, safe equipment, a safe place of work, and a safe system of work, including adequate supervision. Liability can be in tort for damages for *negligence and for *breach of statutory duty under statutes providing for *safety at work; there are also criminal penalties.

See dangerous machinery; defective equipment.

Employment Appeal Tribunal


A statutory body established to hear appeals from *employment tribunals. The EAT consists of a High Court judge as chairman and two or four lay members who have special knowledge or experience as employers' or employees' representatives. They can only hear appeals on questions of law, issues of fact being in the exclusive jurisdiction of employment tribunals. The EAT may allow or dismiss an appeal or, in certain circumstances, remit the case to the employment tribunal for further hearing. It does not generally order either party to pay the other's costs, except when the appeal is frivolous, vexatious, or improperly conducted. The parties may be represented at the hearing by anyone they choose, who need not have legal qualifications. The EAT cannot enforce its own decisions; thus, for example, when an employer fails to comply with an order for compensation that the EAT upholds, separate application must be made to the court to enforce the order. A party may appeal to the Court of Appeal from a decision of the EAT, but only with the leave of the EAT or the Court of Appeal. The Employment Tribunals Act 1996 (effective from 22 August 1996) sets out the jurisdiction of the EAT.

employment tribunal


Any of the bodies established under the employment protection legislation, consolidated by the Employment (formerly Industrial) Tribunals Act 1996, to hear and rule on certain disputes between employers and employees or trade unions relating to statutory terms and conditions of employment. (Originally called industrial tribunals, they (and the 1996 Act) were renamed under the Employment Rights (Dispute Resolution) Act 1998.) The tribunals hear, inter alia, complaints concerning *unfair dismissal, *redundancy, *equal pay, *maternity rights, and complaints of unlawful deductions from wages under the Employment Rights Act 1996 (Part II). Tribunals sit in local centres in public and usually consist of a legally qualified chairman and two independent laymen, although chairmen are permitted to sit alone, without lay members, for certain types of case (e.g. deductions from wages claims), cases where the parties agree in writing, and uncontested cases. An ET differs from a civil court in that it cannot . enforce its own awards (this must be done by separate application to a court) and It can conduct its proceedings informally. Strict rules of evidence need not apply and the parties can present their own case or be represented by anyone they wish at their own expense. The tribunal has wide powers to declare a dismissal unfair and to award *compensation, which is the usual remedy, but they also have power to order the *reinstatement or *re-engagement of a dismissed employee.

In cases involving allegations of sexual misconduct employment tribunals are empowered to make a restricted reporting order, which prevents identification of anyone pursuing or affected by the allegations until the tribunal's decision is promulgated. There is also a power to remove identifying information in such cases from the decisions and other public documents.

Before conducting a full hearing of the case, the tribunal may consider (on either party's application or on its own initiative) what the parties have said in the written complaint to the tribunal (the originating application) and the answer to it (the notice of appearance) in a prehearing assessment. If this assessment suggests that either party is unlikely to succeed, the tribunal may warn that party that he may be ordered to pay the other's costs if he insists on pursuing his case to a full hearing. When a full hearing takes place, the tribunal will not award costs to the. successful party unless the other has been warned of this likelihood at a prehearing assessment or has acted vexatiously, frivolously, or unreasonably in bringing or defending the proceedings. An appeal on a point of law arising from any decision on an ET may be heard by the *Employment Appeal Tribunal.


See European Monetary System.


See euro norm.

enabling statute

A statute that confers rights or powers upon any body or person.

enacting words

The introductory words in an *Act of Parliament that give it the force of law. They follow immediately after the long title and date of royal assent, unless preceded by a preamble, and normally run: "Be It Enacted by the Queen s most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows ...". A special formula is used in cases when the Parliament Acts 1911 and 1949 apply (See Act of Parliament).



An Act of Parliament, a Measure of the General Synod (See Church of England), an order, or any other piece of subordinate legislation, or any particular provision contained in any of these (e.g. a particular section or article). Delegated legislation is not an enactment for the purposes of the Local Government Act 1992.



The act of extending one's own rights at the expense of others, particularly by taking in adjoining land to make it appear part of one's own. If the encroachment is acquiesced in for 12 years, the land taken is considered to be annexed to the land of the person who made the encroachment.



(encumbrance, incumbrance)


A right or interest in land owned by someone other than the owner of the land itself; examples include easements, leases, mortgages, and restrictive covenants. When title to the land is .registered (See land registration), encumbrances other than minor and overriding interests are recorded in the Charges Register. Certain encumbrances affecting unregistered land will only be enforceable against third parties if registered at the Land Charges Registry.

See also registration of encumbrances.



1. The procedure in which the particulars of a driving offence are noted on a person's driving licence. When the court orders endorsement for an offence carrying obligatory or discretionary *disqualification but the driver is not disqualified, the endorsement also contains particulars of the number of penalty points imposed for the purposes of *totting up. When the court orders disqualification, only the particulars of the offence are noted. The courts can order endorsement upon a conviction for most traffic offences (the main exceptions being parking offences) and in many cases they must order an endorsement, unless there are special reasons (e.g. a sudden emergency) why they should not. A person whose licence is to be endorsed must produce it for the court; if he does not do so, his licence may be suspended. A driver whose licence has been endorsed may apply to have a new "clean" licence after a certain number of years has elapsed (usually 4 years, but 11 in the case of offences involving *drunken driving). Under the Road Traffic (New Drivers) Act 1995, with effect from 1 June 1997, a driver who is convicted of an endorsable offence and who has accumulated 6 or more penalty points within two years of passing a driving test has his licence revoked and must retake a driving test.

2. The signature of the holder on a bill of exchange, which is an essential step in negotiating or transferring a bill payable to order. The endorsement must be completed by delivering the bill to the transferee. An endorsement in blank is the bare signature of the holder and makes the bill payable to bearer. A special endorsement specifies the person to whom (or to whose order) the bill is payable (e.g. "Pay X or order"). An endorser, by endorsing a bill, takes on certain obligations to the holder or a subsequent endorser.

3. The noting on a document of details of a later transaction affecting the subject matter of that document. For example, a beneficiary in whose favour a personal representative executes an *assent of property may require details of the assent to be written (endorsed) on the document containing the *probate or *letters of administration. Equally, a purchaser of a plot forming part of a larger plot of land may require a note or memorandum of the conveyance to him to be endorsed on the title deeds relating to the whole plot.



1. The provision of a fixed income for the support of a charity.

2. Any property belonging permanently to a charity.

enforcement action

Any action, authorized by the United Nations Security Council, to enforce *collective security under *Chapter VII (i.e. Articles 39-51) of the UN Charter. As such it stands as one of the very few legal justifications for *use of force in international law. Strictly, any enforcement action can only be justified under Article 42 of the Charter, which requires agreement by member states to place their armed forces at the disposal of the UN (See military staff committee). However, although the theory of enforcement action would seem to be that of concerted action by members under Article 42, such a limitation is not expressly stated in the Charter. Article 39 was worded so widely as to allow the Security Council, using the implied powers allowed for by that Article, to bypass this problem and authorize that member states voluntarily furnish armed forces to be under the unified command of one member state. Upon the basis of such implied power, an enforcement action was justified under Security Council recommendations under Article 39 in order to defend Korea (1950).

enforcement notice

A notice by a local planning authority (See town and country planning) that requires certain steps to be taken within a specified time to remedy an alleged breach of planning control. An example of such a breach would occur if development was carried out without planning permission or contrary to conditions attached to planning permission. A local planning authority that has notice of a breach of planning control has, however, a discretion as to whether to enforce against that breach. Appeal against the notice may be made to the Secretary of State on various grounds, including the ground that the development is one for which planning permission ought to be granted.

See also stop notice.

enforcement of judgment

The processes by which the orders of a court may be enforced. Orders for the payment of money may be enforced by a variety of methods, including a writ of *fieri facias (in the county court, a warrant of execution), *garnishee proceedings, *charging orders, the appointment of a *receiver, a writ of *sequestration, and (rarely) an order of committal (See committal in civil proceedings). In the county court (and in the High Court in certain matrimonial proceedings only) *attachment of the debtor's earnings is also available.

Judgments for possession of land may be enforced by *writ of possession (in the county court, a warrant of possession). Judgments for delivery of goods may be enforced by *writ of delivery (in the county court, a warrant of delivery). Judgments relating to performance of or abstention from some act (e.g. an *injunction) may be enforced by order of committal or writ of sequestration.



1. To give to a person or class of people the right to vote at elections.

2. To give to an area or a class of people the right to be represented on an elected body.

enfranchisement of tenancy

A method for acquiring the freehold or an extended lease of a leasehold house. A tenant has a statutory right of enfranchisement when he has a long lease (exceeding 21 years) and the house has been his *main residence for at least three years. The valuation of the freehold, or rent of an extended lease, is based on the value of the land without the buildings on it.

The Leasehold Reform Act 1993 abolished the rateable value limits for houses and extended to flat leaseholders the right to acquire collectively the freeholds of their flats. From 1 April 1997 the Housing Act 1996 abolished in most cases an earlier requirement that enfranchisement only applied to leases at a low rent with a duration of over 35 years. This area of the law is currently under review, with a view to relaxing rules for qualification and residency.

engagement to marry

An agreement, verbal or in writing, to marry at a future date. Such agreements are no longer treated as enforceable legal contracts, and no action can be brought for breach of such an agreement or to recover expenses incurred as a result of the agreement. Engagement rings are deemed to be absolute gifts and cannot be recovered when an engagement is broken. There is a special statutory provision that property rights between engaged parties (for example, in respect of a house purchased with a view to marriage) are to be decided in accordance with the rules governing property rights of married couples.



To prepare a fair copy of a deed or other legal document ready for execution by the parties.



(in land law)

To acquire further rights in land, thereby increasing one's interest to some greater estate or interest. For example, a *tenant in tail may enlarge his interest into a fee simple by executing a disentailing deed (See entailed interest). A mortgagee in possession for 12 years may, by executing a deed, enlarge his interest into a fee simple free from the mortgage.

Date: 2015-01-29; view: 605

<== previous page | next page ==>
╬xford_dictionary_of_law 21 page | ╬xford_dictionary_of_law 23 page
doclecture.net - lectures - 2014-2019 year. Copyright infringement or personal data (0.012 sec.)