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future interest

Any right to property that does not take effect immediately. An example is B's interest in property held in trust for A for life and then for B. Under the Law of Property Act 1925 future interests in land (with the exception of *future leases) can exist as equitable interests only and not as legal estates.

future lease

A lease that confers on the tenant the right to possession of land only from a specified future time. A lease, or contract to grant a lease, that is made in consideration of a capital payment or a rent and will take effect more than 21 years after its commencement is void under the Law of Property Act 1925. Subject to this, a future lease can qualify as a legal estate in land.



Wild animals or birds hunted for sport or food. The Game Acts define these as including hares, pheasants, partridges, grouse, heath or moor game, black game, and bustards. The right to game belongs basically to the occupier, although in leases it is frequently reserved to the landlord rather than the tenant.

See also poaching.

gaming (gambling)


Playing a game in order to win money or anything else of value, when winning depends on luck. There are various restrictions upon gaming, depending on whether It takes place in controlled (i.e. licensed or registered) or uncontrolled premises. If the premises are uncontrolled, it is illegal to playa game that involves playing against a bank or a game in which each player does not have an equal chance or the chance of winning is weighted in favour of someone other than the players (e.g. a promoter or organizer), unless the game takes place in a private house in the course of ordinary family life. Thus one cannot play roulette with a zero in uncontrolled premises, but one may play such games as bridge, whist, poker, or cribbage. It is also illegal (subject to one or two exceptions) to game when a charge is made for the gaming or a levy is charged on the winnings. Gaming in any street or any place to which the public has access is illegal, except for dominoes, cribbage, or any game specially authorized in a pub (provided the participants are over 18). If the premises are controlled (either by the grant of a licence or by registration as a gaming club), the restrictions applying to uncontrolled premises apply unless they have been permitted by regulation. Thus casino-type games may be played on controlled premises for commercial profit if permission has been obtained, but only by members of licensed or registered clubs and their guests. There are also restrictions relating to playing on Sundays, and no one under 18 may be present when gaming takes place. It is illegal to use, sell, or maintain gaming machines without a certificate or licence.

gaming contract

A contract involving the playing of a game of chance by any number of people for money or money's worth. A wagering contract is one involving two parties only, each of whom stands to win or lose something of value according to the result of some future event (e.g. a horse race) or to which of them is correct about some past or present fact; neither party can have any interest in the contract except his stake. In general, gaming and wagering contracts are by statute null and void and no action can be brought to recover any money paid or won under them.

garden leave clause

A clause in an employment contract that provides for a long period of notice by the employer, during which the employee will be remunerated in full but will not be required to attend at the workplace. The use of such clauses is increasing by employers wishing to safeguard trade secrets or, more Importantly, prevent a highly skilled employee from leaving to undertake work for a rival firm. An employee wishing to leave, or one who has been head-hunted, could be required to serve 'garden leave' for a period of up to one year in order to lawfully terminate his existing contract. Throughout the period of garden leave an employee will be subject to all the normal contractual restraints. Management sees the use of such clauses as an expensive, but reliable and enforceable, alternative to traditional *restraint of trade clauses. Moreover, these clauses may be enforced by way of injunction without encountering the difficulties that arise with respect to restraint of trade clauses, which are notoriously difficult to draft and enforce.



A person who has been warned by a court to pay a debt to a third party rather than to his creditor.

See garnishee proceedings.

garnishee proceedings

A procedure by which a judgment creditor may obtain a court order against a third party who owes money to, or holds money on behalf of, the judgment debtor. The order requires the third party to pay the money (or part of it) to the judgment creditor. For example, if the judgment debtor has £1000 in a bank account and judgment has been entered against him for £500, the court may order the bank to pay £500 direct to the judgment creditor.


See General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.



The withdrawal by a vendor from a proposed sale of land in the expectation of receiving a higher price elsewhere after agreeing the price with a purchaser but before a legally binding contract has been made (See exchange of contracts). The first prospective purchaser has no legal right either to compel the vendor to sell to him or to recover his wasted expenditure (such as surveyor's and solicitor's charges) unless an agreement, such as a *lock-out agreement, has been signed.


See grievous bodily harm.

gender reassignment

A physiological and ultimately surgical procedure, under medical supervision, for the purpose of changing a person's sexual characteristics. The process is undertaken by *transsexuals (estimated to number some 5000 in the UK). Initially discrimination in the workplace with respect to a person's sexual orientation or transsexualism was outside the ambit of the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 (See sex discrimination). The definition of sex within that Act referred to discrimination on grounds of biological gender and hence covered discrimination only between men and women. As a result of a series of test cases taken before both the European Court of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights, the UK Sex Discrimination Act must now be construed to include both sexual orientation and transsexualism within its definition. However with respect to transsexualism, as gender reassignment is an ongoing process, it was necessary to introduce supporting regulations, to clarify the protections to be given at the workplace to a transsexual undergoing this process. The Sex Discrimination (Gender Reassignment) Regulations 1999 bring UK law into line with the decision of the European Court of Justice in P v S and Cornwall County Council 1996, the case in which discrimination on grounds of gender reassignment was ruled to be contrary to European Community law.

The Regulations provide protection against discrimination by employers at all stages of the reassignment process, starting when an individual indicates an intention to begin reassignment. The Regulations also cover recruitment procedures, vocational training, and discrimination with respect to pay (See equal pay). The Sex Discrimination Act as amended by the Regulations outlaws direct discrimination and provides for employees who are absent from work to undergo treatment to be treated no less favourably than they would be if the absence was due to sickness or personal injury. The protection is extended to postoperative treatment on a transsexual's return to work. A defence to a claim of unlawful treatment is also provided in relation to the employment in question, if being a man or woman is a genuine occupational qualification for the job. This could arise, for example, if an employee recruited to a sex-specific post begins the gender reassignment process, or if the job involves the holder of the post to perform intimate physical body searches, or if the nature or location of the establishment makes it impracticable for the holder of the job to live elsewhere than on the premises provided by the employer and the issue of decency and privacy must be taken into consideration.

The Department for Work and Pensions (formerly Employment) has produced a guide to the implementation of these Regulations. It offers further assistance to employers on such issues as: whether or not an employee should be redeployed following treatment, the amount of time off necessary for surgical procedures, and the expected point or phase of change of name and personal details and the required amendments to records and systems. Further assistance given relates to confidentiality issues: informing line managers, colleagues, and clients. The guide also offers advice on agreeing a procedure between the employee and employer regarding a changing in dress code and agreeing when individuals will start using single-sex facilities at the workplace in their new gender.

general act

See treaty.

general agent

See agent.

General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade


An international treaty signed in 1947 to provide for some measure of world free trade with the aim of reducing high tariffs on goods. Its objectives in extending free trade have been achieved in a series of eight negotiations (rounds); the last of these, the Uruguay Round (1986-94), led to the establishment of the *World Trade Organization and further agreement to ensure more free trade around the world.

general and special damages

A classification of *damages awarded for a tort or a breach of contract, the meaning of which varies according to the context.

1. General damages are given for losses that the law will presume are the natural and probable consequence of a wrong. Thus it is assumed that a libel is likely to injure the reputation of the person libelled, and damages can be recovered without proof that the claimant's reputation has in fact suffered. Special damages are given for losses that are not presumed but have been specifically proved.

2. General damages may also mean damages given for a loss that is incapable of precise estimation, such as *pain and suffering or loss of reputation. In this context special damages are damages given for losses that can be quantified, such as out-of-pocket expenses or earnings lost during the period between the injury and the hearing of the action.

General Assembly

(of the UN)

See united nations.

general average

See average.

general defences

Common-law defences to any common-law or statutory crimes: with one exception (*insanity), these defences relate to *involuntary conduct. A defendant should be acquitted when the magistrates or jury have a reasonable doubt as to whether he was entitled to a general defence. By contrast, special defences are confined to individual offences, are usually of statutory origin, and usually place a *burden of proof on the defendant to show that he acted reasonably.

See also automatism; impossibility; mistake; self-defence.

general equitable charge

A class of *land charge, registrable under the Land Charges Act (See registration of encumbrances), that affects a *legal estate in land but neither arises under a trust nor is secured by deposit of the title deeds.

general improvement area

A predominantly residential area in which a housing authority considers that it should improve or help to improve living conditions by improving dwellings or amenities (or both).

See also housing action area; priority neighbourhood.

general issue

A plea in which every allegation in the opposite party's pleading is denied. In civil proceedings it is no longer permitted. Instead, each allegation must be specifically admitted or denied. In criminal cases the defendant pleads the general issue by pleading *not guilty and cannot generally be required to disclose the nature of his defence until his own case is presented (but see alibi).

general legacy

See legacy.

general lien

See lien.

general meeting

A meeting of company members whose decisions can bind the company. Certain reserved powers, specified by the Companies Act, can only be exercised by a general meeting. These include alteration of the memorandum and articles of association, removal of a director before his term of office has expired, *alteration of share capital, the appointing of an auditor other than upon a casual vacancy, and putting the company into voluntary winding-up. Powers may also be reserved by the articles of association of a particular company. Powers other than reserved powers are usually delegated in the articles to the directors. The general meeting can overrule the directors' decision in relation to these delegated powers by *special resolution, but this will not affect the validity of acts already done; it could also, while exercising reserved powers, dismiss the directors or alter the articles and thus the delegation. General meetings are either *annual general meetings or *extraordinary general meetings. Unless the articles of association provide or the court orders otherwise, at least two company members must be present personally.

general participation clause

A clause in the *Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907. The clause, concerning the conduct of hostilities, stipulates that the Conventions shall be binding upon the belligerents only so long as all belligerents are parties to the Convention. The effect of this clause was to significantly weaken the effectiveness of the Hague Convention rules.

general power

See power of appointment.

general power of investment

A power, introduced by the Trustee Act 2000, that allows a trustee to make any kind of investment that he could make if he were absolutely entitled to the assets of the trust fund. Previously, trustees were only permitted to make certain *authorized investments. This much wider general power of investment may be expressly excluded in the trust instrument. There are still some restrictions on investments in land. In exercising the general power of investment, the trustees are required by the Act to consider criteria relating to the suitability of the proposed investment to the trust and the need for diversification of investment within the unique circumstances of the trust. Trustees are also required by the Act to review the investments from time to time with the same standard criteria in mind. Before investing, the trustee must obtain and consider proper advice, unless he reasonably considers it unnecessary or inappropriate to do so.

general principles of law

According to the Statute of the *International Court of Justice, the source for rules of international law can be found in what it terms "General Principles of Law". The majority of Western jurists consider that these principles should be based on those underlying the municipal legal systems of civilized states, especially those of Europe and the USA. These jurists also consider the general principles to be a law-creating source that is independent of either treaties or custom. Due to their possible bias towards certain Western capitalist countries, these propositions have proved highly contentious in the Third World and Socialist countries, which have endeavoured to limit the scope of the principles.

general safety requirement

A standard of safety that consumer goods must meet in order to comply with the Consumer Protection Act 1987 and the General Product Safety Regulations 1994. The goods are required to be reasonably safe having regard to all the circumstances, e.g. the way the goods are marketed, including any instructions or warnings about their use; their compliance with published safety standards for goods of that kind; and whether reasonable steps could be taken to make them safer. Suppliers of consumer goods who fail to meet the safety requirement commit an offence.

general verdict

1. (in a civil case) A *verdict that is entirely in favour of one or other party.

2. (in a criminal case) A verdict either of *guilty or *not guilty.

Compare special verdict.

general warrant

A warrant for arrest that does not name or describe the person to be arrested, or a search warrant that does not specify the premises to be searched or the property sought. Such warrants are usually illegal, although they may sometimes be expressly authorized by statute (See power of search). Someone arrested under an illegal general warrant can claim damages for *false imprisonment. Sometimes, however, Parliament grants a general power of arrest while searching premises with a search warrant, e.g. under the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Act 1963.

general words

Words in a *conveyance describing rights and benefits that are incidental to the land (such as easements and profits à prendre) and that are conveyed with it. Under the Law of Property Act 1925 such words are no longer necessary, since a conveyance of land is deemed to include all such ancillary rights unless a contrary intention is expressed in the document.

genetic fingerprinting

See dna fingerprinting.

Geneva Conventions

A series of international conventions on the laws of war, the first of which was formulated in Geneva in 1864. The 1864 and 1906 Conventions protect sick and wounded soldiers; the Geneva Protocol of 1925 prohibits the use of gas and bacteriological warfare; the three Conventions of 1929 and the four Conventions of 1949 protect sick and wounded soldiers, sailors, and prisoners of war, and the 1949 Conventions protect, in addition, certain groups of civilians. The First Protocol of 1977 supplements the 1949 Conventions, extending protection to wider groups of civilians, regulating the law of bombing, and enlarging the category of wars subject to the 1949 Conventions (to include, for example, civil wars). The 1949 Conventions are accepted by many states and are generally considered to embody customary international law that relates to war.

See also Hague Conventions; Martens clause.



Conduct aimed at the destruction of a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group. Genocide, as defined in the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide 1948, includes not only killing members of the group, but also causing them serious physical or psychological harm, imposing conditions of life that are intended to destroy them physically or measures intended to prevent childbirth, or forcibly transferring children of the group to another group, if these acts are carried out with the intention of destroying the group as a whole or in part. Destruction of a cultural or political group does not amount to genocide. The Genocide Convention 1948 declares that genocide is an international crime; the parties to the Convention undertake to punish not only acts of genocide committed within their jurisdiction but also complicity in genocide and conspiracy, incitement, and attempts to commit genocide. The Convention has been enacted into English law by the Genocide Act 1969. It is generally considered that the Convention embodies principles of customary international law that bind all nations, including those that are not parties to the Convention.

See also war crimes; humanitarian intervention.



A Jewish religious divorce, executed by the husband delivering a bill. of . divorce (which must be handwritten according to specific detailed rules) to his wife in the presence of two witnesses. In theory a ghet does not require a court procedure, but in practice it is usually executed through a court because of the many complexities of the relevant religious law.

See also extrajudicial divorce.



A gratuitous transfer or grant of property. A legally valid gift must normally be effected by deed, by physical delivery in the case of chattels, or by *donatio mortis causa; the donor must intend ownership to pass as a gift. However, an imperfect gift (i.e. one for which the legal formalities have not been observed) may be treated as valid in equity in certain circumstances (See, for example, (proprietary) estoppel). A gift by will takes effect only on the death of the testator.

gift aid

A system for individuals and companies to donate money to charities and for the charities to recover the tax paid on these donations (thus increasing the value of the donation by 28% in 2001-02). The taxpayer must make a gift aid declaration to the charity, stating that the payment is to be treated as gift aid. This system was first introduced in 1990, but tax relief was subject to the donation being of a minimum value, most recently £250. From April 2000, the system was extended to gifts of any value, including regular and one-off payments. It replaces the *deed of covenant in favour of charities from that date, although existing covenants remain valid.

gift over

A provision in a will or other settlement enabling an interest in property to come into existence on the termination or failure of a prior interest.




A person of a nomadic way of life with no fixed abode. Formerly, local authorities had a duty to provide sites for gipsies resorting to their areas. (The strict definition of gipsy as a member of the Romany race did not apply for this purpose, but the term did not include travelling showmen or New Age travellers.) Under the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 this duty is abolished, although local authorities may provide sites if they wish.

See also trespass; unauthorized camping.

glue sniffing

See intoxication.

going public

The process of forming a *public company or of reregistering a *private company as a public company.

golden handshake

A payment, usually very large, made to a director or other senior executive who is forced to retire before the expiry of an employment contract (e.g. because of a takeover or merger) as compensation for loss of office. It is made when a contract does not allow payment in lieu of notice. The first £30,000 is often tax-free.

golden hello

A lump-sum payment to entice an employee of senior level to join a new employer. Whether or not the payment is tax-free depends on the nature of the payment.

golden rule

See interpretation of statutes; interpretation of wills.

golden share

See share.

good behaviour

A term used in an order by a magistrate or by a Crown Court upon sentencing. The person named in the order should "be of good behaviour" towards another person (the complainant). The court may order that the person named enter into a *recognizance, and if he does not comply with the order he may be imprisoned for up to six months. The procedure may be used against anyone who has been brought before the court if there is a fear that he may cause a breach of the peace or if he is the subject of a complaint by someone (which need not be based on the commission of a criminal offence).

good consideration

See consideration.

good faith

Honesty. An act carried out in good faith is one carried out honestly. Good faith is implied by law into certain contracts, such as those relating to commercial agency.

See also uberrimae fidei.

good leasehold title

A form of title to registered leasehold land (See land registration) that is equivalent to absolute leasehold title (See absolute title) except that the landlord's right to grant the lease is not guaranteed. Good leasehold title usually occurs when the lease appears valid on the face of it but the documents proving the landlord's title, or any superior lessor's title, have not been registered at the Land Registry.

good offices

A technique of peaceful settlement of an international dispute, in which a third party, acting with the consent of the disputing states, serves as a friendly intermediary in an effort to persuade them to negotiate between themselves without necessarily offering the disputing states substantive suggestions towards achieving a settlement.

See also conciliation; mediation.


pl. n.

Personal chattels or items of property. Land is excluded, and the statutory definition in the Sale of Goods Act 1979 also excludes *choses in action and money. It includes *emblements and things attached to or forming part of land that are agreed to be severed before sale or under a contract of sale.



The advantage arising from the reputation and trade connections of a business, in particular the likelihood that existing customers will continue to patronize it. Goodwill is a substantial item to be taken into account on the sale of a business; it may need to be protected by prohibiting the vendor from setting up in the same business for a stated period in competition with the business he has sold.

government circulars

Documents circulated by government departments on behalf of ministers, setting out principles and practices for the exercise of ministerial powers delegated to others. These may provide mere administrative guidelines or they may be intended to have legislative effect (i.e. as *delegated legislation), in which case any purported exercise of the delegated powers is invalid unless it complies with them.

See ultra vires.

government department

An organ of central government responsible for a particular sphere of public administration (e.g. the Treasury). It is staffed by permanent civil servants and is normally headed by a minister who is politically responsible for its activities and is assisted by one or more junior ministers, usually responsible for particular aspects of departmental policy.



A government established outside its territorial jurisdiction. Following the German defeat of Poland in 1939, the Polish government transferred its operations to London and thereby became a government-in-exile.

Grand Committees, Scottish and Welsh

Scottish and Welsh Grand Committees

Committees of the House of Commons involved with matters relating to Scotland and Wales, respectively. The former consists of the 72 members representing Scottish constituencies and 10-15 other members. A Bill certified by the Speaker as relating exclusively to Scotland may by standing orders of the House be referred to the Committee for its second reading, and the Committee also debates other purely Scottish matters. The Welsh Grand Committee, which consists of the 38 members representing Welsh constituencies and up to 5 others, is purely deliberative. It considers matters relating exclusively to Wales but is not empowered to undertake second readings.



1. The creation or transfer of the ownership of property (e.g. an estate or interest in land) by written instrument; for example, the grant of a lease.

See also lie in grant.

2. A *grant of representation.

3. The allocation of money, powers, etc., by Parliament or the Crown for a specific purpose.

grant of representation

Authority granted by the court to named individuals or to a *trust corporation to administer the estate of a deceased person. The grant is of *probate when the will is proved by the executors named in it or of *letters of administration when the deceased died intestate, the deceased's will did not appoint executors, or the executors named do not prove the will.

grants in aid

Central government grants towards local authority expenditure, comprising specific grants for particular services (e.g. the police) and rate support grants to augment income generally.

grave hardship

(in divorce proceedings)

If a divorce petition is based on a five-year separation, the respondent may oppose the grant of the *decree nisi on the ground that the dissolution of the marriage will result in grave financial or other hardship and that it would be wrong in all the circumstances to dissolve the marriage. Such applications rarely succeed.

See also divorce.

Gray's Inn

One of the four *Inns of Court, situated in Holborn. The earliest claims for its existence are c. 1320.

Greater London

A local government area consisting of the 32 London boroughs (12 inner, and 20 outer), the *City of London, and the Inner and Middle Temples. A Greater London Council was established by the Local Government Act 1972 but abolished by the Local Government Act 1985 with effect from 1 April 1986. London borough councils, which are unitary (single-tier) authorities, are elected every fourth year, counting from 1982 (See also local authority). In 1998 Londoners voted in favour of government proposals to elect a *Mayor of London and a *London Assembly to operate from 2000; the Great London Authority Act 1999 enacted these proposals (See also Greater London authority). The City of London is distinct in both constitution and functions. The Temples have limited independent functions (e.g. public health), but are administered in many respects by the City's Common Council.

Date: 2015-01-29; view: 589

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