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Greater London Authority

A body created by the Greater London Authority Act 1999 and consisting of the *Mayor of London and the *London Assembly. Its principal purposes are to promote economic development and wealth creation, social development, and the improvement of the environment in Greater London. The *London Development Agency was created to further the first of these aims.

green form

Under the Legal Aid Act 1988, the form upon which an application for legal advice and/or legal assistance could be made by those within the financial limits on eligibility. Persons receiving certain specified social security allowances automatically qualified for green form advice. The name referred to the colour of the application form used. As from 1 April 2000, the *legal aid scheme was replaced by differing levels of legal service provided by the *Community Legal Service, under which the service offered by the green form scheme is most broadly covered by the level of service entitled legal help.

green paper

See command papers.

grievous bodily harm


Serious physical injury. Under the Offences Against the Person Act 1861 there are several offences involving grievous bodily harm. It is an offence, punishable by up to five years' imprisonment, to inflict (by direct acts) grievous bodily harm upon anyone with the intention of harming them (even only slightly); if the intention was merely to frighten the victim the defendant is guilty of *assault and *battery. It is an offence, punishable by a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, to cause grievous bodily harm to anyone with the intention of seriously injuring them or of resisting or preventing lawful arrest. "Causing" in this offence includes indirect acts, such as pulling a chair away from a person so that he falls and breaks his arm. If a person intends to cause grievous bodily harm but his victim actually dies, he is guilty of murder, even though he did not intend to kill him. Causing grievous bodily harm may also be an element in some other offence, e.g. *burglary. The courts have said that judges should not attempt to define grievous bodily harm for the jury, but should leave it to them, in every case, to decide whether the harm caused was really serious.

See also wounding with intent.


See in gross.

gross indecency

A sexual act that is more than ordinary *indecency but falls short of actual intercourse. It may include masturbation and indecent physical contact, or even indecent behaviour without any physical contact. It is an offence for a man to commit an act of gross indecency with another man unless both parties are over 18, consent to the act, and it is carried out in private. This is punishable by up to two years' imprisonment or, if one of the parties is under 18, by up to five years' imprisonment. It is also an offence to cause or arrange for a man to commit an act of gross indecency with another man, even if the act is carried out in private and between consenting adults. It is an offence, punishable by up to two years' imprisonment, to commit an act of gross indecency with or towards a child (of either sex) under the age of 14 or to incite a child to commit such an act.

gross negligence

A high degree of *negligence, manifested in behaviour substantially worse than that of the average reasonable man. Causing someone's death through gross negligence could be regarded as *manslaughter if the accused appreciated the risk he was taking and intended to avoid it, but showed an unacceptable degree of negligence in avoiding it.

ground rent

A rent reserved by a long lease of land. For example when a house or flat is sold on a lease for 99 years, the lessor may reserve a small annual rent payable throughout the term as well as the capital price payable on the grant of the lease. In essence, a ground rent ignores the value of the buildings on the land. Building leases (*building lease) are sometimes granted in return for a ground rent rather than a capital sum.

group accounts

Accounts (*accounts) required by law to be prepared by a registered company that has a *subsidiary company. Group accounts deal with the financial position of the company and its subsidiaries collectively.

group action

A procedure in which a large number of claims arising out of the same event, or against the same defendant, are dealt with together (e.g. proceedings by the victims of a plane crash for damages for personal injury). The court exercises more direct control over the interim (interlocutory) proceedings (*interim proceedings; *interlocutory proceedings) in such cases than is normal.

Compare representative action.



1. A secondary agreement in which a person (the guarantor) is liable for the debt or default of another (the principal debtor), who is the party primarily liable for the debt. A guarantee requires an independent *consideration and must be evidenced in writing. A guarantor who has paid out on his guarantee has a right to be indemnified by the principal debtor.

Compare indemnity.


See warranty.

guarantee company

See limited company.

guarantee payment

Under the Employment Rights Act 1996, the sum that an employer must pay to an employee for whom he is unable to provide work during the whole of any working day or shift. However, an employee is not entitled to a guarantee payment if he is laid off because of industrial action affecting his own or an associated employer, if he unreasonably refuses other suitable work, or if he fails to comply with the employer's reasonable requirements for ensuring that he is available for work if and when needed. Generally, employees only become entitled to a guarantee payment after four weeks' *continuous employment in the business; one employed for a specific task that is not expected to last more than 12 weeks and one having a fixed-term employment contract of a year or less do not qualify at all. The payment is limited to the employee's basic wage for the relevant shift, subject to a maximum prescribed by regulations made by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and reviewed annually. An employee is not entitled to more than five guarantee payments in any period of three months. The statutory payment is offset by any amount payable to the employee under his employment contract while he is laid off. An employee may complain to an employment tribunal if his employer fails to pay him any sum due as a guarantee payment, and the tribunal can order the employer to pay the sum due.

guard dog

A dog kept specifically for the purpose of protecting people, property, or someone who is guarding people or property. Under the Guard Dogs Act 1975 it is a summary offence punishable by fine to use a guard dog, or to allow its use, unless either it is secured and cannot roam the premises freely or a handler is controlling it. The Act does not, however, affect civil liability for injuries or damage caused by the dog, which depends on the law of tort (See classification of animals). In some cases the owner may be criminally liable for injury caused by a guard dog; for example, if it kills someone, the owner may be guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence or of constructive *manslaughter.

See also dangerous animals.



One who is formally appointed to look after a child's interests when the parents of the child do not have *parental responsibility for him or have died. Appointment can be made either by the courts during *family proceedings, if it is considered necessary for the child's welfare, or privately by any parent with parental responsibility. Under the Children Act 1989 a private appointment does not have to be by deed or will but merely made in writing, dated, and signed by the person making it. A guardian automatically assumes parental responsibility for the child.

guardian ad litem

See children's guardian.

guardianship order

An order, made under the Mental Health Act 1983, placing a person over the age of 16 who has been convicted of an offence and who is suffering from any of certain types of mental illness under the guardianship of a local social services authority or an approved person. It has been proposed by the Law Commission that it should no longer be possible to appoint an individual as guardian.



A House of Commons procedure for speeding up the passing of legislation: a means whereby government can control the parliamentary timetable and limit debate. The number of days allowed for a Bill's Committee and Report stages is limited by an allocation-of-time order moved by the government; the total time available is then allotted between particular portions of the Bill. When the time limit for any portion is reached, debate on it ceases and all outstanding votes are taken forthwith.

Compare closure.



1. An admission in court by an accused person that he has committed the offence with which he is charged. If there is more than one charge he may plead guilty to some and *not guilty to others.

2. A *verdict finding that the accused has committed the offence with which he was charged or some other offence of which he can be convicted on the basis of the evidence in the case.

See also conviction.

guilty knowledge

The knowledge of facts or circumstances required for a person to have *mens rea for a particular crime. Knowledge is usually actual knowledge, but when a person deliberately ignores facts that are obvious, he is sometimes considered to have "constructive" knowledge.

guilty mind

See mens rea.

gunboat diplomacy

The settling of disputes with weaker states by the threat of *use of force. The phrase derives from the Victorian colonial empire, in which gunboats and other naval vessels were often utilized in order to coerce local rulers to accept the terms and trade of British merchants.



See gipsy.

habeas corpus

A prerogative writ used to challenge the validity of a person's detention, either in official custody (e.g. when held pending deportation or extradition) or in private hands. Deriving from the royal prerogative and therefore originally obtained by petitioning the sovereign, it is now issued by the Divisional Court of the Queen's Bench Division, or, during vacation, by any High Court judge. If on an application for the writ the Court or judge is satisfied that the detention is prima facie unlawful, the custodian is ordered to appear and justify it, failing which release is ordered.

habitual residence

The place or country in which a person has his home. Habitual residence is necessary in order to establish *domicile.



Gaining unauthorized access to a computer system. This is a summary offence under the Computer Misuse Act 1990. Under this Act it is also an offence, triable summarily or on indictment, to engage in hacking with the intention of committing another offence (e.g. theft, diverting funds), or to destroy, corrupt, or modify computer-stored information or programs while hacking. This offence can be committed either through using one computer to gain access to another computer or simply by gaining access to one computer only. *Copyright protection applies.

See also data protection.

Hague Conventions

The Hague Conventions for the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes: a series of international conventions on the laws of war (3 in 1899 and 13 in 1907). The 1899 Conventions established a *Permanent Court of Arbitration, which was active before the Permanent Court of International Justice and the *International Court of Justice functioned. The Hague Conventions are still in force but their provisions are often inapplicable to modern warfare.

See also general participation clause; Geneva conventions; Martens clause.

Hague Rules

See bill of lading; international carriage.

half a year

(in a lease)

A *fixed term that begins on a quarter day and ends on the next but one quarter day.

half blood

See consanguinity.


A method of remunerating officers who are retained on the active list but are not for the time being required to perform military or naval duties. It is now only applicable to field marshalls.

half-secret trust

(semi-secret trust)

A trust whose existence is disclosed on the face of the will or other document creating it but the beneficiaries of which are undisclosed, though known to the secret trustee(s).

See also secret trust.

Hamburg Rules

See bill of lading; international carriage.


See firearm.

handling stolen goods

Dishonestly receiving goods that one knows or believes to be stolen or undertaking, arranging, or assisting someone to retain, remove, or dispose of stolen goods. Under the Theft Act 1968, this is an offence subject to a maximum sentence of 14 years' imprisonment. "Stolen goods" include not only goods that have been the subject of theft but also anything that has been obtained by *blackmail or *deception. The theft or other crime may have occurred at any time and anywhere in the world, provided the handling occurs in England or Wales. There is also a provision to extend the concept of stolen goods to the proceeds of their sale. Thus if A steals goods, sells them for £3000, and gives part of the money to B, B is guilty of handling if he knows the money represents the proceeds of the sale of stolen goods. If A then buys a car with the rest of the £3000 and C agrees to dispose of the car for A, knowing or believing that it was bought with the proceeds of sale of stolen goods, C will also be guilty of handling, since he has "undertaken to dispose of stolen goods". The crime is therefore very widely defined; it also covers, for instance, forging or providing new documents and number plates for stolen cars and contacting and negotiating with dealers in stolen property (fences).

See also dishonesty.



The name by which the Official Report of Parliamentary Debates is customarily referred to (after the Hansard family, who - as printers to the House of Commons - were concerned with compiling reports in the 19th century). Reporting was taken over by the government in 1908, and separate reports for the House of Commons and the House of Lords are published by The *Stationery Office in daily and weekly parts. They contain a verbatim record of debates and all other proceedings (e.g. question time). Members of Parliament have the right to correct anything attributed to them, but may not make any other alterations. In certain circumstances Hansard may be used to discover the will of Parliament, as an aid to judicial statutory interpretation when legislation is unclear.

Compare journals.



Under amendments made in 1994 to the Public Order Act 1986, an offence is committed when harassment, alarm, or distress is caused to the victim.

See harassment of debtors; harassment of occupier; nuisance neighbours; racist abuse; sex discrimination; stalking; threatening behaviour.

harassment of debtors

Behaviour designed to force a debtor or one believed to be a debtor to pay his debt. This is a criminal offence, punishable by fine, if the debt is based on a contract and the nature or frequency of the acts subject the debtor (or members of his household) to alarm, distress, or humiliation. Harassment also includes false statements that the debtor will face criminal proceedings or that the creditor is officially authorized to enforce payment and using a document that the creditor falsely represents as being official. The offence may overlap with the crime of *blackmail, but it will also cover cases in which the creditor believes he is entitled to act as he does (which might not amount to blackmail).

harassment of occupier

The offence of a landlord (or his agent) using or threatening violence or any other kind of pressure to obtain possession of his property from a tenant (the residential occupier) without a court order. The offence is found in the Protection from Eviction Act 1977 and includes interfering with the tenant's peace or comfort (or that of the tenant's household), withdrawing or not providing services normally required by the tenant (e.g. cutting off gas or electricity, even when the bills have not been paid), and preventing the tenant from exercising any of his rights or taking any legal or other action in respect of his tenancy. The Act does not apply, however, to a displaced residential owner, as opposed to a landlord (See also forcible entry). The Protection from Harassment Act 1997 prohibits harassment; the offence is punishable with a jail sentence of up to five years.

See also nuisance neighbours.



Hiding a criminal or suspected criminal. This will normally constitute the offence of *impeding apprehension or prosecution.

See also escape.

hard law

See soft law.

harmonization of laws

The process by which member states of the EU make changes in their national laws, in accordance with *Community legislation, to produce uniformity, particularly relating to commercial matters of common interest. The Council of the European Union has, for example, issued directives on the harmonization of company law and of units of measurement.

Compare approximation of laws.

hay bote

See estovers.


pl. n.

Words prefixed to sections of a statute. They are treated in the same way as *preambles and may be used to assist in resolving an ambiguity.

Health and Safety Commission

A body responsible for furthering the general purposes of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, for example by advising and promoting research and training. It also appoints a Health and Safety Executive, which shares with local authorities responsibility for enforcing the Act and operates for this purpose through such inspectorates as the Factories and Nuclear Installations Inspectorates.

See also safety at work.

Health Authority

A body through which the health service is administered and supplied at district level. Health Authorities came into being in April 1996 with the merger of the District Health Authorities and the Family Health Service Authorities (See National Health Service), with the aim of ensuring better coordination of purchasing across primary and secondary health care. They are responsible for developing strategies to improve health and for securing a wide range of health-care services for their populations.

health records

Records kept by the National Health Service about patients. Under the Access to Health Records Act 1990, from 1 November 1991 most patients were given the right to see their health records. The patient does not have to give a reason for wanting access and can authorize someone else, such as his solicitor, to obtain access on his behalf. It is a policy of the Department of Health that individuals are permitted to see what has been written about them and that healthşcare providers should make arrangements to allow patients to see, if they wish, records other than those covered by the 1990 Act. This Act has been amended by the Data Protection Act 1998 (See also data protection).

Health Service Commissioners

Commissioners (one each for England and Wales) instituted by the National Health Service Reorganization Act 1973. They investigate complaints by members of the public of hardship or injustice suffered through failure in a health-care service and other cases of maladministration by a *Health Authority. They also now investigate complaints about general practitioners, dentists, pharmacists, and opticians. Complaints must be made directly to a Commissioner within one year of the date on which the matter first came to the complainant's notice. Certain matters (e.g. alleged professional negligence) are excluded from investigation. Both offices are in practice held by the *Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration.



The trial of a case before a court. Hearings are usually in public but the public may be barred from the court in certain circumstances (See in camera).

Hearing Officer

An officer of the *European Court of Justice whose role was established in 1982 after criticism of the administrative nature of the decision-making process of the Commission in *competition law cases. His terms of reference were published in the Commission's XXth Report on Competition Policy. He organizes and chairs hearings, decides the date, duration, and place of hearings, seeks to ensure protection of the interests of defendants, and supervises the preparation of minutes of hearings. He will, in addition, prepare his own report of a hearing and make recommendations as to the future conduct of the matter.

hearsay evidence

Evidence of the statements of a person other than the witness who is testifying and statements in documents offered to prove the truth of what was asserted. In general, hearsay evidence is inadmissible (the rule against hearsay) but this principle is subject to numerous exceptions. In civil cases, the Civil Evidence Act 1995 abolished the rule against hearsay. The 1995 Act provides that what in civil litigation would formerly have been called "hearsay evidence" may be used when a notice of the intention to reply on that evidence is given. It is for the court to decide at trial what weight to put on any particular evidence, whether it is hearsay or not. At common law, there are numerous exceptions applicable to both civil and criminal cases, e.g. *declarations of deceased persons, evidence given in former trials, *depositions, *admissions, and *confessions. Some exceptions apply only to criminal cases, e.g. *dying declarations and statements admitted under the Criminal Justice Act 1988 (which makes most first-hand hearsay and certain business documents admissible).

See also admissibility of records; original evidence.



A row of shrubs or small trees bordering a field or lane. Hedging of ancient origin is protected under the Hedgerow Regulations 1997. Farmers are required to notify local authorities of their intention to uproot a hedgerow, allowing time for a protection order to be issued; the notification period is currently 42 days. Failure to comply with the regulations is punishable by an unlimited fine.



Before 1926, the person entitled under common law and statutory rules to inherit the freehold land of one who died intestate. The Administration of Estates Act 1925 abolished these rules of descent and the concept of heirship, except that *entailed interests and in certain rare cases the property of mental patients devolve according to the old rules. In addition, the Law of Property Act 1925 provides that a conveyance of property in favour of the heir of a deceased person conveys it to the person who would be the heir under the old rules. Where these exceptions apply, an heir apparent is the person (e.g. an eldest son) who will inherit provided that he outlives his ancestor; an heir presumptive is an heir (e.g. a daughter) whose right to inherit may be lost by the birth of an heir with greater priority (e.g. a son).

See also heirs of the body.

heir apparent

See heir.



A *chattel that, by custom or close association with land, passed on the owner's death with his house to his heir and did not form part of his residuary estate. Heirlooms now pass to the deceased's personal representatives unless special provision is made for them to pass to the heir direct. When heirlooms are held, together with land, under a settlement, the *tenant for life is entitled under the Settled Land Act 1925 to sell the heirlooms. The price is payable to the trustees as *capital money.

heir presumptive

See heir.

heirs of the body

Lineal descendants who were entitled to inherit freehold land under the rules applying on intestacy before the Administration of Estates Act 1925. A conveyance of land "to A and the heirs of his body" creates an *entailed interest that devolves to descendants only, according to the old rules. Thus (1) males are first in priority and the principle of primogeniture applies, e.g. an older son is preferred to a younger; (2) in the absence of male heirs, females in equal degree share the land equally; and (3) lineal descendants of an heir represent him, thus the son of an older son who dies will inherit to the exclusion of a younger son.

Helms-Burton Act

The Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity (Libertad) Act 1996: an Act of the US Congress under which nationals of third states dealing with US property expropriated by the Cuban revolutionary state, using such property, or benefiting by it may be sued for damages before American courts and even face being barred from entry into the United States.

help at court

See community legal service; abwor.



1. Historically, any real property capable of being passed to an *heir. Corporeal hereditaments are tangible items of property, such as land and buildings. Incorporeal hereditaments are intangible rights in land, such as easements and profits a prendre.

2. A unit of land that has been separately assessed for rating purposes.

Date: 2015-01-29; view: 602

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