Legal Glossary Translator

The law can be really complicated, particularly when it’s described in technical terminology. Therefore, we’ve created this glossary to provide short definitions of legal terms that you might come across to help make the process a bit less stressful.


Someone who acts on behalf of someone else. For example, a conveyancer who acts on behalf of a couple buying a house.


Where two parties reach consensus on a set of facts or course of action. For example, when a formerly married couple agree the terms of their divorce.


A claim made against someone, often without proof. Or a claim that someone has engaged in an unlawful act.

Alternative dispute resolution

Arbitration and mediation are alternative ways in which a dispute can be resolved, without going to court.

Alternative business structures (ABS)

A firm that is managed, owned or controlled by a mix of lawyers and non-lawyers offering legal services. A non-lawyer is a person who is not authorised to carry out reserved legal activities.

Ancillary relief

An application for financial support, following the presentation of a petition for divorce, nullity or judicial separation. The term arises because the financial application is ‘ancillary’ to the divorce petition.


If a person is incapacitated and entitled to receive a retirement pension or other state benefits, the Department for Work and Pensions can choose an ‘appointee’ to receive those benefits on that person’s behalf. The appointee can be a relative, friend or someone from the caring professions (such as the local authority social services department).


A way of seeking to resolve a dispute without going to court: a third party (the arbitrator) looks at both sides of the dispute and makes a decision as to how it should be resolved. Those involved may agree to be bound by the decision of the arbitrator.


Things owned by a person or organisation which usually have some value.


A person, usually employed by a law firm, who may be in charge of handling your case: often a lawyer, they are considered by the firm employing them to be a ‘senior assistant’.

Assured shorthold tenancy

Assured shorthold tenancy is normally for six months. You have no right to stay at the end of the tenancy period agreed if your landlord has given you valid notice to leave.

Assured tenancy

Often used by public-sector landlords, assured tenancy gives you far greater rights to stay at the end of the tenancy period agreed.


Protection and immunity from extradition granted by a government to a political refugee from another country.