Litigation Terms and Definitions – A Glossary

A lawyer is the best person to approach for advice regarding your legal rights and responsibilities, however, they are not always easy to understand when legal jargon comes into play. This litigation terms and definitions glossary is designed only to give you a basic understanding of the legal terms that you may come across in a litigation case.


Access to justice – the ability to obtain legal advice and representation.

Adverse costs – In England costs “follow the event” and the losing party pays the winning party’s costs.

Affidavit – A written statement by an individual that is sworn to be true. The signing of the document is witnessed by a solicitor.

Arbitration – A way of resolving disputes with a third party, or arbitrator, who decides the final award.

Burden of proof – The responsibility of proving the facts. The burden usually lies with the claimant.

Champerty – Is an illegal agreement where a with no previous links with a lawsuit finances it in order to share the proceeds.

Claimant – The person making the claim to the Court.

CPR – Civil Procedure Rules. A set of rules for proceeding in the High Court and County Court.

Common law – A part of English law that comes from old age customers rather than statutes.

Damages – The compensation sum of money awarded to the claimant by the court.

Damage based agreement – A way of funding cases where the solicitor takes a percentage of the proceeds as payment. If the lawyer loses the case the fees are not paid.

Deponent – A person who makes a voluntary declaration in a written statement, which is signed under oath.

Disclosure – The making available of required documents that are in the possession of the other party involved in the proceedings.

Injunction – A court order stopping a person from doing something or making a person to something.

Judicial precedent – A prior made judicial decision that has become an authority on deciding an outcome for a similar set of facts.

Judicial review – A challenge to the decision that has been made as the outcome of proceedings.

Litigation funding agreement – The contract between the third party litigation funder and the claimant. It details the obligation of both parties and outline how to resolve any disagreement over settlement details.

Mandamus – A remedy in the form of an order to tell an inferior court what to do.

Mediation – An alternative way of resolving disputes. A mediator is appointed to help the parties reach an acceptable solution.

Ministry of JusticeA UK government department that is responsible for all areas of the judicial system.

Non recourse – most third party funded litigation is on a non-recourse basis, which means that should the claim be unsuccessful the funder has to write off the whole of the investment.

Obiter dictum – Judges comments made in passing which are not binding, only persuasive.

Tort – A civil wrong that causes someone loss or harm.

Writ – Also known as the originating summons or claim form. The court claim is written on this form.

This list is certainly not all of the jargon that you might hear whilst going through a funded litigation case. If you hear other please let me know in the comments so that the list can keep on growing.


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Jackie Wakefield – Learned BloggerFind Jackie on Google +

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