Glossary for Y166 Starting with law
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Actus Reus A gulty act, strictly means that a person is not liable for his acts alone, but only if he acts with a guilty mind
This means speaking on behalf of another. It is used to refer to a person who acts as a legal representative of one of the parties in a case, speaking for the party in court.
Civil justice system
This term is used to refer to the system that has been created to hear civil law matters.
Constitutions set out the rights and duties of the state and its citizens. The UK’s constitution is unwritten and is therefore to be found in a variety of sources, including Acts of Parliament and case law. A constitution outlines the basic law of a state, regulating how it is governed.
Criminal justice system
The criminal justice system deals with criminal cases. The term is used to refer to both the courts that hear initial cases and the appeals structure. Criminal cases usually start in a magistrates’ court but the more serious cases will be heard in a crown court.
This is the law that governs employees’ and employers’ rights and responsibilities. Employers’ responsibilities include ensuring the health and safety of employees. In return, employees’ responsibilities include the exercise of reasonable skill and care at work, and they have the right to be paid for their labour.
European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR)
The ECHR is an international treaty drawn up after the Second World War and designed to prevent the abuse of citizens’ rights by their government. It sets out the individual rights and freedoms that must be protected by the countries that have ratified the Convention.
Since the Human Rights Act 1998 came into force in the UK, public authorities are required to ensure that their actions are consistent with the provisions of the ECHR. Law-making bodies must ensure that all new laws comply with the provisions of the Convention.
European Union (EU)
The European Union has been in existence since 1993, when the European Economic Community (EEC) had its name changed to reflect its developing aims of European unity. European law affects all member states.
This is the governing body of a state. It is normally formed by the political party with a majority in Parliament.
This is a term for judges.
Law of succession
This is the branch of law that outlines rules on inheritance.
Law of tort
This term is used to refer to a civil wrong. There are many types of tort, including negligence, nuisance, trespass and defamation. If the wrong is proved then the injured party may be able to claim compensation from the person committing the wrong.
This is a government-funded scheme that provides legal advice, representation and help for people who would otherwise be unable to obtain it (for example due to financial hardship). Civil legal aid is available to those who wish to make or defend a case, provided that they have a reasonable chance of winning the case and that they meet certain means-test requirements. Criminal legal aid is available for any defendant in a criminal case, provided that it is in the interests of justice. Again, a means test exists to decide who qualifies for legal aid.
Mens Rea in uk legal context " Guilty state of mind" The thoughts and intentions behind a wrongful act( including knowledge that the act is illegal, often at issue in murder trials
This is a term used to refer to cases that are held in a courtroom that is open to the public.
In the UK, Parliament consists of the House of Commons and the House of Lords.
(Judicial precedent) This term is used to describe the following of legal principles set out in previously decided cases that had similar facts to the current case.
This is concerned with regulating relationships and solving disputes between private individuals and businesses. There are many branches of private law, including contract law, law of tort and family law.
This is a Latin phrase meaning ‘the reason for the decision’. It is used to refer to the legal grounds upon which a court’s decision was based.
The definition of this term depends on the context in which it is used. In this course book the term is used in the context of the European Union (EU).
Regulations are a form of law created by the EU. They have direct effect in all member states of the EU. This means that in England, for example, if the EU passes a regulation, there is no need for the UK Parliament to pass a new law to implement the regulation. The regulation has direct effect (i.e. it immediately comes into force).
This describes an outcome sought by means of court proceedings. The term is usually used in civil cases; for example, in contract law the remedy sought for breach of contract may be damages. In tort this may take the form of an injunction, which is an order stopping the defendant from doing something, e.g. from contacting someone.
In a legal context, this is when a jury leaves the courtroom to consider its verdict.
This is a body that hears and rules on disputes in relation to specific legal issues, such as employment, asylum, immigration and education. Tribunals operate parallel to but outside the court system.