Confused by Legal Jargon? Take a look at our Jargon Buster M to W

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Have you ever wondered what ‘Minutes’, ‘Warranty’ or other legal jargon actually meant?

We have decided to set the record straight in our Legal Jargon Buster.

In our final post we will be looking at M – W …


Maintenance – an award of regular payments normally in divorce or family proceedings

Market Value – the value agreed by a willing buyer and a willing seller in an open market

Marriage – the legal union of two people

Matrimonial Proceedings – Court proceedings relating to a Marriage

Mediation – a form of dispute resolution which is an alternative to Court proceedings

Memorandum and Articles of Association – the constitutional rules of a company (see also Model Articles and Table A)

Minor – (a child) under the age of 18

Minutes – a formal written record of a meeting

Model Articles – a standard set of Articles of Association of a Company (if registered after 30th   September 2009)

Mortgage – a Deed creating an ownership interest in land in favour of a lender to secure repayment of a loan

Mutual Wills – an ancient doctrine in Wills and Administration of Estates whereby joint Wills cannot be revoked


Negligence – an act or omission by someone who has a duty of care and which results in loss or damage

Next of Kin – a Common Law term to describe the next closest member of the family

Nomination – a written request that someone benefits in the future from some asset or thing

Notice to Quit – a formal notice between Landlord and Tenant to end a lease or tenancy

Nuisance – an activity which causes a legal interference


Oath – a solemn statement of truth (normally sworn) written or oral

Occupation – being in physical control of land

Option – a legal right do something (usually within a fixed time)

Order of Court – a formal decision of a Court

Overriding Interest – a term to describe certain rights and interests which attach to land that are not recorded at the Land Registry


Paramour – a love interest

Parental Responsibility – legal responsibility for a child as defined in the Children Act 1989

Party Wall – a shared wall

Patent – legal ownership of an invention

Pension Sharing Order – a Court order dividing a pension normally as part of divorce proceedings

Personal Representative – see Executor – someone who takes out a Grant of Representation in a deceased’s estate

Per Stirpes – following the line of decent e.g. from parent to child (Latin origin)

Possessory Title – a title of ownership of land which is less than absolute

Post Mortem – autopsy (Latin origin)

Power of Appointment – a power normally under a trust deed

Power of Attorney – a deed delegating authority to make decisions to others

Pre-Nuptial Agreement – a legal agreement before marriage which seeks to limit financial claims on divorce

Probate – a Grant of Representation issued to an Executor

Property – assets – being personal property (money shares etc.) or real property (bricks and mortar)

Proxy – a person appointed to vote on behalf of another


Quiet Enjoyment – the right of a tenant to occupy a property free from interference (usually associated with a lease or tenancy)

Quorum – the number of persons sufficient under the rules of an organisation for it to make a valid decision


Re: – regarding

Rectification – to correct a document

Redemption – to pay off a mortgage

Registered Company – a company registered with the registrar of Companies for England and Wales

Registered Land – land which registered at H M Land Registry with its own title number

Renewal of Lease – the process of putting a new lease in place between the same parties for the same piece of land that is subject to an existing lease

Renunciation of Probate – an Executor who gives up the right to take out a Grant of Probate

Renvoi – (to send back) in private international law a term used to describe how a Court in one Country will send back a legal decision to another Country

Residue – in Wills and Estate Administration a term used to describe what is left in a deceased’s estate once all debts expenses taxes and legacies have been paid

Restriction – an entry at the Land Registry against a property limiting the owner’s right to deal with the property freely

Reversion – a future interest in land that will arise once the term of a lease has expired

Revocation – to cancel a legal document

Root of Title – proof of ownership in unregistered conveyancing


Separation Agreement – an agreement intended to legally bind separating couples in relation to the terms of their separation

Settlor – someone who creates a Trust during their lifetime

Settlement – a Trust

Severance – a legal term normally referring to the act of converting ownership of land from Joint Tenants to Tenants in Common

Share Capital – the total number of shares issued by a registered Company

Shareholders Agreement – an agreement between the shareholders of a Company

Statement of Claim – a form used to start Court Proceedings (previously a writ)

Statement of Truth – a witness statement (in Civil Proceedings)

Statutory Demand – a formal demand for the payment of a debt as a precursor to bankruptcy proceedings

T is for

Table A – a standard set of Articles of Association of a Company (if registered before the 1st October 2009)

Tenant – someone who occupies land under a lease or tenancy agreement

Tenants in Common – (see also Joint Tenants) a form of common ownership of land under which if one owner dies the other owner(s) does not automatically acquire ownership of the deceased’s share

Testamentary Capacity – (see the Golden Rule) a legal test of mental capacity to make a Will

Testator – a male who makes a Will

Testatrix – a female who makes a Will

Title Deeds – documents which show ownership of land

Trust – a legal arrangement whereby someone transfers property to a Trustee to hold for a Beneficiary

Trustee – a person appointed to look after property in a Trust


Undertaking – a promise which creates a legal obligation

Unreasonable Behaviour – one of the grounds for Divorce


Vacant Possession – the right to exclusive use of land (normally on purchase)

Voidable – a contract or agreement which under certain circumstances can be avoided or set aside


Warranty – a legal promise

Welfare of the Child – in Family proceedings a term to denote a child’s interests are paramount

Will – a Testamentary document disposing of Property on death

Without Prejudice – a legal term used to describe the process of trying to settle a dispute without admitting liability.

For more information on any of the above matters, please email