Legal Guides

Legal Jargon Explained

At Tracey Solicitors LLP, we aim to provide clear and independent legal advice. We are aware that the legal language can be complex at times, so we have provided a list of frequently used legal terms explained in a language free of jargon that can be easily understood.

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Acceptance of service When a solicitor on behalf of a defendant accepts the proceedings and agrees to act on their behalf.
Actuary Expert in relation to future Loss of Earnings or future ongoing expenses the likelihood of things
Acquiescence Action or inaction which legally binds someone.
Adjournment Postponing a court hearing.
Adjudication Formal judgment or decision of a court.
ADR Alternative Dispute Resolution such as arbitration, mediation, and conciliation.
Affidavit An affidavit is a sworn written statement. It is a document which verifies that proceedings are correct
and/or that documentation furnished is correct. The witness who swears an affidavit is known as a
Anti-money Laundering (AML) Anti-money laundering (AML) refers to the web of laws, regulations, and procedures aimed at uncovering
efforts to disguise illicit funds as legitimate income. The law requires that clients provide their solicitor with evidence of their identity, like a driving
license or passport even if you already are known to them. In addition, they will require a document
showing your permanent address for example a services bill or a bank statement. This is for the client’s
protection as well as compliance with Anti Money Laundering regulations.
Appeal A proceeding, taken by a party to a case who is dissatisfied with a decision made, to a court having
authority to review or set aside that decision.
Appearance A document which advises that a solicitor or a person is on record for a party.
Arbitration Settling a dispute by using a referee.
Arbitrator Referee who settles a dispute without the need to use the courts.
Barrister Specialist in litigation and advocacy who receives instructions from a solicitor. Barristers will not
deal directly with members of the public.
Circuit Court Has the power to award damages where the claim does not exceed €75,000.
Contempt of court A failure to comply with a court order or interfering with the administration of justice by a court,
such as interrupting a court hearing, disobeying a court order, abusing a judge during a court case.
Commissioner for oaths A person entitled to administer oaths and witness a signature on an affidavit.
Compensation Money paid to make up for damage, injury or loss caused.
Damages Financial compensation ordered by a court to offset losses or suffering caused by another person’s
action or inaction.
Disclaimer A document that can be signed by which parties to an agreement (for example, a lease) can vary their
rights and entitlements from those set out in the original agreement.
Discovery Discovery is a two-stage procedure in litigation. It relates to hospital records, doctors’ records
and/or earnings records from revenue which are to be provided to the defendant solicitors. It is also
documentation sought from the defendant solicitors in cases relating to training provided and risk
assessments carried out.
District Court Lowest court in the Irish judicial system, where the claim or award does not exceed €15,000.
Expert Witnesses An expert in a particular area who is called to give an opinion in a court case.
High Court Court above the Circuit Court with full jurisdiction to decide all matters of law and fact. There is no
limit to the amount of monetary damages it can award.
Hostile witness A witness who refuses to testify in support of the person who called him or testifies in a way which
differs from their previous statement.
Issue proceedings When the first legal document is issued by the court in either the District, Circuit or High Court
depending on the nature of injuries sustained.
Litigation Taking legal action to be compensated for injury, loss, and damage.
Mediation Mediation is a voluntary and confidential process conducted in which a neutral third party assists the
parties to work towards a negotiated settlement of their dispute. The mediator does not decide who is
right or wrong. Their sole function is to assist the parties in arriving at a mutually agreeable
solution. The parties control the decision to settle and the terms of settlement. The Mediation Act 2017
requires that in advance of issuing any proceedings, clients be advised of the
use of mediation as a means of attempting to resolve their dispute.
Motor Insurers’ Bureau of Ireland (MIBI) Motor Insurers’ Bureau of Ireland was established in 1955 as a non-profit organisation to compensate
victims of road traffic accidents who have sustained personal injuries from uninsured motorists.
Motion A motion is the procedure used to bring an application in the Court for failure on the Plaintiff and/or
the Defendants to provide documentation throughout the court procedure.
Negligence Carelessness. A person who owes a duty of care to someone else and breaches it by lack of reasonable
care may be liable in damages for negligence. The negligence may involve a positive deed or a failure to
act. If no damage results, there can be no action.
Notice for Particulars The notice for particulars is a series of questions that the defendants’ solicitors will send to the
Plaintiff to formally request more information about the case.
Notice of trial Notice of trial is an application to the court for a hearing date.
Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB) The Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB) set up in 2003 is an independent statutory body that deals
with personal injury claims. All personal injury claims in Ireland, with the exception of medical
negligence claims, must be submitted to PIAB.
PIAB Authorisation After PIAB have processed your application if they do not award an individual with compensation or if
the individual does not accept the award, they are entitled to pursue the case further after it has been
released this is called PIAB Authorisation.
Plaintiff A person who brings a claim in the District, Circuit or High Court (the injured party).
Pleadings Pleadings are court documents that are exchanged by the parties in a case. The solicitor will typically
appoint a barrister to draft the pleadings in a case.
Outlay Outlays are unavoidable expenses which are incurred in the course of a case i.e., medical report fees.
Schedule of Special Damages A list of all out-of-pocket expenses incurred by a person due to the injury sustained.
Settlement Settlement is an agreement, and that decision is final if you agree to a settlement then the case
advances no further and you have forfeited your claim in return for the mutually agreed sum.
Solicitor A solicitor is a legal professional who can provide advice and support to their clients undergoing legal
Statute of Limitations A statute which sets out the time limits within which a court action must take place. For personal
injury claims, the statute is two years minus one day.
Supreme Court It is the highest court in Ireland and the court of final appeal.
The Judicial Council’s Personal Injury Guidelines This is referred to as a ‘compensation guide’ to assess whether the compensation amount suggested by the
Injuries Board is adequate for the injuries losses you may have sustained.
Without Prejudice Discussions and correspondence between the parties which a court cannot be informed of.
Witnesses Someone who witnesses an accident or injury and attends court to testify about events they know about.