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Legal terms explained

Our work can involve legal words that may need some explanation
We have tried to cover most ‘jargon’ in the list below.


ABLC: Avon and Bristol Law Centre

Appeal: an application to the higher court for a decision of the lower court to be reconsidered or reversed.

Asylum Seeker: someone who claims to be a refugee but has not yet had their claim as a refugee evaluated. Asylum can be claimed on the basis that returning to your country would lead to persecution due to race, religion, political beliefs or nationality.

Bailiff: an enforcement agent who ensures that court orders are obeyed.

Barrister: offers advice on legal issues and represent clients in court. They mostly get their information through a client’s solicitor

Caseworker: the individual employed to take on a case for an individual and provide them with advocacy and information regarding their case.

Casework: Social work concerning individual and their personal circumstances.

CASS: (Bristol) Community Access Support Service.

Charted Legal Executive: legal advisors that give advice and assistance on matters of law but are under the supervision of a principal.

Client: Anyone who uses our services.

Court of Protection: a court that exists to make decisions on financial or welfare matters for people who are unable to make decisions at the time that they need to be made.

Directive: a legal act of the European Union which all European Union countries must adhere to.

Humanitarian protection: a form of international protection available to those who are not considered refugees.

Injunction: a court order that permits or prevents a person or company from performing a particular act.

Judicial review: when a judge reviews the lawfulness of a decision made by a public body.

Legal Aid: the assistance given to individuals who would otherwise be unable to afford legal representation.

Legal Expenses Insurance: a type of insurance that can cover the costs of any legal actions


Means Testing: a test used to determine whether an individual or family is eligible for government assistance based on their income.

Mediation: a cost-effective-way to resolve disputes where the two parties can discuss differences under the supervision of a mediator (negotiator).

Mental Capacity: applies to those who are aged 16 and over who are unable to make all or some decisions for themselves.

Notice seeking possession: a legal warning stating that you have broken the terms of your tenancy agreement. It is sent by your council or housing association to start the process of evicting you.

Notice to quit: the notice given by a landlord to a tenant to leave the premises within a given time period.

Pro bono: lawyers and law students giving up their time on a voluntary basis for people who need legal advice but cannot afford it.

Refugee: People who are fleeing armed conflicts or persecution. As a refugee you are protected by international law: 1951 Refugee Convention UNCHR.

Repossession: when the lender applies to court to take back your home if you miss mortgage or other loan payments secured on your home.

Settled status: For European Union citizens who want to continue living in the UK after December 2020 will need to apply for either settled or pre-settled status.

Solicitor: the first point of contact for a client seeking legal advice, they give advice and assistance on matters of law.

Succession rights: allows for someone else to inherit a tenancy when a tenant dies subject to certain conditions.

Trafficking: the trade of people for exploitation and commercial gain.

Tribunal: a court specialising in certain disputes.

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