A B C D E
F G H I
J K L M
N O P Q
R S T U
V W X Y Z
There are 3 ways in which a buyer will
be regarded as having 'accepted' goods:
• if he tells the seller he accepts
• if he retains goods beyond a reasonable time without telling
the seller that he wishes to reject them
• if he does an act which suggests that the seller no longer
owns the goods (e.g. if he gets someone other than the seller to
repair faulty goods)
Acceptance prevents a buyer rejecting goods for breach of contract
(e.g. if goods are faulty)
Person officially appointed to administer
the estate of someone who died without leaving a will
When the innocent party, aware of a matter
which would justify him ending the contract (e.g. breach of contract
or misrepresentation) does not end the contract.
An authorised agent may bind his Principal
(the person who authorised him) to a contract with a third party.
The agent generally drops out of the picture (e.g. an estate agent
who negotiates a house sale brings the contracting parties together
but incurs no personal liability on the deal).
A travel agent, however, may incur personal liability in relation
to a package holiday.
Trade Association arbitration is cheaper,
quicker and simpler than court proceedings.
- County Court arbitration. If a civil claim (see
‘civil law') does not exceed £1,000, it will automatically
be referred to arbitration if and when a defence is filed. The
hearing is private and informal with the judge asking all the
questions. Parties do not require legal representation.
Barristers are instructed by solicitors.
They specialise in a particular field of law and can present a case
in any court (compare a solicitor whose rights to speak in court are
Where a party to a contract does not comply with
a contract term. Every breach gives rise to a claim for compensation
in the civil courts. (See ‘civil court'.)
Right of way for pedestrians and people riding
horses and bicycles.
Building regulation consent
This is required for any building work as a matter
In the absence of express cancellation rights,
a party may have a statutory right of cancellation (e.g. under the
Consumer Credit Act or Timeshare legislation).
Concerned with the relationship between individuals.
A civil action is generally brought by the person who has been injured
or otherwise suffered loss as the result of a wrong which only directly
affected him (e.g. trespass to private land). Usually the claim
will be for compensation.
The name given to the person who brings a civil
Code of Practice
Most Trade Associations operate Codes of Practice
which are tailor-made to deal with the common problems of the trade.
The disadvantage is that there are no direct methods of enforcement.
Conciliation procedures require a dissatisfied
customer to make a verbal complaint followed by a formal letter
of complaint. It is a free, quick and easy form of redress.
An important term of a contract which, if breached,
entitles the innocent party to terminate the contract as well as
A contract may be made conditional on a particular
event/circumstance (e.g. "Subject to contract" in relation
to a house sale means there is no sale unless and until formal signed
contracts are exchanged).
Conditional sale agreement
A type of credit agreement relating to the sale
of goods. The price is payable by instalments and the buyer will
not become owner of the goods until certain conditions are satisfied
(e.g. payment of the last instalment).
The ‘price' in a contract for the other
party's promise. The ‘price' may be a promise or an act (e.g.
promise of payment ). A party can only sue on a promise if he has
given consideration (something) in return for the promise.
Consumer Credit Act (CCA) 1974
Its principal aim was to provide a uniform system
of controlling all forms of lending. This control takes 2 forms
- control of lenders through a licensing system and control of individual
Consumer credit agreements
General term for the different types of credit
agreement (e.g. hire purchase) which are governed by the Consumer
Credit Act 1974.
A legally binding agreement. There must be certainty,
consideration (see ‘consideration) and a mutual intention
that the agreement should have legal effect. Generally a contract
does not have to be in any particular form, an oral agreement may
The process by which ownership of land is transferred
between a seller and a buyer.
Civil actions (see ‘civil action') for
personal injury not exceeding £50,000 must be started in this
court. In any event civil actions worth less than £25,000
must be tried in a county court.
A card which can be used to obtain cash, goods
or services up to a stipulated credit limit. The supplier is later
paid by the credit card company (e.g. Access) which in due course
is reimbursed by the credit card holder who will be charged interest
at the end of the credit period if money is still owing.
Similar to a conditional sale except the buyer
of the goods immediately becomes the owner of them. “Buy now,
pay later” situation.
Concerned with the relationship between the individual
and the general public. Criminal actions (e.g. motoring offences)
are usually brought by the state. The principal function of criminal
proceedings is to punish the offender. Criminal cases are tried
by a magistrates' court or a crown court.
Compensation for breach of contract. The aim
is to put the innocent party as far as possible in the financial
position he would have been in but for the breach (e.g. with defective
goods, damages would cover at least the cost of repair).
The person against whom legal proceedings are
A sum of money paid in advance as a guarantee
of performance by the payer. If the payer breaches the contract,
he loses the deposit.
Where there is a sale of goods by description,
it is a term of the contract that the goods correspond with the
description; otherwise the buyer may reject the goods. A sale is
by description where the buyer cannot verify the description of
the goods before sale (e.g. tinned goods).
Someone who works under a contract of employment.
Only employees are entitled to redundancy payments (see ‘redundancy'
below) and to present a claim for unfair dismissal (see ‘unfair
dismissal'). Independent contractors cannot bring these claims.
Issued by a local authority for breach of Town
& Country Planning le.g.islation. Enforceable against current
owner (even if the breach was committed by a previous owner).
A clause in which a contracting party seeks to
exclude himself from liability (e.g. "Cars parked at owner's
The name given to a person appointed by someone's
will to administer their estate. Executor is the name given to a
male and executrix to a female.
Fitness for purpose
Where goods are sold by a trader, they must be
reasonably fit for the buyer's own particular purpose, provided
the buyer made his purpose known (expressly or implied) and reasonably
relied on the seller's expertise. Where goods are bought for their
usual purpose, notification of the buyer's purpose is implied.
Grant of probate
See 'manufacturer's guarantee'
Court in which the most substantial civil actions
(see ‘civil action') are brought.
Basically a contract for the hire of goods with
an option for the debtor to purchase them at the end of the agreement.
Generally, the debtor only gets to own the goods on payment of the
final instalment. Until then the hire purchase company owns the
Someone who is self-employed and works under
a contract for services (rather than a contract of employment).
Independent contractors have less employment rights than employees.
Intestacy : intestate
When a person dies without leaving a will he/she
is described as dying intestate. Certain legal rules called the
intestacy rules will determine how the person's estate is distributed.
Joint tenancy : joint tenants
Joint tenancy is a form of property ownership.
It is particularly suitable for married couples. If a joint tenant
dies, the remaining joint tenant(s) automatically becomes the owner
of the deceased's interest in the property (e.g. if a couple own
a house as joint tenants and one of them dies, ownership of the
house automatically transfers to the survivor.
Knowledge of Defect
Appearance defects for all goods must be taken
into account in deciding whether or not goods are of satisfactory
general term for any person who is professionally
qualified to practise law.
A gift under a will.
Letters of administration
Official proof of the identity and appointment
of people authorised to administer the estate of a person(s) who
died without leaving a will.
Clause in which a party seeks to limit his liability
to a particular sum of money, or otherwise to restrict a right of
action (e.g. by imposing a time limit on notifying a claim).
Some goods (e.g. electrical) have Manufacturers'
guarantees. Claiming under such guarantees often results in fewer
quibbles than claiming against the seller but a buyer only has the
rights stipulated in the guarantee.
This term has been replaced by the concept of
satisfactory quality (see ‘satisfactory quality').
An untrue statement of fact which induces someone
to enter into a contract (e.g. someone decides to buy a car on being
(falsely) told by the seller it has only had one lady owner). Misrepresentation
makes a contract voidable (see ‘voidable') and may give rise
to a damages claim.
To establish Negligence in the legal sense it
is necessary to prove that the defendant owed the claimant a duty
of care and that he breached that duty by failing to observe the
standards of the reasonable person. If the claimant succeeds, compensation
will be in the form of damages. (Claims resulting from road accidents
are brought in the tort of negligence.)
Nuisances are divided into private nuisances
and public nuisances. Private nuisance regulates unreasonable interference
with an owner occupier's use or enjoyment of his land. Public nuisance
is primarily a crime which protects certain public rights.
Office Of Fair Trading.
A government official, who investigates citizens'
complaints against the government or its functionaries.
A pre-arranged combination of at least two of
the following components when sold, or offered for sale, at an all-inclusive
price, and when the holiday is for more than 24 hours or otherwise
includes overnight accommodation:-
• other tourist services
Package holidays are governed by the Package Travel, Package Holidays
and Package Tours Regulations 1992.
Payment of part of the price in advance.
A wall (or fence), the ownership of which is
divided vertically between neighbouring properties so each property
owns one distinct half of the wall (or fence).
General term for any person officially appointed
to administer a deceased's estate.
This is required for 'development' and a 'material
change of use' of property. For minor building work (e.g. a porch)
there may be no need to apply for express planning permission.
Privity of contract
Generally only someone who is party to a contract
(e.g. a buyer or seller), has rights and liabilities under the contract.
When a person dies having left a will, a grant
of probate is often needed as official proof of the identity and
appointment of the executors (see ‘executors').
A “quote” is different to an “estimate”.
The distinction is an important one because a quote usually constitutes
an offer by the contractor to do the job for the quoted price. Whereas,
an estimate will not normally be the contract price.
Generally this is a question of fact depending
on all the circumstances.
An employee may be able to bring a redundancy
claim if they have worked for their employer for two years or more
and are made redundant (e.g. closure of workplace or surplus labour
Where someone has entered into a contract as
a result of a misrepresentation (see ‘misrepresentation'),
he may rescind (i.e. end) the contract. This has the effect of restoring
both parties to their original (pre-contract) positions. (The aim
is not to compensate the innocent party.) There are a number of
bars to rescission (e.g. undue delay in seeking to rescind and affirmation.
A legal restriction on the use of property imposed
for the benefit of a neighbouring landowner and enforceable by him/her
(e.g. not to use property for a business). Many properties are subject
to restrictive covenants.
Sale of Goods Act (SGA) 1979
Implies certain 'conditions' (see 'conditions')
into contracts for the sale of goods (e.g. where goods are sold
by a trader, the SGA makes it a term of the contract that the goods
will be of satisfactory quality).
Exaggerated sales talk which is not actionable
(e.g. 'the kitchen bargain of the year').
Goods will be of satisfactory quality if they
meet the standard that a reasonable person would regard as satisfactory.
It is a relative standard dependant on matters such as price and
description. Aspects of quality include durability, safety, appearance,
and freedom from minor defects.
A contract which simply involves the provision
of a service (e.g. dry cleaning or removals contract).
Subject to Contract
See 'Conditional Contract'.
Supply of Goods and Services Act (SGSA) 1982
Implies terms into work and material contracts
(see 'work and materials contract') and service contracts. For example,
where work is supplied in the course of business it makes it a term
of the contract that it will be carried out with reasonable care
and skill. Also if a price is not fixed by the parties, the SGSA
states that a reasonable sum is payable.
Tenancy in common:tenants in common
Tenancy in common is a form of property ownership.
Each tenant in common owns a distinct share in the property. If
a tenant in common dies, his/her share does not necessarily pass
to the remaining tenant(s) in common; it will pass either under
the deceased's will or the intestacy rules (see ‘intestacy').
A buyer's right to end a contract for a serious
breach committed by the seller. The buyer rejects the goods and
in return gets a refund. In addition, a buyer may be entitled to
damages (see ‘damages').
The legal term for someone who has made a will.
Someone who is not a party to the contract (e.g.
the recipient of a gift). Generally a third party has no rights/liabilities
under a contract.
Where, however, a contract is made for the benefit of an identifiable
third party (for example where goods are bought as a present for
a named person), the third party may be able to sue if the contract
is breached (Contracts (Rights of Third Party) Act).
Timeshare Act 1992
Aims to protect purchasers of timeshare accommodation
(whether situated in the UK or elsewhere) by providing them with
a right to full disclosure of relevant facts and a short period
during which they can cancel without liability.
A civil wrong, the victim of which is entitled
to redress in the civil courts.
These are not consumer protection agencies as
such but many of them operate voluntary conciliation (see ‘conciliation')
and arbitration (see ‘arbitration') procedures to resolve
disputes between their members and consumers. The Association of
British Travel Agents (ABTA) is one of the best known Trade Associations.
Trade Descriptions Act - it is a criminal offence
for a trader to either apply a false trade description to goods
or otherwise supply goods to which a false trade description has
been applied (e.g. by the manufacturer). The most prevalent offence
of this type is selling a car with a false mileometer reading. Prosecutions
tend to be brought by the trading standards departments of local
A person commits trespass to land when they enter
another's land without their permission. A trespasser may be sued
in the civil courts. (Contrary to popular belief, trespass is a
tort (see ‘tort') not a crime.)
Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977
Controls exclusion and limitation clauses (see
‘exclusion clause' and ‘limitation clause').The Act
gives consumers greater protection than businesses. Exclusion/limitation
clauses will often be ineffective as against a consumer.
An employee may be able to bring an unfair dismissal
claim where either there was insufficient reason for their dismissal
or where the dismissal was handled unfairly. An employee must generally
have worked for his employer for one year or more to be able to
bring an unfair dismissal claim (but there are exceptions).
The Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations
1999 govern unfair terms in standard form consumer contracts (i.e.
contracts where there has been no scope for negotiation). An unfair
term (as defined by the regulations) will not bind a consumer (e.g.
a clause on a public car park notice which purports to exclude liability
for personal injury is "unfair" and thus ineffective in
a claim brought by a consumer against the owners of the car park).
A contract which has no legal consequences at
all. Such contracts are very rare.
A valid contract which can be brought to an end
by the innocent party (e.g. because of a misrepresentation or improper
W X Y Z
A relatively minor term of a contract, breach
of which only entitles the innocent party to claim damages. (No
right to reject.)
another word for a guarantee.
Work and Materials Contract
A contract for work which necessarily involves the supply of goods
(e.g. double glazing/central heating installation).
The SGSA implies certain terms in relation to both the work (e.g.
reasonable care and skill) and the materials (e.g. satisfactory
This is a claim which may be brought by
an employee whose employer has ended their contract of employment
in breach of contract (e.g. by failing to give the employee sufficient