Glossary of Legal Terms

  • 10 years’ Long Residence Route – where a person has been in the United Kingdom lawfully for 10 continuous years, they can apply for settlement, also known as indefinite leave to remain (ILR).
  • Administrative Review – after a visa application is refused, this is the process through which case work errors are challenged by an applicant and reviewed by a Home Office official.
  • Adoption – process by which an individual becomes the legal guardian of a child, and the parental responsibility of biological parents or any other person ceases.
  • Adoption and Children Act 2002 – Act of Parliament that covers the law relating to the adoption process, with provisions such as allowing same-sex couples to adopt.
  • Adoption Order – order made by the Family Court to cease parental responsibility of biological parents for a child, and officiate its transfer to the new, adoptive parents.
  • Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (“ACAS”) –independent public body providing employees and employers free advice on their rights.
  • Article 8 – Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights ensures the right to respect for private and family life, home and correspondence.
  • Barrister – legal professional whose main role is to perform advocacy for a client in court or tribunal, or provide written legal advice on a matter.
  • British Citizen – person who can live, work, or vote in the United Kingdom freely, without any immigration controls.
  • British Citizenship – status of being a citizen of the United Kingdom, which means one can live, work, or vote freely, without any immigration controls.
  • Business Plan – what non-EU entrepreneurs or business representatives who wish to enter the UK as Tier 1 Entrepreneurs are required, under immigration law, to present when applying for their visa.
  • Child Arrangements Order – order deciding who the child will live with and the level of contact they will have with each parent.
  • Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (“CAFCASS”) – independent body that makes recommendations in the Family Court on the best interests of a child.
  • Constructive Dismissal – where an employee is not explicitly dismissed, but the employer’s misbehaviour destroys the relationship between them, so that the employee can regard herself as having been ‘dismissed’.
  • Cross-examination – when a witness is being questioned by the opposing party representative in a trial.
  • Deportation – process by which a person is removed from a country.
  • Direct Access Barristers – barristers who take direct instructions from members of the public, without having to go to a solicitor first. This can reduce the number of steps you take to resolve your legal matter, while also benefiting from specialised advice.
  • Discrimination – act of treating someone unfairly because of a ‘protected characteristic’, such as age, disability, gender, religion, sexual orientation, etc.
  • Divorce – process through which a marriage is terminated.
  • Documentary Evidence – any type of written proof which can be provided in the form of a document at trial.
  • EEA Nationals – citizens of any country which forms part of the European Economic Area. This includes EU countries, as well as Iceland, Norway, and Liechtenstein.
  • Employment Appeal Tribunal (“EAT”) – independent tribunal where an employment case is appealed to and potentially re-heard, if you think there is a legal error in your initial tribunal case.
  • Employment Rights Act 1996 – Act of Parliament that covers the law relating to the rights an employee has when it comes to unfair dismissal, redundancy, time off for parenting, or flexible working.
  • Employment Tribunal – independent tribunal where an employment case is decided.
  • Endorsing Body – organisation which is allowed by the Home Office to endorse individuals who they believe should be given a visa to enter the UK.
  • English Language Requirement – condition that an adult  applying for citizenship or settlement in the UK must prove their ability to speak and their knowledge of the English language.
  • Equality Act 2010 – Act of Parliament that covers the law relating to the fair and equal treatment of persons that have any ‘special characteristics’, such as age, disability, gender, religion, sexual orientation, etc.
  • EU Settlement Scheme – scheme that EU, non-EU EEA and Swiss citizens must apply to in order to remain in the UK after the transition period is over.
  • European Convention on Human Rights – convention that ensures the human rights and political freedoms of persons in the 47 Member States that form the Council of Europe.
  • Examination-in-chief – when a witness is being questioned by their own legal representative in order to support their case.
  • Family Court – independent court where a family law matter is decided.
  • Financial Remedy Proceedings – where the Family Court decides: how to share divorcing partners’ assets, whether any maintenance payments are required and how to ensure that the parties’ children’s needs are met.
  • First-tier Tribunal – independent tribunal where you can appeal against a decision made by a government representative. This could be a benefit, a tax credit decision, an application for leave to enter/remain, etc.
  • Home Office – department of the government that deals with immigration, security, drugs policy, crime, or counter-terrorism matters.
  • Human Rights – rights and liberties that apply to every person.
  • Immigration Appeal – where an immigration law case is (re)considered by the court, as the reasoning behind a decision is challenged.
  • Immigration Rules – source of UK immigration law created by the government, which contains detailed policy statements in relation to the control of immigration.
  • Immigration Tribunal – independent tribunal where an immigration case is decided. This is also known as the First-tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber).
  • Indefinite Leave to Remain (“ILR”) – immigration status given to a person who can stay in the UK with no time limit, and who can start working or studying.
  • Judicial Review – court process where a judge will make a finding on whether a decision taken by a public body (e.g. the Home Office) is lawful, meaning that the public body had respected the law when taking that decision.
  • Local Authority Care Orders – order deciding that a child is taken into the care of a local authority due to the likelihood of harm or parental care being below the standard.
  • Mediation – form of alternative dispute resolution process, where parties resolve their conflict by negotiating with the help of a third party mediator.
  • Minimum Income Requirement – income threshold that UK residents wishing to bring a non-EEA family member to the country must prove that they are earning.
  • Offence – an act committed by an individual which goes against a criminal law and which requires sentencing such as community work, a fine, or imprisonment.
  • Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (“OISC”) – governmental body that regulates immigration services in the UK.
  • OISC Immigration Representatives – immigration advisers offering advice and assistance to clients, depending on their level of accreditation.
  • Overseas Representative Visa – type of visa applied for by overseas business representatives who wish to come to the UK to expand their business.
  • Petitioner – in divorce matters, the person filing in a divorce petition form.
  • Points-Based System – section of the UK Immigration Rules; an applicant must meet a specific set of requirements for which they will score points; a sufficient points total is required in order to succeed.
  • Presenting Officer – a civil servant representing the Home Office in immigration hearings.
  • Reasonable Adjustments – under the Equality Act 2010, there is a duty for such adjustments to be made in order to ensure equality for disabled people. This is, for example, a workplace adjustment of adding a ramp for a person in a wheelchair.
  • Redundancy – where an employee who was a minimum of two years’ continuous employment is dismissed because of a business closure, reduction or cessation of work or need for employees.
  • Regulatory Information – information that a business is required by regulations to make available to its potential clients.
  • Scott Schedule – a document used in Family Court proceedings which sets out domestic abuse allegations and responses to such allegations.
  • Solicitors – legal professional whose main role is to deal with matters outside of a court trial, such as drafting documents, gaining evidence, negotiating on the client’s behalf, or preparing a case for trial.
  • Special Guardianship Orders – order deciding that parental responsibility is given to a different person, such as a relative.
  • Specific Issue Orders – order deciding an important aspect of the child’s life, taken by the Family Court, when the child’s parents or guardians disagree.
  • Sponsorship Licence – a permit allowing an employer or education provider to sponsor a foreign national to work or study in the UK.
  • Spouse Visa – type of visa allowing the married partner of a UK citizen to come to the UK.
  • Startup or Innovator Visa – type of visa allowing a non-EEA national to enter the UK in order to set up and run their business.
  • Statutory Excuse – a legal basis for an employer to be excused from paying a civil penalty for employing illegal workers; applies where the employer has undertaken a compliant right to work check.
  • Tier 1 (Investor) Visa – type of visa allowing a non-EEA national to enter the UK when they want to make a significant financial investment in the country, typically of at least £2 million.
  • Tier 2 (General) – type of visa allowing a skilled worker with a job offer to enter the UK and work in the country for a period of maximum 5 years and 14 days.
  • Tier 2 Sponsorship Licence – permit allowing an employer or education provider to sponsor a non-EEA national to come and work or study in the UK.
  • Unfair Dismissal – where an employee is dismissed from their workplace without a justified reason.
  • Upper Tribunal– superior court which hears and decides on appeals from the First-tier Tribunal.
  • Victimisation – where a person is treated badly after they had complained about being discriminated against.
  • Visa Application – application to be allowed entry and stay into a country.
  • Welfare Checklist – considerations which CAFCASS and the Family Court must have regard to when reaching their respective recommendations and decisions. These considerations are set out at section 1(3) of the Children Act 1989.
  • Whistleblowing – when an employee reports a wrongdoing of their employer to an authority, thus acting in the public interest.
  • Witness Evidence – statement containing evidence of fact which is given by a witness at trial.