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Glossary

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Capital Punishment Also known as the death penalty, capital punishment refers to the practice of executing offenders. The UK does not practice capital punishment.

Codicil (will) An official document that can be attached to an existing will to make small amendments.

Coercion Making someone do something against their will by using intimidation or force.

Collateral Property that can be used/named as a collateral by an individual when taking out a loan, meaning that they agree to forfeit it in the event that they cannot meet repayments.

Commissioner of oath An individual with the power, invested in him/her by the state, to verify oaths, affidavits and other legal documents.

Committal for sentence The referring of a case from a magistrate’s court to the Crown Court if the magistrates have found the defendant guilty of a crime for which they do not feel their own sentencing powers are sufficient.

Committal procedure The process whereby a defendant used to be charged with a serious offence in England. The process has been abolished since 2012.

Committee of inspection A group of people chosen to perform a specific service or function.

Common Assault An offence in which the perpetrator applies unlawful violence to the victim, resulting either in no injuries or only mild injuries.

Commorientes This term literally translates as ‘simultaneous deaths’. It refers to when two or more people die, either at the same time or in circumstances that leave the order of death unclear. In such instances, for the purposes of determining succession, the commorientes rule applies – this is when death is assumed to have occurred in order of seniority, with the eldest person dying first.

Companies House The UK’s registrar of companies. All limited companies in the country are required to register with, and submit certain details to, Companies House.

Compensation The award of money or other services to a person who is entitled to them, either because of work done or damages caused.

Concealment Failure to provide information one is legally obliged to disclose in order to prevent or delay its discovery.

Conditional Discharge When a finding of guilt is made but no conviction is registered, provided the offender meets certain conditions (generally succeeds in committing no further offences) over a fixed period of time.

Consecutive Sentence When an offender received separate sentences for separate crimes that must be served one after another. For example, an offender sentenced to serve five years for one crime and 10 years for another, served consecutively, would serve a total of 15 years.

Consent When two or more people agree upon the same thing in the same sense. In legal settings, consent is often referred to in relation to sexual assaults, in which the victim either did not consent to the sex act or their consent is not recognised by law (for example, if they are under the minimum legal age of sexual consent).

Consistory Court A type of ecclesiastical court, generally associated with the Church of England.

Constructive dismissal When an employee resigns because of a breach of contract committed by their employer that is so serious the employee can consider themselves ‘constructively dismissed’.

Contempt of Court Also referred to simply as ‘contempt’, contempt of court is an offence whereby an individual wilfully behaves in a manner that opposes the authority, justice and dignity of a court of law and its officers.

Contract law The body of law related to the formation and enforcement of contracts.

Contributory negligence A rule that dictates that, if a person is involved in an accident for which they are partly responsible as a result of their own negligence, they are not entitled to claim damages from any other party involved in causing the accident.

Conveyance The legal transferral of property between individuals.

Criminal law The body of law related to crime, including the enforcement of laws and the punishment of offenders.

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