​ሕግንና ደንብን በተመለከተ እርዳታ ማግኘት ይፈልጋሉን? - Amharic | هل تحتاج لمساعدة قانونية؟ - Arabic | ܤܢܝܼܩܵܐ ܝ݇ܘ̤ܬ ܠܗܲܝܵܪܬܵܐ ܩܵܢܘܿܢܵܝܬܵܐ؟ - Assyrian | Need Legal Help? - Auslan | Treba li vam pravna pomoc? - Bosnian | Burmese â Need Legal Help? | 需要法律帮助吗? - Chinese Simplified | 需要法律幫助嗎? - Chinese Traditional | Trebate li pravnu pomoć? - Croatian | ضرورت به کمک قانونی دارید؟ - Dari | Wïc Kuɔɔny në Wɛ̈t Löŋ? - Dinka | آیا به کمک حقوقی نیاز دارید؟ - Farsi | Gadreva na Veivuke Vakalawa? - Fijian | Kailangan ninyo ba ng tulong na panglegal? - Filipino | Besoin d’aide juridique ? - French | Χρειάζεστε βοήθεια σε νομικά ζητήματα - Greek | क्या आपको कानूनी सलाह चाहिए? - Hindi | Butuhkan Bantuan dalam Masalah Hukum? - Indonesian | Hai bisogno di assistenza legale? - Italian | ត្រូវការជំនួយលើបញ្ហាផ្លូវច្បាប់ឬទេ? - Khmer | 법적인 도움이 필요하십니까? - Korean | Ви треба ли помош со правни работи? - Macedonian | कानूनी सहयोग चाहिएको छ? - Nepalese | Necessita de ajuda com questões jurídicas? - Portuguese | Вам нужна юридическая помощь? - Russian | E Manaomia Fesoasoani i Mea Tau Tulafono? - Samoan | а ли вам треба помоћ у правним питањима? - Serbian | Ma u baahan tahay Caawimmad xagga sharciga ah?- Somali | ¿Necesita ayuda con cuestiones jurídicas? - Spanish | சட்ட உதவி தேவையா? - Tamil | ท่านต้องการความช่วยเหลือทางด้านกฎหมายไหม? - Thai | Fiema’u ha tokoni Fakalao? - Tongan | Yasal Danışmaya İhtiyacınız mı var? - Turkish | Cần Được Giúp Đỡ Về Luật Pháp? - Vietnamese |
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Legal dictionary - A to L

This dictionary provides meanings of many of the legal words and phrases used on the Representing Yourself website.

If you can't find a word you are looking for please send us your feedback.

The dictionary is divided into two parts:

  • Legal dictionary A to L - For words or phrases starting with A to L
  • Legal dictionary M to Z - For words or phrases starting with M to Z






























Word or phrase 


Australian Business Number

A number, with 11 digits, that the Australian Taxation Office gives to a business.

Access Application

An application to a NSW State Government department requesting information held by the department, or information about the department. This application is made under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009.


​A person who has been arrested and charged by the police with a criminal offence.

Acknowledgement of Debt
Acknowledgement of Liquidated Claim

A court form filed by a person who admits that they owe the money being claimed against them in court.

ACN Australian Company Number

A registration number, with 9 digits, that the Australian Securities and Investments Commission gives to a company.


​A finding that an accused person is not guilty of a criminal offence. 


Laws made by Parliament are called Acts. The Federal Parliament in Canberra makes laws that affect the whole of Australia. For example, the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth). The NSW Parliament makes laws that affect NSW. For example, the Adoption Act 2000 (NSW).

Additional orders (AVOs)

Optional orders that may be included in an application for an AVO in addition to the mandatory (or standard) orders. These orders deal with issues such as restricting contact with the protected person(s).

Address for service

After a court case starts, all the people involved in the case need to have an address where they want letters and court documents to be delivered to them by post and by hand.

Adjoining properties

Properties located next to one another.


Postponing a court hearing or other court appearance to another date or time.

Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT)
​The Administrative Appeals Tribunal is an independent body that reviews administrative decisions made under Commonwealth law. It has nine divisions:
  • Freedom of Information Division 
  • General Division
  • Migration & Refugee Division (including the Immigration Assessment Authority)
  • National Disability Insurance Scheme Division 
  • Security Division
  • Small Business Taxation Division
  • Social Services & Child Support Division
  • Taxation & Commercial Division, and
  • Veterans’ Appeals Division.

An administrator is the person who is granted letters of administration after someone has died without leaving a will. The administrator has legal authority to distribute the deceased person's estate.

Admissible evidence  

The court has rules about what kind of evidence it will accept in a court case. Evidence the court decides to accept is called 'admissible evidence'.


​A confession or a statement acknowledging the truth of something. 

​Advanced Care Directive 

​A document that sets out your wishes about your future medical treatment if you become injured or seriously ill and lose the ability to make decisions for yourself. 

Also known as a living will. 

Adverse Action

Unlawful action taken by an employer against an employee because they have a workplace right or have used, or tried to use, a workplace right. Adverse action includes:

  • dismissing or demoting an employee
  • reducing an employee's hours or overtime hours
  • treating an employee differently for a discriminatory reason.  

See Apprehended Domestic Violence Order


​Individuals from organisations registered with Revenue NSW to speak to Revenue NSW on behalf of a client to discuss their options to deal with a fine. Advocates include employees from organisations like Legal Aid NSW, Community Legal Centres and Financial Counsellors Association of NSW.


A written statement prepared by a person. The statement must be sworn or affirmed to be true in front of a solicitor, barrister or justice of the peace.

Affidavit of Service

A written statement of a person who has served a court document. It tells the court:

  • what document was served,
  • who was served,
  • where the document was served,
  • how the document was served, and
  • what happened when the document was served.

The person must swear or affirm that the statement is true and sign it in front of a solicitor, barrister or justice of the peace.


To solemnly promise to tell the truth in court or in an affidavit.

An affirmation is made instead of a religious oath.


A relationship between two people where one person (the 'agent') agrees to do something on behalf of the other person (the 'principal'). For example, Sally gave her friend, Nico, the keys to her car and asked Nico to drive to the shops and pick up her dry cleaning. There is an agency relationship between Nico and Sally.

  1. A person who acts on behalf of another person (the 'principal'), with the agreement of that other person. See Agency.
  2. A lawyer who comes to court in the place of a person's own lawyer. This usually happens if the person's lawyer works a long way from the court or is not available that day.  


​Where an owner of land allows another person's livestock to graze or feed on their property for a fee. Usually, there is a condition that the livestock are returned to the owner on demand.
Aggravating factors

Any relevant facts that make the offence more serious.

Alcohol Interlock Program

A court ordered penalty for people who commit drink driving offences. It involves an electronic breath-testing device being connected to the ignition of a vehicle. The vehicle will not start unless the driver passes a breath test.


A claim made by one party (such as the police) about something that has or has not been done. This claim needs to be proved in court.


An extra payment an employee may receive for using their own equipment or working in dangerous or dirty conditions.

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

A way of resolving a case without having a court hearing. Most types of Alternative Dispute Resolution use a third person, who is not involved in the case, to help the parties come to an agreement. The most common type of Alternative Dispute Resolution is mediation.


To make changes to a document that has already been filed at court. The amended document is then filed and served on the other party.


A document referred to in an affidavit that is attached to the affidavit.

Annual leave

Paid time off work that an employee is entitled to every year.


To cancel or make invalid.

Annulment Application
  1. An application to Revenue NSW to cancel your Enforcement Order and have your case heard at court, or
  2. An application to the court to cancel or reverse a decision made by the court and have the matter re-listed, because you missed court.  
Anti-Discrimination NSW

Anti-Discrimination NSW investigates complaints of discrimination in NSW. They provide information on discrimination and help parties to resolve their discrimination complaints where possible.


To apply to a higher court asking that the decision of a lower court be changed or cancelled.


When a party goes to court for a case.


​A person who appeals against a decision. 


​The person making an application. 

Applicant (AVO)

The person who makes an application for an AVO. This will usually be the police or the protected person, who is also sometimes called the Person in Need of Protection (PINOP).


​A request to a court, tribunal or other decision-making body. 

Apprehended Domestic Violence Order

An order made by a court that is aimed at protecting someone from another person who they are, or were, in a domestic relationship with. For example, husband and wife, mother and son, grandfather and granddaughter, de facto partners, people who live in the same household, unpaid carer and the dependant.


See Apprehended Personal Violence Order

Apprehended Personal Violence Order

An order made by a court that is aimed at protecting someone from another person who they are not in, and have never been, in a domestic relationship with. For example, neighbours.

Apprehended Violence Order

An order made by a court that is aimed at protecting one person or people from another person that causes them to fear for their safety.


​A process for settling disputes where the parties involved present arguments and evidence to an independent third party, called an arbitrator, who makes a binding decisions about the matter.

It is alternative to going to court.


​The process in a criminal trial where the charges are read to the accused and the accused enters a plea for each charge. 


To be taken into police custody for committing, or being suspected of committing, a criminal offence.

​Assessable person

​A person detained in a mental health facility awaiting a mental health inquiry. 

Assessment hearing

A hearing in court to work out the value of goods or the amount of damages to be awarded. In a recovery of goods case, if the plaintiff claims payment for the value of goods the court may have a hearing to decide what the goods are worth.


A judicial officer appointed to decide small claims cases in the Local Court of NSW.

Asset (property) pool

​The assets, debts and financial resources that need to be divided in a property settlement. 


Property owned by a person. This includes real and personal property. 

Associated entity

Companies will be associated entities if one company controls, influences or has an interest or investment in the other. Two businesses will also be 'associated entities' if there is a third business that controls them both.

Australian Human Rights Commission

The Australian Human Rights Commission protects and promotes human rights in Australia. It can investigate complaints about discrimination and breaches of human rights.

Authorised person

A person who can take the oath or affirmation of a person making an Affidavit and witness their signature. An Authorised Person must be a:

  • justice of the peace,
  • solicitor, or
  • barrister.  

See Apprehended Violence Order


An award sets out the minimum pay and conditions for people in an industry or profession.

Most employees in Australia are covered by, modern awards. 

See Modern award



Word or phrase



The release of a person from custody after they have been charged with a criminal offence, on the condition that they return to court on a certain date. Other conditions may also be included, such as regular reporting to a police station and payment of money.

​Bail concerns

​Before making a decision about bail. the police or the Court must assess any bail concers. A bail concern is a concern that you, if released from custody, will:

  • not attend court when required
  • commit a serious offence
  • endanger the safety of an alleged victim or the community, or
  • interfere with witnesses or evidence.
​Bail condition

​An obligation that an accused person must comply with in order to be granted and remain on bail, for example, reporting to police every day. 

Bail guarantor

​Any person who offers security to the police or the court on behalf of the accused.

Bail money

​Money offered to the police or the court that will be forfeited if the accused breaches bail.

Bail security

​Security, such as a home, offered instead of cash for bail money.

Balance of probabilities

This is the standard of proof in civil cases, including AVO cases. To win their case the person making a claim has to bring enough evidence to prove on the balance of probabilities that it is more likely than not that their claim is true.


A legal process where people who cannot pay their debts give up their assets and control of their finances, either by agreement or a court order, in exchange for protection from legal action by creditors.

Bar table

In a courtroom the parties involved in a case, or their lawyers, speak to the judge, magistrate, registrar or assessor from the bar table. You should not walk past this table unless you are given permission.


A lawyer whose main role is to represent people in court. They usually work together with a solicitor, and have limited direct contact with clients.


The place where the judge, magistrate, registrar or assessor sits.


The person who will inherit and receive a benefit under the terms of a will. Also known as a 'donee' or 'grantee'. 

Beyond reasonable doubt

This is the standard of proof in criminal cases. For a person to be found guilty of a criminal charge, the person making the allegation, usually the police, has to bring enough evidence to prove that the defendant committed the crime. The court must be satisfied from the evidence that there is no other reasonable explanation.

Bicycle lane

A lane on a public road that only bicycle riders can use, which is usually marked with a symbol or sign.

Binding nomination

A binding nomination is a separate form lodged by a member of a superannuation fund that specifies who will receive the death benefit. 

A binding nomination ensures that the superannuation fund pays the death benefit to a person or to the estate as nominated by the member.

A binding nomination must be updated every three years.

Blameless accident

An accident where no one is to blame. For example, accidents may be caused by:

  • a driver's sudden illness, for example, heart attack or stroke
  • an unavoidable collision caused by an animal running across the road
  • a car's unexplained mechanical failure. For example, brake failure or tyre blow out.
Blind spot

An area outside the car (or other vehicle) that can't be seen while the driver is looking forward, through the rear view mirror or side mirrors.

Boarder (or lodger)

​A person who receives accommodation for a fee, and usually some type of service, such as meals. A boarder or lodger usually doesn't have exclusive use of the property, for example, they might share certain facilities.

Boarding house

​Accommodation that usually has:

  • shared facilities, for example, a communal living room, bathroom, kitchen or laundry
  • services provided, for example, meals or a cleaning or linen service.

Most boarding houses have a caretaker that looks after the property and people that stay there. The people that live in boarding houses are usually boarders or lodgers.


An extra payment an employee may receive for performing to a certain standard or reaching a specific target.


The line dividing two properties.

Boundary determination

A decision by the Registrar General about where a boundary is located.

Breaching an AVO

When a person who has an AVO against them (the defendant), does something that they are not allowed to do under that AVO. For example, the defendant telephones the protected person when the Final AVO says they cannot contact the protected person. Breaching a Provisional, Interim or Final AVO is a criminal offence.

Brief of Evidence

The documents, including statements and photographs, that the police prosecutor will rely on in a case against a person charged with a criminal offence.


​Bullying is usually repeated unreasonable behaviour against a person that creates a risk to the employee's health and safety. It can be from a supervisor, manager or colleague. Examples include: 

  • ​​​​being harassed at work
  • getting nasty comments about your personality or appearance
  • being teased, belittled or demeaned
  • inappropriate touching, such as pushing
  • being treated differently or unfairly compared to other staff
  • being allocated inappropriate or unfair workloads and tasks
  • being deliberately set impossible deadlines or workloads, and set up to fail
  • excluding​ someone from workplace activities
Burden of proof

The need for the person who makes a claim, or charges someone with an offence, to bring evidence to prove the claim or charge. It is also called the onus of proof.




Word or phrase


Culturally And Linguistically Diverse.

A term used to acknowledge people from different cultural backgrounds. This includes people whose first language is not English.

Call over  
  1. In a civil case, this may be the first or subsequent time the case is heard at court. The registrar or assessor may give directions to the parties about what they have to do to prepare for the hearing of the case.
  2. In a criminal case, this may be the first or subsequent time a case is heard at court. Usually a registrar will find out how the accused person wants to respond to their charges before a magistrate hears the case.

See Court Attendance Notice

Carer's leave

Time off work if an employee needs to look after a member of their immediate family or household who is unwell or if there is an emergency.

Casual Employee

A person is a casual employee if:

  • they are offered a job
  • the offer does not include a firm advance commitment that the work will continue indefinitely with an agreed pattern of work
  • they accept the offer knowing that there is no firm advance commitment and become an employee.

See Closed Circuit Television

Centrelink card

A card issued by Centrelink providing proof that you receive a benefit. This includes:

  • Health care cards
  • Commonwealth seniors health card
  • Pensioner concession card.
Certificate of Title  

A certificate identifying the owner of land. and any interests registered against the land. For example, a 'mortgage'.

Certified copy

A copy of an original document that has been confirmed as a true and correct copy by an authorised person, such as a solicitor or justice of the peace.

Chamber Service

A service provided by the Local Court of NSW where senior staff provide information and assistance on procedures and applications to the Court.

Character reference

 A letter, statement or document written by someone who knows you, such as a family member, friend or employer, that gives information about your good character.


When the police formally accuse a person of committing a criminal offence.

Charge on land

A registered interest on your land. This stops you from selling your land until you pay a debt that you owe.

​Child support

​Payments made by one parent to the other to support a child. Both parents are responsible for financially supporting their child. 

Children's Court of NSW

​The court that deals with certain types of cases involving children and young people, including:

  • criminal and traffic cases
  • applications for Apprehended Violence Orders against a child or young person
  • applications for Compulsory Schooling Orders
  • breaches of parole
  • care and protection cases.

It is a closed court, meaning it is not open to the general public.


A chronology is a list of events and the date they took place. They are usually listed from the first event (oldest) to the last event (most recent).


See Criminal Infringement Notice

Circle sentencing

An alternative sentencing process for adult aboriginal offenders, where a magistrate and members of the Aboriginal community sit in a circle and discuss the offence, the offender, and a suitable penalty.

Civil case

A dispute between individuals, companies, associations or government agencies. For example, disputes about debts, contracts, compensation for injury or damage, wills and employment.

Civil Procedure Act 2005

This is a New South Wales law that sets out the rules and powers of the court in civil cases (not criminal cases) in New South Wales.


See Community Justice Centre

Closed Circuit Television

A television system used for the surveillance of a premises or place.

Closed Court

A courtroom that is not open to the general public. Most matter involving children are heard in closed court.


A separate written document made by the testator that is dated, signed and witnessed exactly like a will and is attached to the original will. The purpose of a codicil is to make some changes to the original will without making a new will.

When a person dies, the executor must file both the original will and the codicil with the application for probate. 


​Living together as a couple. There are many factors which can be used to determine whether a couple has been cohabitating, including:

  • living in the same house
  • informing friends and family of the relationship
  • engaging in a sexual relationship
  • caring for children of the relationship. 

An extra payment an employee may receive for selling a certain number of products. A commission can be a fee or calculated as a percentage of the number of products sold.

Common Boundary

See Boundary

Common law

Law based on past decisions made in cases by judges, magistrates and tribunal members.

Common property

​The parts of the strata scheme that are owned by the owners corporation.

​Commonwealth Courts Portal

The online portal for the Federal Court of Australia and Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia. Also known as Comcourts or 'the portal'. ​

Community Justice Centre

A service that provides free mediation to help people in disputes reach an agreement. Also called the 'CJC'.

Community service leave

Time off work to undertake voluntary community emergency activities or jury service.

Community Service Order

A court order requiring an offender to complete a specified number of hours of community service work, as an alternative to serving a term of imprisonment.


An organisation formed under the Corporations Act 2001 and regulated by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission. Companies have an Australian Company Number (ACN).

Compassionate leave

Time off work to spend time with an immediate family member who has a life threatening illness or injury.


Money given or received as payment for a loss or injury.

Complainant (AVO)

The person who ahs made an application for an AVO. This person may also be referred to as the 'applicant', 'protected person' or 'person in need of protection' (PINOP).

Comprehensive car insurance

Car insurance that covers the insured person for any damage to:

  • their own car
  • another car, and
  • any property.
Compulsory school-age

​A child who is aged six years or older and who is under the minimum school leaving age. 

​Compulsory schooling

​All children in NSW of compulsory school age must receive schooling. 

Compulsory schooling conference

​An order made by the Children's Court NSW that requires a parent and/or child to attend a conference to:

  • identify and resolve any issues relating to the child's non-attendance at school
  • identify services that can assist the child to attend school
  • propose undertakings and orders for the Children's Court to consider. 
​Compulsory schooling order

​An order made by the Children's Court NSW that requires a child to receive compulsory schooling. 

An order can be made against:

  • a child's parents, or
  • a child aged 12 years or over if the child is living independently, or if the child's parents cannot get the child to go to school because they are disobedient. 

Compulsory schooling undertaking

​An agreed plan between the school, parents and agencies to support a child’s attendance at school.

The undertaking may address the reasons why the child is not attending school and include support options.

Compulsory Third Party (CTP) car insurance

Car insurance that covers the insured person for any injuries they cause to other people while driving the insured car.

It does not cover damage to property, other vehicles or to your vehicle.

All cars registered in NSW need Compulsory Third Party car insurance. It is also known as a 'green slip'.


A type of alternative dispute resolution where a third party (called a 'conciliator') tries to help parties to come to an agreement about their dispute.

Conditions (AVO)

The terms or orders specified in an AVO.

Conduct money

An amount of money given to a person ordered in a subpoena to attend court or bring something to court. The money is to cover the reasonable costs of complying with the subpoena, such as travel expenses.


​A person admitting that they have done something wrong or illegal. 

​Confirmed order for restitution

​An Order for Restitution that has been confirmed by Victims Services.

This was previously known as a Restitution Order.

Conflict of interest

Where a lawyer has previously given advice to another party in the same or related matter, or where you and your lawyer have interests that clash.


To agree to something.

Consent orders

Orders made by a court based on an agreement between the parties.

Consent to an order for restitution

​When the defendant agrees to an Order for restitution to be referred to Revenue NSW.

​Consent with admissions

​Consenting (agreeing) to an AVO being made against you, and agreeing with the facts included in the application. 

​Consent without admissions

​Consenting (agreeing) to an AVO being made against you, but not agreeing with the facts included in the application. 


​To breach an Order, a regulation or law. 

Contravention application

​An application asking a court to punish a person for contravening (breaching) a court order. 

Constructive dismissal

When an employee is forced to resign because of the way their employer has acted.


A person who buys goods or services.


A legally binding promise or agreement, w​here there is consideration and certainty of terms. It doesn't have to be in writing.


A person who is self-employed and provides goods and services to other people or businesses. A contractor usually:

  • supplies their own tools or equipment
  • works when and how they want
  • spends some of their income on their own business expenses.

If a person is a contractor, they are not an employee.

Contravene AVO

To knowingly breach or refuse to comply with a condition of a Provisional, Interim or Final AVO.

​Contravention Application

​An application asking a court to punish a person for contravening (breaching) a court order. 

Contributory negligence

A person who has been injured or had their property damaged because of the negligence of another person can make a claim for compensation. A court may decide that the person making the claim was partly to blame for their injury or damage to their property. This is called contributory negligence. The amount of compensation will usually be reduced as a result.

For example, Anna, Bill and Clement were involved in an accident. They all went to court, claiming money from each other for the damage to each of their cars. The Court found all three drivers had done something to cause the accident; Anna was 20% to blame, Bill was 20% to blame and Clement was 60% to blame.


To transfer a property from one owner to another.


​When the Court accepts your plea of guilty or decides you are guilty after a hearing. When you are convicted you are also given a penalty (sentence).

Cooling-off period

​A specific period of time during which you can cancel an agreement, usually with no penalty. 

Coroners Court of NSW

​The Coroners Court of NSW holds inquests or inquiries to investigate and determine the causes of:

  • unnatural, unexpected, sudden and suspicious deaths
  • suspected deaths (in the case of missing persons)
  • fires and explosions that cause serious injury or damage to property.
​Corporal punishment

​Physical force applied as punishment or discipline. 


​A legal entity that has a separate legal personality from its members, such as a company or incorporated association. 


See Legal costs

Costs agreement

An agreement between a lawyer and client about what costs will be charged for the legal work provided. 

Costs assessment

An independent assessment of the costs charged by a solicitor or barrister to decide if the costs are fair and reasonable.

Costs Assessor

An independent person appointed by the Supreme Court of NSW that reviews legal costs.

Costs orders

A court order that a party must pay all or part of another party's legal costs. This can include the cost of preparing a case and the cost of presenting a case. In some kinds of cases the amount of costs orders are fixed by regulation.

Council ordinance inspector

A person employed by a local council to issue fines for street parking offences.

Court appointed questioner

​A person appointed by the court to ask the protected person or victim questions on behalf of a self-represented defendant during proceedings in domestic violence criminal matters and apprehended violence order proceedings. Court appointed questioners are court staff or Justices of the Peace.

Court Attendance Notice

A notice, issued by the police or another authority, that tells you the date and time that you have to go to court to answer an allegation that you have committed an offence. Also called a 'CAN'. 

Court costs

An amount of money that a magistrate may order you to pay in a criminal case for having your case heard.

Court fees

Fees that the court charges to file documents, to issue certified copies of documents, and for tapes and transcripts of court cases.

Court fine

An amount of money that the court orders that you pay as a penalty for an offence.

Court Referral of Eligible Defendants into Treatment (CREDIT)

A court ordered program aimed at reducing re-offending by encouraging and assisting offenders to engage in education, treatment or rehabilitation programs. Also called 'CREDIT'.

Court timetable

Orders made by a court regarding the serving and filing of witness statements or any other documents, and the date the case is next in court.


A covenant is an agreement. Covenants are often made about land.

For example, a covenant never to build on certain land. The limits or obligations created by a covenant stay with land even when it is sold.


See Court Referral of Eligible Defendants into Treatment


A person who is owed money, or believes they are owed money.

Criminal case

A case to decide whether a person who has been charged is guilty of a crime or other offence.

Criminal charge

An allegation by the police that someone has committed a criminal offence.

​Criminal history

​A list of all the matters you have been to court for, including AVO's, warrants, and offences where:

  • you were found guilty
  • you were given a section 10 dismissal
  • you were found not guilty 
  • the charges were dismissed. 
Criminal Infringement Notice

An on the spot fine that may be issued by a police officer for certain criminal offences, such as offensive behaviour, offensive language and obstructing traffic.

Criminal record

A record that lists all the criminal offences a person has plead guilty to, or been found guilty of, and the penalty that they received for each offence. It also includes serious traffic offences such as:

  • drink driving
  • dangerous or negligent driving where someone is hurt
  • driving whilst disqualified. 

A section 10 dismissal is not usually recorded on your criminal record.

​Cross-application (cross-AVOs)

​An application for an AVO made by the defendant against the protected person (PINOP) in the original AVO. 

Cross claim

In civil cases a plaintiff makes a claim for money against a defendant. Sometimes the defendant believes that the plaintiff actually owes them money. In these cases the defendant can file a claim against the plaintiff. This is called a 'cross claim'.

Cross examination

After a witness for one party has given their evidence (called 'evidence in chief'), the other party in the case, or their lawyer, can ask the witness questions about their evidence. These questions are called 'cross examination'.


See Community Service Order


See Compulsory Third Party (CTP) car insurance


To be in the care and control of police, at a police station or another place of detention.

Custody Management Record

A document, which details a person's time in police custody.

​Cyber abuse

​Behaviour that uses technology to threaten, intimidate, harass or humiliate someone with the intention of hurting them socially, psychologically or physically.


​The use of technology to bully, harass, intimidate or hurt a person. It can occur anywhere on the internet including by email, on a website or through apps.


​The use of technology to stalk or repeatedly harass a person.




Word or phrase   



Money claimed or awarded by a court to compensate a party for loss or injury, or to put them back in the position they were in before a legal wrong occurred. For example: 

  • in a car accident case, damages may include the costs of repairs to a car, hiring a replacement car, or replacing items which were in the car at the time of the accident and damaged 
  • in a recovery of goods case, damaged may include income lost by a person as a result of not being able to use the goods.  

See Compensation

​Dangerous dog

​A dog that:

  • has attacked or killed a person or animal (other than rats or mice), without being provoked
  • has threatened to attack or chased a person or animal on more than one occasion, without being provoked
  • is kept for hunting, unless it is only used to locate or retrieve birds, rats or mice.

Date of separation

​The date you and/or your ex-partner decided to end your relationship.

De facto maintenance

​Financial support paid by a person to their former de facto partner because their former partner can't meet their reasonable living expenses.

​De facto relationship

​A relationship between two people, who are not married or related by family, who live together on a 'geniune domestic basis'.


The person who owes money, or is said to owe money, to a creditor.

​Decree of Nullity 

​An order made by the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia that a marriage is void. If a Decree of Nullity is made, the marriage is treated like it never happened. You can still apply for property or parenting orders. 


A written agreement that binds the people who sign it. The words 'signed, sealed and delivered' are written on the document. The signatures of the parties must be witnessed.

Deed of release

A deed in which a party agrees to stop any current legal action, and/or not take any legal action in the future, against the other party.


​Where a person says or implies something that harms another person's reputation in the ordinary community, or within their trade or profession, and is likely to result in the person being shunned, avoided, made fun of, or despised. 

Default judgment

Judgment made in favour of a plaintiff without a hearing, when the defendant has not taken any action to defend the claim such as, filing a defence.

  1. In a civil case, the reasons why the defendant disputes the claim against them. A 'Defence' form is a document filed at court by the defendant to notify the court and the plaintiff that they dispute the claim, and it may also include the reasons why they do not owe the money claimed. 
  2. In a criminal case, the reasons given by a defendant as to why they are not guilty of a criminal offence.

 A person who has

  • a court claim for money,
  • an application for an Apprehended Violence Order, or
  • a criminal charge
brought against them.
Demerit points

Penalty points that are added to your licence when you commit certain driving offences.


When an employee is moved to a position of a lesser grade, rank, or status.


A person who gives written evidence in an affidavit.

​Designated Agency 

​A department of public service or an organisation that arranges the provision of out of home care. 

Detention application

​An application to the court by the prosecutor requesting that:

  • the accused person be refused bail, or
  • the accused person's bail be revoked (cancelled). 
Detention of goods

Where a person keeps goods or property that another person has a right to possess.


Instructions given by a registrar, assessor, magistrate or judge to parties in a case.

For example, to file documents by a particular date.


A person appointed or elected to be responsible for the activities of a company. Directors can represent the company in court cases.


When someone is treated less favourably than another person because of their race, colour, national or ethnic origin, sex, pregnancy or marital status, age, disability, religion, sexual preference, trade union activity, or some other characteristic.


The fees or expenses that the lawyer has paid on your behalf to their parties. For example, the cost of filing fees, photocopying, court filing fees or paying for expert reports. If your lawyer briefs a barrister, the barrister's fees will be included as a disbursement. 


The power of a registrar, assessor, magistrate or judge to make a decision, or give a penalty, based on the circumstances of the case. For example, a magistrate may give someone a fine for speeding, instead of a good behaviour bond.


When a person is sacked, fired or their employment is terminated.

​Dispensation of service

​An exemption from serving your documents on the other party. 


See Licence Disqualification

District Court of NSW

​The District Court hears criminal and civil trials, and some appeals, including:

  • serious criminal cases and cases referred from the Local Court of NSW and the Children's Court of NSW
  • all motor accident cases
  • civil claims from $100,000 to $750,000
  • workers' compensation cases
  • work health and safety cases.
Dividing fence

A structure that separates adjoining properties. A dividing fence can be made out of all sorts of materials, for example bricks, metal or wood. It may also be a ditch, embankment or vegetation, for example, a hedge.

​Divorce order

An order made by a court that ends a marriage. Sometimes called a 'Divorce Certificate'.  ​

Domestic relationship

A relationship between two people that:

  • are or have been married
  • are or have been in a de facto relationship
  • are or have been in an intimate personal relationship
  • are or have been living in the same household
  • are or have been living in the same residential facility (with some exceptions) or a detention centre
  • have or had a relationship where one person provides unpaid care for the other person
  • have or had a relationship where one person receives paid care (the dependant person) and is in need of protection against their paid carer
  • are or have been relatives
  • in the case of an Aboriginal person or a Torres Strait Islander, involve a person that is or has been part of the extended family or kin of the other person according to the Indigenous kinship system of the person's culture. Sometimes this is referred to as 'family violence'.

Alert iconIt is not a domestic relationship if the paid carer is applying for protection against the dependant person (and they do not have any other type of domestic relationship).

Domestic violence  

Viol​ence by one person against another person when those people are in or have been in a domestic or intimate relationship together. For example, a partner, carer or family member.

Violence occurs when one person tries to dominate and control another person. This involves an abuse of power and can include physical violence, sexual abuse, emotional or psychological abuse, verbal abuse, stalking and intimidation, isolating someone, financial abuse, damage to property or threats to be violent in these ways.

Domestic Violence Order (DVO)

​A Local Domestic Violence Order, Interstate Domestic Violence Order or Foreign order. 

Domestic Violence Liaison Officer (DVLO) 

A specialist police officer, trained in the dynamics of domestic and family violence, child protection procedures, victim support and court AVO processes required for the protection of victims of family violence. Also called a DVLO

Driving offence

When driving laws are broken.

Driving record

A written history of fines a person has paid for traffic offences they have committed, as well as information about demerit points, when their licence was issued and whether their licence has been suspended, disqualified or cancelled.

Driving unlicensed

Driving without a legally valid drivers licence.

Drug Court of NSW

The Drug Court of NSW is a specialist court that attempts to address underlying drug dependency issues that lead to criminal behaviour.

It takes referrals from the Local and District Courts of eligible offenders who are given treatment for their drug dependency as an alternative to prison.

It sits in three locations:

  • Parramatta
  • Toronto, and
  • Sydney.

Driving Under the Influence of alcohol or another drug.


A legal responsibility owed by one person to another person. Sometimes this means that the person with the duty (responsibility) must do something. At other times, this means that the person with the duty (responsibility) must not do something.

For example, all drivers have a duty (responsibility) to follow the Road Rules whenever they are using the road.

Duty of care

A person's legal responsibility to be careful when doing something that could result in someone getting hurt or property being damaged by the action. This duty only applies if it could have been predicted that someone could have been hurt by the action. For example, Brian was speeding through a red light and hits a pedestrian. Brian breached his duty of care to the pedestrian.

Duty of disclosure

The ongoing duty that a person has to provide, to the Court and each other party, all information and documents relevant to an issue in their family law matter, in a timely manner. ​

​Duty of financial disclosure

​The ongoing duty that a person has to provide, to the Court and each other party, all information and documents about their financial circumstances in a timely manner. 

DVLO See Domestic Violence Liaison Officer



Word or phrase   




An easement allows someone to use land that belongs to another person for a specific purpose. Common easements include easements for drainage and easements that provide a right of way.


See External Dispute Resolution


​Electronically filing documents. 


A person who works for another person or company and is paid a salary or wage.


A person or company who pays a person a salary or wage to work for them. The employer controls how and when the work is to be done.


​A legal interest or claim made by one person against the property of another person, which limits the ways that person can deal with their property. For example, a bank will register an encumbrance over a vehicle on the Personal Property Securities Register (PPSR) when you take out a secured car loan. 

​Enduring guardian

​The person you nominate to be make decisions about your health and lifestyle if you lose the ability to make decisions for yourself. 

​Enduring power of attorney

​A legal document that appoints a person, called your attorney, to deal with your property and financial affairs if you lose the ability to make decisions for yourself. 


Action taken to make someone comply with a notice or order. For example, action taken by Revenue NSW to recover the outstanding amount of fines, or action taken by a judgment creditor to make the judgment debtor pay back the judgment debt.

Enforcement Costs
  1. Costs added to an unpaid fine for the restrictions and sanctions that are imposed until the fine is paid in full or arrangements are made to pay the balance by instalments. For example, a fee may be added to an unpaid fine when Revenue NSW directs RMS to suspend your licence or cancel your registration.
  2. The costs of enforcing a judgment debt, which can include legal fees, court fees or levies paid to the sheriff.
Enforcement Order

An order issued by Revenue NSW after you've failed to pay your fine by the due date on your penalty reminder notice. when the order is issued, a fee is added to the unpaid fine.

The order gives you 28 days to pay your fine/s before Revenue NSW will take further action against you.

Enrolment direction

​A direction by the Secretary of the Department of Education that a student is not to be enrolled at any government school other than a government school of a kind specified in the direction. 

Enterprise agreement

An agreement between employers and employees about terms and conditions of employment.

Equal shared parental responsibility 

​The responsibility that the parents of a child share to make major long-term decisions about their child's care, including:

  • medical
  • religious
  • educational
  • cultural
  • living arrangements. 

This does not include day-to-day decisions, for example, decisions about what a child wears or eats. 

Estate The real and personal property owned by the deceased person. 

This may include money, shares, vehicles, land and personal belongings. 

Event number

A reference number used by the NSW Police Force, to identify a particular incident that has been reported to them.


Verbal or written statements of witnesses, documents and other items used to support a party's case in court.

Examination notice

A form sent to a judgment debtor to get information about the judgment debtor's income, assets and liabilities.


The amount of money a person has to pay when they make a claim on their insurance policy.

​Exclusion Order

​An Order that stops a person from living or going to another person’s home or workplace. 


The person appointed in a will who has the responsibility and authority to manage the estate of the deceased person. ​


Documents or objects that are accepted by the court as evidence to support a case.

​Expert witness

​A witness with knowledge or qualifications in a specific field that can give evidence to help the Court determine issues in dispute. 
Ex parte

A decision of the court made without notice to the other party, or without the other party being present.

External Dispute Resolution (EDR)

A service provided by an independent third party who hears and attempts to settle disputes without having to go to court. Also called EDR. For example, the Financial Ombudsman Service provides EDR for complaints made by a consumer about their bank or insurance company.

External Protection Order

An apprehended domestic violence order made by a court in New Zealand or an apprehended personal violence order made by a court in another state or territory of Australia, or made by a court in New Zealand.



Word or phrase


​Facts in issue

​The facts in a case that must be proved for the elements of the offence to be proved. 

Fail to appear

​When you don't attend court when required. It is an offence to fail to appear in court when required if on bail.

Fair and reasonable

When claiming money to repair the damage to your car as a result of a car accident that was the other driver's fault, you can only recover an amount that is 'fair and reasonable'. For example, Matt and Helen had a car accident. Helen got three quotes for fixing the damage to her car. The first quote was for $2000, the second quote was for $2200 and the third quote was for $5000. Matt wouldn't pay to fix Helen's car so she started a court case against him. Helen claimed $2200 for repairs to her car. The amount of $2200 was assessed to be fair and reasonable based on the quotes.

Fair Entitlements Guarantee (FEG)

A government scheme that may pay employees certain unpaid entitlements if their employer went bankrupt or into liquidation on or after 5 December 2012.

Fair Work Australia (FWA) Fair Work Australia (FWA) was the name of the national employment tribunal. On 1 January 2013 Fair Work Australia's name was changed to the Fair Work Commission.

See Fair Work Commission
Fair Work Commission 

The Fair Work Commission (the 'Commission') is the national employment tribunal. A tribunal is similar to a court. The Commission makes awards (which set out minimum pay and conditions for employees in Australia). The Commission also resolves disputes between employers and employees through conciliation, mediation and arbitration. Before 1 January 2013 it was called Fair Work Australia (FWA).

Fair Work Ombudsman

An independent agency that investigates whether national workplace laws and awards are being complied with.

Family consultant

​A qualified psychologist and/or social worker who specialises in working with children and families after separation and divorce. 

Family counselling

​Counselling provided to a married couple (and their children) to deal with personal issues about their marriage. 

​Family Dispute Resolution (FDR)

​Mediation designed to help parents resolve disputes about the care arrangements for their child. 

Family Law Act 1975

​The law that covers family law matters in Australia. 

Family Law Watch List

​A list held by the Australian Federal Police to stop a person taking a child out of Australia. This is also known as the Airport Watch List.

Family relationships centres

Services funded by the Federal Government to provide information, advice and dispute resolution (such as mediation) to help separated couples reach agreement on parenting arrangements without going to court.

​Family report

​An independent report written by a family consultant that may be used by a Judge to understand the issues in a case, and make decisions about the care arrangements for a child. 

​Family violence
​Any actual or threatened violence towards a person or their property from a family member that coerces or controls the victim or causes them to be fearful. Examples include:
  • physical or sexual assault
  • intentionally damaging property
  • preventing contact with friends or family 
  • repeated derogatory taunts
  • intentionally harming an animal. 
Family violence orders

An order made by a court in any state or territory to protect a person from family violence. An ADVO would be considered a Family Violence Order.


When someone does something or fails to do something, which makes them responsible for an accident. For example, Max drove through a roundabout, failing to keep a proper lookout, and hit the car driven by Gayle who had already entered the roundabout. Max is 'at fault' for the accident as Gayle had right of way.

Federal Court of AustraliaA superior court that has the power to deal with a number of areas, including:
  • all civil matters arising under Australian federal law
  • some summary criminal matters
  • any matters arising under the Constitution
  • tax cases appealed from the Administrative Appeals Tribunal
  • bankruptcy cases
  • employment law cases.
Federal Circuit and Family Court of AustraliaA court that has the power to deal with a range of areas, including:
  • family law and child support
  • consumer law
  • bankruptcy
  • human rights
  • migration
  • employment law
  • intellectual property
  • administrative law
  • admiralty.

​Federal Diversity Jurisdiction

The Constitution says that the federal parliament has power to invest a court of a state with federal jurisdiction. Diversity jurisdiction involves a dispute between residents of different states. 

Fencing Notice

A formal written notice to a neighbour that proposes building, fixing or repairing a fence and asks for a contribution towards the cost of this fencing work. The notice should set out where the fence will go, what type of fence will be built and the estimated costs of the fencing work.

Fencing Order

An order by the Local Court of NSW or Local Land Board about:

  • what a fence should be made of
  • how high a fence should be
  • where a fence should be built
  • when a fence should be built
  • how the costs of fencing work should be divided between neighbours.
Fencing work

Any work that takes place as part of designing, building, fixing or replacing a dividing fence. This includes surveying and preparing the land along the common boundary.


​A person who is under an obligation to act in another person’s interests and not their own. 


Taking or sending documents to the court registry. The registry staff will stamp the document and put it on the court file.

Filing fee

The amount you pay when filing a document with the court.

Final AVO

An ADVO or APVO made by the court after:

  • a defendant consents to an AVO
  • a defendant does not attend the mention and the court makes an AVO in his or her absence that finalises the case
  • the court hears evidence from the applicant and the defendant and decides to make an AVO
​Final parenting orders

​Orders made by a court about the parenting arrangements for a child at the end of a case, after a hearing. 

Financial abuse

​Controlling a person’s ability to get, use or save money and other financial resources. It is a type of family violence. 

​Financial contribution

​Contributions by a person in a relationship to the acquisition, conservation or improvement of any property of the parties. 

​Financial disclosure

​The information and documents that show the financial circumstances of a party. 

​Financial Management Order

​An order appointing a private individual or the NSW Trustee & Guardian to act as the financial manager of a person who is unable to manage their own financial affairs. 

An order can be made:

  • the NSW Civil & Administrative Tribunal
  • the Mental Health Review Tribunal
  • the Supreme Court of NSW. 
Financial Ombudsman Service

A free service that independently resolves financial services (including insurance) disputes between consumers and member financial services providers. Also known as FOS.

​Financial statement

​A form used in a family law matters to set out a person's financial circumstances. 


A decision made by a court about a matter in dispute between the parties after considering the evidence. For example, in a case about damage to a car in an accident, the court will make a finding about who caused the accident.

  1. An amount of money that must be paid to a government authority, usually Revenue NSW, when a law or rule is disobeyed. Also referred to as 'infringement notice' or 'penalty notice'
  2. An amount ordered to be paid by a court if you are convicted of breaking a law or rule.

​A gun, or other weapon, that is (or at any time was) capable of propelling a projectile. It includes:

  • blank firearm
  • air gun
​Firearms licence

​A licence which allows the licensee to possess or use a registered firearm from the specific category to which their licence applies.


Goods that are fixed to and become part of land.

Foreign Order

​A domestic violence order made by a court in New Zealand.

Forum sentencing

A process where the offender, the victim, police and other affected people meet to discuss the crime, what happened, how people were affected by the crime, and prepare an 'intervention plan' for the offender. The offender completes the intervention plan as part of their sentence.


See Financial Ombudsman Service

Frivolous and vexatious application

An application that is started with no reasonable prospect of success. A frivolous application is an application that is not serious. A vexatious application may be an application that was started to annoy or embarrass the other party.

Full drivers licence

See Unrestricted drivers licence

Further Penalty Reminder Notice

A second reminder sent to you, telling you your fine is outstanding. If you receive a Further Penalty Reminder Notice it is too late to elect to go to court.


See Fair Work Australia



Word or phrase



​A person who has been ordered by a court to pay a judgment debt. 

Garnishee order

A court order which tells a third party, such as an employer or a bank, that they must pay money belonging to a judgment debtor to a judgment creditor.

General Employee Entitlements Redundancy Scheme  (GEERS)

A government scheme that may pay employees certain unpaid entitlements if their employer went bankrupt or into liquidation before 5 December 2012.

General protections

​Legal rights protected by the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth​​) for national system employees, including the right to:

  • correct pay, leave and other entitlements
  • be in a union and participate in a union activity
  • not be in a union or participate in a union activity
  • take time off work if you are injured or sick
  • not be the victim of unlawful discrimination
  • complain or enquire about workplace conditions
  • the benefit of any industrial law or instrument (for example, an award or enterprise agreement).
General protections dismissal

When an employer dismisses an employee for using or trying to use their rights at work, such as, the right to take leave and get paid or the right to belong to a union.

Genuine steps certificate
​A certificate that genuine steps have been taken by parties to resolve a dispute before commencing family law proceedings.


See Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009

Good behaviour bond

A court order that requires an offender to be of good behaviour for a specific period of time. If the offender commits any further criminal offences they will be in breach of the bond and may be re-sentenced for the original offence.


Items or property that you can own and take with you; for example, cars, jewellery, pets and furniture. It does not include land or fixtures, such as a house or fence.

Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009

A New South Wales statute that provides a right to easier access to government information.

Green slip

See Compulsory Third Party (CTP) car insurance

Guardian ad Litem
​A Guardian ad Litem (GAL) is appointed by a Court or Tribunal to conduct legal proceedings on behalf of a person who is:
  • incapable of representing him or herself,
  • incapable of giving proper instructions to his or her legal representative, and/or
  • under legal incapacity due to age, mental illness or incapacity, disability or other special circumstances in relation to the conduct of the proceedings.

The role of a GAL is to protect or promote the interests of the person for whom they have been appointed. A GAL may also be referred to as a tutor or special representative.


When a person admits they have committed a criminal offence or the court decides that the person has committed a criminal offence.



Word or phrase


Habitual Traffic Offender

A person who has received convictions for serious traffic offences three or more times in the past five years.

If a court declares that you are a Habitual Traffic Offender, you will also be disqualified from driving for a period of time. If you have been declared a Habitual Traffic Offender and you would like to get the decision cancelled (quashed), you should get legal advice.

​Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction
​An international treaty that provides a process for the return of children abducted from their home country.
Hand up

To give a document to the registrar, assessor, magistrate or judge in court.


​Repeated conduct intended to intimidate a person or make a person fearful. 

Hardship Review Board

​An independent body established under the State Debt Recovery Act 2018 which reviews decisions made by Revenue NSW.


The time when the parties present their evidence to the court and make submissions on the law that applies to the case. After the hearing the court makes a decision in the case.


Something that was not personally seen or heard by the person giving evidence but told to them by another person.

For example, Jane told Sarah that she heard Fred arguing with Sam. In this example, Sarah's evidence about the argument would be hearsay because Sarah did not see or hear the argument herself.

Heavy vehicle

Under the Road Transport (Vehicle Registration) Act 1997 (NSW), a heavy vehicle is a motor vehicle or trailer that has a gross vehicle mass greater than 4.5 tonnes.

Hire Car

A car that is borrowed from a person or company for a period of time in return for a fee. Also referred to as 'car rental', 'rental car' or 'rent-a-car'.

Hire car company

A company that lends cars to customers for a period of time in return for a fee.

Hire purchase

Buying goods by instalment payments. You can use the goods while you are paying for them but, until you have paid all the instalments, you aren't the owner. Sometimes there is a balloon, or lump sum, payment at the end of the contract.

Home detention A court order that allows an offender to serve a term of imprisonment at a specified address, rather than in gaol. The offender is strictly supervised and electronically monitored.

Hostile witness

​A witness who gives evidence that is harmful to the party that called them. The party calling them can seek leave from the court to treat them as a hostile witness. If this is granted, the party will be allowed to cross-examine the witness and put it to them that they are not being honest. Also known as an unfavourable witness.




Word or phrase



See Intensive Correction Order

See In-car video


See Internal Dispute Resolution


When the police or the court orders that a person's vehicle be temporarily removed from their possession.


To be sentenced to spend time in gaol.

In car video

Footage of images and sounds recorded by equipment installed in some police vehicles. This is usually used by police to record the conversation they have with you after you are stopped.


​Evidence that is not accepted as valid. 

Incident Report

A police report that gives details about an event (such as a car accident) if the event was reported to the police.

Incorporated association

A group of people with a common purpose who formally register their association under Commonwealth, state or territory law. The incorporated association has all the powers and rights of a person and is legally able to do things in its own name, such as own land, sign a lease, or appear in court. Incorporated associations are usually not-for-profit groups such as sporting and community organisations.

  1. An exemption from liability for damage, loss or injury.
  2. An agreement to compensate another party for loss or damage.
Independent children's lawyer (ICL)

​A lawyer appointed by the Court to represent a child and promote their best interests in court. 

Independent contractor

A person who works under a contract for a specific job or time. They generally don't work regularly for a particular employer, and can choose whether or not to do a particular job. Independent contractors usually have an ABN and are responsible for paying their own taxes direct to the Australian Taxation Office.

For example, Neil runs a plastics company and uses several drivers to do his deliveries. They all have their own trucks and their own ABN, and they invoice Neil's company for payment. Each week, the drivers pick what jobs, if any, they want to do. The drivers can also work for other companies.


​Information presented or filed in Court for the prosecution of an offence. 

Industrial Relations Commission (IRC)

​The Industrial Relations Commission is the state tribunal that hears civil and criminal cases, and appeals, about industrial relations matters. It:

  • conciliates and adjudicates industrial disputes
  • sets condtions of employment and fixes wages and salaries by making industrial awards
  • approves enterprise agreements
  • decides claims of unfair dismissal.

It deals mostly with matters related to state awards and agreements covering public service employment in state government and local government organisations.

Infringement notice

See Penalty Notice


​A court order that requires a person to do something or not do something.


When a person or a company can't pay all their debts when they are due.

Instalment application

Asking the court for permission to repay a debt in regular fixed payments.


The cover provided to a person or company for certain losses they may suffer, in return for the payment of a premium.

Insurance claim

When a person who has insurance asks their insurance company to pay for repairs to their damaged property or damage caused to someone else's property, under their insurance policy.


The person who receives cover from an insurance company for losses they may incur as a result of an accident, subject to the terms of the insurance contract.


An insurance company that provides cover to a person for losses they may incur as a result of an accident subject to the terms of the insurance contract.

Intensive Correction Order

An order of imprisonment of less than two years that can be served in the community subject to certain conditions (such as living at a particular address, regular alcohol or drug testing, doing community service work, and medical examinations) and under strict supervision by Corrective Services.


A fee paid in addition to a debt. This is usually a percentage of the debt. For money claims in court, the amount of interest payable is set out in Schedule 5 of the Uniform Civil Procedure Rules.

Interim AVO

A temporary ADVO or APVO made by the court:

  • when an application for an AVO is first made and the person is in need of urgent protection
  • after a case is adjourned for further mention or for a hearing.
​Interim parenting orders

​Temporary orders made by a court about the parenting arrangements for a child until the matter is finalised. 

Interlocutory costs orders

A court order for one party to pay some of the other party's legal costs during the case rather than at the end.

Internal Dispute Resolution (IDR)

Any company or body that holds an Australian Financial Services licence is required to provide a department or officer who will try and resolve customer problems within the company or body.

For example, if you don't agree with an insurer's decision, you can make a complaint to the department or officer that is in charge. Also called IDR.


A person who translates speech from one language into another, or sign language to speech.

​Interstate Domestic Violence Order (Interstate DVO)

​A domestic violence order made in the Australian Capital Territory, Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia. 

Intestacy rules

When a person dies without having made a valid will, there are rules that set out who will inherit the deceased person's estate. These are called 'intestacy rules'.  


When someone dies without having made a valid will. 

  • Harassing or molesting a person, including cyberbulling
  • approaching a person in a way that makes them fear for their safety
  • acting in a way that makes a person reasonably fear injury, violence or damage to their property. 

From 27 March 2021, intimidation can also include conduct that causes someone to fear that an animal belonging to them, or an animal in their possession, will be harmed.​

It is an offence to intimidate a person to make them fear physical or mental harm. 


Under the influence of alcohol, a drug or any other substance.

​Involuntary patient

​A person who:

  • is ordered to be detained as an involuntary patient after a mental health inquiry or otherwise by the tribunal, or
  • was a forensic patient who is re-classified as an involuntary patient, or
  • was a correctional patient who is re-classified as an involuntary patient. 



Word or phrase



Adding another party into an existing case.

Joint tenants

Where a person owns property with another person in undivided shares. If one of the tenants dies, their share goes to the surviving tenant. 


​A person with the authority to listen to and decide legal cases according to the law. 

Judges' Associate​A court officer who assist the Judge by undertaking administrative tasks, in-court duties and legal research.

A decision of the court after all the evidence has been heard and considered.

Judgment debt

The amount of money a court orders a defendant to pay a successful plaintiff. It can include all or part of the original amount claimed, plus court fees and interest up to the date of judgment.

Judgment creditor

A plaintiff who gets a judgment ordering the defendant to pay them money.

Judgment debtor

A defendant who gets a judgment against them to pay money to the plaintiff.


​A section at the end of an Affidavit that includes the:

  • name and signature of the deponent
  • date and place the Affidavit was signed
  • name, title and signature of the person who witness the Affidavit. 

The authority of a court to decide matters brought before it. The authority may be limited by the place where the dispute arose or an offence was committed, the kind of dispute, the amount of money in dispute or the seriousness of an offence.

Justice of the peace

A person who is authorised under the Justices of the Peace Act 2002 (NSW) to witness the signing of documents, such as affidavits and statutory declarations, and to certify documents.

To find a justice of the peace, see Finding a JP on the Department of Communities & Justice website.




Word or phrase


Keeping house

When a defendant or judgment debtor stays in their home or business and won't answer the door or gate to be served with court documents.




Word or phrase


Land & Property Information(LPI)

The NSW state government provider of land and property services in New South Wales, including land title registration, property information, valuation, surveying and mapping. Also referred to as the LPI.


Another name for stealing.


A person who has studied law and has been approved to work as a lawyer by the Supreme Court of that state. They must also hold a current practising certificate and have insurance, if they do legal work.

Learner licence

A licence issued to a person who is at least 16 years of age allowing them to drive a car on a road or road related area for the purpose of learning to drive. They must be accompanied by a full licence holder.

Leave loading

An extra payment on top of annual leave pay.

Leave of the court

In some cases you need to ask the court for permission to do something. This is called 'seeking the leave of the court'.


A gift of personal property or money to a beneficiary. Also known as a 'bequest'. 

Legal costs

The money a person spends running a court case. If the person has a lawyer, the costs will include the lawyer's fees.

Legal practitioner

​A lawyer who holds a current practising certificate.
Legally binding

Something that can be enforced through the legal system.

Letter of demand

A letter sent to a person, business or organisation that owes money asking them to repay the money.

Letters of administration

Documents issued under intestacy to appoint a particular person or persons to administer a deceased person's estate. 


A person's legal obligation to do something or pay something.

Licence disqualification

An order by the court cancelling your licence and banning you from driving for a period of time.

Licence suspension

An order by RMS or the police banning you from driving for a period of time.


The legal right to keep someone's property as security for the payment of a debt, for example, a mechanic may keep a car until they are paid for the repairs to the car.

Liquidated claim

A claim for a specific amount of money.


Selling everything a company owns to pay off the company's debts. Any left-over assets are distributed among the members of the company. This process will finalise a company's affairs.


​A party to a civil case.

​Living will

​See Advanced Care Directive
Local Area Command

The police station in charge of a number of police stations within a particular area.

​Local Domestic Violence Order (Local DVO)

​An apprehended violence order or an interim apprehended violence order made in New South Wales.

Local Court of NSW

A lower court in NSW, which has the jurisdiction to hear less serious criminal and civil matters. There are two divisions of the Local Court for civil claims:

  • Small Claims: claims up to $10 000.
  • General: claims more than $10 000 and up to $100 000 (or $120 000 if both parties agree).
​Location order

​An order requiring a person or government agency to provide the Court with information about the location of a child. 

Long service leave

Extra leave an employee may become entitled to for working a set period of time for one employer.


See Land & Property Information