​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 |
LawAccess NSW > Representing Yourself

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.
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.
Acts 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 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.
Adjournment Postponing a court hearing or other court appearance to another date.
Administrator 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'.
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.  
ADVO See Apprehended Domestic Violence Order
Affidavit 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.
Affirm To solemnly promise to tell the truth in court or in an affidavit.

An affirmation is made instead of a religious oath.
Agency 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.  
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.
Allegation 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.
Allowance 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.
Amend 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.
Annexure 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.
Annul 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 Board NSW The Anti Discrimination Board protects against discrimination in NSW. It investigates complaints about discrimination in NSW.
Appeal To apply to a higher court asking that the decision of a lower court be changed or cancelled.
Appearance When a party goes to court for a case.
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).
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.
Arrest To be taken into police custody for committing or being suspected of committing a criminal offence.
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.
Assessor A judicial officer appointed to decide small claims cases in the Local Court.
Assets 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.  
AVO See Apprehended Violence Order
Award 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.
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.
When a bankrupt person loses control of their money and assets.

A person in debt can be declared bankrupt by a court after choosing to become bankrupt or being forced into bankruptcy by one of their creditors.

Bankruptcy usually lasts for three years.
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.
Beneficiary 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.
An extra payment an employee may receive for performing to a certain standard or reaching a specific target.
Boundary 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. A breach of 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 ​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.
  CANSee Court Attendance Notice
  Carer's leaveTime 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 casual employee is a person who:
  • is paid hourly
  • does not have the same entitlements as a permanent employee (such as paid sick leave, annual leave or personal leave)
  • usually receives a higher hourly rate of pay because they do not get paid leave entitlements.
CCTV 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 in the Local 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.
Charge 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.
Chronology 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).
CIN 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 caseA 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.
CJC 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.
Codicil 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. 
Commission 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.
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.
Company 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.
Compensation 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 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'.
Conciliation 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.
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.
Consent To agree to something.
Consent orders Orders made by a court based on an agreement between the parties.
Constructive dismissal When an employee is forced to resign because of the way their employer has acted.
Consumer A person who buys goods or services.
Contract A legally binding promise or agreement, w​here there is consideration and certainty of terms. It doesn't have to be in writing.
Contractor 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 breach or refuse to comply with a condition of a Provisional, Interim or Final AVO.
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.
Conveyance To transfer a property from one owner to another.
​Corporation​An organisation that has a separate legal entity from its members, such as a company or incorporated association. 
Costs See Legal costs
Costs agreement A document in which a lawyer provides an estimate of legal fees.
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 Attendance Notice A notice, issued by the police or other 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

Creditor 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 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 the criminal offences a person has been found guilty of and the penalty that they have received for the offences. A Section 10 dismissal is not usually recorded on your criminal record.

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.






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
The person who owes money, or is said to owe money, to a creditor.
Deed 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.
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.
Defendant  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.
Demotion When an employee is moved to a position of a lesser grade, rank, or status.
Deponent A person who gives written evidence in an affidavit.
Detention of goods Where a person keeps goods or property that another person has a right to possess.
Directions Instructions given by a registrar, assessor, magistrate or judge to parties in a case.

For example, to file documents by a particular date.
Director A person appointed or elected to be responsible for the activities of a company. Directors can represent the company in court cases.
Discrimination 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.
Disbursements Expenses related to a court claim, not including solicitor's fees. For example, the cost of filing fees, photocopying, or paying for expert reports.
Discretion 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.
Dismissal When a person is sacked, fired or their employment is terminated.
Disqualification See Licence Disqualification
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.
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'.

It 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.
DUI Driving Under the Influence of alcohol or another drug.
Duty 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.

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.
EDR See  External Dispute Resolution
Employee A person who works for another person or company and is paid a salary or wage.
Employer 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.
Enforcement 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.
Enterprise agreement An agreement between employers and employees about terms and conditions of employment.
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.
Evidence 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.
Excess The amount of money a person has to pay when they make a claim on their insurance policy.
Executor The person appointed in a will who has the responsibility and authority to manage the estate of the deceased person. ​
Exhibit Documents or objects that are accepted by the court as evidence to support a case.
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
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 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 Violence Orders An order made by a court in any state or territory to protect a person from family violence. Family violence (under the Family Law Act) refers to any actual or threatened violence towards a person or their property from a family member and causes them fear. An ADVO would be considered a Family Violence Order in a case in the Family Court.
Fault 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 A 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 Court A court that has the power to deal with a range of areas, including:
  • family law and child support
  • bankruptcy
  • human rights
  • migration
  • employment law

​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 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.
Filing 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
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.
Finding 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.
Fixtures 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.
FOS 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
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.
  GIPA ActSee 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.
Goods 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
Guilty 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.
  Hand upTo give a document to the registrar, assessor, magistrate or judge in court.
  HearingThe 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.
  HearsaySomething 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.





Word or phrase Definition


See Intensive Correction Order
ICV See In-car video
IDR See Internal Dispute Resolution
Impound 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.
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 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.
Infringement notice See Penalty Notice
Insolvency 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.
  InsuranceThe 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.
Insured 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.
Insurer 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.
Interest 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.
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.
Interpreter 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'.  
Intestate When someone dies without having made a valid will. 

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




Word or phrase Definition
Joinder 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. 
Judgment 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.
Jurisdiction 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.

Solicitors and barristers are also authorised to witness and certify documents.





Word or phrase Definition
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 Definition
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.
Larceny Another name for stealing.
Lawyer 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'.
Legacy 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.
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. 
Liability 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.
Lien The legal right to keep someone's property as security, 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.
Liquidation 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.
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 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).
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