​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

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Legal dictionary - M to Z

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

M

N

O

P

Q

R

S

T

U

V

W

X

Y

Z

M



Word or phrase


Definition

​Magellan program

A system for managing ​parenting cases that involve serious allegations of physical or sexual child abuse. 

Magistrate

A judicial officer appointed to hear and determine civil and criminal matters in the Local Court.

Magistrates Early Referral Into Treatment (MERIT)

A program for adult offenders who have a drug and/or alcohol problem and have been charged with an offence. The program allows them to be released on bail and voluntarily work towards rehabilitation. Also called 'MERIT'. 

Mandatory orders

The orders that must be in all AVOs. These orders are sometimes called 'standard orders'.

The orders state that the defendant must not assault, molest, harass, threaten, intimidate, stalk or in any way interfere with the protected person or anyone the protected person has a domestic relationship with.

​Mandatory reporter

​A person whose work involves managing, supervising or delivering health care, welfare, education, children's services, residential services or law enforcement to children (under 16 years old). The person has a legal obligation to make a report to the Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ) if a child is at risk of significant harm.

Marked for identification

An object or document produced at a court hearing that is marked with a letter or number until evidence has been given to confirm that it is authentic and/or relevant. Once confirmed, the object or document becomes an exhibit.

Marriage

​The union of two people to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.

Marriage Certificate

​An official copy of the marriage registration held by the NSW Registry of Births, Deaths & Marriages. This is different to a Certificate of Marriage, which is a ceremonial certificate that a marriage celebrant gives to a couple on their wedding day. 

McKenzie friend

A support person who sits with you in court and helps you by taking notes, organising evidence and materials and giving you advice. You need permission from the court to have a McKenzie friend.

Mediation

Confidential meetings where an independent third person (a 'mediator') tries to help parties to a dispute come to an agreement about their matter.

Menacing dog

​A dog that:

  • has displayed unreasonable aggression towards a person or animal (other than rats or mice), or
  • has attacked a person or animal (other than rats or mice), without being provoked, but without causing serious injury or death.
Mental Health Review Tribunal

​An independent body that oversees the treatment and care of mentally ill people who are involuntarily detained. 

Mental illness

​A condition that seriously impairs a person's mental functioning and includes on or more of the following symptoms:

  • delusions
  • hallucinations
  • serious disorder of thought form
  • a severe disturbance of mood
  • sustained or repeated irrational behaviour indicating the presence of any one or more of the symptoms referred to above. 
Mental illness can be permanent or temporary. 
​Mentally disordered person

​Someone whose behaviour is so irrational that there are good reasons for their temporary care, treatment or control, either to protect them or others from serious harm. 

Mentally ill person

​Someone who is suffering from a mental illness and there are good reasons for believing that care, treatment or control of that person is necessary either to protect them or others from serious harm. 

Mention

A short court appearance where: 

  • a party may ask for an adjournment
  • a party may enter a plea of guilty or not guilt to an offence
  • the courtmay set a hearing date or give some other directions.

The first time parties go to court in a case is often a mention.

MERIT

See Magistrates Early Referral Into Treatment

Mini brief

The main parts of the Brief of Evidence, which consists of statements, photos and other evidence that the police have collected. This is usually given to (served on) the defendant by the police after a person is charged with an offence, or given to them by the prosecutor at the mention.

​Minimum school leaving age

​A child has reached the minimum school leaving age if they are:

  • 17 years of age, or
  • under 17 years of age and they have completed Year 10 of secondary education and are:
    • enrolled in approved education or training
    • employed full-time, or
    • a combination of both. 
Minimum wage

The lowest amount of pay an employer can pay an employee.

Mitigating factors

Facts that a person can present to the court about their personal circumstances or about the crime that may result in a lesser sentence.

Modern award

Modern awards are awards that set out the minimum pay and conditions for people in an industry or profession. They cover employers and employees in the national workplace relations system.

Most employees in Australia are covered by modern awards.

Mortgage

A contract where money is lent using property as security for the loan. For example, a home loan.

Mortgagee

A person or company lending money under a mortgage contract.

Mortgagor

A person or company borrowing money under a mortgage contract.

Motion

A written or verbal application to the court after a case has started. The application asks the court to make an order about something. For example, a motion asking to move the case to a different court.

Motor Accidents Authority

See State Insurance Regulatory Authority

 

N

 


Word or phrase


Definition

National Employment Standards (NES)

Ten minimum standards that apply to the employment of all employees in the national workplace relations system.

The standards cover a range of entitlements, including: maximum weekly hours, requests for flexible working arrangements, parental leave and related entitlements, annual leave, personal/carer's leave and compassionate leave, community service leave, long service leave, public holidays, notice of termination and redundancy pay.

National system employee

An employee covered by the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth​). It excludes employees working in the NSW public service, for a local council, or a state owned corporation. 

Negligence

When a person doesn't take reasonable care to avoid harm likely to occur to other people or their property. For example, negligent acts could include drink driving, speeding, failing to obey a traffic light or sign, and failing to keep a proper lookout.

Negotiation

Discussions, letters or emails between two or more people where they try to reach an agreement about an issue in dispute.

NES

See National Employment Standards

NESB Non- English Speaking Background.

A term used to refer to people who do not speak English as their first language.

Next of kin

The deceased person's closest living relative. This includes a de facto partner and same sex partner. 

No claim bonus

A discount on your insurance premium given by your insurance company, depending on your claim history.

​Non-attendance direction

​A written direction by the Minister that a student must not attend school during a specific period of time. 

Non-financial contribution

​Contributions by a party towards the acquisition, conservation or improvement of any property of the parties, for example, painting, tiling or paving.

​Non-local Domestic Violence Order (Non-local DVO)

​A domestic violence order made interstate or in New Zealand.

Not guilty

When a person did not commit a criminal offence or they did commit a criminal offence but they had a defence.

Notice of Discontinuance

A form filed with the court by a person making a claim to withdraw their civil case. A copy of the form must be served on the defendant.

Notice of Disposal

A form that should be completed and given to the RTA within 14 days of a car being sold. It records that the owner of the car has changed.

Notice of Motion

A written application to the court after a case has started asking the court to make an order(s) about something. The notice also tells the other party where and when the court will hear the application.

Notice of Payment

A form filed with the court, confirming that the defendant has paid the plaintiff a sum of money in a case.

NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT)

​A tribunal that hears and decides a wide range of civil and administrative cases, including about:

  • housing and property
  • disputes between consumers and businesses
  • guardianship
  • administrative decisions made by NSW Government agencies
  • anti-discrimination matters under the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977
  • misconduct complaints against health professionals, legal practitioners and other professionals. 
​Nuisance cat

​A cat that:

  • makes a persistent noise and the noise occurs to the extent that it unreasonably interferes with the peace, comfort and convenience of others, and/or
  • repeatedly damages anything outside the property on which it is ordinarily kept.
Nuisance dog

​A dog that:

  • regularly escapes or roams in public
  • makes a noise, for example, by barking or howling, and the noise occurs to the extent that it unreasonably interferes with the peace, comfort and convenience of others
  • repeatedly defecates on other people's property, and/or
  • runs or chases after other people, animals or vehicles repeatedly.
​Nullify

​To make or declare something legally void. 

​Null and void

​Not legally binding or valid. 

 

O

 


Word or phrase


Definition

Oath

A sincere promise to tell the truth, sworn on a Bible or other religious text.

Objective test

A test comparing the conduct, mental state or behaviour of a person with an average person in the same situation. For example, comparing a PINOP with a reasonable person to determine if they would also have fear in that situation.

Occupancy agreement

​A written agreement between a proprietor and resident that allows a resident to occupy a room in the boarding house for a fee.

Offer

A proposal put to one party by another party in a case to try and settle a dispute.

Office of Legal Services Commissioner (OLSC)

An agency that oversees investigations of complaints about lawyers and is involved in resolving consumer complaints. Also called the 'OLSC'.

OLSC

See Office of Legal Services Commissioner 

​Online grooming

When an adult uses electronic communication to build a relationship with a child to sexually abuse them.

Onus of proof

See Burden of proof

Opinion

A person's belief or judgment that is not based on any proof or certainty. For example, an opinion would be to say "The defendant signed the contract so he must have known about the interest rate".

Order

A decision by a court that may require a person to do something, or to stop doing something.

Overtime

Any work a person does outside of their normal working hours.

 

P



Word or phrase


Definition

Panel beater

A person who repairs damage to the body and frame of a car or other vehicle.

​Parent

​A person responsible for the care, welfare and development of a child. This may include:

  • a biological mother (except for a surrogate)
  • a biological father
  • a de facto partner
  • adoptive parents
  • the same sex partner of a mother where the child was conceived by artificial conception and the partner agreed to the conception
Parental leave

Time off work for the birth or adoption of a child.

Parental responsibility 

​All the duties, powers responsibility and authority that parents have in relation to their child. 

Parenting orders

Order made by the court under the Family Law Act about the arrangements for the care of a child, including consent, interim and final orders. 

​Parenting plan

​A written agreement, signed and dated by both parents, that sets out the care arrangements for a child. 

Parties

​The people or organisations that are involved in legal proceedings. 

Party/party costs

An order made by the court that the losing party in a case pay some of the legal costs of the winning party. Sometimes, two parties can agree to a settlement where one party will pay party/party costs to the other.

​Paternity testing

​An Order that parentage testing be carried out on a child to determine the child’s biological parents. This is also known a Parentage Testing Order.

Payment in lieu of notice

A payment made by an employer to an employee instead of asking the employee to work the notice period.

PCA

Prescribed Concentration of Alcohol. The measure used by police to record the amount of alcohol on a driver's breath or in their blood.

Penalty Notice

A fine issued by an authorised officer, such as a police officer, council ranger, or transit officer.

Penalty rate

A higher rate of pay an employee may receive for working late nights, early mornings, weekends or public holidays.

Penalty Reminder Notice

 A reminder sent to you 21 days after the Penalty Notice, telling you your fine is outstanding and giving you a further 28 days to pay it or elect to go to court.

Personal injury claim

A claim made by a person who is hurt against another person who they claim is legally responsible for their injury. For example, Sandra slipped as she was walking up the steps of the community hall. She grabbed the handrail but it was broken and Sandra fell. She broke her arm. Sandra has suffered a personal injury and may be able to claim against the people responsible for looking after the community hall.

Personal leave

Time off work if an employee is sick or they need to look after an immediate family member or a member of their household.

Personal Service

Giving documents to a party personally, that is, face to face.

Personal Violence

Any violence between people who are not in a domestic relationship. For example, neighbours. 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.

Person in Need of Protection (PINOP) 

The person who needs protection from the defendant. Also the 'PINOP' or the protected person.

Physical abuse

​The use of violence to hurt, control or intimidate a person. This may include hitting, pushing, slapping, choking or the use of a weapon.

PINOP

See Person in Need of Protection

Plaintiff

A person who starts a civil case against another person in a court.

Plea

When a person tells the court whether they are guilty or not guilty of an offence.

Pleadings

In a civil case, a section in court documents that sets out the facts relied on by a plaintiff in a claim, or by a defendant in a defence.

Police application (AVO)

An application for an AVO made by the police on behalf of the person in need of protection.

Police Assistance Line

A 24-hour telephone service provided by the NSW Police, that can assist you with general police enquiries and which allows people to make non-urgent reports. You can report the following types of crimes:

  • Break and Enter
  • Fraud
  • Motor Vehicle Theft
  • Stealing
  • Malicious Damage, including Graffiti
  • Minor Motor Vehicle Accidents
  • Lost Property.
Police Facts Sheet

A document which sets out the police's version of events about a criminal charge.

Police prosecutor

A specially trained police officer appearing in court representing the police in relation to criminal cases and AVO cases. The police prosecutor represents protected persons where the police have applied for an AVO. Police prosecutors do not wear police uniforms.

Post-judgment interest

Interest on a judgment debt charged at the rate set out in Schedule 5 of the Uniform Civil Procedure Rules. This interest runs from the time of the judgment to the time the judgment debt is repaid.

​Power of attorney

​A document that gives a person, or trustee organisation the legal authority to manage another persons assets and make financial and legal decisions on their behalf. 

Practice Note

A rule or instruction, made by the Chief Magistrate regarding how the court will run certain types of cases or how the court will deal with certain issues.

Practising Certificate

A certificate given to a person who is approved to work as a lawyer.

Pre-accident value

How much a car was worth before it was damaged in a car accident.

​Pre-action procedures

​The steps parties must take to try and resolve a dispute about parenting and/or property matters before applying to a court for orders. 

Pre-sentence report

A report prepared for the court by Corrective Services outlining an offender's background, present circumstances, and future plans. It also makes recommendations about sentencing.

Pre-trial review

The first stage of a debt case in the Small Claims Division of the Local Court. At the Pre Trial Review the registrar will try and help the parties settle the case. If the case does not settle the registrar may set a date for the hearing and tell the parties what to do to prepare for the hearing.

Prima facie

Latin words meaning 'at first look' or 'on the face of it'. A 'prima facie case' is a case that looks like there is enough evidence to support the claim or charge, before evidence from the defendant is taken into account.

Principal

1. The original amount of money being claimed in a court case, not including interest, filing and service fees.

2. A person who gives another person authority to do something on their behalf. See Agency.

Private application (AVO)

An application made by a person who needs an AVO through the Local Court.

Probate

The legal process of proving the will. A legal document issued under the seal of the Supreme Court of NSW, certifying that the will has been proved and granting the executor authority to administer the estate. 

Procedural fairness

A legal principle that says people must be made aware of claims or charges against them, and have the opportunity to defend the claim or charge.

Process server

A person who is employed to deliver court papers.

Product Disclosure Statement

A document provided by an insurance company, which tells you what is and is not covered under your insurance policy.

Professional driver

A person who has an unrestricted driver's licence and who drives to transport goods either inter and/or intra-state or drives a bus, taxi or hire car.

Proof

Evidence showing that a fact in a case is true. For example, a bank statement can be proof that money was withdrawn from an account on a particular date.

​Property

​Any type of right, interest or thing that a person can legally own, and which has a value.

Property docket

A document that records any personal items in a person's possession when they are taken into police custody.

Property recovery order

A court order that allows a defendant to collect their property from the residence of the protected person, or that allows the protected person to collect their property from the residence of the defendant.

Property Seizure Order

An order that allows the sheriff to seize (take) your personal property and sell it to pay the amount you owe.

​Property settlement (family law)

​The dividing of assets, debts and financial resources between a couple after separation.

Protected person

The person who is protected by an AVO or who needs the protection of an AVO. The protected person is sometimes referred to as the 'Person In Need Of Protection' or 'PINOP'.

Provisional AVO

The police can apply for a Provisional AVO on behalf of the protected person at any time of the day or night. They must have a good reason to believe:

  • an order needs to be made immediately to ensure the safety and protection of the protected person, or
  • an order needs to be made immediately to prevent substantial damage to any property of the protected person.

A Provisional AVO can be made by a Magistrate or by a senior Police Officer. The Provisional AVO will last until:

  • it is revoked
  • an interim or final AVO is made, or
  • the AVO application is withdrawn or dismissed. 
Provisional P1 driver licence

A licence issued to a person who has not previously held a licence continuously for at least 12 months (not including any period of suspension). A provisional P1 licence is to be issued for a period of up to 18 months.

Provisional P2 driver licence

A licence issued to a person who has not previously held a licence for a period or periods totalling at least 36 months (not including any period of suspension). A provisional P2 licence is to be issued for a period of up to 30 months.

​Public defender

​A salaried barrister, independent of the government, who appears in serious criminal matters for clients who have been granted legal aid. 

​Public notary

​A solicitor or barrister appointed under the Public Notaries Act 1997 (NSW) to witness the signing of documents and certify true copies of documents. 

To find a public notary, see Find a Notary on the Society of Notaries of NSW website. 

Public Passenger Vehicle

A vehicle that is licensed by the NSW State Government to be used to transport the public for payment of money, including:

  • a bus that picks up public passengers, or
  • a ferry that has a regular timetable for picking up passengers, or
  • a taxi or private hire vehicle.

 

Q



Word or phrase  


Definition

Quantum                                 

Latin word often used in court to describe the amount of a debt or compensation that a party is claiming.

Quantum meruit

Latin phrase meaning 'what the job is worth' or 'the amount the party deserves'. For example, Pam made curtains for Kelly's new house and gave Kelly an invoice for $4000. The invoice amount included:

  • the cost of the material
  • the cost of Pam's time
  • profit for the job.

Kelly didn't pay the invoice because she didn't think the curtains were made properly. Pam started a court case. Pam's claim was for payment of the invoice ($4000) but she also made an alternate claim for quantum meruit. The quantum meruit amount included:

  • the cost of the material
  • the cost of Pam's time.

This means that, even if the Magistrate decides the curtains weren't made properly, Pam may still get some money back for the materials she used and the time she spent making the curtains.

 

R

 


Word or phrase


Definition

Real property

Land or a building that is part of land. Does not include personal goods. 

Reasonable care

If a person owes a duty of care, the level of care they need to take should not be more than what is expected of a 'reasonable' person. For example, Dimitri was driving at the speed limit on a rainy day. Dimitri may not be taking reasonable care because driving the speed limit on a wet road can be dangerous.

Receiver/

Receivership      

If a company cannot pay all of its debts when they are due, a receiver will be appointed to take control of some or all of the company's assets.

Recitals

​An introductory part of a document that states the facts and circumstances upon which the document is based. Recitals are used to explain and interpret the contents of the document.

Recovery order
A court order that:
  • requires a child to be returned to a parent or person with parental responsibility for the child
  • can authorise the police to find and recover a child
  • can provide directions about the day-to-day care of a child until they are returned
  • can prohibit a person from removing the child or taking the child into their care again.
Redeployment

Transferring an employee to:

  • another position within a business, or
  • an associated entity.
Redundancy

A position is made redundant when an employer no longer needs a role to be performed, or no longer needs the same number of employees to perform certain tasks.

Redundancy pay

A payment offered to an employee because an employer no longer needs anyone to do their job.

Re-employment

​Employing a former employee under a new contract of employment. 

Registered External Protection Order

An External Protection Order that has been registered in New South Wales. Once registered an External Protection Order has the same force as an AVO made by a court in New South Wales.

Registration number

The numbers and letters on a number plate that identify a car, motorcycle or other vehicle. The plate must match the details on the vehicle's Certificate of Registration.

Registrar

A judicial officer who runs the court registry, and sits in court to deal with preliminary and procedural matters. For example, registrars may deal with mentions, Pre Trial Reviews, and some Notices of Motion.

Registrar General

The government officer who controls and manages records about all land owned in New South Wales. The Registrar General can make a Boundary determination.

Registry

A counter at the court house where people can file documents and make enquiries.

Regulations Rules made connected to an Act, usually outlining procedure or how the Act works.
Reinstatement

Getting your job back after being dismissed.

Reinstatement can mean going back to the exact same job or going back to another position within the business (redeployment).

Release application

​When the accused makes an application to be granted bail and released from custody.

Relevance

When using evidence in a case, it must be relevant. This means it must be shown to have a direct relationship to the legal issues being considered in the case.

Relief

The outcome that a plaintiff is asking for in their claim. For example, an order from the court that the defendant must pay them a certain amount of money.

Re-list a court date

When the court provides another court date for the matter, for example, if there is a change of venue and the matter needs to be heard at another court.

​Remuneration

​Payment, rewards or compensation for services rendered. It includes:

  • salary
  • wages
  • allowances
  • superannuation contributions. 
Repair quote

A document given by a panel beater or repairer that lists the repairs that need to be done to a car damaged in an accident and the cost of those repairs.

Replacement value

The amount of money it would cost to replace something.

Res Ipsa Loquitur

Latin phrase meaning 'The thing speaks for itself'. When a plaintiff can't prove what caused an accident, the fact that the accident happened may be used as evidence that it was caused by the defendant's negligence. For example, where a car is being driven on the wrong side of the road and hits another car.

Resealing

​A grant of probate issued by a Court outside of NSW that is approved and sealed by the Supreme Court of NSW so that the estate can be administered in NSW. 

​Residential premises

​A property used or intended to be used as a home or residence. 

​Residential tenancy agreement

​An agreement under which a person (the landlord) grants to another person (the tenant) a right to occupy a residential premises for a value. 

Residue

The remaining assets of the estate of a person who has died with a will, after all specific gifts have been made. 

Respondent

​A person against who an application is made. 

Restricted dog

​A dog that is a restricted breed, including:

  • American pitbull terrier or pitbull terrier
  • Japanese tosa
  • Dogo Argentino (Argentinean fighting dog)
  • Fila Brasiliero (Brazilian fighting dog)
  • Perro de Presa Canario or Presa Canario
  • any other dog of a breed, kind or description, whose importation into Australia is prohibited by, or under, the Customs Act 1901 (Cth).

A dog can also be declared a restricted dog by an Authorised Officer of a council.

Retaining wall

A structure built to support or hold back earth.

Revenue NSW

​The debt collector for the New South Wales government. If you do not pay a penalty notice or a court fine by the due date, the fine is sent to Revenue NSW who can take steps to get you to pay the debt.

​Revenue Protection Officer
​A person employed by Transport NSW to patrol trains, railway stations, buses and ferries. They have power to issue cautions and fines if people break certain laws when using these services.
Review

An application to a court to ask for the decision of a registrar to be changed or cancelled.

Review of a fine

A check performed by Revenue NSW or other agency to ensure a fine has been issued correctly, or if there are other circumstances for withdrawing the fine or issuing a caution.

Right of way

Where a person or vehicle has a right to move in traffic first and other road users are expected to give way, under the Road Rules.

RMS

See Roads and Maritime Services

Roads and Maritime Services (RMS)

See Transport for NSW

Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) See Transport for NSW
Road Rules

Road Rules 2014 NSW. The rules that apply to drivers, riders and pedestrians who use public roads in NSW.

RTA

See Roads and Traffic Authority

RTA Licence Appeal

An application to the Local Court, by a person who has had their licence suspended by RMS (formerly the RTA) (for demerit points or speeding) to keep their licence.

Rules

Parliament gives courts the power to make laws about procedure in court. These are called 'court rules' or 'rules of court'. The rules that apply in the Local Court are the Local Court Rules 2009 and the Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 2005.

 

S

 


Word or phrase


Definition

Safe room

A room available in some courts for female protected persons in AVO cases. In some cases the safe room is also available to female defendants.

Salvage value     

A car's worth after it has been in an accident and has been written-off because it can't be repaired.

​Scott schedule

​A form used in home building disputes to itemise in detail specific problems with home building work, such as defective or incomplete work.

Sealed copy

A document or form that has been filed with the court and has a court stamp on it.

Search warrant

​A court order that gives the police permissions to search something, for example, a car, home or business. 

Section 10

An order under section 10 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 (NSW), where the court finds a person guilty of an offence, but chooses not to record a conviction.

Sentence

The punishment imposed by the court after a person is convicted of an offence.

​Separation

​When the parties to a marriage have ended their marital relationship. 

​Separation under one roof

​Where the parties to a marriage or de facto relationship separate, but continue living together in the same residence. 

Serious or wilful misconduct

Wrongful, improper or unlawful actions by a person, which are considered to be severe, such as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or causing an accident on purpose.

Serve documents 

Formally giving someone court documents, or bringing those documents to that person's attention.

Service

The formal process of delivering or posting court documents to another party in a case after they have been filed, in accordance with the rules of the Court. Service ensures that all parties have received the documents filed with the Court. 

Service fee

The fee paid to a court or process server to serve a court document.

Set aside 

To cancel, annul or revoke a judgment or order.

Set off

A defendant in a case may argue that the amount they owe to the plaintiff should be reduced by an amount of money that the plaintiff owes to the defendant. This is called a 'set off'. For example, a court may find that Max owes Yi Ming $2,000 for childcare services. The court may also find that Yi Ming owes Max $1500 for accounting services. The court may set off the two amounts so that Max only needs to pay Yi Ming $500.

Settlement

When the parties in a case come to an agreement to resolve their dispute before the court makes a decision.

Settlement agreement

A written document that outlines the terms of the agreement reached between two parties to a dispute. Also called a 'Settlement Contract', 'Terms of Agreement' or 'Terms of Settlement Contract'.

Sexual harassment

​Unwelcome sexual advances, requests or behaviour of a sexual nature, which a reasonable person would expect to offend, humiliate or intimidate.​

Sham agreements

Where an employer tells you that you are being hired as a contractor when you are really an employee, or when you are dismissed so an employer can hire you as a contractor doing the same work.

Sheriff

Officers who serve court documents and enforce writs, warrants or other court orders. They are also responsible for court security.

Sick leave

Time off work because an employee is sick or injured.

Small Business Fair Dismissal Code

A Code of practice that applies to small business employers in the national workplace relations system. It sets out what a small business needs to do to fairly dismiss employees.

If your employer is a small business and is covered by national employment laws, it should comply with the Small Business Fair Dismissal Code (the 'Code') when it dismisses an employee.

Small claims division

This division of the Local Court deals with debts and claims up to $10,000.

​Social control

​Isolating a person from family, friends and the community. This includes not letting a person attend family or community events and/or not letting them participate in religious or educational activities.

​Social security payments

​Welfare payments provided by Centrelink, for example the Disability Support Pension, Jobseeker Payment and Family Tax Benefit.

Sole Parental Responsibility 

​A Court Order that only one parent has parental responsibility for a child. 

Solicitor (NSW)

A lawyer who holds a current practising certificate issued by the NSW Law Society. Solicitors have a right to appear in courts representing their clients.

Solicitor/client costs

The fees a solicitor charges their clients for legal services.

Spent conviction

​A conviction that has expired or that doesn't have any effect.

A conviction becomes spent automatically after a 'crime free' period. All convictions can become spent except:

  • convictions where a prison sentence of more than six months was imposed
  • sexual offences
  • convictions against companies and other corporate bodies. 
A spent conviction should be removed from your criminal record, however it will still be included in your criminal history. 
​Spousal maintenance

​Financial support paid by a person to their ex-husband or ex-wife because their former spouse cannot meet their reasonable living expenses. 

​Spouse

​A party to a marriage. 

Stalking
  • Following a person
  • watching or frequently visiting a person's home, business, work or any place they go for social or leisure activity
  • contacting a person through technology. 

It is an offence to stalk someone to make them fear physical or mental harm.

Standard orders (AVOs)

See Mandatory orders

​State Insurance Regulatory Authority

​The State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA) of NSW​, (previously known as the Motor Accidents Authority (MAA)) is in charge of the Compulsory Third Party (CTP) personal injury insurance scheme for motor vehicles registered in NSW.

Statement

Verbal or written evidence used to support a case.

Statement of Claim

A document used by a plaintiff to start a civil case in court. It tells the court and the defendant what the plaintiff is claiming and why.

Statute law

Laws made by parliament such as Acts, Regulations and Rules.

Statutory declaration

A written statement made by a person under the Oaths Act 1900. The statement must be affirmed or sworn in front of an authorised witness such as a solicitor or a Justice of the Peace. If the person deliberately said something in their statutory declaration that is untrue, they can be charged with a criminal offence.

Stay of proceedings

An order of the court stopping a court case from continuing, either permanently or temporarily.

Strata committee

​An elected body of members of the owners corporation that make day to day management decisions relating to the strata scheme.

Previously known as the 'Executive committee'.

Strata levy

​The amount an owner pays to the administrative fund and capital works fund.

​Strata managing agent

​A person or organisation appointed by the owners corporation to manage the day to day affairs of the strata scheme.

Also known as the strata manager or strata agent.

Strict liability

Offences where the police prosecutor only has to prove that a person committed the offence and not that they meant to (intended) to break the law.

Strictly indictable offences

​The most serious offences, for example, murder, manslaughter and serious drug offences, which cannot be dealt with in the Local Court and must be heard in the District Court. 

Subjective test

A test based on what the person actually feels.

Substituted service

Giving documents to a party other than by personal service, in a situation where the court has ordered that personal service (or another authorised type of service) is not practicable. Substituted service can only be used if the court has made an order that it is acceptable.

Submissions

Verbal or written arguments made to the court about the facts of the case and the law that applies to a case.

Subpoena

A court order telling a person or company to bring certain documents to court or to appear at court to give evidence.

Subrogation

Where a person or company 'stands in the place of' another person or company. For example, when Mark was doing building work at Danica's store, he broke one of Danica's water pipes. Mark didn't have any insurance. Danica asked her insurance company to pay the cost of repairing the damage. Danica's insurance company then started a court case against Mark to claim back the cost of the repairs. Danica's insurance company has stood in place of Danica through the right of subrogation.

Substituted service

When you haven't been able to serve the other party personally with a court document, you can ask the court for permission to try other ways to bring the document to the party's attention. For example, if you haven't been able to serve a Statement of Claim on the defendant at their home or place of work, you may ask the court for permission to try and serve the document on the defendant's parents instead.

Sufficient dividing fence

A fence that adequately separates your land from your neighbour's land.

Summary dismissal

When an employee is dismissed straight away (without notice or warnings).

Summons

A notice that you are required to go to court or to produce specific documents to the court. A summons may also be used by tribunals.

Superannuation

A payment made by an employer on behalf of an employee to the employee's superannuation fund.

Supreme Court of NSW

​The highest court in NSW that hears both civil and criminal trials and appeals, including the most serious criminal matters.

Surrogacy

​An arrangement whereby a woman agrees to gives birth to a child for another person, who will become the child’s parent and raise the child. 

Surveyor A person who inspects or investigates land in order to determine boundaries.
Suspended sentence

When an offender is convicted and the court orders a term of imprisonment, but the term does not have to be served. If the offender commits another offence, they will breach the sentence and may then be sent to prison to serve the term of imprisonment.

​Swear/sworn

​Declaring or promising the truth of something. 

Sworn evidence

Evidence that is given under oath or affirmation. When someone takes an oath or makes an affirmation they promise to tell the truth in court or in an affidavit.

 

T

 


Word or phrase


Definition

Taxi or Bus Operator           

The person or company who manages a taxi service or bus service.

Taxi network

A taxi-cab network takes bookings for taxis. Networks are not responsible for damage caused by taxis.

​Technology facilitated abuse

​Any behaviour that uses technology to harass, monitor, stalk, impersonate or threaten someone in order to control, frighten or humiliate that person.

​Tenant

​A person who pays rent to their landlord to enjoy exclusive occupation of a property. The arrangement is covered by the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 (NSW).

A tenant is different to a boarder or lodger.

Tenants in common

When a person owns real property with another person, in divided shares. It is different to a joint tenance because there is no right of survivorship. If one of the tenants in common dies, their share forms part of the deceased estate. 

Terms of Settlement

A document that records how two or more parties have agreed to settle a case.

Testate A person who has left a valid will.
Testator

The person who makes a will. 

Testamentary document

A written document by the testator that explains who they want to leave their estate to.

Third party

​A person, other than the applicant and respondent, who is involved in a matter. 

Third party claim
  1. A claim by a defendant against a party who was not involved in the original court case. This is now called a 'cross-claim'.
  2. A claim for compensation for personal injury suffered in a motor vehicle accident. The claim is brought against the 'compulsory third party insurer' of the driver at fault.
Third Party Property Damage

Damage caused to another persons property.

Third Party Property Insurance

Insurance that covers the damage caused to another person's property. This kind of insurance doesn't usually cover damage to the insured person's property.

Time limits

For different kinds of cases, laws give people a set amount of time to start a court case. Sometimes an extension can be granted to start a case outside the time limit.

Time limits also apply to the time you have to do certain things during a court case.

Title search

A search carried out through the Land and Property Information (LPI) office that shows:

  • who owns a particular property
  • where that property is located
  • other interests (including mortgages, easements, and covenants) in that land.
TOIP

See Traffic Offenders Intervention Program

Traffic offence

When a law about vehicles or road use is broken.

Traffic Offenders Intervention Program (TOIP) 

A program for people who have pleaded guilty to, or been found guilty of a driving offence. The program is designed to provide traffic offenders with information and skills for safer driving. An offender must usually complete the course and then return to court to be sentenced. Also called 'TOIP'. 

Traffic record

See Driving record

Transport for NSW (TfNSW)

​The New South Wales Government department that looks after the road safety, driver licensing and vehicle registration systems in NSW.

Formerly known as Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) and the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA).  

​Trespass

​Entry onto another person's land without their permission.

Tribunal

A body that resolves disputes between parties. There are different tribunals that deal with specific matters.

For example, the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) deals with a broad and diverse range of matters from disputes about residential tenancy and building works to guardianship and administrative review of government decisions. Orders made by a tribunal are legally enforceable.  

 

U

 


Word or phrase
   


Definition

Undertaking (AVO)
  1. A formal promise made by a person to the court that they will or will not do something.
  2. In an AVO case, a promise made to the court, usually agreeing not to assault, harass, intimidate or stalk a protected person. An undertaking is not enforceable, and breach of an undertaking is not a criminal offence.
Under the influence

When a person is affected by drugs or alcohol.

Unfair dismissal

When an employee's employment is terminated and this is harsh, unjust or unreasonable.

Uniform Civil Procedure Rules

The rules setting out how civil cases are run in NSW courts, including the Local Court.

Unincorporated association

An organisation or association can choose to become incorporated as a legal entity called an 'incorporated association'. If an association is not incorporated each person in the group is personally responsible for any debts in the name of the association.

Unlawful discrimination

​When someone is treated differently because of a particular ground (for ​example their sex (including transgender), race, age, sexual preference, disability or illness, marital status or pregnancy and family or carer's responsibilities in a particular area (for example, work, education, accommodation, in the provision of goods and services).

Unrestricted driver's licence

A licence that allows a person to drive a car in NSW without any of the specific restrictions placed on learner or provisional licence holders.

 

V



Word or phrase


Definition

Vacate a court date

​The change of a court date, for example, if a witness is unable to attend the court date, you may request to vacate the original court date and ask for a new date to attend court.

VSL      

 See Victims Support Levy

Venue

The location of a court. For example, Downing Centre or Bankstown or Wollongong.

Vexatious

A claim or application made against someone to embarrass or annoy them and made without a good cause. 

See Frivolous and vexatious.

Vicarious liability

When a person or company is responsible for the wrong doing of another person because of the legal relationship between them.

For example, Henry owns a mechanic shop. One of his employees, Curtis, failed to properly reattach a wheel on Seri's car and when it fell off, Seri had an accident. As Curtis' employer, Henry is likely to be vicariously liable for Curtis' negligence, even though Henry didn't do the work himself.

Victim

A person harmed, injured, or killed as a result of a crime, accident, or other action.

Victims Support Levy

A fee that must be paid by any person who is convicted of any offence in NSW, except offences relating to:

  • parking
  • offensive language
  • travelling on public transport without paying the fare or without a ticket
  • engaging in offensive conduct.

 

W



Word or phrase


Definition
Wages

The payment a person receives from their employer for working for them.

Waive

To give up. For example, to waive a debt is to give up the right to be paid that debt.

Warrant for arrest

An order made by a judge or magistrate that a person be arrested and brought before the court.

​Warranty

​A guarantee or legally binding promise.

WDO

See Work and Development Order

WDVCAS

See Women's Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service

​Will

​A written document that sets out how a persons assets are to be divided after their death. 

Without prejudice

When these words are said at the beginning of a conversation or written on a document it means that the information is not a confession or admission. Anything the party has said or written cannot be used as evidence against them by the other party in a current or future court case. There are some exceptions to this rule.

Witness

A person who saw, heard or experienced something and can give a first hand account.

For example, someone who was at the scene when the incident happened.

Witness box

Where a witness sits in the courtroom when they are giving evidence.

Witness statements

Written version of the evidence of a witness.

Women's Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service(WDVCAS)

A service that provides court advocacy, referrals and information for women and children involved in Apprehended Domestic Violence Order (ADVO) matters and some Apprehended Personal Violence Order (APVO) matters.

Work and Development Order

​An order made by Revenue NSW directing a person to:

  • perform unpaid work
  • undergo medical or mental health treatment
  • undertake an educational, vocational or life skills course 
  • undergo drug or alcohol treatment, or
  • undertake a mentoring program by an approved organisation (if your under 25 years of age),

to satisfy an unpaid fine.

Workplace right

Rights that employees have at work, and that are protected by the Fair Work Act, such as:

  • the right to take leave and get paid
  • the right to be in a union and take part in union activity (or to not do this)
  • the right to take time off work if you are sick or injured
  • the right not to be discriminated against.
Wrecker

A person or company in the business of removing reusable items from damaged cars and reducing the rest to scrap metal.

Writ for Levy of Property

A court order to the sheriff, telling the sheriff to go to the judgment debtor's house and seize property to be sold at auction. The money raised from the auction is used to pay off a judgment debt.

Writ for theDelivery of Goods

A court order telling the sheriff to take goods from a person and deliver them to another person.

Write off
  1. A car that has been so badly damaged that it is either not safe to repair or the cost of repairing it is more than its value.
  2. When a creditor (person who is owed money) decides not to try and get their money back from a debtor (person who is being chased for money).
Write off of a fine

When a person has serious and ongoing financial, medical or other problems and cannot pay a fine, it may be reduced or cancelled. This is called "writing the fine off".

Written Notice of Pleading

A form that you can send to the court saying that you want to plead guilty and have the case heard without you (in your absence) or you want to plead not guilty and get a hearing date.

Written representations

A letter to the police requesting that they withdraw or change a criminal or driving charge.

 

X

Y

Z