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Glossary of Legal Terms Index


Glossary of Legal Terms – C

Capital Offence: A crime which carries the death penalty

Cargo: Goods carried on board a ship.

Case law: Principals which have been established by judges concerning particular cases which are used as reference for future determinations of similar cases.

Causa Mortis: Latin for ‘incase of death’

Cause of action: A legal action.


  • 1. A warning.
  • 2. A legal document lodged against the title of Torrens title land which claims an interest in that piece of land.
  • 3. A legal document lodged which will prevent the registration of a bill of sale.

Caveat emptor: Meaning ‘Let the buyer beware’.

Certificate of Title: The document of title to a piece of land

Cestui que trust: A trust beneficiary.

Chamber Magistrate: A qualified officer of the Attorney Generals department who is able to give free legal advice to members of the public eligible for that service

Champerty: An agreement made illegally where a person agrees to pay someone elses legal fees in return for a share of the proceeds.

Charge: A security which is given over property.

Charterparty: A written agreement for the chartering of a ship to carry cargo

Chattels: Property which is not freehold land; divided into two- categories:

(i) chattels real: interests in land other than freehold.

(ii) chattels personal: movable and tangible personal property.

Chose: A thing. Choses can be divided into choses in action and choses in possession.

Chose in action: Personal property that is intangible such as a right to be paid a debt.

Chose in possession: Personal property that is tangible, goods or chattels.

Citation: An order made in writing which orders a person to appear in court; to quite a passge from a statute, court judgement or other legal authority.

Civil action: Any legal action other than a criminal proceeding.

Clerk of the Court: Person who files legal documents, issues summonds and subpoenas and has access to al court records.

Codical: An amendment to a will which changes or explains some part of it. It must be signed with the same legal requirements of the will itself.

Cohabitation agreement: A document which deals with the financial arragements during a cohabitting relationship and what would happen ifthatrelationship is no longer valid.

Collateral: Literally meaning “side-by-side”; in contract law, an agreement in addition to the main agreement.

Collusion: An agreement made in secret which aims to cheat someone or defraud them of legal rights or any other rights.

Common law: A law system based on traditions and customs and on decisions made in previous cases as distinct from legislation.

Committal proceedings: In indictable offences, the proceedings held to inquire whether a prima facie case lies against the accused.

Company: Commonly used to refer to a corporation, generally a limited company. The use of the word “company” or abbreviated form “co” in a business name generally denotes a firm rather than a limited company.

Company Title: An arrangement where a company owns a block of houses, land or other property where individuals own shares n that property.

Complainant: (plaintiff) person who initiates a lawsuit.

Complaint: Document giving a brief description of the facts outlining the laintiffs reasons for a lawsuit.

Conciliation: Resolving of a dispute by way of negotiation without the need of a final order by a court.

Condonation: To forgive or pardon an offence or a civil wrong by way of acting as if it had never taken place.

Confiscate: To seize property legally without payment.

Consanguinity: Kinship or blood relationship. Connection between persons with the same ancestor

Consensus ad idem: Where all the parties involved are in agreement’ a meeting of the minds.

Consequential damages: Damage, injury or losses which are not caused directly by an act but as a result of that act.

Consignment: Sending of goods to another party to be sold by them.

Conspiracy: An agreement between persons to do an illegal act or to do a legal act but by illegal means.

Constitutional law: All rules of law which directly or indirectly effect the distribution of the sovereign power; that is law relating to the legislature or the judiciary.

Constructive: Where a liability, or knowledge, is implied by law without reference to the actual intention or knowledge; as opposed to actual.

Contempt of court: An intentional disregard for the authority of the court ie, disobeying court rules.

Contingent: Dependent upon something.

Contra proferentum: Against the person who alleges it.

Contract: A legally binding agreement between persons, corporations or persons and corporations.

Contracting out: Where the parties agree to exclude something from the contract.

Convey: To transfer ownership.

Conveyance: Assignment, transfer (generally of real estate); the document that transfers title of land under the old system

Convicted: To be ound guilty of a criminal act or illegal act.

Cooling off period: A time of inaction to reconsider.

Copyright: Legal protection given to an author, artist, designer etc for the exclusive right to use said property.

Corporation: An organisation, company or business formed by a group of people with a legal entity and rights which is separate to the individuals.

Counterpart: A true copy.

Covenant: A solemn promise generally contained in a deed; an agreement to do or not to do something.

Creditor: Company or person to whom someone owes money.

Custody: Responsibilty for keeping and caring for a person or property. Can also be for the legal confinement of a person.


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