Law jargon: five common terms and what they mean - NYL

The law can be complicated even in its simplest of forms, that’s why it’s a profession that requires many years of dedicated studying before someone can become a recognised practitioner of the subject. There are also some legal terminologies that appear regularly during everyday life, so it is important for anyone not from a legal background to understand exactly what they mean.

Here’s a list of some of the more frequently used legal terms and what they mean.


In England and Wales, an Annulment is when a marriage is declared void by a court, whether because it was not legally valid when the marriage took place or because it has since become not legally valid. In Scotland this is called a void marriage as the term ‘marriage annulment’ is not a legal term used. Annulments are a very complex area of law and legal advice should always be sought.


Affidavits are frequently used for a variety of reasons. Unlike a contract agreement, many people don’t have a good understanding of an affidavit. An affidavit is a written statement which is sworn to be true. Essentially an oath that what they are saying is the truth. An affidavit will be used alongside witness statements to prove the truthfulness of a certain statement in court.

Most commonly used in divorce proceedings, property disputes and debt cases, an affidavit can be put before a court in any court proceedings.  

Compromise Agreements

If you’re involved in a workplace dispute and you can reach an agreement without the need to go to a tribunal, this can be recorded as a “compromise agreement”. This is a legal document which confirms the terms that both parties have agreed. In exchange for this, you agree to give up any legal claim against your employer. You may be able to get your employer to make a contribution to your legal costs as part of the agreement.


Rather than a divorce, if a Civil Partnership irreconcilably breaks down, the couple will have the partnership will go through a dissolution. This has similar steps as a divorce in which the partnership is eventually seen as ended completely and legally for both parties to enter into other partnerships should they so wish. 


Mediation is a process that parties can enter into in an attempt to resolve a dispute without the need for court proceedings. It is usually undertaken in a neutral venue in the presence of a mediator, someone who is neutral and can voice the issues to both parties. The dispute may either be pending in a court or potentially a dispute which may be filed in court.

Cases that are suitable for mediation are disputes in commercial transactions, personal injury, construction, workers compensation, divorce, employment or any matter which do not involve complex procedural or evidentiary issues.

If you require information or assistance with any legal matters pertaining to litigation, conveyancing or probation, then contact North Yorkshire Law to speak to a team of dedicated professional solicitors who will be able to act with the power of attorney on your behalf.