A person who is professionally qualified to plead the cause of another in a court of law.


Proceedings being either put off or postponed; an ending or dismissal of further business by a court, legislature, or public official—either temporarily or permanently.


A written statement confirmed by oath or affirmation, for use as evidence in court.


A claim or assertion that someone has done something illegal or wrong, typically one made without proof.

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

(ADR) is the collective name given to several methods of dealing with disputes without going to court.


A person called to the bar and entitled to practise as an advocate, particularly in the higher courts.


A summary of the facts and legal points in a case given to a barrister to argue in court.


All the documents brought together by the claimant for a trial.


The Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS) is a public body in England set up to promote the welfare and protection of children and families involved in family court proceedings.

Care Order

A care order is given by a court. It allows a council to take a child into care. Under the Children Act 1989 a council can apply for a care order if it believes a child is suffering or at risk of suffering significant harm.


In law, a chamber is a room or office used by barristers or a judge. A barrister’s chambers or barristers’ chambers are the rooms used by a barrister or a group of barristers. A judge’s chambers, on the other hand, is the office of a judge, where the judge may hear certain types of cases, instead of in open court.

Child Arrangements Orders

A Child Arrangements Order means a court order regulating arrangements relating to any of the following: With whom a child is to live, spend time or otherwise have contact; and. When a child is to live, spend time or otherwise have contact with any person.

Child Protection

Child protection is the protection of children from violence, exploitation, abuse and neglect.

Child Protection Case Conference

A child protection case conference is a meeting which is held when Children’s Social Care and the police are still concerned about a child’s health, safety or happiness after an enquiry has taken place.

Child Protection Plan

A child protection plan is a plan drawn up by the local authority. It sets out how the child can be kept safe, how things can be made better for the family and what support they will need.

Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass)

The Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service is a non-departmental public body in England set up to promote the welfare of children and families involved in family court.

Children’s Services

Children’s services used to be called ‘social services’. Children’s services are responsible for supporting and protecting vulnerable children. This includes providing children and their families with extra help.

Circuit Judge

Circuit judges are judges in England and Wales who sit in the Crown Court, county courts and certain specialized sub-divisions of the High Court of Justice.

Civil Law

The system of law concerned with private relations between members of a community rather than criminal, military, or religious affairs.


The definition of a claimant is a person who makes a claim. A plaintiff who has filed a lawsuit against someone is an example of a claimant.

Clare’s Law

A scheme to let people find out from police if their partner has a history of domestic violence has been brought in across England and Wales.

Coercive Behaviour

Coercive behaviour is a singular act or a pattern of acts that involve abuse such as threats, humiliation and intimidation and that is used to harm or frighten their victim.

Contact Centre

A Contact Centre is a neutral place where children of separated families can spend regulated time with either one or both of their parents. This contact can also be with other family members.

Contact Order

A Contact Order is a Child Arrangements Order and it is a court order that regulates arrangements relating to with whom a child is to live, spend time or otherwise have contact with.

Contempt of Court

If someone is found as being in Contempt of Court, then their offence is of being disobedient to or disrespectful within a court of law and/or to its officers.


Corroboration is evidence that confirms or supports an allegation.


Counsel is the name given to a barrister or a solicitor (or another legal adviser) advocating a case.

County Court

A County Court is a judicial court where civil cases are heard.

Cross Examination

Cross Examination is a formal interrogation of a witness called by the other party in a court of law. The purpose of a Cross Examination is to challenge or further extend upon a testimony that has already been given.


Damages are an award that is used as a remedy by the courts. The purpose of damages is to compensate the injured party.

Domestic Violence Order Protection

Domestic Violence Protection Orders (DVPOs) are able to provide immediate protection for a survivor in the aftermath of domestic abuse. They are a civil order and can be applied for by the police and granted by a magistrate.

Emergency Protection Order

An emergency protection order (EPO) is an order issued with the objective of protecting a child (or children) from physical, mental or emotional harm and occurs where emergency action is needed. There must be either an ongoing or imminent risk of this harm.

Enforcement Order

An Enforcement Order is a type of court order which effectively orders a party comply with a judgment made against them.

Ex Parte Decision

An Ex Parte decision is one decided by a judge and is made without requiring all of the parties involved in the controversy to be present. Ex parte matters are typically for just temporary orders – such as temporary custody – awaiting a formal hearing. They may also be made for an emergency request for an adjournment. Ex Parte translates to ‘on one side only’.

Family Court Adviser

A Family court Adviser is a name given to social workers who work directly with vulnerable children and families. Their role is to advise the family courts on what course of action would be in the child(ren)’s best interest.

High Court Judge

A High Court judge is a Justice of the High Court and they represent the third highest level of judge in the courts of England and Wales.


An injunction is an order that is given by the court and the order will require a party to either carry out a specific actor to instead withhold from doing a particular act.


A Judgment is a term that is given to the decision made of a court regarding the rights and the liabilities of parties involved in legal proceedings.

Judicial Review

A Judicial review is a type of court proceeding where a judge reviews the lawfulness of a decision made by a public body. They can challenge the way in which a decision has been made as opposed to just looking at the rights and wrongs of the outcome.

Legal Aid

Legal Aid is funding taken from public funds to help pay for legal advice or proceedings. There are certain requirements to be met and not everyone eligible will automatically receive the legal aid.


A Magistrate is a civil officer who administers the law in a court that deals with crimes that are less serious.

McKenzie Friend

A McKenzie Friend is someone authorised to help you in court by taking notes and giving advice. They cannot sign documents on your behalf, speak for you or interfere with court proceedings. The judge will decide whether you can have a McKenzie friend with you in court.


An oath is a declaration of truth. A judicial oath is a declaration made before a court where the person who is making the oath promises to tell the truth.

Occupation Order

This is a court order that protects someone who is or may have been a victim of domestic abuse. It is a type of injunction and it orders one party to do (or not do) something. It usually related to who can reside in the family home or enter the area surrounding it.


A ‘party’ to court proceedings is a single person or legal entity which either makes an application to the court or is responding to an application. In family cases, only ‘parties’ to the proceedings have a right to go into court and hear the evidence.

Prohibited Steps Order

This is when the Court prevents a certain action. An order may be made against anyone, regardless of whether they have parental responsibility or not. An order may be made against someone who is not even a party in the court proceedings.


A Recorder has all the powers of a Circuit Judge and may sit in either the Crown Court or in the County Court.


The respondent is the party who is responding to the allegations that have been made against them.

Scott Schedule

The table of allegations which is used in court proceedings in the Family Court in order to set out the allegations is often referred to as a Scott Schedule.


A solicitor is a qualified lawyer who deals with legal matters such as conveyancing and advising their clients. They can also instruct barristers and advocate for clients in some lower courts.


A witness is someone who gives evidence before a court of law. They must have a sufficient level of knowledge of the occurrence and can therefore testify.