The Most Confusing and Essential Legal Terms Explained

Just 20% of individuals and only 11% of businesses use a legal service provider each year. That is despite the fact that 50% of individuals and 40% of businesses admit to experiencing a legal issue.

Market research consistently reveals that the complexity of legal terminology is a significant barrier preventing people from accessing legal services. Legal jargon can be daunting, leading many to avoid dealing with legal documents.

In response, numerous law firms have endeavored to communicate in plain English, striving to make legal concepts more approachable for individuals and businesses. Despite these efforts, a myriad of legal terms remain perplexing for the average person.

This article aims to shed light on some of the most bewildering legal terms, enhancing understanding and accessibility.


Definition: This term is used when an individual fails to appear in court as required. Example: A common scenario is when a defendant, released on bail, fails to return for a scheduled court hearing.


Definition: An affidavit is a sworn written statement. Additional Information: Comparable to verbal court testimony, affidavits are utilised in various legal proceedings and must be signed in the presence of an authorised official, such as a magistrate.


Definition: Arbitration is an alternative dispute resolution method outside of court proceedings. Application: Often employed in commercial and employment disputes, it involves an arbitrator who examines both sides of a dispute to reach a resolution, which may be binding if agreed upon by the parties involved.


Definition: Conveyancing refers to the legal process of transferring property ownership, applicable in property sales, purchases, and remortgaging. Practice: Conducted by solicitors or specialised conveyancers, this service encompasses all legal aspects of property transactions.


Definition: Disbursements are expenses paid by legal service providers on behalf of their clients. Example: Common disbursements include payments for property information from local authorities during the house-buying process, later reclaimed from the client.


Definition: Dying intestate means passing away without a will. Legal Implications: In such cases, laws dictate the distribution of the deceased's estate, usually among relatives. Legal intervention can challenge or alter this distribution.


Definition: A tort is a civil wrong causing harm or loss, leading to legal liability. Application: It covers various civil law violations, from negligence to defamation.


Definition: A subpoena is a legal document ordering someone to attend court or produce documents. Usage: Failure to comply with a subpoena can result in legal penalties.

Habeas Corpus

Definition: Habeas Corpus is a legal action demanding a person detained be brought before a court to determine the legality of the detention. Significance: It's a fundamental right in many legal systems, ensuring protection against unlawful imprisonment.

Prima Facie

Definition: Prima Facie refers to evidence that, unless rebutted, is sufficient to prove a particular proposition or fact. Usage: Common in both civil and criminal law, it denotes the establishment of a legally required rebuttable presumption.


Definition: An injunction is a court order compelling a party to do or refrain from specific acts. Context: Used to prevent harm, preserve the status quo, or compel action in various legal contexts.

Start comparing legal service providers through The Law Superstore today.