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Dictionary of legal terms - J-K
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[Home][Index - Dictionary][Dictionary of legal terms - J-K]

UK Law Dictionary - English Legal System

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A false boast designed to increase standing at the expense of another. This used to form the basis of an ancient legal petition called "jactitation of marriage" wherein a person could be ordered by the courts to cease claims of being married to a certain person when, in fact, they were not married. The tort of slander of title is a form of jactitation.

Jellicoe Procedure (Special Public Bill Procedure)


The Special Public Bill procedure (the Jellicoe Procedure) is available in the House of Lords, but has had limited success.  It was used for two Law Commission Bills in 1995 and apparently none since. The Jellicoe procedure is still available but was certainly not used between 1998 and 2003.  In 2004, Lord Brightman said in the Lords that Jellicoe had been unused since 1995.




The procedure is available for Law Commission Bills, to examine non-controversial but technical Bills which receive appropriate expert scrutiny without delaying business on the floor of either House.




When the Jellicoe Procedure is used in the House of Lords the committee stage is taken in a committee room and not on the floor of the House. Witnesses can attend and be heard.




Sometimes it is referred to as ‘fast track’ which is a misnomer, as the speed of a Bill through Parliament is not necessarily quicker.  Experience of Jellicoe has been disappointing, particularly because the evidence stage was found to consume considerable amounts of Ministerial and official resource, without sufficiently beneficial reduction in time on the floor of the House.




The Family Homes and Domestic Violence Bill in 1995 was considered under the Jellicoe Procedure. The Bill had been proposed by the Law Commission, following extensive consultation, However it was not possible to resolve issues with the Bill in time for the Bill to complete its stages in the last Session. The Bill was later considered by Parliament under the usual procedure.

Joint custody 


A child custody decision which means that both parents share joint legal custody and joint physical custody. This is not very common and many professionals have taken to referring to "joint legal custody but sole maternal physical custody" as "joint custody".

Joint tenancy 


If two or more people have identical shares in land they are joint tenants.  When two or more persons are equal owners of some property. The unique aspect of joint tenancy is that as the joint tenancy owners die, their shares accrue to the surviving owner(s) so that, eventually, the entire share is held by one person. A valid joint tenancy is said to require the "four unities": unity of interest (each joint tenant must have an equal interest including equality of duration and extent), unity of title (the interests must arise from the same document), unity of possession (each joint tenant must have an equal right to occupy the entire property) and unity of time: the interests of the joint tenants must arise at the same time.

Judicial review 


When a court decision is appealed, it is known as an "appeal."  There are many administrative agencies or tribunals which make decisions or deliver government services of one sort or another, the decisions of which can also be "appealed." In many cases, the "appeal" from administrative agencies is known as "judicial review" which is essentially a process where The High Court is asked to rule on the appropriateness of the administrative agency or tribunal's decision. Judicial review is a fundamental principle of administrative law. A distinctive feature of judicial review is that the "appeal" is not usually limited to errors in law but may be based on alleged errors on the part of the administrative agency on findings of fact.  A distinguishing feature of judicial review is that it reviews the process of the decision making and not the decision itself, therefore it is not really an appeal.  Government minister's decisions can, and often are, judicially reviewed. 

Judicial activism


"Judicial activism" and "activist judges" describe the role of the judiciary when considering judges in their constitutional role. 

Dictionary definitions describe activism as “a policy of taking direct and often militant action to achieve an end, esp. a political or social one.”

the Oxford English Dictionary "A philosophical theory which assumes the objective reality and active existence of everything. A doctrine or policy of advocating energetic action."
Judicial activism would denote a judiciary which discharges its functions in a vigorous and decisive manner to achieve an end.



[Latin: from Roman law: by right, under legal authority or by the authority of the law] A variation, "juris" means "of right" or "of the law." See jurisprudence below which means "science of the law."



Refers to a court's authority to judge over a situation usually acquired in one of three ways: over acts committed in a defined territory (e.g.. the jurisdiction of the UK courts is limited to acts committed or originating in the UK unless conventions existed to extend the jurisdiction, e.g. in the EU), over certain types of cases (the jurisdiction of a bankruptcy court is limited to bankruptcy cases), or over certain persons (a military court has jurisdiction limited to actions of enlisted personnel).



Technically, jurisprudence means the "science of law". Statutes articulate the bland rules of law, with only rare reference to factual situations. The actual application of these statutes to facts is left to judges who consider not only the statute but also other legal rules which might be relevant to arrive at a judicial decision; hence, the "science". Thus, "jurisprudence" has, to some writers, come to refer to case law, or the legal decisions which have developed and which accompany statutes in applying the law against situations of fact.



A group of citizens randomly selected from the general population and brought together to assist justice by deciding which version, in their opinion, constitutes "the truth" given different evidence by opposing parties.  Normally 12, except in Coroner's Courts and civil cases.



[Latin: word which, in Roman law, meant the law or a right] Also spelt "ius" in some English translations. For example, public law was called "jus publicum" and private law was called "jus privatum."

Jus primae noctis


Latin:  “law of the first night,” an alleged law that in medieval times allowed lords or Catholic priests to sleep with a bride before she was married to a serf, or on her wedding night.
There is no evidence that this law actually existed and is probably folklore to describe the power of feudalism, or a myth created by persons who wanted to end feudalism and criticise the lords.

Jus spatiandi et manendi 


Latin: referring to a legal right of way, and to enjoyment, granted to the public but only for the purposes of recreation or education, such as upon parks or public squares. Very similar to an easement of which some courts have said a jus spatiandi is a special type.



Fairness. A state of affairs in which conduct or action is both fair and right, given the circumstances. In law, it more specifically refers to the paramount obligation to ensure that all persons are treated fairly. Litigants "seek justice" by asking for compensation for wrongs committed against them; to right the inequity such that, with the compensation, a wrong has been righted and the balance of "good" or "virtue" over "wrong" or "evil" has been corrected.




Kings Counsel.  A senior barrister when the monarch is a king.  When the monarch is a queen he/she will be a Q.C.  They are chosen each year, about 75 from the ranks of successful barristers.  All other barristers are called juniors no matter how old they might be



It is an offence at common law punishable by fine and imprisonment at the discretion of the court to kidnap any person.




Kidnapping consists of the taking or carrying away of one person by another by force or fraud without the consent of the person so taken or carried away and without lawful excuse. Even in the case of a child victim, it is the absence of the victim's consent which is material, whatever the victim's age may be.




The common law offence of kidnapping exists in the case of a victim under the age of 14; and it may be committed by a parent who takes away by force or fraud his own unmarried child under the age of 18, without the child's consent and without lawful excuse, or by a husband on his wife if he treats her with hostile force and carries her away from the place where she wishes to remain.




Where the offence is committed against a child under the age of 16 by a person connected with the child, no prosecution may be instituted except by or with the consent of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Know How


Technical information having technical significance; not strictly speaking an intellectual property right.


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