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Dictionary of legal terms - T
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[Home][Index - Dictionary][Dictionary of legal terms - T]

UK Law Dictionary - English Legal System

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To interfere improperly or in violation of the law such as to tamper with a document. The term "jury tampering" means to illegally disrupt the independence of a jury member with a view to influencing that juror otherwise than by the production of evidence in open court. 


  On imposing a life sentence, a judge is required to fix a minimum period (the tariff) which must expire before the Parole Board will consider whether it would be safe to release the offender on licence.


The starting point is the sentence the offender would receive if a life sentence were not imposed.

Tenancy by the entireties 


A form of co-ownership in English law where, when a husband transferred land to his wife, the property could not be sold unless both spouses agreed nor could it be severed except by ending the marriage. 



A person to whom a landlord grants temporary and exclusive use of land or a part of a building, usually in exchange for rent. The contract for this type of legal arrangement is called a lease. The word "tenant" originated under the feudal system, referring to land "owners" who held their land on tenure granted by a lord.

Tenants in common 


Similar to joints tenants. All tenants in common share equal property rights except that, upon the death of a tenant in common, that share does not go to the surviving tenants but is transferred to the estate of the deceased tenant. Unity of possession but distinct titles. 



Property that could be subject to tenure under English land law; usually land, buildings or apartments. The word is rarely used nowadays except to refer to dominant or servient tenements when qualifying easements



A right of holding or occupying land or a position for a certain amount of time. The term was first used in the English feudal land system, whereby all land belonged to the king but was lent out to lords for a certain period of time; the lord never owning, but having tenure in the land. Used in modern law mostly to refer to a position a person occupies such as in the expression "a judge holds tenure for life and on good behaviour." 

Legal Terms


2006 - 2007
Michaelmas - 2 October 2006 - 21 December 2006.
Hilary - 11 January 2007 - Wednesday 4 April 2007
Easter - 17 April 2007 - 25 May 2007*
Trinity - 5 June 2007 - 31 July 2007

Updates here

Tesco Law or Tesco's law.

  A phrase first used in the national press and picked up by the legal personnel to describe the Government's desire to bring the law into the High Street by allowing solicitors and accountants to band together and practice under the auspices of banks building societies and retailers.
  The phrase was enjoyed because it conjured up the idea of obtaining legal advice from a retailer whilst shopping, rather than using the services of a traditionally constituted law firm.


Not to be confused with the website of Tesco at


  A right of holding or occupying land or a position for a certain amount of time. The term was first used in the English feudal land system, whereby all land belonged to the king but was lent out to lords for a certain period of time; the lord never owning, but having tenure in the land.


Used in modern law mostly to refer to a position a person occupies such as in the expression "a judge holds tenure for life and on good behaviour." 

Testamentary trust 


A trust that is to take effect only upon the death of the settlor and is commonly found as part of a will. Trusts which take effect during the life of the settlor are called inter vivos trusts.

Testator or testatrix (female)


A person who dies with a valid will



The verbal presentation of a witness in a judicial proceeding. 



Theft Act 1968, s.1 (1) "A person is guilty of theft if he dishonestly appropriates property belonging to another with the intention of permanently depriving the other of it; and thief and steal shall be construed accordingly.

Time Immemorial


Time beyond legal memory.




The formal beginning of English law is 3rd September 1189 -the accession of Richard I, and the end of the reign of Henry II the father of the Common Law.




Today, an ancient custom can have the force of law, such as a right over land, if it can be shown to have existed since "time immemorial" (now a lesser period).




The Statute of Westminster in 1275 fixed 1189 as the earliest date from which evidence in land disputes could be considered.  The Statute of Westminster was the product of Edward I (Known as Edward the Law Giver, or Edward the English Justinian, or Edward Longshanks).




The longest period of a monarch had been absent from the kingdom occurred with Richard I.



Tithes The tenth part of an income donated for religious purposes. Tithes were required by Mosaic law, which demanded payment in kind from all agricultural produce. Church law also required tithes to maintain churches and clergy. They were abolished in Britain in 1936.

Thole an Assize


In Scotland,  to undergo trial, after which no further trial on the same charge may take place. 

Tomlin Order

  In civil proceedings a sealed order by agreement. Where proceedings are to be stayed on agreed terms, except for the purpose of carrying into effect the terms of the agreement in the schedule to the Order.


An example can be seen here.


  Derived from the Latin word tortus, which meant wrong. In French, "tort" means a wrong." Tort refers to that body of the law that will allow an injured person to obtain compensation from the person who caused the injury.
  Every person is expected to conduct himself or herself without injuring others. When they do so, either intentionally or by negligence, they can be required by a court to pay money to the injured party ("damages").


Tort also serves as a deterrent by sending a message to the community as to what is unacceptable conduct. The person who commits a tort is called a tortfeasor.



Name given to a person or persons who have committed a tort.



A legal proceeding taken under the law of equity where the claimant attempts to reclaim specific property, through the court, whether the property is still in the first acquirer's hands or it has passed onto others, and even if the property has been converted (related common law terms: conversion, trover and detinue). This is a procedure frequently used by a trust beneficiary to recover misappropriated trust property. 

Tracing orders


It is possible to make a claim for the return of fraudulently obtained assets on the basis that the claimant has a “proprietary claim” to such assets; this can include the proceeds of assets obtained by fraud. The prospects of succeeding on such an application are based upon the claimant’s interest in the property or proceeds.



A claimant can pursue both personal claims against the fraudster and proprietary claims against the fraudster and others, at the same time.



Tracing claims can be more effective than personal claims as they can prevent the defendant from dealing with the claimant’s money so that the defendant cannot use it until the entitlement to the funds has been established even, for example, to pay his reasonable expenses.



A defendant is also obliged to inform the claimant what has happened to all the claimant’s money that has passed through his hands i.e. not limited to the defendant’s current assets.



Tracing rules are flexible – basic principle is “just and convenient”.



A defence to a tracing claim exists if the defendant received assets bona fide without notice, so that he takes free of the claimant’s claims.



A person who receives property being transferred (the person from whom the property is moving is the transferor). 



A person from whom property moves. Property is transferred from the transferor to the transferor. I sell you my house and in transferring title to you, I am the transferor and you, the transferee. 


  A formal agreement between two states signed by official representatives of each state. A treaty may be "law-making" in that it is the declared intention of the signatories to make or amend their internal laws to give effect to the treaty. The Berne Convention is an example of such as treaty.


Other treaties are just contracts between the signatories to conduct themselves in a certain way or to do a certain thing. These latter type of treaties are usually private to two or a limited number of states and may be binding only through the International Court of Justice.

Treaty on European Union (TEU)


Treaty amending the EC Treaty, signed in 1992 and in force from 1 November 1993. The objective of the Treaty was to supplement the progress of the internal market towards further European unity by means of political, economic and monetary union, and the strengthening of the powers of the European Parliament.



Unlawful interference with another's person, property or rights. Theoretically, all torts are trespasses. 



Bodies with judicial or quasi-judicial functions set up by statute and existing outside the usual judicial hierarchy of the Supreme Court and County Courts.  e.g. Employment Tribunals.  They usually, but not necessarily, determine claims between and individuals and a government department, a notable exception being employment tribunals. 




The reasons for tribunals were said by Lord Pearce, in Anisminic v Foreign Compensation Commission [1969], to be "speed, cheapness and expert knowledge." 




In most cases tribunals are chaired by a barrister or solicitor appointed by the Queen via the Judicial Appointments Commission and sit with lay representatives with special interests.


  An old English and common law legal proceeding against a person who had found someone else's property and has converted that property to their own purposes.


The action of trover did not ask for the return of the property but for damages in an amount equal to the replacement value of the property. English law replaced the action of trover with that of conversion in 1852. 


  This is an arrangement under which property is held by named people for someone else.  Property given by a person called the donor or settlor, to a trustee, for the benefit of another person (the beneficiary or donee).
  The trustee manages and administers the property, actual ownership is shared between the trustee and the beneficiary and all the profits go to the beneficiary. The word "fiduciary" can be used to describe the responsibilities of the trustee towards the beneficiary.


A will is a form of trust but trusts can be formed during the lifetime of the settlor in which case it is called an inter vivos or living trust.

Turnbull warning


Evidence of visual identification is notoriously unreliable, yet favoured by juries. When identification is in issue, the judge will issue a “Turnbull warning” (from R v Turnbull [1977] QBD), a warning to the jury about relying on identification and the reasons for the warning.




Firstly, the warning will refer to the possibility that even a convincing witness(es) may be mistaken.




Secondly the jury should test the evidence by examining such things as the circumstances in which the identification came to be made.


- How long did the witness have the accused under observation?


- At what distance?


- In what light?


- Was the observation impeded in any way, as for example, by passing traffic or a press of people?


- Had the witness ever seen the accused before?


- How often?


- If only occasionally, had he any special reason for remembering the accused?


- How long elapsed between the original observation and the subsequent identification to the police?


- Was there any material discrepancy between the description of the accused given to the police by the witness when first seen by them and his actual appearance?  Material discrepancies should be supplied to the defendant.




Finally, recognition may be more reliable than identification of a stranger but they should be reminded that mistakes can occur.



More on identification guidelines here.


  This is a person who holds property and looks after it on behalf of someone else. The person who holds property rights for the benefit of another through the legal mechanism of the trust.
  A trustee usually has full management and administration rights over the property but these rights must always be exercised to the full advantage of the beneficiary. All profits from the property go to the beneficiary although the trustee is entitled to reimbursement for administrative costs.


There is no legal impediment for a trustee also to be a beneficiary of the same property. 

Trustee de son tort 


A trustee "of his own wrong"; a person who is not a regularly appointed trustee but because of his or her inter meddling with the trust and the exercise of some control over the trust property, can be held by a court as "constructive" trustee which entails liability for losses to the trust.

Type Approval


Procedure by which a member state certifies that a type of good satisfies the technical requirements established by EU legislation with the consequence that all models of that type of good are deemed to satisfy those requirements.


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