Legal Glossary

A list of the legal terms you may find in your Title Deeds or may need if you take a Small Claims Action. Arranged alphabetically.

A - C

Legal term

Meaning

Absolve

To find in favour of and exonerate the defender.

Absolvitor

An order of the court exonerating the defender which means that the pursuer is not allowed to bring the same matter to court again.

Action of Furthcoming

A final stage of diligence or enforcement. It results in whatever has been subject to arrestment being made over to the person who is suing. For example, where a bank account has been arrested, this results in the appropriate amount being transferred to the pursuer.

Ad factum praestandum

An obligation to do or perform some act (other than the payment of money).

Ad longum

At length

Adjudication

A quick and inexpensive method of dispute resolution resulting in an immediately enforceable, non-binding dispute settlement by an Adjudicator.

Affirmative burden

These are real burdens which impose an obligation on the owner of the burdened property to do something, such as build a house or maintain a wall.

Alienate

To separate out

Ancillary burdens

These burden a property with the right of neighbouring proprietors to enter or make use of the burdened property to allow them to comply with another burden. The proprietor of an upper flat might, for example, have right of access over the ground belonging to the proprietor of a ground floor flat, but only in order to comply with a burden requiring them to maintain the upper villa.

Appellant

A person making an appeal against the court’s decision.

Appurtenances

Things or rights attached to the property

Arbitration

The main alternative to the court system where the parties have the power to decide many of the procedures that will govern the conduct of their arbitration. The decision is binding in law.

Arbitrator / arbiter

Someone who has the authority or influence to settle arguments or disputes between other people

Arrestment on the dependence

A court order to freeze the goods or bank account of the defender until the court has heard the case.

Arrestment to found jurisdiction

A court order used against a person who has goods or other assets in Scotland, to give the court jurisdiction to hear a case. This is achieved by preventing anything being done with the goods or assets until the case has been disposed of.

Assessed rental

Rateable Value

Assign

Transfer or makeover to someone

Assignee

The person to whom something is transferred

Authorised lay representative

A person other than a lawyer who represents a party to a summary cause.

Benefited property

A property that benefits from a burden imposed on another property. eg a right of access is a burden or obligation and the right of a property owner to cross someone else’s property is a benefit

Blench disposition

The sale of land for a token sum of money (on old penny, a red rose etc)

Bond

A mortgage or a written agreement to pay money

Building maintenance fund

An account that owners pay into regularly to build up funds to pay for future major repairs.  Also known as a ‘sinking fund’.

Burdened property

See benefited property

Burdens

A legal obligation relating to land and buildings. Normally found in your title deeds and deeds of condition

Calling date

The date on which the case will first be heard in court.

Cause

Another word for case or claim.

Caution (pronounced kay-shun)

A security, usually a sum of money, given to ensure that some obligation will be carried out.

Certificate of Execution of Service

The document recording that an order or decree of the court for service of documents has been effected.

Charge

An order to obey a decree of a court. A common type is one served on the defender by a sheriff officer, on behalf of the pursuer who has won a case, demanding payment of a sum of money.

Citation of defender

The bringing of a person into a case by serving on him or her the necessary court documents.

Commission and Diligence

Authorisation by the court for someone to take the evidence of a witness who cannot attend court, or to obtain the production of documentary evidence. It is combined with a diligence authorising the person appointed to require the attendance of the witness and the disclosure of documents.

Common parts

Parts of the tenement that are not within the boundaries of individual flats.

Common property

Property that is owned by more than one person, where each owner has a right to a share in the whole property, but none has an absolute right to any physical portion of it.

Community burdens

These are burdens which are imposed on 2 or more units in a property and each of the units is both a burdened and benefited property. Community burdens can be enforced by any of the related properties. S53 Title Conditions (Scotland) Act 2003

Conciliation

The main difference between mediation and conciliation is that in conciliation the agreement reached is binding in honour only

Consignation

The deposit in court, or with a third party, of money or an article in dispute.

Continuation

An order made by the sheriff postponing the completion of a hearing until a later date or dates.

Contribution, Right of

The right of one person, who is legally liable to pay money to someone, to claim a proportionate share from others who are also liable.

Convene

To call a meeting.

Cooling off period

Period of time allowed to change your mind about a purchase decision. Currently, goods and services that are sold unsolicited are subject in law to a seven day cooling off period.

Counterclaim

A claim made by a defender in response to the pursuer’s case and which is not a defence to that case. It is a separate but related case against the pursuer which is dealt with at the same time as the pursuer’s case.

Crave

The part of the summons which sets out the legal remedy (result) which the pursuer is seeking.

Cumulo assessed rental

All the assessed rentals added together

D - I

Legal term

Meaning

Damages

Money compensation payable for a breach of contract or some other legal duty.

Decree

An order made by the court

Deed of conditions

These set out owner’s responsibilities and are part of the title deeds for a property.  Every owner should have the same Deed of Conditions. Sometime when people refer to Title Deeds, they really mean the Deed of Conditions “title” being a record of who owns the property.

Defender

Person against whom a summary cause is started.

Delineated

Outlined

Deliverance

A decision or order of a court.

Development management scheme

A bit like deeds of condition, the dms sets out owners common responsibilities.  A formal owners association, with a manager and powers to take action is also included.

Diet

Date for a court hearing

Diligence

The collective term for the procedures used to enforce a decree of a court. These include arrestment of wages, goods or a bank account.

Dismissal

An order bringing to an end the proceedings in a summary cause. It is usually possible for a new summary cause to be brought if not time barred.

Dispone

To sell

Disponee

The person to whom the property is sold.

Disposition

Deed of sale.  Needs to registered in the Land Register (Registers of Scotland) to be final.

Domicile

The place where a person is normally resident or where, in the case of a company, it has its place of business or registered office.

Dominant tenement

See burdened property

Dominium utile

The right of a tenant to have full use and possession of a property

Easement

The right to use something, especially property, that is not one's own, or to prevent its owner making an inconvenient use of it. Eg the right to access a property across someone else’s land is an easement.

Effect

To do something

Effeiring

Belonging to

Egress

Way out.

Estimate

An informed guess, a rough price.

Ex adverso

Opposite

Execute

To carry out a task .

Exigible

The amount to be paid

Extract decree

The document containing the order of the court which is made at the end of the summary cause. For example, it can be used to enforce payment of a sum awarded.

Facility burdens

These are real burdens which regulate the maintenance, management, reinstatement or use of property. An example of this is where the owner is obliged to maintain or contribute to the maintenance of the common parts of a tenement.

Factor

A company that provides maintenance, repair and property management services. Factoring services may also be provided by a local authority or registered social landlord.

Feu

The right to use land or property in return for a continuing annual payment of a fixed sum (feu duty) to the owner of the land (feu superior).  Feu duties have now been abolished so “a feu” can now be taken to mean a piece of property. The rights of a superior to enforce conditions in the title deeds have now been replaced by the concept of community burdens. 

Feu Superior

Now abolished - see feu

First Calling

The first occasion on which a summary cause is heard in court.

Free Ish and Entry

The right to come and go

Grantee

The person the property is sold to

Grantor

The person who sells the property.

Ground annual

Like a feu duty

Haver

A person who holds documents which are required as evidence in a case.

Heritable property

A building or piece of land that can be bought and sold.  It also includes rights over, or connected with property.

Incidental application

An application that can be made during the course of a summary cause for certain orders. Examples are applications for the recovery of documents or to amend the statement of claim.

Inhibition on the dependence

A court order to freeze any of the defender’s rights in property until the court has heard the case.

Instrument

A document which includes a contract

Interim attachment

A court order to stop the defender disposing of certain goods before the court has heard the case.

Interlocutor

The official record of the order or judgement of a court.

Interrogatories

Written questions put to someone during a court case which must be answered on oath.

Intimation

The technical term for giving notice to another party of some step in a summary cause.

Investiture

A document giving authority to do something

Irritate

Forfeit. ( Note the right of a superior to irritate a feu, or seize the property, is now abolished.)

Ish

To end

J - R

Legal term

Meaning

Jus quaesitum tertio

Third party rights. Now covered by the Title Conditions Act 2003.

Land Register of Scotland

Computerised and plan-based register maintained by the Registers of Scotland. All house sales in Scotland are now registered in this register.

Lands Tribunal for Scotland

A judicial body (like a court) with power to change or remove conditions in title deeds.

License

A kind of lease

Lien

A right to hold someone’s property until a debt is paid.

Liferent

The right to use a property during your lifetime

Maintenance account

An account set up to pay for maintenance and repair works.

Manager burdens

Burdens used by a developer for the purpose of appointing a manager in the initial years of a development.

Mean

Halfway point

Mediation

A voluntary, non-binding 'without prejudice' process in which trained third party negotiators attempt to bring people together to reach settlement

Messenger-at-Arms

Officers of court who serve documents issued by the Court of Session.

Minute

A document produced during a case in which a party makes an application or sets out his or her position on some matter.

Minute for Recall

A form lodged with the court by one party asking the court to recall a decree.

Missives

The first stage in the conveyance of property in Scotland. A letter drawn up by your solicitor. (The “Disposotion” is the second stage.)

Negative burdens

These are real burdens which say the owner of the burdened property must not do something, such as an obligation not use the property for a place of business or for the sale of alcohol. Negative burdens can be enforced against the occupier of the burdened property as well as the owner.

Nominee

Someone who is named to carry out a task on another person’s behalf and with their authority.

Options hearing

A preliminary stage in an ordinary cause action

Ordinary cause

A legal procedure for cases involving £5,000 available in the sheriff court.

Owners’ association

A formal association by which owners manage and maintain their common property.

Party litigant

A person who conducts his or her own case

Perch

A measurement of about 5 metres

Personal real burdens

A real burden or obligation on property that is enforced by a body such as the local council  eg conservation burdens.

Pertaining

Belonging

Pertinances

Something which belongs to a property

Pole

A measurement of about 5 metres

Praedial real burdens

Burdens relating to property

Presents

In a deed "these presents" means the deed itself.

Primo

First person or thing in a list

Pro Indiviso

A joint share of something that can’t be divided up

Process

The court file containing all the documents relating to a case.

Productions

Documents or articles which are used in evidence.

Property manager

A company that provides maintenance, repair and management services. Property management may also be provided by a local authority or registered social landlord. See Property Factors (Scotland) Act 2011

Proprietor/ proprietrix

The owner.

Pursuer

The person who starts a summary cause.

Quarto

Fourth person or thing in a list

Quoad

As far as

Quote or Quotation -

A fixed price that is binding.

S - Z

Legal term

Meaning

Real burdens

A restriction or duty placed on heritable property or the owner of such property.  Unlike a contractual agreement which is between current owners, real burdens are permanent and run from with the title one owner to the next. They can be changed using the correct process.

Real conditions

Servitudes, real burdens and rights of common interest are real conditions: obligations which affect property and run with the titles.

Recall of a decree

An order revoking a decree which has been granted.

Recall of an arrestment

A court order withdrawing an arrestment.

Recovery of documents

The process of obtaining documentary evidence which is not in the possession of the person seeking it (such as a surveyors report)

Register of Sasines

A chronological register of title needs, which is now being replaced by the Lands Register of Scotland.

Registered social landlord

Local council, housing association or housing cooperative registered with the Scottish Housing Regulator.

Registers of Scotland Executive Agency

Agency that maintains the two property registers: the Register of Sasines and the Land Register of Scotland.

Registration of Title

Registration in the Land Register grants the owner the real right of ownership.

Reinstatement value

The full cost of rebuilding the property, not just its market value.

Remit between procedures

A decision of the sheriff to transfer the summary cause to another court procedure, such as small claim or ordinary cause procedure.

Respondent

When a decision of the sheriff is appealed against, the person making the appeal is called the appellant. The other side in the appeal is called the respondent.

Restriction of an arrestment

An order releasing part of the money or property arrested.

Return day

The date by which the defender must send a written reply to the court and, where appropriate, the pursuer must return the summons to court.

Rod (Pole or Perch)

A measurement – about 5m in length

Rood

A measurement of ¼ acre

Schedule of Arrestment

The list of items which may be arrested.

Scheme costs

Any cost incurred through a scheme decision.

Scheme decision

A decision taken by the owners of a majority of related properties, such as in a tenement.

Scheme property

Parts of the property that are so vital that their maintenance is the responsibility of all owners who have common property rights in those parts.

Secundo

Second person or thing in a list

Serve/Service

Sending a copy of the summons or other court document to the defender or another party.

Service burdens

Service burdens are concerned with the provision of services, such as a water supply or electricity, to other land.

Servitude

The old term for a burden

Sheriff Clerk

The court official responsible for the administration of the sheriff court

Sheriff Officer

A person who serves court documents and enforces court orders.

Sinking fund

A fund to which owners contribute to help offset maintenance and repairs costs.

Sist as a Party

To add another person as a litigant in a case.

Sist of Action

The temporary suspension of a court case by court order.

Solum

The ground the property stands on.

Specification of documents

A list lodged in court of documents to be recovered, for which a party seeks a court order.

Standard security

A mortgage or loan secured on a property

Stated case

An appeal procedure where the sheriff sets out his findings and the reasons for his decision and states the issues on which the decision of the sheriff principal is requested.

Statement of claim

The part of the summons in which pursuers set out details of their cases against defenders.

Subservient tenement

See benefited property

Successor

In this context, someone who becomes owner of the flat after you.

Summons

The form which must be filled in to begin a summary cause.

Tenement

A building comprising two or more related flats that are owned or designed to be owned separately and which are divided from one another horizontally.

Tenement management scheme (tms)

The default management scheme that applies where there are gaps or defects in title deeds.

Tertio

Third person or thing in a list

Time to pay direction

A court order for which a defender who is an individual may apply, permitting a sum owed to be paid by instalments or by a single payment at a later date.

Title conditions

A broad term for conditions applying to property ownership. Conditions can include an obligation to contribute to the cost of a service or to maintain property or a prohibition from carrying out certain activities on the property.

Title deeds

Legal document that states who has title or ownership of a property, and sets out the conditions that affect the property.

Transmission

Transfer of property

Vest

When property or rights over property are vested in a person, they have a legal right to dispose of the property, even if they don’t have title.

Videlicet

Namely (shortened to viz)

Viz

Namely(a shortening of videlicet)

Warrandice

Guarantee

Warrant for diligence

Authority to carry out one of the diligence procedures.

Writ

A legally significant document or piece of writing.