Press standards, privacy and libel - Culture, Media and Sport Committee Contents


Glossary of terms

Access to justice - The ability of a person to obtain legal advice and representation, and to secure the adjudication through the courts of their legal rights and obligations.

ATE (After the Event) insurance - Insurance taken out by one party against the risk of him having to pay his opponent's legal costs, where the insurance policy is taken out "after the event" giving rise to court proceedings.

CFA (Conditional Fee Agreement) - An agreement pursuant to which a lawyer agrees with his or her client to be paid a success fee in the event of the client's claim succeeding, where the success fee is not calculated as a proportion of the amount recovered by the client. A typical example of a CFA is where a lawyer is retained on a "no win, no fee" basis.

Claimant - The person issuing the claim, previously known as the plaintiff.

Costs - The costs incurred by a party through engaging lawyers to act for it. These costs may include the cost of expert witnesses, barristers, photocopying and other disbursements. Costs may be distinguished from fees which are payable to the court in civil litigation.

Costs capping - A mechanism whereby judges impose limits on the amount of future costs that the successful party can recover from the losing party.

Costs shifting - The ordering that one person is to pay another's costs. Costs shifting usually operates on a "loser pays" basis, so that the unsuccessful party is required to pay the successful party's recoverable costs.

CPR (Civil Procedure Rules 1998) - The primary rules of court for civil litigation in England and Wales, introduced as a consequence of the Woolf reforms.

Defamation - The use of words to injure a person's reputation. Libel and slander are defamation.

Defendant - The person who has a claim made against them. They can defend (dispute the claim) or admit liability, in part or in full.

ECHR (European Convention on Human Rights) - The Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (also called the "European Convention on Human Rights" and "ECHR") was adopted under the auspices of the Council of Europe in 1950 to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms in Europe.

ECtHR (European Court of Human Rights) - the Strasbourg court that considers human rights-based appeals from contracting states.

HRA (Human Rights Act 1998) - Incorporates the ECHR into UK law.

Injunction - A court order which either restrains a person from a course of action or behaviour, or which requires a person to follow another course of action.

Jurisdiction - The area and matters over which a court has legal authority.

Libel - A written and published statement/article which infers damaging remarks on a person's reputation.

Master of the Rolls - Head of the Court of Appeal (Civil Division).

One way costs shifting - A regime under which the defendant pays the claimant's costs if his or her claim is successful, but the claimant does not pay the defendant's costs if the claim is unsuccessful.

PCC (Press Complaints Commission) - The self-regulatory body of the press. Funded by the newspapers and magazines that subscribe to it, the PCC handles and adjudicates complaints made about articles appearing in the British press.

PressBof - The Press Standards Board of Finance is the financial arm of the PCC and manages the subscriptions and fees from the industry.

Publication - releasing information to a party other than the subject of the information (third party).

Qualified one way costs shifting - A system of one way costs shifting which may become a two way costs shifting system in certain circumstances, e.g. if it is just that there be two way costs shifting given the resources available to the parties.

Slander - Spoken words which have a damaging effect on a person's reputation.

Sub judice - An ongoing case or matter that is before a judge and has not yet been decided.

Tort - An action in tort is a claim for damages to compensate the claimant for harm suffered. Such claims arise from cases of personal injury, breach of contract and damage to personal reputation. As well as damages, remedies include an injunction to prevent harm occurring again.

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Prepared 24 February 2010