This dictionary has beenwritten by a distinguished team of academic and practising lawyers. It is intended primarily for those without a qualification in law who nevertheless require some legallmowledge in the course oftheirwork: chartered surveyors andaccountants, civil servants and local-government officers, social workers and probation officers, as well as businessmen and legal secretaries are typical examples of those whose work often calls for a knowledge of the precise meaning (and spelling) ofa legal term. Each article, therefore, begins with a clear definition ofthe entry word (or words) and, in most cases, is followed by a more detailed explanation or description of the concepts involved. Written in concise English, without the unnecessary use of legal jargon, the bookwill also be ofconsiderable value to members ofthe public who come into contact with the law and lawyers – house buyers, motorists, and hire purchasers are among those who cannot escape the effects oflegislation or the unique prose style in which it is usually expressed. In the five years since the last edition of the dictionary was published there have been radical changes in the English legal system, most notably in the areas of civil procedure (resulting from the Access to Justice Act 1999 and the Civil Procedure Rules – the socalled ‘WoolfReforms’) and human rights law (brought about by the Human Rights Act 1998).
The new edition reflects these and many other changes. If any provisions ofnew legislation were not in force at the time of publication, the entries to which they apply will indicate the direction ofthe proposed changes. An asterisk (*) placed before a word in a definition indicates that additional relevant informationwill be found underthis article. Some entries simplyrefer the readerto another entry, indicatingeitherthat they are synonyms or abbreviations or that they are most conveniently explained, together with related terms, in one of the dictionary’s longer articles. The use ofthe pronoun ‘he’ (rather than ‘he or she’) in entries has beenadopted to simplifythe constructionof sentences; it does notimplythatthe subjectmatterrelates exclusively to males.
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