Raworths LLP
The Legal Jargon The Legal Jargon

The Legal Jargon


We act for businesses as well as the people who create, own and invest in them, building long term relationships with our clients to understand the unique challenges and opportunities they face. Our depth of experience and knowledge is focussed on providing practical advice designed to meet all our clients’ business needs.

Individuals & Families

We understand how important your case is, our experienced teams are on hand to provide practical and effective legal advice. With one of the largest teams of lawyers in North Yorkshire we work for wealthy individuals and their families, trusts and family businesses - your needs are at the heart of what we do.


Our Commercial, Residential and Agricultural Property teams have the expertise to help you deal with the opportunities and challenges of the freehold and leasehold real estate market. We have substantial depth of experience of the property world and its demands which gives us the crucial ability to help you achieve your aims.

Resolving Disputes

Disputes are an unavoidable fact of life, but when they happen it is essential to find a quick, effective and practical solution to the situation. Whether your issues are commercial or business related, family or personal, we have the depth of experience, imagination and expertise to help you solve your problems.

Phrase Meaning
Abstract of Title A summary of the deeds and documents showing title to property and all matters affecting it.
Assent A document signed by the personal representative of the estate of someone who has died, transferring property to a beneficiary.
Assign To transfer a property or legal interest.
Banker’s draft Similar to a cheque but cannot be cancelled or countermanded once drawn. Payment is guaranteed by the paying bank.
Collateral security Security for the payment of a loan in addition to the principal security eg deposit of share certificates or a life insurance policy in addition to a mortgage.
Common land A piece of land subject to rights of common; eg the rights in common with others of pasture, fishing, cutting wood or turves.
Completion When a seller hands over possession of a property to a buyer in exchange for the purchase price.
Conditions of sale The terms on which the buyer is to purchase the property. These will be set out in the contract.
Consideration The amount which the buyer pays for the property in money or other items. e.g. a part exchange of land
Contract An agreement enforceable by law. Unlike most contracts, a contract for sale of an interest in land must be in writing. A valid written contract can be created inadvertently.
Convey To transfer an interest in property from one to another.
Covenant An agreement creating an obligation contained in a deed. Covenants can be positive e.g. an obligation to maintain a boundary fence, or restrictive, e.g. an agreement not to keep pigs or poultry on the land.
Dedication The grant of a right of way to the public over private property.
Deed A formal document which is ‘signed and delivered’ to prove and testify the agreement of the parties to the deed.
Deposit A sum of money (usually 10% of the purchase price) which is paid by the buyer to the seller’s solicitor on exchange of contracts. If the buyer goes on to rescind the contract and fails to complete the deposit is kept by the seller.
Development of land Actions such as building works or change of use of property which in most cases may not take place without planning permission from the local authority.
Easement A right one landowner has over the land of someone else (eg right of way, right of light, right of support, right to a flow of air or water).
Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) A report on the energy efficiency of your home.  An EPC must at least be commissioned before you market your property
Fee simple A freehold estate in land (as opposed to a leasehold) where the owner of the land has no time limit to his period of ownership.
Freehold See ‘fee simple’
Incumbrances Obligations and restrictions affecting property.
Intestacy See ‘letters of administration’
Interest A person has an ‘interest’ in land when he has rights, titles, advantages, duties or liabilities connected with it.
Joint Tenancy Joint ownership of land where on the death of a joint tenant his title passes to the survivor(s). (Compare with tenancy in common).
Land charges Certain pending actions, court orders, deeds of arrangement, mortgages, restrictive covenants, easements and other interests that a person may have over property of someone else can be registered as land charges in the land charges registry.
Land Registry Since 1990 virtually all transactions in land have to be registered at the Land Registry. Once registered the details of the property and any charges affecting it are held at one of the district land registries.
Landlord and tenant The relationship between landlord and tenant depends on the contract made between them. The landlord grants exclusive possession of premises or land to the tenant for a defined period of time and receives payment (“rent”) in return. This area of law is heavily regulated by Acts of Parliament such as rent acts and landlord and tenant acts etc.
Lease The contractual document setting out the agreement reached between landlord and tenant.
Leasehold The limited tenure by which a lessee only has rights to property for a limited period of time, as opposed to freehold.
Legal charge See mortgage.
Letters of administration When a person dies owning property without having made a will (intestate) the High Court will grant letters of administration giving powers and duties enabling usually the next of kin to administer the estate. The estate will have to be distributed according to strict rules.
Matrimonial home The place where a husband and wife have lived together.
Memorandum A formal note of the particulars of a transaction or matter.
Mortgage The method by which money is lent and the lender obtains an interest in property of the borrower for the purpose of securing the repayment of the loan (also called a “legal charge”.)
Mortgagee The person to whom the property is mortgaged; the lender.
Mortgagor The person who mortgages his property as security for the debt; the borrower.
Party A person who takes part in a transaction or legal proceeding.
Party wall A wall which divides property belonging to different owners. It is treated as severed vertically between the owners, each of whom has the necessary rights of support and use of the rest of the structure.
Power of attorney A formal document by which one person empowers another to represent him or act for him in relation to certain matters.
Pre-emption A right to purchase property before or in preference to others, sometimes called a ‘right of first refusal’.
Probate A certificate granted by the High Court stating that a deceased person’s will has been proved and registered in the court and that the executor may administer the estate of the deceased in accordance with the terms of the will.
Purchaser The buyer.
Rent See ‘landlord and tenant’.
Requisitions on title Enquiries about the seller’s title to land made by the buyer’s solicitor.
Right of way The right one person has to pass over land of another. This right can be either public or private.
Stamp duty land tax A form of taxation levied by the government on transactions involving land and buildings. The rate of duty will depend on the value of the land  transferred.
Tenancy in common Joint ownership of land where the owners have specific shares in the property. On the death of a tenant in common his share passes under the terms of his will or on intestacy (Compare with Joint tenants).
Tenant See ‘landlord and tenant’
Title deeds Documents conferring or showing title to land. Once land has been registered at the Land Registry title deeds become obsolete as all the important information contained in the deeds is extracted and recorded on the Title Information Document which is the Land Registry’s computerised details of the property.
Title Information Documents See Title Deeds
Transfer The passing of a right or title from one person to another.
Undertaking A promise by a party or his solicitor which may be enforced. A solicitor who has given an undertaking is bound by his/her professional rules to honour it. This extremely reliable system of undertakings between solicitors is used extensively to smooth the path of the conveyancing process.
Vendor The seller.