G, H, I

  • gazumping -

    The practice of making a higher offer on a property after the vendor has agreed on a purchase price with another buyer, and having the higher price accepted. The first buyer has then been gazumped, and loses the deal.

  • general damages -

    Part of the money a court orders a defendant to pay as compensation. General damages cover losses that cannot be calculated exactly, such as money for pain and suffering, disfigurement or loss of earning capacity or enjoyment of life. See also exemplary damages; special damages.

  • grievance procedure -

    The steps that need to be followed by someone with a complaint against an organisation, for example an employer, government department or agency.

  • guarantee -

    A binding promise made as reassurance that another person will carry out their legal obligations (e.g. paying a debt). The person making the promise is called a guarantor. If the person being guaranteed fails to pay, the guarantor becomes responsible for the debt.

  • guardian -

    Someone who is legally responsible for taking care of another person or their property.

  • hand-up brief -

    A collection of documents that the prosecution must give to the accused person in a criminal case and also provide to the court. The brief must contain all the charges and a summary of evidence that will be used against the accused. See also service.

  • hearing -

    The time and place at which a court or tribunal hears the parties argue their case and makes a decision.

  • hearsay evidence -

    Statements about something that has not been seen or heard by the witness, but has been told to them by another person. Hearsay evidence is usually not allowed in court.

  • hire -

    (1) An agreement to pay for the temporary use of something, for example a car. Also called renting or leasing. (2) To employ someone to do work.  

  • hire purchase -

    A contract that requires a buyer to purchase goods by making instalment payments. The buyer only owns the goods after they have made the final instalment payment.

  • hire purchase -

    A contract that requires a buyer to purchase goods by making instalment payments. The buyer only owns the goods after they have made the final instalment payment.

  • hospital order -

    In a criminal case, a sentence imposed by the court that a person be admitted to a mental hospital as an involuntary patient. Also, known as a hospital security order.

  • identification material -

    Evidence collected by police to help identify a person suspected of committing an offence. This may include fingerprints, voice recordings, handwriting samples or photographs.

  • identification parade -

    A police line-up. A group of people that includes a suspect and several other people who look similar but have nothing to do with the case. A witness who saw an offence being committed is asked to say whether anyone in the line is the offender. If they pick the suspected person, it can be used as evidence in court.

  • implied terms -

    (1) Unwritten promises that a court considers are part of an agreement because it is clear that the parties meant to include them. (2) Terms that, under legislation such as consumer protection laws, are automatically part of some agreements. For example, under legislation all goods sold in Victoria must be of merchantable quality.

  • implied warranty -

    A promise that goods and services will be of reasonable quality. This does not need to be written into the contract as it automatically applies to all goods and services sold in Victoria.

  • in lieu -

    Instead of. So, time in lieu is time off instead of payment for overtime worked.

  • in loco parentis -

    Someone who is acting in the position of a parent and has authority over a child. For example, a school teacher in charge of children on a school bus trip has the right to give them reasonable instructions.

  • inadmissible -

    Something that is not allowed as evidence in a court hearing. For example, the fact that someone has been convicted of theft in the past is inadmissible to show that they stole something this time.

  • incorporated associations -

    A not-for-profit community organisation, such as a club,  with a separate legal identity and a structure regulated by legislation.

  • incorporated documents -

    Additional papers that are included in a contract or other legal document, such as a planning scheme, by being specifically referred to and stated to form part of the main document.

  • indemnity -

    A promise to pay compensation to cover losses or expenses that may arise in the future if some stated event occurs. For example, if a business partnership ends and one partner continues to run the business, they generally agree to indemnify the others against any claims against the business in the future. Insurance contracts also indemnify the insured against stated risks.

  • indemnity costs -

    Lawyers’ fees paid in full by the party who loses a court case. See also costs.

  • Independent Third Person (ITP) -

    A person, other than a friend or family member, who provides support to a person with an intellectual disability, brain injury or mental illness when they are being questioned by the police.

  • independent witness -

    (1) An independent person who sits with a child being questioned by police when their parent or guardian cannot be present. The independent witness ensures that the child is treated with care and understands what is happening. (2) In any legal proceeding, a person who can give evidence of matters before the court but has no particular interest in the outcome. (3) A person who has no interest in the contents of a document such as a will, but watches it being signed, and puts their own name on it as evidence that they saw the signing occur. Compare interested witness.

  • indictable charge -

    An accusation against a person who is suspected of a serious crime (an indictable offence). Being charged means the accused person must go before a court to have the offence tried.

  • indictable offence -

    A serious crime that is generally heard before a judge and jury in the County Court or the Supreme Court a criminal case. Examples of indictable offences include assault and armed robbery.

  • indictment -

    A document that lists the the accused’s name, the charges against the accused and the particulars of the offence, and is filed with the court to begin criminal proceedings.

  • industrial disease -

    Damage to health caused by conditions in a workplace in a particular industry, or connected with a particular type of work. For example, lung disease caused by working in a mine or a wheat silo without a face mask.

  • infant -

    A child or young person under 18. In law, an infant is anyone who is not an adult (it does not mean a baby). Also called a minor.

  • informant -

    A person who swears an affidavit stating that an offence has occurred and is named on the documents that start a criminal case in court. The informant is usually a police officer, but can also be the victim of the crime. Not to be confused with an informer.

  • informed consent -

    When a person freely agrees to a procedure with full understanding of what it involves, and knowing about any risks. For example, a patient can give informed consent to surgery after a surgeon explains the risks involved.

  • informer  -

    A person, often a criminal, who gives information to the police about criminal activity by other people. Informers may hope for a reward or a lighter punishment for their own offences.

  • infringement notice -

    A notice stating that a summary offence has been committed. It also states the amount of any fine that has to be paid. Includes many driving and parking offences. Also referred to as an ‘on-the-spot-fine’.

  • injunction -

    A court order that directs a person to do, or not to do, something. For example, a court can order a developer not to demolish a historic building. An injunction may be interim (operative until further order) or perpetual (continuing indefinitely).

  • inquisitorial legal system -

    A kind of legal system found outside Australia, where judges can ask witnesses questions and make their own investigations about the facts in a case. See also adversary system.

  • insolvent -

    Being unable to pay your debts in full when they are due.

  • instalment order -

    A court order that allows a debtor time to pay off a debt that has been proved in court. Payments may be made monthly or weekly instead of all at once. See also judgment debt.

  • instrument -

    A formal document, in writing or digitally authorised, which has a legal effect. For example, a transfer of land is an instrument that has the effect of changing ownership from one person to another.

  • intellectual property -

    Rights given by legislation to make money out of inventions and creative work. It includes copyright, industrial designs, patents, trademarks and plant breeder’s rights. The inventor or creator can keep the rights or sell them. Other people can be sued for making copies without paying royalties.

  • intensive correction order (ICO) -

    A sentence that is served in the community rather than in jail. Intensive correction orders have very strict conditions attached to them.

  • interested witness -

    (1) In any legal proceeding, a person who gives evidence of matters before the court but has an interest in the outcome, so may have less credibility than an independent witness. (2) A witness to a will or other document who has an interest in the outcome. For example, a spouse who is given property or power under the terms of the will, and also signs it as a witness.

  • interim order -

    A temporary court order that stays in place only until the court can make a final decision on the issue at a full hearing.

  • interpleader summons -

    An action by which a person who claims a right to property can bring the question before a court to determine ownership.

  • interrogation -

    The asking of questions. In criminal cases, the questioning of suspects by police. In civil proceedings, a pre-hearing process in which one party asks the other party a series of written questions, called interrogatories, which must be answered on oath.

  • intervention order -

    A court order that prohibits a person harming or harassing another person. See also family violence intervention order;personal safety intervention order.

  • intestate -

    Without a will. A person is said to have died intestate if they die without making a will. Their property is then distributed to the nearest relatives in a set order according to law.

  • invalid -

    Not valid; with no legal effect and not enforceable at law. For example a legal provision or document may be invalid because it is not in proper legal form.

  • involuntary patient -

    A patient admitted to a mental hospital on a doctor’s recommendation, without the patient’s consent.

  • irreconcilable difference -

    Long-term disagreement between parties that the court accepts are serious and cannot be overcome.

  • irretrievable breakdown -

    (of a marriage) The final end or collapse of the relationship. If the marriage cannot be saved, the court will grant a divorce if the husband and wife have been separated for 12 months or more. That period of separation is accepted as evidence of the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.

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