J, K, L

  • joint tenants -

    A form of ownership in which two or more people own property together, so that the whole property is undivided and equally shared. There are no separate shares that can be left in a will, because if one of the joint owners dies, the property remains with the other owners. Compare with tenants in common.

  • judgment debt -

    The amount of money that a court has ordered a debtor to pay.

  • judicial review -

    The court’s review of an administrative decision on the basis of a legal error in the decision-making process. For example, a court can review a decision by an official on the ground that the official is biased. Compare review on the merits. See also administrative act.

  • jurisdiction -

    The authority of a court or tribunal to hear matters brought before it, based on some factor such as area or law, amount of money claimed, or geographic area.

  • juror -

    A member of a jury.

  • jury -

    A panel of people selected from the general public to decide whether an accused in a criminal case is guilty or not guilty, or to decide questions of fact and the amount to be awarded as damages in civil cases.

  • knowingly concerned -

    Consciously and deliberately involved in committing an offence.

  • lawyer–client costs -

    The costs a lawyer charges their own client.

  • lease -

    A document that sets out an agreement between a landlord and a tenant for the renting out of property, or for the use of other personal property such as a car.

  • leasehold -

    Rental of real property. Leasehold gives the leaseholder possession but not ownership.

  • legally binding -

    Able to be enforced by law.

  • legatee -

    A person who receives a gift in a will. The gift, called a legacy, is not land but usually something else of value, such as jewellery or shares.

  • legislation -

    Statutory rules made by parliament or by bodies the parliament delegates power to, for example a local council or a registration authority. See delegated legislation; statute.

  • lessee -

    A person who rents property, for example a tenant who rents a house from a landlord.

  • lessor -

    A person who owns property and leases it (rents it out) to another person.

  • letter of demand -

    A letter, usually written by a lawyer for their client, or by a creditor, telling the person who receives it that unless they do what the letter says they will be sued. Often a letter of demand asks a debtor to repay a loan to avoid being sued, but the demand could be about any legal claim.

  • letters of administration -

    A document that gives a person authority to manage the property of a person who has died without making a valid will that covers all their estate. See also intestate.

  • liability -

    Legal responsibility, enforced by civil or criminal courts.

  • lien -

    The right to hold a person’s property as security until an obligation is performed. For example, a car repairer can hold onto a car that has been repaired until the repair bill has been paid.

  • limitation period -

    The period within which time court proceedings must be issued. This varies according to the type of case and requires legal advice. It is generally 15 years to recover land and 6 years for contracts and torts other than personal injuries (3 years if the injury was discoverable, and early notification requirements may apply, but a more generous long-stop limitation period may also apply).

  • linked credit provider -

    A credit provider who has an agreement with someone selling goods, for example a car. If a customer wants to buy goods but needs to borrow the money, the seller will suggest the buyer go to that credit provider.

  • liquidated -

    An amount of money that is definite, or easily worked out. For example, the cost of a repair bill. See also unliquidated.

  • liquidated damages -

    An amount fixed in a contract as the amount the parties agree will be payable if the contract is broken. It must be a realistic amount to compensate the other party, not a penalty. See also damages.

  • litigant -

    A party in a civil action.

  • litigation -

    Court proceedings about a civil dispute (not a criminal case).

  • litigation guardian -

    An adult who acts in court for a child or person with an intellectual disability. A litigation guardian must pay for the costs of the court action if it is unsuccessful. See also McKenzie Friend; next friend.

  • local laws -

    Laws made and enforced by municipal councils within their boundaries. Previously called by-laws. See delegated legislation.

  • long-stop limitation period -

    In personal injury cases including consumer cases, a period of 12 years from the date of the act or omission that caused death, within which time court proceedings for damages must be issued.

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