What the Words Mean in Learning about the Law

From Clicklaw Wikibooks
Jump to navigation Jump to search
The printable version is no longer supported and may have rendering errors. Please update your browser bookmarks and please use the default browser print function instead.
This information applies to British Columbia, Canada. Last reviewed for legal accuracy by People's Law School in February 2023.
Advance directive
Written instructions about what health care a person wants or does not want in the future if a decision needs to be made and they’re incapable of making it. Sometimes called a "living will."
A person legally appointed or empowered to act on behalf of another person.
A person who is to receive money or property in a will, benefit plan, or insurance policy.
A law made by a local government that applies only to the local area. For example, most cities and towns in British Columbia have building bylaws to control the way buildings in that community are designed and constructed.
Collective agreement
When a workplace includes workers who belong to a union, a collective agreement sets out the conditions of employment. These typically include wages and benefits, hours of work, duties of workers and the employer, and a process to resolve disputes.
The constitution of a country or organization is the system of laws which formally state people's rights and responsibilities.
The time a person who is not a child’s guardian spends with the child.
A legally recognized agreement made between two or more people.
A place where legal matters are decided by a judge or a jury. (A jury is a group of people chosen from the general public to decide a legal matter.)
Court order
A decision made by a court.
A way of behaving or a belief that has been established for a long time.
When a person is treated badly or unfairly because of parts of their identity protected under human rights law. Examples include a person’s race, sex, sexual orientation, age, or disability
Dispute resolution
A process of resolving disputes between people.
The legal process that ends a valid marriage.
Down payment
A part of the purchase price paid at the time of purchase, with the balance to be paid later.
Elder abuse
Mistreatment that harms an older person. It can take many forms, including physical, financial, or emotional ill-treatment, or neglect of an older person.
Elder law
An area of law focusing on issues that affect older people.
A process in which people vote to choose a person or group of people to hold an official position.
Under the law in BC, an employee is a worker who is covered by employment standards legislation.
Employment contract
A legally recognized agreement between an employer and a worker setting out the terms and conditions of the working relationship.
Enduring power of attorney
A legal document that enables an adult to appoint another person to make financial and legal decisions for them, and specifies that the appointment continues — or “endures” — in the event the adult becomes mentally incapable.
Enhanced representation agreement
A legal document used to authorize someone to assist an adult, or to act on the adult’s behalf, for health care and personal care matters. Often called a section 9 representation agreement. Must be made by a legally capable adult.
The same status, rights, and responsibilities for all the members of a society or group.
The act of making someone leave a rental property.
Information used in a legal proceeding to try to prove something.
The person named in a will to carry out the instructions in the will and settle the will-maker’s affairs after they die.
Laws or institutions (such as courts or government) that deal with the whole country.
Fixed-term tenancy
A tenancy agreement where the tenant agrees to rent a place for a certain amount of time, such as one year. Also referred to as a lease.
A person who has the legal authority (and the corresponding duty) to care for the interests of another person. That person might be a child or an older adult in need of care.
When a person is found responsible for a crime.
Identity theft
When someone takes personal information and uses it to access that person’s finances, make purchases in their name, or commit other crimes.
Independent contractor
A person who runs their own business. An independent contractor is considered to be self-employed, and does not have the same rights as an employee.
Free from legal blame. Not guilty of a crime.
An amount paid to a creditor in exchange for money they lend. The amount is usually a set percentage of the money borrowed. The percentage is called an interest rate.
Interim order
A temporary order that lasts a certain amount of time, until a certain event happens, or until a final order is made.
Joint bank account
A bank account in which two or more people have ownership rights over the same account.
A person who owns property and rents or leases it to another person.
When a worker is told by their employer to leave their job.
An agreement to rent something (such as an apartment or car) for a certain period of time.
Mental capacity
A person’s ability to make their own decisions and understand them.
Minimum wage
The lowest wage an employer can pay an employee.
Month-to-month tenancy
A tenancy on a monthly basis. It continues until the tenant or landlord gives notice to end the tenancy.
A legal agreement in which a person borrows money to buy real property (such as a home) and gives the lender a security interest in the property.
Municipal government
The government for a local area, such as a city, town, or district.
Notice of termination
When an employer fires or lays off a worker, they usually have to give the worker notice of termination. They can do this by telling the worker ahead of time or paying the worker an amount to cover the notice period.
When someone works beyond a certain number of hours set out in employment standards legislation.
Parental responsibilities
The responsibilities a guardian has when raising a child. These include making important decisions about health care, education, and religious upbringing, as well as making day-to-day decisions affecting the child.
Parenting time
The time a guardian has with a child. Usually this is set out in a schedule agreed on by the guardians or fixed by the court.
Power of attorney
A legal document that enables an adult to give another person (or more than one person) the authority to make financial and legal decisions for them.
Protection order
A court order made to protect someone from another person.
1. Severe physical treatment of any kind. 2. The penalty given to someone who has done something wrong.
People chosen to act and speak on behalf of a wider group.
Representation agreement
A legal document that authorizes someone to assist an adult or act on their behalf for health and personal care matters. It can also cover routine financial and legal matters.
Things a person must do or not do as part of a society or a role.
To bring to an end.
Things a person is entitled to do or have.
Rule of law
A philosophy or practice that supports the equality of all people before the law and prevents the arbitrary use of power.
Security deposit
Money paid by a tenant to a landlord at the start of a tenancy and kept until the end of the tenancy. It can cover damage a tenant causes to the rental property.
The punishment a person receives for committing a crime.
When one or both people in a marriage or marriage-like relationship decide and act like the relationship is over.
Social insurance number (SIN)
A SIN is a nine-digit number that everyone needs to work in Canada, to use government programs, or get government benefits.
Social security
Government programs to provide people with income support in a range of situations, including when they’re unemployed, retired, pregnant, or disabled.
A person who is married, or who is in a marriage-like relationship for a certain period of time.
Standard representation agreement
A legal document used to authorize someone to assist an adult, or to act on the adult’s behalf, for routine financial affairs, as well as legal, health care, and personal care matters. Often called a section 7 representation agreement.
Statutory holiday
A public holiday recognized in a statute. (A statute is a law made by the government.) On statutory holidays, employees are entitled to the day off with pay, or to extra pay for working on the holiday.
Tenancy agreement
A contract between a landlord and tenant that sets out the terms of the rental of a property.
A person who pays rent for a place they live in or a property they use.
A hearing in court where a decision-maker (usually a judge) listens to evidence and decides (in a criminal trial) whether a person is guilty of a crime or (in a civil trial) how to resolve a dispute.
A body that hears disputes and makes decisions in a specific area. It is like a court but less formal. The BC Human Rights Tribunal, which deals with human rights complaints in BC, is an example of a tribunal.
A legal document that sets out what will happen after you die to (most of) your property and any minor children. (A will doesn't cover property you own jointly with other people or accounts where you've named a beneficiary.)

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International Licence Learning about the Law © People's Law School is, except for the images, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International Licence.