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Legal Glossary - UVWXYZ


Ultra vires

Latin: Beyond power. Where a body or decision maker has acted outside its jurisdiction, its decision or action is deemed void. This is especially relevant in Administrative Law when challenging the decisions of government officers and authorities.


Unilateral contract

A contract comprised of terms that are set by one party only, such as a reward notice. A significant aspect is that the offeree does not need to give notice of their acceptance, only to perform the action required, to entitle them to the consideration on offer. The law is the same for unilateral and bilateral contracts.



Under certain conditions a contract can be rendered completely void, in such manner as to recognise that it never even existed in the first place. Conditions include the mental incapacity or age of the party, or serious duress placed on them to agree to the contract. The remedy given by courts is rescission.


Voluntary assumption of risk

A defence to a claim of negligence in which the defendant argued that the plaintiff knew and accepted the risk which led to the harm they incurred. This is applicable in situations where the risks are obvious, such as in competitive sport, but it does not extend beyond such risks as are normally to be expected.


Voir Dire

Old French: Truly say. Often characterised as a ‘trial within a trial.’ When a dispute as to the admissibility of evidence or the competency of a juror or witness is complex and cannot be settled quickly, a miniature trial is convened in which this one question is addressed. In a trial by jury, the jury is excused so that the voir dire can be heard by judge alone.



1: A term of a contract, either implied or express, or imposed by statute, requiring reparation by the manufacturer or service provider for failure of a product or service. Repair, replacement, or a new rendering of service is normally required.

2: A term of a contract of minor significance, whose breach does not have any serious effect on the validity or acceptability of the performance of consideration. Rescission is not available as a court remedy, but damages and specific performance are available.



A document from a court order a person or corporation to do something or refrain from doing something.


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