Van McKellar | Partner


Lawyers can still be found using Latin terms thinking it’s useful legal shorthand.

Whatever the advantages of brevity, it does not come across well and there’s pressure on us to stop its use, including in the courts.

If we’re approached by a client because some civil wrong has been done to them, we often think of seeking “interim” remedies (and there’s a word that’s both English and Latin). Interim interdict is the more common – an interdict is a Scottish equivalent of the injunctions obtained in English courts and is a court order (whether temporarily or permanently) obliging the defender to stop doing something.

But sometimes getting a court order to stop somebody from doing something (a negative order) is not enough or not what is required. Instead a positive order is required and we have recent experience of applying to the Sheriff Courts in this quite novel area (such cases mostly used to have to go to the Court of Session in Edinburgh).

We’re doing what we can to use plain English at Jackson Boyd, but it’s sometimes rather difficult. A recent example of this is highlighted in what is an important tool in our arsenal as dispute resolution lawyers.

The utilities to our client’s house had been disconnected prior to our involvement. We raised a court action contending that that had been done by his neighbour illegally. We then applied to the court for an interim order. That interim order, in terms of the court rules, was one of reconnection “ad factum praestandum”. So we had no choice – the court rules use the Latin so we had to as well! But that was just a detail – Latin or not, the client wanted the utilities to be reconnected. The point about an order ad factum praestandum is that it is an order obliging a party actually to do something and in our case, the order compelled the other party effectively to undo its previous actions, which were to disconnect our client, and take actual steps to reconnect our client’s utilities. We were successful before the court and the court was prepared to make an interim order requiring the other party reconnect. That was done and meant the client not having to wait the many months until the action was fully resolved, and allowed him to start enjoying his property once again.

So we weren’t put off by the Latin and nor should you be. We have expertise in applying for interim orders and know exactly what the relevant and few remaining Latin words and phrases mean, albeit we’ve added some more to our vocabulary – being those of the successful solicitor “Veni, Vidi, Vici” – he came, saw and conquered!

If you are seeking the best legal advice in plain English then please Contact us online or on 0333 222 1855.

Van McKellar

Van McKellar

Dispute Resolution Team

“I see my role as a problem solver – seeking to understand the factual basis of my clients’ disputes and applying a legal and commercial analysis in seeking to resolve them, whether by negotiation or by means of litigation or some other alternative means of dispute resolution.”

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