Glossary of Terms

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The following is a useful glossary of family law related terms used in Scotland:


IFA (Independent Financial Advisor)

Your “family lawyer” is not normally allowed to give you “independent financial advice”. You will have to be referred in most cases to an IFA to receive specialised independent financial advice on things like pensions/pension share orders, mortgages, endowment policies and any transfers of financial assets and products.

Initial Writ

Is the court document that the person first raising a court action will draw up to start the action. The Initial writ sets out for the court the orders that are being sought in the action (e.g. divorce; orders to do with children; transfer of property etc) and the reasons why such orders should be made. The Initial writ is the first step in formal court proceedings hence the name.


Is a court order in Scotland preventing somebody from doing something, usually which is harmful to someone else. (e.g. to stop them behaving badly to someone else, to stop them coming to a house or to stop them getting rid of assets etc.) There has to be an argument put to the court before the court will make an “interdict” order. In England they have a similar order called an “Injunction”.


Is a written court order or judgement. It may be a procedural order, interim order or a final judgement.