You will find commonly used legal terms in this glossary. You can click on the letter to jump to the words that begin with that letter or scroll down the page.


Fact Pattern

A series of facts that are presented in a story form.


Something that can be shown to be true, to exist, or to have happened. In a legal case it is based on or concerned with the evidence presented. Matters of fact are issues for a judge or a jury to decide.

Failure to Appear

A term used when an accused does not attend a scheduled court appearance.

Family Case Conference

A conference is a meeting between the parties, in the presence of the trial judge to discuss the case before the trial begins.

Family Home

The place where the family lives together.

Family Justice Counsellor

A person who helps the parties involved in a family dispute.

Family Law Proceeding

Term used in the Supreme Court for a legal action to settle family law issues, such as custody, guardianship, access, support and the division of property.

Family Maintenance Enforcement Program (FMEP)

The Family Maintenance Enforcement Program (FMEP) is a service of the British Columbia Ministry of Attorney General. They are responsible under the Family Maintenance Enforcement Act for monitoring and enforcing all maintenance orders and agreements that are filed with them. They will: calculate arrears, receive, record and forward payments to the person receiving maintenance (called the recipient), and take action, if and when necessary, to try to ensure the person who is supposed to pay maintenance (called the payor) makes the required maintenance payments.

Family Property

The family home and other property owned by one or both spouses at the date of separation, unless it is excluded property. Family property is shared equally between spouses, regardless of their use or contribution to the property.

Federal Government

The central government of Canada - based in Ottawa.


Charges collected by an institution. For example, money paid to file a claim in court.

Filing Documents

This is the process of adding documents to a court file by giving the original and one or more copies to the court registry. There is a fee to file some documents.

Final Order

An order or judgment of the Court that finally disposes of the rights of the parties. Also known as a final award or a final judgment. A final order can only be overturned by a higher court. However, in family cases, if the circumstances significantly change, then parties can apply for a new order.

Financial Statement

A court form (Form F8 in the Supreme Court and Form 4 in the Provincial Court) used to set out a party's income, expenses, assets and debts on the party's oath or affirmation.


A fine is a sentence, or one aspect of a sentence, involving a monetary sum to be paid to the court.

First Appearance

A first appearance describes the first time the accused is asked to come to court.