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Glossary

Glossary

 

Expression

Meaning

admissible evidence

evidence allowed in proceedings (not all evidence introduced by the parties may be allowable in court);

adduce

to introduce (in evidence);

adjourn

to suspend or delay the hearing of a case;

advance information

information about the case against an accused, to which the accused may be entitled before he or she enters a plea;

affidavit

a written, sworn statement of evidence;

appellant

person who is appealing against a decision of the court;

arraign

to put charges to the defendant in open court in the Crown Court;

arraignment

the formal process of putting charges to the defendant in the Crown Court which consists of three parts: (1) calling him to the bar by name, (2) putting the charges to him by reading from the indictment and (3) asking him whether he pleads guilty or not guilty;

authorities

judicial decisions or opinions of authors of repute used as grounds of statements of law;

bill of indictment

a written accusation of a crime against one or more persons – a criminal trial in the Crown Court cannot start without a valid indictment;

in camera (trial)

trial in private;

case stated

an appeal to the High Court against the decision of a magistrates’ court on the basis that the decision was wrong in law or in excess of the magistrates’ jurisdiction;

in chambers

non-trial hearing in private;

committal

sending someone to a court (usually from a magistrates’ court to the Crown court) or to prison;

committal for sentence

procedure whereby a person convicted in a magistrates’ court is sent to the Crown Court for sentencing when the sentencing powers of the magistrates’ court are not considered sufficient;

committal proceedings

preliminary hearing in a magistrates’ court before a case is sent to be tried before a jury in the Crown Court;

compellable witness

a witness who can be forced to give evidence against an accused (not all witnesses are compellable);

compensation order

an order that a convicted person must pay compensation for loss or damage caused by the convicted person;

complainant

a person who makes a formal complaint. In relation to an offence of rape or other sexual offences the complainant is the person against whom the offence is alleged to have been committed;

complaint

document used to start certain types of proceedings in a magistrates’ court, or the process of using such a document to start proceedings;

conditional discharge

an order which does not impose any immediate punishment on a person convicted of an offence, subject to the condition that he does not commit an offence in a specified period;

confiscation order

an order that private property be taken into possession by the state;

convention right

a right under the European Convention on Human Rights;

costs

the expenses involved in a court case, including the fees of the solicitors and barristers and of the court;

admissible evidence

evidence allowed in proceedings (not all evidence introduced by the parties may be allowable in court);

adduce

to introduce (in evidence);

adjourn

to suspend or delay the hearing of a case;

advance information

information about the case against an accused, to which the accused may be entitled before he or she enters a plea;

affidavit

a written, sworn statement of evidence;

appellant

person who is appealing against a decision of the court;

arraign

to put charges to the defendant in open court in the Crown Court;

arraignment

the formal process of putting charges to the defendant in the Crown Court which consists of three parts: (1) calling him to the bar by name, (2) putting the charges to him by reading from the indictment and (3) asking him whether he pleads guilty or not guilty;

authorities

judicial decisions or opinions of authors of repute used as grounds of statements of law;

bill of indictment

a written accusation of a crime against one or more persons – a criminal trial in the Crown Court cannot start without a valid indictment;

in camera (trial)

trial in private;

case stated

an appeal to the High Court against the decision of a magistrates’ court on the basis that the decision was wrong in law or in excess of the magistrates’ jurisdiction;

in chambers

non-trial hearing in private;

committal

sending someone to a court (usually from a magistrates’ court to the Crown court) or to prison;

committal for sentence

procedure whereby a person convicted in a magistrates’ court is sent to the Crown Court for sentencing when the sentencing powers of the magistrates’ court are not considered sufficient;

committal proceedings

preliminary hearing in a magistrates’ court before a case is sent to be tried before a jury in the Crown Court;

compellable witness

a witness who can be forced to give evidence against an accused (not all witnesses are compellable);

compensation order

an order that a convicted person must pay compensation for loss or damage caused by the convicted person;

complainant

a person who makes a formal complaint. In relation to an offence of rape or other sexual offences the complainant is the person against whom the offence is alleged to have been committed;

complaint

document used to start certain types of proceedings in a magistrates’ court, or the process of using such a document to start proceedings;

conditional discharge

an order which does not impose any immediate punishment on a person convicted of an offence, subject to the condition that he does not commit an offence in a specified period;

confiscation order

an order that private property be taken into possession by the state;

convention right

a right under the European Convention on Human Rights;

costs

the expenses involved in a court case, including the fees of the solicitors and barristers and of the court;

counsel

a barrister;

cross examination

questioning of a witness by a party other than the party who called the witness;

custody time limit

the maximum period, as set down in statute, for which a person may be kept in custody before being brought to trial – these maximum periods may only be extended by an order of the judge;

customer information order

an order requiring a financial institution to provide certain information held by them relating to a customer for the purposes of an investigation into the proceeds of crime;

declaration of incompatibility

a declaration by a court that a piece of UK legislation is incompatible with the provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights;

deferred sentence

a sentence which is determined after a delay to allow the court to assess any change in the person’s conduct or circumstances after his or her conviction;

deposition

written record of a witness’ written evidence;

distress warrant

court order giving the power to seize goods from a debtor to pay his debts;

estreatment (of recognizance)

forfeiture;

evidence in chief

the evidence given by a witness for the party who called him;

examining justice

a magistrate carrying out his or her function of checking that a case appears on the face of the prosecution case papers to exist against an accused before the case is put forward for trial in the Crown Court – see committal and sending for trial;

exhibit

a document or thing presented as evidence in court;

forfeiture by peaceable re-entry

the re-possession by a landlord of premises occupied by tenants;

guardianship order

an order appointing someone to take charge of a child’s affairs and property;

hearsay evidence

oral or written statements made by someone who is not a witness in the case but which the court is asked to accept as proving what they say. This expression is defined further by rule 34.1 for the purposes of Part 34, and by rule 57.1 for the purposes of Parts 57 - 61;

hospital order

an order that an offender be admitted to and detained in a specified hospital;

indictment

the document containing the formal charges against a defendant – a trial in the Crown Court cannot start without this;

informant

someone who lays an information;

information

statement by which a magistrate is informed of the offence for which a summons or warrant is required – the procedure by which this statement is brought to the magistrates’ attention is known as laying an information;

intermediary

a person who asks a witness (particularly a child) questions posed by the cross-examining legal representative;

justice of the peace

a magistrate, either a lay justice, or a District Judge (Magistrates’ Courts);

justices’ clerk

post in the magistrates’ court of person who has various powers and duties in a magistrates’ court, including giving advice to the magistrates on law and procedure;

leave of the court

permission granted by the court;

leave to appeal

permission granted to appeal the decision of a court;

letter of request

letter issued to a foreign court asking a judge to take the evidence of some person within that court’s jurisdiction;

to levy distress

to seize property from a debtor or a wrongdoer;

local justice area

an area established for the purposes of the administration of magistrates’ courts;

mandatory order

order from the Divisional Court of the Queen’s Bench Division ordering a body (such as a magistrates’ court) to do something (such as rehear a case);

nominated court

a court nominated to take evidence pursuant to a request by a foreign court;

notice of transfer

procedure used in cases of serious and complex fraud, and in certain cases involving child witnesses, whereby the prosecution can, without seeking judicial approval, have the case sent direct to the Crown Court without the need to have the accused committed for trial;

offence triable either way

an offence which may be tried either in the magistrates’ court or in the Crown Court;

in open court

in a courtroom which is open to the public;

order restricting discharge

an order restricting the discharge from hospital of patients who have been sent there for psychiatric treatment;

parenting order

an order which can be made in certain circumstances where a child has been convicted of an offence which may require parents of the offender to comply with certain requirements including attendance of counselling or guidance sessions;

party

a person or organisation directly involved in a criminal case, either as prosecutor or defendant;

prefer, preferment

to bring or lay a charge or indictment;

preparatory hearing

a hearing forming part of the trial sometimes used in long and complex cases to settle various issues without requiring the jury to attend;

realisable property

property which can be sold for money.

receiver

a person appointed with certain powers in respect of the property and affairs of a person who has obtained such property in the course of criminal conduct and who has been convicted of an offence – there are various types or receiver (management receiver, director’s receiver, enforcement receiver);

receivership order

an order that a person’s assets be put into the hands of an official with certain powers and duties to deal with that property;

recognizance

formal undertaking to pay the crown a specified sum if an accused fails to surrender to custody;

register

the formal records kept by a magistrates’ court;

to remand

to send a person away when a case is adjourned until another date – the person may be remanded on bail (when he can leave, subject to conditions) or in custody;

reparation order

an order made against a child or young person who has been convicted of an offence, requiring him or her to make specific reparations to the victim or to the community at large;

representation order

an order authorising payment of legal aid for a defendant;

requisition

a document issued under section 29 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003, requiring a person to appear before a magistrates’ court to answer a written charge;

respondent

the other party (to the appellant) in a case which is the subject of an appeal;

restraint order

an order prohibiting a person from dealing with any realisable property held by him;

seal

a formal mark which the court puts on a document to indicate that the document has been issued by the court;

security

money deposited to ensure that the defendant attends court;

sending for trial

procedure whereby indictable offences are transferred to the Crown Court without the need for a committal hearing in the magistrates’ court;

skeleton argument

a document prepared by a party or their legal representative, setting out the basis of the party’s argument, including any arguments based on law – the court may require such documents to be served on the court and on the other party prior to a trial;

special measures

measures which can be put in place to provide protection and/or anonymity to a witness (e.g. a screen separating witness from the accused);

statutory declaration

a declaration made before a Commissioner for Oaths in a prescribed form;

to stay

to halt proceedings, apart from taking any steps allowed by the Rules or the terms of the stay - proceedings may be continued if a stay is lifted;

summons

a document signed by a magistrate after an information is laid before a him which sets out the basis of the accusation against the accused and the time and place when he must appear;

surety

a person who guarantees that a defendant will attend court;

suspended sentence

sentence which takes effect only if the offender commits another offence punishable with imprisonment within the specified period;

supervision order

an order placing a person who has been given a suspended sentence under the supervision of a local officer;

tainted acquittal

an acquittal affected by interference with a witness or a juror;

taxing authority

a body which assesses costs;

territorial authority

the UK authority which has power to do certain things in connection with co-operation with other countries and international organisations in relation to the collection of or hearing of evidence etc;

transfer direction (mental health)

a direction that a person who is serving a sentence of imprisonment who is suffering from a mental disorder be transferred to a hospital and be detained there for treatment;

warrant of arrest

court order to arrest a person;

warrant of commitment

court order sending someone to prison;

warrant of detention

a court order authorising someone’s detention;

wasted costs order

an order that a barrister or solicitor is not to be paid fees that they would normally be paid by the Legal Services Commission;

witness

a person who gives evidence, either by way of a written statement or orally in court;

witness summons

a document served on a witness requiring him or her to attend court to give evidence;

written charge

a document, issued by a public prosecutor under section 29 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003, which institutes criminal proceedings by charging a person with an offence;

youth court

magistrates’ courts exercising jurisdiction over offences committed by and other matters related to, children and young persons.


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