United KingdomLaw of England

Glossary under the Criminal Procedure Rules 2020


This glossary is a guide to the meaning of certain legal expressions used in these rules.

Criminal Procedure Rules 2020

account monitoring orderan order requiring certain types of financial institution to provide certain information held by them relating to a customer for the purposes of an investigation;
action plan ordera type of community sentence requiring a child or young person to comply with a three month plan relating to his actions and whereabouts and to comply with the directions of a responsible officer (e.g. probation officer);
admissible evidenceevidence allowed in proceedings (not all evidence introduced by the parties may be allowable in court);
adjournto suspend or delay the hearing of a case;
affidavita written, sworn statement of evidence;
affirmationa non-religious alternative to the oath sworn by someone about to give evidence in court or swearing a statement;
appellantperson who is appealing against a decision of the court;
arraignto put charges to the defendant in open court in the Crown Court;
arraignmentthe formal process of putting charges to the defendant in the Crown Court which consists of three parts: (1) calling the defendant by name, (2) putting the charges by reading from the indictment and (3) asking whether the defendant pleads guilty or not guilty;
authoritiesjudicial decisions or opinions of authors of repute used as grounds of statements of law;
bill of indictmenta written accusation of a crime against one or more persons – a criminal trial in the Crown Court cannot start without a valid indictment;
case statedan 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 chambersnon-trial hearing in private;
committalsending someone to another court (for example, from a magistrates’ court to the Crown Court to be sentenced), or sending someone to be detained (for example, in prison);
compellable witnessa witness who can be forced to give evidence against an accused (not all witnesses are compellable);
compensation orderan order that a convicted person must pay compensation for loss or damage caused by the convicted person;
complainanta 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;
conditional dischargean 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 orderan order that private property be taken into possession by the state;
Convention righta right under the European Convention on Human Rights;
coststhe expenses involved in a court case, including the fees of the lawyers and of the court;
counsela barrister;
cross examinationquestioning of a witness by a party other than the party who called the witness;
custody time limitthe 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 orderan 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 incompatibilitya declaration by a court that a piece of UK legislation is incompatible with the provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights;
deferred sentencea 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;
exhibita document or thing presented as evidence in court;
forfeiture by peaceable re-entrythe re-possession by a landlord of premises occupied by tenants;
guardianship orderan order appointing someone to take charge of a child’s affairs and property;
hearsay evidenceoral 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 20.1 for the purposes of Part 20, and by rule 33.1 for the purposes of Part 33;
hospital orderan order that a defendant be admitted to and detained in a specified hospital;
indictmentthe document containing the formal charges against a defendant – a trial in the Crown Court cannot start without this;
informationstatement 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;
intermediarya person who asks a witness (particularly a child) questions posed by the cross-examining legal representative;
justice of the peacea magistrate, either a lay justice or a District Judge (Magistrates’ Courts);
leave of the courtpermission granted by the court;
leave to appealpermission to appeal the decision of a court;
letter of requestletter issued to a foreign court asking a judge to take the evidence of some person within that court’s jurisdiction;
to levy distressto seize property from a debtor;
local justice areaan area established for the purposes of the administration of magistrates’ courts;
nominated courta court nominated to take evidence pursuant to a request by a foreign court;
offence triable either wayan offence which may be tried either in the magistrates’ court or in the Crown Court;
in open courtin a courtroom which is open to the public;
parenting orderan order which can be made in certain circumstances where a child has been convicted of an offence which may require parents of the defendant to comply with certain requirements including attendance at counselling or guidance sessions;
partya person or organisation directly involved in a criminal case, usually as prosecutor or defendant
prefer, prefermentto bring or lay a charge or indictment;
preparatory hearinga hearing forming part of the trial sometimes used in long and complex cases to settle various issues without requiring the jury to attend;
realisable propertyproperty which can be sold for money.
receivera 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 orderan order that a person’s assets be put into the hands of an official with certain powers and duties to deal with that property;
recognizanceformal undertaking to pay a specified sum if a defendant fails to surrender to custody;
registerthe formal records kept by a magistrates’ court;
to remandto send a defendant away when a case is adjourned until another date – the defendant may be remanded on bail or in custody;
reparation orderan 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 orderan order authorising payment of legal aid for a defendant;
requisitiona document issued by a prosecutor requiring a defendant to attend a magistrates’ court to answer a written charge;
respondentthe other party (to the appellant) in a case which is the subject of an appeal;
restraint orderan order prohibiting a person from dealing with any realisable property;
seala formal mark which the court puts on a document to indicate that the document has been issued by the court;
securitymoney deposited to ensure that the defendant attends court;
sending for trialprocedure by which some cases are transferred from a magistrates’ court to the Crown Court for trial;
skeleton argumenta 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 measuresmeasures which can be put in place to provide protection or anonymity to a witness (e.g. a screen separating a witness from the defendant);
statutory declarationa declaration made before a Commissioner for Oaths in a prescribed form;
to stayto 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;
summonsa document which sets out the basis of the accusation against the defendant and the time and place at which the defendant must attend court;
suretya person who guarantees that a defendant will attend court;
suspended sentencesentence which takes effect only if the defendant commits another offence punishable with imprisonment within the specified period;
supervision orderan order placing a person who has been given a suspended sentence under the supervision of a specified officer;
taxing authoritya body which assesses costs;
territorial authoritythe 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.;
warrant of arrestcourt order to arrest a person;
warrant of detentiona court order authorising someone’s detention;
wasted costs orderan order that a barrister or solicitor is not to be paid fees that they would normally be paid;
witnessa person who gives evidence, either by way of a written statement or orally in court;
witness summonsa document served on a witness requiring them to attend court to give evidence;
written chargea document, issued by a prosecutor under section 29 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 which institutes criminal proceedings by charging a person with an offence;
youth courta magistrates’ court exercising jurisdiction over offences committed by, and other matters related to, children and young persons.

Categories: Law of England

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