Political Ideologies | Parliamentary Terms | British Politics | British Law | Legal Terms

accused.  The individual who is charged with a criminal offensive.

acquittal.  The release of a defendant from all charges.

action.  Civil legal proceedings.

adjournment.  The postponement of legal proceedings.

advocate.  Barrister (especially Scotland) The defender of a cause.

affidavit.  A legal document.

appeal.  Plea to a higher court for a change in a judgement.

arrest.  The apprehension of a person suspected of a crime. They may be held in custody or released on bail.

Attorney General.  Head of the Bar in England.

bail.  Temporary release of a defendant prior to trial, usually backed by some form of security.

Barrister.  A lawyer qualified to plead for a client in court.

brief.  Written instructions from a solicitor to a barrister.

By-law.  A rule made by a local authority.

charge.  A formal accusation by the court or its representatives such as the police.

counsel.  A barrister who is acting in court.

court. Location where legal judgment is made. Click here for more information.

court martial.  A military court.

Crown, The.  The prosecuting authority in criminal cases.

custody.  Detention by the police or prison authorities.

damages.  Compensation.

defendant.  The individual against whom legal proceedings are brought.

equity.  Decisions based on the principles of ‘natural justice. Equity is used primarily to supplement common law.

evidence.  A written or spoken report or item used in court to prove or disprove a point.

in-camera.  Court proceedings held in private.

indictment.  A formal charge presented in court usually before a jury.

injunction.  An order issued by a court that (usually) restricts or prevents a person from doing something.

judge.  Public official appointed to hear a case in court and make a decision on that case.

jury.  A body of people sworn to determine the outcome of a case.

Justice of the Peace.  Lay (unpaid) magistrate.

lawsuit.  A proceeding in a court of law especially a civil action.

lawyer.  A member of the legal profession.

litigation.  Legal proceedings.

Lord Advocate.  The chief law officer in Scotland.

magistrate.  Person without formal legal training authorised to sit in judgement.

parole.  The conditional release of a prisoner from jail.

party.  A person who takes part in legal proceedings.

plaintiff.  The injured party in a civil case.

precedence.  Judges are obliged to give reasons for their decisions in court. Subsequent cases of the same type may refer to those judgements because of the precedence that has been set.

prosecution.  1. The institution of legal proceedings against a person  2. A lawyer acting on behalf of the Crown.

public inquiry.  An investigation held as part of legal proceedings or over public concern for a particular issue.

Queen's Counsel.  Senior barrister appointed to the Crown who may act in the Crown Court.

Queen's Evidence.  Evidence given for the Crown.

recorder.  Barrister or solicitor authorised to sit in judgement.

remand.  The  period between arrest and trial during which the accused is held in custody or released on bail.

solicitor.  A lawyer who advises clients on all legal matters and may represent them in court  See barrister.

Statute Law.  Legislation introduced by Acts of Parliament.

subpoena.  Writ which requires a person to appear in court to give evidence.

summary offence.  A criminal offence dealt with in the magistrates courts.

summons.  An order to appear in court at a specific place and time.

tort.  An act, such as libel and trespass, for which one can be sued in a civil court.

trial.  The determination of a persons guilt according to the law.

writ.  Written command issued by a court or other authority. Writs may be used to initiate an action in the High Court.

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