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Criminal Defence Lawyers | Glossary

Criminal defence lawyers

Acquit  – A decision by the jury or judge that a person is not guilty of a criminal offence. In criminal trials, the burden is on the prosecution to satisfy the judge or jury beyond ‘all reasonable doubt’ that the accused committed the offence charged.

Arrest Warrant  – A court order directing the arrest/seize a named person to bring her or him before the court.

Assize Trial – A trial which takes place in the Royal Court before a Presiding Judge, (Bailiff, Deputy Bailiff or Commissioner) and a jury of twelve lay persons.

Bail – When a person charged with having committed a criminal offence is brought before the court he will either be remanded in custody until the next time the case is in court (e.g. for sentence or trial) or else remanded on bail. Bail means that a person is released from custody on condition that he attends the next court hearing in his case.

Beyond Reasonable Doubt  – This is the standard of proof applied in criminal proceedings i.e. the prosecution must prove that the defendant’s guilt is beyond reasonable doubt.

Centenier – A member of the Honorary Police elected by members of the Parish.  Centeniers have powers to arrest, search, and grant bail. Only a Centenier may formally charge a person. Centeniers present defendants before the Magistrate’s Court and read out the charges.

Committal –  this refers to the sending of a serious case from the Magistrate’s Court for trial in the Royal Court.

Community Service – A criminal sentence requiring a convicted person to perform a number of hours of unpaid work in the community. This sentence may be imposed if the court is considering passing a sentence of imprisonment or youth detention. A community service order is a direct alternative to custody.

Concurrent Sentence – When a court directs that two or more sentences to be served at the same time as opposed to consecutively.

Consecutive Sentence – When a court directs that two or more sentences are to be served successively, as opposed to at the same time (concurrently).

Conviction – The finding of guilt at the end of a trial or the result of a guilty plea.

Cross-Examination – The questioning by a party or his/her advocate of another party or a witness called by another party.

Crown Advocate – Advocate appointed by the Attorney General

Defendant – The party accused of committing the offence charged.

Indictment –  A document signed by the Attorney General setting out the criminal charges against an accused.

Inferior Number – This Court sits for the trials of statutory offences including, for example, drug trafficking offences. The Bailiff or his substitute is the judge of law and the Jurats are the judges of fact, and they also determine damages and the criminal sentence (maximum four years’ imprisonment for the Inferior Number). Where the Inferior Number considers that the sentence(s) should exceed four years, it shall commit the person to the Superior Number for sentence.

Jury – The tribunal of fact to decide the verdict in trials for customary law offences in the Royal Court.

Plea – A criminal defendant’s response to the charges, i.e. guilty, not guilty

Prosecutor  – The Attorney General is the chief prosecutor. In England and Wales it would be the Crown.

Royal Court  – The principal court in Jersey that hears criminal cases.


Please note that the information provided on this website is for general information purposes only and is designed to provide you with an outline of the legal services we offer.  Whilst we endeavour to ensure our information is correct and useful, we make no representations or warranties regarding the accuracy or completeness of the information offered.  Information on our website does not constitute legal advice and Parslows Jersey accepts no liability for any loss or damage arising out of, or in connection with, the information found in this website.  Please consult a lawyer at Parslows Jersey in the event that you require professional assurance that our information, and your interpretation of the same, is correct.

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