Legal People

A who’s who guide to the law industry including detailed descriptions of the roles and responsibilities of people working within the UK legal system.

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

A

ACCUSED

The Accused is the person charged - the person who has allegedly committed the offence.

ADVOCATE

An Advocate is a barrister representing a party in a hearing before a Court at the request of a Solicitor. In Scotland an Advocate is a Scottish Lawyer who is the equivalent of a barrister in England & Wales.

APPELLANT

An Appellant is the person who appeals to the highter court against a decision made by a lower court. See Appeal.

APPLICANT

The Applicant is the person making the request or demand, e.g. person who issues an application.

APPROPRIATE ADULT

The role of an Appropriate Adult is to attend Police stations when unaccompanied young persons aged below 17 are arrested, who would otherwise have no adult representation.
The Appropriate Adult’s role is to support the young person whilst in custody by   explaining their rights whilst detained, the use of legal terminology, offer counselling and/or advice, contact relatives and ensure the young person receives the care they are entitled to.
Appropriate Adults are contacted through the Young Offending Team that covers that specific area.
Appropriate adults are also used when vulnerable adults are detained in custody. Vulnerable adults are classed as people who suffer from mental illness, learning difficulties or literacy problems. In these cases it is the Appropriate Adults role to ensure that the detainee understands the custody process, legal advice and any questions put to them by the police. These appropriate adults usually have specialised mental health training or practical experience of dealing with vulnerable adults.

ARBITRATOR

The Arbitrator is the independent referee who settles a dispute without the need to go through the courts. See Arbitration.

ASSESSORS & ASSISTANT REPORTERS (SCOTLAND)

In Scottish Law, in certain cases the Secretary of State may appoint a suitably qualified assessor to sit with the Reporter during the inquiry and to advise them on specified matters, for example where complex and technical issues are to be considered.

B

BAILIFF

A Bailiff is an Officer of the County Court empowered to serve Court documents and execute warrants. A Bailiff may also be ordered to take a debtors goods amd sell them to get money to pay the debtor's debts.

BAR

The Bar is the collective term for barristers.

BAR COUNCIL

The Bar Council is the professional body for barristers in England and Wales. It provides representation and services for the Bar, and Guidance on issues of professional practice.

Visit The Bar Council for more information.

BARRISTER

Who is a Barrister and what do they do?

A Barrister is a lawyer with the right to speak and argue as an advocate in higher lawcourts. Barristers are instructed by solicitors. They specialise in a particular field of law and can present a case in any court, where as a solicitor's rights to speak in court are limited.
Another term for Barrister is 'Counsel'.
Barristers normally have no direct contact with the public and appear in court when instructed to do so by a solicitor.
Barristers put legal arguments to judges, magistrates and juries, and they cross-examine witnesses to attempt to control the outcome of a court case.
Only barristers or qualified Solicitor Advocates may represent clients in the higher courts.

BENCH

The Bench is the name for the judges or magistrates in a court.

BENCH CHAIRMAN

A Bench Chairman is the Magistrate who sits in the centre of the two other Magistrates in Court. They are responsible for addressing the court on behalf of thier colleagues and presiding over the proceedings.

A Bench Chairman is elected annually by other members of the bench to act as their leader, representative, and spokesperson.

On either side of the chairman sit the two ‘wingers’.

C

CASE OFFICER

The case officer ensures the case is handled as it should be and their role involves for example: preparing the prosecution brief or full offence file; Arrange an interpreter if required; Marshal witnesses; Prepare court schedules; Arrange antecedents; Prepare hearing letters; Assist and advise the prosecutor during proceedings; Attend remand hearings and committal proceedings; Make notes during a trial.

CIRCUIT JUDGE

A Circuit Judge is a senior judge who presides over cases in the Crown Court.

CLIENT

Some one involved in a case who has a Solicitor representing them.

CO-RESPONDENT

A Co-Respondent is a person named as an adulterer (or third person) in a petition for divorce.

COMPLAINANT

A Complainant is a person who makes a complaint.

CORONER

A coroner is an official responsible for investigating deaths, particularly those happening under unusual circumstances, and determining the cause of death. The additional roles and qualifications or the coroner vary significantly not only by country but by jurisdiction.

CORONER (ISLE OF MAN)

Coroners are the executive officers of the High Court of the Isle of Man, i.e those who execute court orders within their sheadings, namely jury summons (each Coroner is the head on one of six administrative districts known as sheadings).
This is not to be confused with the Coroner of Inquests (Isle of Man).

CORONER OF INQUESTS (ISLE OF MAN)

The Coroner of Inquests is an independent judicial officer who follows laws which apply to coroners and inquests. In the Isle of Man, the Coroner of Inquests is always the High Bailiff or the Deputy High Bailiff.
The Coroner of Inquests inquires into deaths which appear violent, unnatural, sudden or unexplained.
A full inquest will determine:-
• who has died;
• where the death occurred
• when the death occurred; and
• how the person died.
An inquest is not a trial and the Coroner does not apportion blame.

This not to be confused with a Coroner (Isle of Man).

COSTS JUDGE

A Costs Judge is a procedural Judge who assess legal fees to see that they are fair.

COUNSEL (ENGLAND & WALES)

The term Counsel (England & Wales) refers to a Barrister who pleads cases in court.

COUNSEL (SCOTLAND)

In Scottish Law, the term Counsel refers to an Advocate who is a member of the Faculty Of Advocates. They can also do cases in all Courts and work from stables.

COURT OFFICER (SCOTLAND)

In Scotland, the role of the Court Officer calls the accused and witnesses into the Court room and helps maintain order. Also referred to as Macers in the High Court.

D

DEEMSTER

A Deemster is a judge in the Isle of Man. The High Court of Justice of the Isle of Man is presided over by a Deemster.

DEFENCE SOLICITOR AND DEFENCE BARRISTER

A Defence Solicitor argues for the defendent and may offer mitigation before sentencing. You may also encounter a defence Counsel. Some Defence Solicitors also have a right of audience in Crown Court and can conduct trials without a Barrister.

DEFENDANT – CIVIL CASES

The Defendant in civil cases is the person who has a claim made against them. They can either admit liability in part or in full,  or dispute claim.

DEFENDANT – CRIMINAL CASES

The Defendant in criminal cases is the person standing trial or appearing for sentence.

DEPUTY CIRCUIT JUDGE

Deputy Circuit Judges are Judges that sit part-time in retirement.
A retired Circuit Judge still retains the title 'His Honour' or 'Her Honour' for life, but 'Judge' is dropped from the title.

DESIGNATED CIVIL JUDGE

A Designated Civil Judge is a Judge designated to deal with the Civil Justice Reforms for a group of courts.

DISTRICT JUDGE

A District Judge is a type of Magistrate who is legally qualified and paid.

Prior to August 2000, District Judges were known as Stipendiary Magistrates.

DUTY SOLICITOR

Who is a Duty Solicitor?

In the United Kingdom a duty solicitor is a solicitor whose services are available to a person either suspected of, or charged with, a criminal offence pro bono (free of charge), if the person does not have access to a solicitor of their own.

In England and Wales, there are two duty solicitor schemes which operate in parallel:

  • The Police Station Duty Solicitor scheme enables a person who is arrested on suspicion of a criminal offence to consult with a solicitor, either in person or on the telephone, or both, whilst in police custody. This right is most often taken up when the suspect is to be interviewed concerning their suspected involvement in the commission of a crime.
  • The Court Duty Solicitor scheme allows a person that has already been charged with an offence to consult with and be represented by a solicitor at the Magistrates' Court on their first appearance if they do not have, or simply have not contacted, their own solicitor.

E

EXPERT WITNESS

An Expert Witness is a person employed to give evidence on a subject in which they are qualified or have expertise, such as a Forensic Scientist or a Doctor.

F

FACULTY OF ADVOCATES (SCOTLAND)

The Faculty of Advocates is an independent body of lawyers who have been admitted to practise as Advocates before the courts of Scotland.

G

GUARDIAN

A Guardian is a person appointed to safeguard/protect/manage the interests of a child, or person under mental disability.

H

HIGH COURT ENFORCEMENT OFFICER

A High Court Enforcement Officer is an officer appointed by the Lord Chancellor to enforce High Court judgements and orders.

HM COURTS AND TRIBUNALS SERVICE (HMCTS)

HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) is an agency of the Minitry of Justice responsible for administering all 650 Crown, county, tribunal, and magistrates’ courts in England and Wales. In each locality the HMCTS Delivery Director and Cluster Manager are responsible for running the courts.

HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) is governed by a partnership agreement between the Lord Chancellor and Lord Chief Justice and responsible for responsible for the administration of the criminal, civil and family courts and tribunals in England and Wales and non-devolved tribunals in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The stated aims of HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) are to implement the effective, efficient and speedy operation of the courts and tribunals procedures allowing individuals access to justice according to their different needs, whether as victims or witnesses of crime, defendants accused of crimes, consumers in debt, children at risk of harm, businesses involved in commercial disputes or as individuals asserting their employment rights or challenging the decisions of government bodies.

HOW TO ADDRESS A COURT

How to address a Court - What to call Judges/Magistrates:

Magistrates Court, Youth Court & Family Court Proceedings

District Judge: Sir/Madam
Chairman of Lay Bench: Sir/Madam
Members of Lay Bench: Your Worships

Tribunals
Chairman: Sir/Madam
Other members: Sir/Madam                                      

County Court - Civil Justice Centres
Circuit Judge: Your Honour
Recorder or any person sitting as a deputy Circuit Judge: Your Honour
District Judge: Sir/Madam
                     
Crown Court
High Court Judge: My Lord/My Lady
Circuit Judge: Your Honour 
Lay Bench sitting with a judge on appeal against sentencing in a magistrates court: Your Honour's colleagues
Recorder or any person sitting as a deputy Circuit Judge: Your Honour
Exceptions:  

  • Any person sitting as a Judge at the Central Criminal Court:  My Lord/My Lady 
  • Recorder of Manchester/ Liverpool:  My Lord/My Lady

                        
High Court
Judge: My Lord/My Lady
Any Circuit Judge sitting as a Judge of the High Court: My Lord/My Lady
District Judge: Sir/Madam
Master: Master                                    

Court of Appeal 
Lord Justice: My Lord/My Lady  

House of Lords  
Lord of Appeal in Ordinary: My Lord/My Lady  

I

INTERMEDIARY

If you are a witness in a criminal trial and need help to communicate your evidence, you can request to use a Registered Intermediary. Registered Intermediaries are approved by the court. Their role is to explain to the witness any questions the court, defence and prosecution teams may ask. They also communicate the answers that the witness gives in response. They must not change the meaning of what they explain.

Intermediaries remain neutral throughout a court case and do not act for the defence, the prosecution or the witness.

Intermediaries may also be used at a Police station when giving evidence (interview under caution).

INTERPRETER

A Legal Interpreter is a qualified person who can assist in the communication between two or more people who are not speaking the same language.
For more information and to find a Legal Interpretation company click here.

 

J

JUDGE ADVOCATE GENERAL

The Judge Advocate General is appointed by Her Majesty the Queen on the recommendation of the Lord Chancellor. They are a Law Officer of the Crown and an independent member of the judiciary and is always a civilian, although they may have served in the armed forces. The Office of the Judge Advocate General deals with criminal trials of service men and women in the Royal Navy, the Army and the Royal Air Force for serious offences, which are heard in a standing court known as the Court Martial.

JUDGE ADVOCATE OF THE FLEET

From 1661 the office of Judge Advocate of the Fleet (JAF) existed to supervise the Royal Navy Courts-martial system, separately from the Judge Advocate General (JAG). The two historic offices were amalgamated by the Armed Forces Act 2006, with the role of JAF subsumed into JAG.  The Armed Forces Act 2006 repealed the three Service Discipline Acts of 1955/57, establishing a single system of Service law, and created the Court Martial as a standing court. This came into effect on 31 October 2009.

JUDGES

Both solicitors and barristers may be appointed as judges. The Judicial Appointments Commission selects candidates for judicial office on merit. A judge takes control in a court of law. The judge conducts the trial without bias, and in an open court. The judge hears all the witnesses and any other evidence presented by the parties of the case and then issues a ruling on the matter. In some jurisdictions, the judge's powers may be shared with a jury.

JUDICIAL OFFICE (JO)

The Judicial Office (JO) is an independent organisation which reports to the Lord Chief Justice. Its purpose is to support the judiciary in upholding the rule of law and in delivering justice impartially, speedily and efficiently.

The Judicial Office includes professional trainers, legal advisers and communication experts, policy makers, and administrators.

JUDICIARY

A Judiciary is a  judge or other officer empowered to act as a judge.

JUNIOR BARRISTER

A junior barrister is a barrister who has not yet attained the rank of Queen's Counsel.

JUROR

A Juror is a person who is on the Jury.

JURY (ENGLAND AND WALES)

A Jury in Engalnd & Wales consists of a group of 12 citizens sworn to give a true verdict according to the evidence presented to them in a court of law.

JURY (SCOTLAND)

In Scotland, a Jury is made up of 15 members of the public who decide guilt or innocence in criminal cases at a Sheriff’s Court or the High Court of Judiciary. They come to a verdict.

JUSTICE OF THE PEACE (LAY MAGISTRATE)

A Justice of the Peace, also known as a Lay Magistrate is a person who hears criminal cases such as theft, assault, breach of the peace and road traffic offences in the local courts. Generally they are not legally qualified; however, a legally qualified person can become a Justice of the Peace, but cannot act in any proceedings in a Justice of the Peace Court (Magistrates Court) within their own judicial district.

JUVENILE

A juvenile is an adolescent who may display a lack of maturity, and in law is referred to as a minor.

L

LAW COSTS DRAFTSMEN

Law costs draftsmen ensure that a firm's clients are properly charged for work undertaken on clients’ behalf.
They also help allocate costs between the two sets of legal advisers at the end of lengthy intricate cases.
On occasions, they represent clients in court when there is an issue over costs.
Many law costs draftsmen are school-leavers and qualify after a course of approximately two years.

LAW LORDS

Law Lords, also known as the 'Lords of Appeal in Ordinary', were the judges of the House of Lords. See House of Lords for further information.

LAWYER

A Lawyer, is a general term used to describe any person who is professionally qualified to practice Law.

LAY MAGISTRATE

A Lay Magistrate, also known as Justice of the Peace, has no legal qualifications. They are unpaid and usually three sit together. They are addressed as your worship, sir or madam.

 

LAY REPRESENTATIVE

A Lay Representative is a person who is not legally qualified, but accompanies another during a court hearing. The person may be a spouse, friend or colleague.

LEADING JUNIOR COUNSEL

A Leading Junior Counsel is a senoir Barrister who deals with more serious cases. A Leading Junior Counsel is not a Queens Counsel (QC).

LEGAL ADVISOR TO THE JUSTICES

Legal Advisors to the Justices are qualified solicitors or barristers who manage the Magistrates' Courts Service and provide legal advice to lay magistrates.
They also train newly appointed magistrates, act as secretaries to management and selection committees, and liaise with other professionals in the criminal justice system.

This role was previously known as Justices Clerks, or Clerks to the Justice.

LEGAL CASHIER

Legal cashiers usually work in solicitors' practices and are not normally qualified (or do not intend) to advise on any legal matters. They keep financial records and keep solicitors informed of the financial position of the firm.

LEGAL EXECUTIVE

By joining the Institute of Legal Executives, Graduates and Non Graduates can move a step closer to qualifying as a solicitor. This can be done by working in a legal office and firstly sitting an exam to qualify as a member, and later as a fellow of the Institute.
Being a legal executive is a career in itself, without the need to progress to a Solicitor. However, further professional training is a requirement of qualification as a solicitor. The process is demanding, but allows non-graduates the opportunity to earn while they learn

LEGAL SECRETARY

Legal secretaries provide secretarial and administrative support to those working in the legal profession. They carry out a wide range of administrative and office management duties. The role involves specialist duties and direct contact with clients, such as:
- typing up letters, reports, legal papers and documents
- answering telephone calls and handling mail
- taking dictation and transcribing records
- organising functions, travel and appointments
- researching areas of law for specific cases
- Keeping accounts and records up to date
- Proof reading legal documents
- Attending court, client meetings and police stations to take notes

 

LIQUIDATOR

A liquidator is the person appointed to wind up a company.

LORD ADVOCATE (SCOTLAND)

The Lord Advocate is the principal prosecutor in criminal cases in Scotland.

LORD CHANCELLOR

The cabinet minister who acts as speaker of the House of Lords and oversees the hearings of the Law Lords. Additional responsibilities include supervising the procedure of Courts other than Magistrates or Coroners Courts and selection of judges, magistrates, queens counsel and members of tribunals.

Magistrates for England and Wales are appointed by the Lord Chancellor on behalf of the Queen.

The Lord Chancellor has a particular responsibility for working to ensure the judiciary reflects the diversity of society as a whole.

The Lord Chancellor is also responsible, with the agreement of the Lord Chief Justice, for the removal of magistrates who have been found to have acted improperly. In considering appointment and disciplinary matters, he relies on the advice of his advisory committees.

LORD CHIEF JUSTICE

The Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales is head of the judiciary. This includes acting as the Senior judge of the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) and is also head of the Queens Bench Division of the High Court of Justice.

The Lord Chief Justice is also responsible for the welfare, training, and deployment of magistrates; for approving the names of candidates recommended to the Lord Chancellor for appointment; and for disciplinary action, short of removal, where a magistrate has been found to have acted improperly. The Lord Chief Justice is also President of the Magistrates' Association.

LORD JUSTICE OF APPEAL

A Lord Justice of Appeal is an ordinary judge of the court of appeal of England and Wales, which is the court that hears appeals from The High Court of Justice, and represents the second highest level of judge in the Courts of England and Wales

M

MACER (SCOTLAND)

In Scotland, a Macer is an official who acts as an usher in Court, They call the accused and witnesses into the Court room and help maintain order.

MAGISTRATE

There are two types of Magistrate: 

• Lay, or Justice of the Peace - has no legal qualifications and is unpaid. Usually three sit together,one of whom is chairperson. Magistrates are members of the public who rely on a Court Clerk, or Justice Clerk to advise on points of law.

• District Judge - legally qualified and paid. Usually sits alone and is addressed 'Sir' or 'Madam'.

MASTER

Judicial officer of the High Court in the Royal Courts of Justice who normally deals with preliminary matters before trial

MASTER OF THE ROLES

The Master of the Rolls is a Judge of the Supreme Court, next in dignity to the Lord Chancellor, having the official custody of the Royal records.

MINISTRY OF JUSTICE

The Ministry of Justice states its work is to protect the public and reduce reoffending, and to provide a more effective, transparent and responsive criminal justice system for victims and the public.

The Minitry of Justice also supports the Lord Chancellor, with the independent advice of the Judicial Office, on the appointment of magistrates and on some magistrate related policy areas.

The Ministry Of Justice is responsible for the following ares of the justice system:

  • courts
  • prisons
  • probation services
  • attendance centres


The Ministry Of Justice also works in partnership with the other government departments and agencies to reform the criminal justice system and serve the public and support the victims of crime. The Ministry Of Justice is also responsible for making new laws, strengthening democracy, and safeguarding human rights.

The stated priorities of the Ministry of Justice are to:

  • reduce reoffending by using the skills of the public, private and voluntary sectors
  • reduce youth crime by putting education at the centre of youth justice
  • build a prison system that delivers maximum value for money
  • reduce the cost of legal aid and ensure it helps those cases that genuinely need it
  • improve the way our courts are run and put the needs of victims first

MINOR

Depending on the jurisdiction and application, the age of a Minor may vary, but is usually marked at either 12, 16, 18, 20, or 21. Currently in the UK this is someone below 18 years of age and unable to sue or be sued without representation, other than for wages. A minor sues by a next friend and defends by a guardian. A minor is also refered to as an 'infant'. See also Young Offender.


N

NEXT FRIEND

A person representing a minor or mental patient who is involved in legal proceedings

O

OFFICIAL RECEIVER

A civil servant who is appointed by Court to act as a liquidator when a company is being wound up, or act as a trustee when an individual is made bankrupt. The duties of an official receiver will include examining the company/bankrupt's property which is available to pay the debts and distributing the money amongst the creditors

OFFICIAL SOLICITOR

A solicitor or barrister appointed by the Lord Chancellor and working in the Lord Chancellor's Department. The duties include representing, in legal proceedings, people who are incapable of looking after their own affairs i.e. children/persons suffering from mental illness

OMBUDSMAN

An Ombudsman is an independent official who investigates complaints made by the public against an organisation.

P

PARALEGAL

A paralegal is a person who assists lawyers in their legal work, and is responsible for researching, analyzing, and managing the daily tasks for cases.
Paralegals are not lawyers and are not authorized by the government to offer legal services in the same way as lawyers. Their duties must be supervised by a lawyer, who will be responsible for the paralegals work.

PLAINTIFF

A Plaintiff is an individual/body that instigates legal proceedings.

PRIVY COUNCIL

A Privy Council is a body of people appointed by the Crown and may include royalty and former cabinet ministers. Its main purpose is to give confidential advice to the head of state, i.e The Queen.

Up to date information can be found at the Privy Council Office.

PROBATION SERVICE

The Probation Service provides probation supervision, community service, and specialist support services, to both adult and young offenders. The aim of the service is to stop individuals from committing further offences.

 

PROCURATOR

A Procurator is a person who has been authorised to act for another.

PROCURATOR FISCAL (SCOTLAND)

In Scottish Law, a Procurator Fiscal is a public prosecutor acting under the control of the Lord Advocate. Their role is to investigate an offence and bring the prosecution. The role of Advocacy is often undertaken on the Procurator Fiscal’s behalf by an Advocate Depute.

PROSECUTING COUNSEL

The Prosecuting Counsel presents and argues the case for the Crown. They take instructions (brief) from the prosecutung solicitor. The Prosecuting Counsel can deal direct with the case officer and may be a Queens Counsel (QC).

 

PROSECUTING LAWYER

The Prosecuting Lawyer briefs the prosecution Barrister on the case and liases with the defendant, the defence and in some cases the prosecution witnesses.
 

PUISNE JUDGE

A Puisne Judge(Pronounced Puny) is a High Court judge; any judge of the High Court other than the heads of each division. The word puisne means junior and is used to distinguish High Court judges from senior judges sitting at the Court of Appeal

PURPLE JUDGE

The term 'Purple  Judge' refers to Circuit Judges  who are senior Judges in Crown and County Court. Such judges wear purple dress robes must be addressed as 'Your Honour.

Q

QUEENS BENCH DIVISION

The Queens Bench Division is a division of the High Court. It has authority to deal with civil disputes involving the recovery of money, including breach of contracts and personal injury.

QUEENS COUNSEL (Q.C)

In the UK, a Queen's Counsel, or QC would be known as a Kings Counsel, or KC, during the reign of a male sovereign. They are Lawyers who having practiced for at least 10 years, are honored upon the recommendation of the Lord Chancellor, to wear the silk gown (known as ‘takes silk’, also the reason a QC's are also referred to as 'silks') and take precedence over other Barristers in the court.

R

RECORDER

A Recorder is a barrister or solicitor of at least 10 years' standing who is appointed by the Queen on the advice of the Lord Chancellor to hold part-time judicial office. A Recorder acting as such has all the powers of a Circuit Judge and may sit in the Crown Court or in the County Court. A Recorder is expected to sit as a Judge for between 3 and 6 weeks a year.

RED JUDGE

The term 'Red Judge' refers to a High Court Judge. Such judges wear a red gown and must be addressed as 'My Lord' or 'My Lady', where as a Circuit Judge would be addressed as 'Your Honour'. A red Judge sits in Crown Court and the Court of Appeal

REGISTRAR

Registrars and deputy registrars were renamed District Judges and Deputy District Judges respectively in the Courts and Legal Services Act 1990

REPEAT OFFENDER

A Repeat Offender is a person who repeatedly offends against the law.

RESPONDENT – CIVIL AND CRIME

In civil and criminal cases the respondent is the defending party, or person, in an appeal or in a petition to the courts. Also see Appellant.

RESPONDENT – FAMILY CASES

In family cases a respondent is the person on whom a petition or originating application is served.

S

SENIOR PRESIDING JUDGE

The Senior Presiding Judge is a Board member of HM Courts and Tribunals Service and oversees the work of Presiding Judges on each circuit in England and Wales, providing a general point of contact between the judiciary, the courts and government departments.

The Senior Presiding Judge holds delegated authority from the Lord Chief Justice to exercise a range of functions in respect of the judiciary; for example, statutory concurrence with the Lord Chancellor’s decision to appoint a magistrate and assigning magistrates to local justice areas. It is also the Senior Presiding Judge who issues guidance about issues affecting the judiciary.

The Senior Presiding Judge for England and Wales serves a three-year term. In January 2013, Lord Justice Gross became the new Senior Presiding Judge.

SHERIFF (SCOTLAND)

Sheriff is a Scottish law term for the person who presides over cases in the Sheriff Court.

SILK

Queens Counsel's are also known as ‘silks’ because when a barrister is invited to be a Queen's Counsel they are allowed to wear coloured robes, traditionally made of silk. When a barrister is appointed as a QC, they are said to ‘take silk’. QCs are the most experienced, senior barristers and judges are usually appointed from their ranks.

SOLICITOR

Solicitors are the initial point of contact when an individual has a legal problem. Their role is to meet with prospective clients, hear the client's problems, give legal advice, drafts letters and documents, negotiate on the client's behalf, handle the clients money and prepare the client's case for trial corresponding with other parties involved.
Solicitors can only represent their clients in a criminal case that is heard in the magistrates Court. However, if a legal matter is referred to a higher Court then the Solicitor will instruct a Barrister to act on their client’s behalf.
Some Solicitors do have a higher right of Audience allowing them to do the same work as Barristers and are known as Solicitor Advocates.

 

 

SOLICITOR ADVOCATE

A Solicitor Advocate os a Solicitor who has higher rights of audience allowing them to do the same work as a Barrister.

SOLICITOR GENERAL

A Solicitor General assists the Attorney General, who both advise the Government.

STIPENDIARY MAGISTRATE

Stipendiary magistrates are legally qualified Magistrates (most were either barristers or court clerks before taking this office) who are paid (a stipend) to act as full-time lawyers. Stipendiary Magistrates were renamed District Judges in August 2000.

T

TRANSLATOR

A Legal Translator translates text within the field of law. For more information or to find a Legal Translation company click here.

TREASURY SOLICITOR

A Treasury Solicitor is a solicitor who gives legal advice to the treasury.

U

USHER

An Usher is responsible for calling witnesses, swearing them in, and generally helping to run the court. They may also decide on the running order of cases in some courts. In Scotland an Usher is referred to as a Macer.

V

W

WARD OF COURT

A 'Ward of Court' is the title given to a minor who is the subject of a wardship order. The order ensures that custody of the minor is held by the Court with day to day care of the minor being carried out by an individual(s) or local authority. As long as the minor remains a ward of Court, all decisions regarding the minors upbringing must be approved by the Court, e.g. transfer to a different school, medical treatment etc

WILLIAM BLACKSTONE

William Blackstone is an iconic figure in law. He was born in 1723 and educated at Charterhouse and Pembroke College in Oxford. He was called to the Bar in 1746 and appointed Solicitor General in 1763.

Between 1765 and 1769 his lectures were published in the form of Commentaries on the Laws of England.

In 1770 he was appointed a judge of the Common Pleas (after entering Parliament in 1768).

As well as his famous Commentaries, he also wrote an Analysis of the Laws of England.

He died in February, 1780. 

WITNESS

A Witness is an individual who gives evidence before a court

WITNESS CARE OFFICER

A Witness Care Officer works as part of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) Witness Care Unit in support of victims and witnesses of crime, providing a single point of contact and offering information and support.
A witness care officers role is to help you in any way they can.
They will also:
• make arrangements for your travel/hotel requirements
• make arrangements for any special measures you may need
• ensure the court Witness Service has the information they need to support you
• ensure you receive your witness statement and exhibits
• keep you informed of any changes in the time or date that you are needed at court
• provide you with an expense claim form and a feedback form
• inform you of the result of the case

Y

YOUNG OFFENDER

A Young Offender is anyone between the ages of 10 and 17 who has committed a criminal act.They may also be referred to as a Minor or Infant.
Children under the age of 10 are considered to be under the age of criminal responsibility and have not reached an age where they can be held responsible for their crimes. Therefore, they cannot be charged with any criminal offence.
Children aged 10-14 can be convicted of a criminal offence if it can be proved that they were aware of what they were doing at the time of the offence and that it was seriously wrong. After the age of 14, young people are considered to be fully responsible for their own actions in the same way as an adult would. However, there are some differences in the type of sentencing all young offenders will receive. See Youth Court.

FOR UPTO DATE LEGISLATION AND INFORMATION RELATING TO MINORS, YOUNG OFFENDERS AND INFANTS CLICK HERE

YOUTH OFFENDING SERVICE

The Youth Offending Service will have a representative in the Youth Court to advise the Magistrates of any information that they have about the youth in question. This representative will inform the Court about the youth's compliance with previous sentences and any risk factors which may be relevent to sentencing.
They ensure young people are aware of the requirements of Orders, make arrangements for assessment reports to be written and in some circumstances produce 'Stand Down' reports for the Court on the day of court. The person representing The Youth Offending Service in Court will make a record of the court processes and outcomes so that the youth's progress is monitored.