Annex C – Glossary of Terms
Person charged with a crime.
A break during court proceedings or suspension to another hearing.
Advocates Depute are prosecutors appointed by the Lord Advocate. Advocates Depute prosecute all cases in the High Court and present appeals in the Appeal Court.
Release from custody of an accused person until the trial or next hearing.
Members of staff who interview witnesses and prepare cases for court in solemn proceedings
Criminal Allegations Against the Police Division (CAAP-D)
A division in COPFS that independently investigates criminal allegations (including Counter Corruption Cases) made against police officers in Scotland.
Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS)
The independent public prosecution service in Scotland. It is responsible for the investigation and prosecution of crime in Scotland. It is also responsible for the investigation of sudden, unexplained or suspicious deaths and the investigation of allegations of criminal conduct against police officers.
COPFS Federation Structure
COPFS is organised into four Federations, each led by a Procurator Fiscal. All operational work is managed within the East, West and North Federations. The fourth federation is the National Federation which includes a number of specialist units including the Scottish Fatalities Investigation Unit and corporate functions.
Crown Prosecution Service (CPS)
Principal prosecuting authority for England and Wales, acting independently in criminal cases investigated by the police and others.
High Court of Justiciary
The Supreme Criminal Court in Scotland with sole jurisdiction to hear the most serious crimes such as murder and rape.
Initial Case Processing
Division within COPFS where initial decisions are made on what action to take in the public interest, including whether to prosecute or not.
Justice of the Peace
A lay person who presides over criminal cases in local courts.
A telephone interpreting service that enables a person to communicate in over 200 languages, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
The Ministerial Head of COPFS. He is the senior of the two Law Officers, the other being the Solicitor General.
The Law Officers are the Lord Advocate and the Solicitor General for Scotland.
The independent professional body for solicitors. It represents and supports its members and promotes the highest professional standards and rule of law.
Procedural hearing in all High Court cases. The purpose is to adjudicate on the state of preparation of the defence and prosecution and to resolve all outstanding issues prior to the trial.
Legally qualified prosecutors who receive reports about crimes from the police and other agencies and make decisions on what action to take in the public interest and where appropriate prosecute cases. They also look into deaths that require further explanation and where appropriate conduct Fatal Accident Inquires and investigate criminal complaints against the police.
Items/exhibits produced in court as part of the evidence.
Public Prosecution Service, Northern Ireland (PPSNI)
The department of the Northern Ireland Executive responsible for public prosecutions of people charged with criminal offences in Northern Ireland.
Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service (SCTS)
Supports justice by providing the people, buildings and services needed by the judiciary, courts, Office of the Public Guardian and devolved tribunals.
Scottish Fatalities Investigation Unit
A national specialist division within COPFS responsible for investigating all sudden, suspicious, accidental and unexplained deaths in Scotland with dedicated teams in each COPFS Federation.
Scottish Legal Aid Board (SLAB)
A non-departmental public body of the Scottish Government responsible for managing legal aid.
Scottish Prison Service (SPS)
A public service-led delivery agency which is legally required to deliver custodial and rehabilitation services for those sent to it by the courts.
Sheriff and Jury
Serious criminal cases heard in the Sheriff Court by a jury.
An arrangement with witnesses to attend at court on a specific date and time.
Prosecution of serious criminal cases before a judge and jury in the High Court or Sheriff Court.
Prosecutions held in the Sheriff or Justice of the Peace Court before a judge without a jury.
A communication service for persons who are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech impediment and cannot use a standard voice telephone. It connects people using a textphone with those using a telephone or other textphone.
Victim Information and Advice (VIA)
A COPFS dedicated Victim Information and Advice service.
Victim Support Scotland (VSS)
An organisation that provides support and information services to victims and witnesses of crime in Scotland.