Person charged with committing a crime.
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.
The crime the accused is alleged to have committed.
Committal for Further Examination ( CFE)
First appearance of an accused at court in solemn proceedings.
Formal document initiating proceedings in the Sheriff summary court or Justice of the Peace court.
Collective term for the Law Officers (Lord Advocate and Solicitor General) and Advocates Deputes.
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 and the investigation of sudden, unexplained or suspicious deaths and allegations of criminal conduct against police officers.
Crown Prosecution Service ( CPS)
Principal prosecuting authority for England and Wales, acting independently in criminal cases investigated by the police and others.
European Union Directive
A legal act of the European Union, which requires member states to achieve a result without specifying the means of achieving that result.
High Court of Justiciary
The Supreme Criminal Court in Scotland with sole jurisdiction to deal with the most serious crimes such as murder and rape.
Court document that sets out the charges the accused faces in solemn proceedings.
The Lord Advocate and the Solicitor General for Scotland: The Lord Advocate is the Ministerial Head of COPFS and is the senior of the two Law Officers.
No Action decision ( NA)
A decision made by a prosecutor not to prosecute an accused for an offence that has been reported by the police or other reporting agency.
No Further Action decision ( NFA)
A decision made by a prosecutor to discontinue a prosecution against an accused for an offence that has commenced in Court.
Formal document served on the accused in solemn proceedings at first appearance, giving notice of the charges.
Place on Petition
Decision by the prosecutor to commence solemn criminal proceedings.
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 investigate deaths that require further explanation and where appropriate conduct Fatal Accident Inquires and investigate criminal complaints against the police.
Public Prosecution Service, Northern Ireland ( PPSNI)
The department of the Northern Ireland Executive responsible for public prosecutions of people charged with criminal offences.
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.
Someone who has suffered harm, including physical, mental or emotional harm or economic loss directly caused by a criminal offence, including:
- family members of a person whose death was directly caused by a criminal offence, and who have suffered harm as a result of that person's death; and
- businesses and other organisations that have suffered loss. 
Victim Information and Advice ( VIA)
The dedicated service provided by COPFS to victims, witnesses of certain crimes and bereaved relatives.