Glossary of Terms
Act of Adjournal
Act setting out the rules and regulations governing criminal procedure.
Person charged with committing 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.
The release from custody of an accused person until the trial or next court hearing.
Band G Legal Manager
Senior legal manager.
Members of staff who interview witnesses and prepare cases for court in solemn proceedings.
The crime the accused is alleged to have committed.
Committal for Further Examination (CFE)
First appearance of an accused at court.
Formal document initiating proceedings in the Sheriff summary court.
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.
Criminal Court Rules Council
A body established under the 1995 Act to review the procedure and practices of the courts exercising criminal jurisdiction in Scotland and to assist the High Court in the discharge of its court procedural rule-making function.
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. It is also responsible for the investigation of sudden, unexplained or suspicious deaths and the investigation of allegations of criminal conduct against police officers.
A procedural hearing in solemn sheriff prosecutions. Its main purpose is to determine whether both prosecutor and defence are prepared for the trial.
The level at which the case is to be prosecuted with more serious offences being heard by a jury and less serious offences heard by a single judge.
Full Committal (FC)
Procedural hearing which takes place in private.
Court document that sets out the charges the accused faces in solemn proceedings.
COPFS information database containing legal and non-legal guidance.
The Lord Advocate and the Solicitor General for Scotland.
The Ministerial Head of COPFS. He is the senior of the two Law Officers, the other being the Solicitor General.
Management Information Unit (MIU)
A Unit that provides statistical analysis and data.
Prisoners released from prison at an earlier date than their full period of their sentence subject to certain conditions.
Formal document served on accused in solemn proceedings. It gives notice of charges being considered by the Procurator Fiscal.
Preliminary Hearing (PH)
Procedural hearing in all High Court cases. The purpose is to adjudicate on the state of preparation of the defence and the prosecution and to resolve all outstanding issues prior to the trial commencing.
Items/exhibits produced in court as part of the evidence.
Procurators Fiscal (PFs)
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 Inquiries and investigate criminal complaints against the police.
(Acronym for Prosecutor's Management Information System). COPFS computer-based case-tracking and management system.
Quality Assurance (QA)
Improving performance and preventing problems through planned and systematic activities including documentation, training and review.
Senior Civil Servant (SCS)
A senior official in the Civil Service equivalent to Deputy Director level and above.
Sheriff and Jury
Serious criminal cases heard in the Sheriff Court by a jury.
A designated period of time during which a number of cases are listed for trial.
Prosecution of serious criminal cases before a judge and jury in the High Court or Sheriff Court.
The Lord Advocate's deputy. She is also a Minister of the Scottish Government.
Prosecutions held in the Sheriff or Justice of the Peace Court before a judge without a jury.
A document from the court allowing the police to arrest a person alleged to have committed a criminal offence or having been convicted to be sentenced.