Law Jargon Buster Part Two

Following on from the previous jargon buster, here are some more commonly used words in legal cases. It is important that you fully understand the terminology used, and if you ever need further assistance, your barrister will always be on hand to assist you.


An alibi is a piece of evidence that proves someone who is accused of a crime was elsewhere when the offence was committed.

Anti Social Behaviour Order (ASBO)

This is a civil order made by a court that bans an individual from visiting certain areas at certain times. If an ASBO is breached, the offender can be put in prison for up to five years.


This is when someone accused of a crime is released while they await trial, usually after a sum of money has been paid.

Court of Appeal

The court of law that hears appeals against both civil and criminal judgements from all other courts including High Court, Crown Court and County Courts


A defendant is a person, or other legal entity defending court action, which is being taken against them.

Direct Access

The ability to instruct a barrister directly, without having to use a solicitor. This covers areas such as employment law, family law and housing law.


This is when someone misuses or thieves someone else’s belongings or money, particularly if the offender has violated trust.

Law Commission

The independent body arranged by parliament to ensure current laws are kept under review and reformed when necessary.


This is a member of the public who voluntarily administers the law in magistrate’s courts. They are trained in court procedures and do not need any official legal qualifications.


Failing to take reasonable care of something or someone.

Preliminary Hearing

The first hearing to take place that decides which court the proceedings will take place, and when.


Probation is what someone is placed on after a period of good behaviour in detention.


In employment tribunals, this will be the person who is named on the claim form that will be representing throughout the claim.


The agreement and resolution between two parties about a legal case before the court case begins.

Suspended Sentence

The delay of an offender’s service sentence after they have been found guilty, usually no sentence is served unless they commit another offence.

Witness Statement

The written document that is given as evidence in court cases, including tribunals.