Jargon Buster Criminal Law Category - P-R

Plea and Case Management Hearings

A preliminary hearing, before a judge at a Crown Court, where the accused may indicate whether or not they plan to plead guilty and have the chance to argue that there is insufficient evidence for the case to go before a jury. Directions are also given on matters such as what evidence will be admitted.

Pre-Sentence Report

Report normally prepared by the Probation Service concerning a defendant’s background. Often used to assist the court when considering sentence.

Pre-Trial Hearing

A short court hearing at which a judge considers how ready all parties in a case may be for the trial and fixes a timetable where necessary.


The right of a party to refuse to disclose a document or produce a document or to refuse to answer questions on the ground of some special interest recognised by law.

Probation Service

Service with responsibility for working with and administering non- custodial sentences, see also community order/ suspended sentence order


The beginning or conduct of criminal proceedings against a person.

Queen's Counsel (QC)

Barristers and solicitors with sufficient experience and knowledge can apply to become Queen's Counsel. QCs undertake work of an important nature and are referred to as 'silks', a name derived from the black court gown that is worn. QCs will, of course, be known as King's Counsel if a king assumes the throne.


A Recordership appointment, which carries almost the same powers as a circuit judge, is made by The Queen, and lasts for five years. Recorders generally sit for between four and six weeks a year, and normally spend the rest of the time in private practice as barristers or solicitors.