Jargon Buster Criminal Law Category - S-U

Senior District Judge (Chief Magistrate)

The Chief Magistrate is responsible for: hearing many of the sensitive, long or complex cases in the magistrates’ courts and in particular extradition and special jurisdiction cases; supporting and guiding District Judge (Magistrates’ Court) colleagues; liaising with the senior judiciary and Presiding Judges on matters relating on Magistrates’ Courts and District Judges (Magistrates’ Court)

Sentencing Council

An independent body consisting of a Chairman, seven judges and six non-judicial members who develop sentencing guidelines and monitor the application of the guidelines by judges in court


A solicitor is a lawyer who provides clients with expert legal advice and assistance and prepares legal documents. He or she might work in a law firm or in central or local government, or an in-house legal department, for example, a bank or corporation.

Statutory Law

A law that has been passed by an Act of Parliament.

Summary Trial

Trial taking place in a Magistrates' court.

Suspended Sentence

A custodial sentence, but one which will not result in time spent in custody unless another offence is committed within a specified period.

The Bar

Barristers are "called to the Bar" when they have finished their training, and as a result are then allowed to represent clients. The Bar is also a collective term for all barristers, represented by the General Council of the Bar.

The Bench

Judges or magistrates sitting in court are collectively known as "the Bench".

The Crown

The institution of the monarchy, or the historical power of the monarchy, usually exercised today through government and courts. It is the Crown which brings all criminal cases to court, via the Crown Prosecution Service.

The Crown Court

The Crown Court deals with all crime committed for trial by magistrates' courts. Cases for trial are heard before a judge and jury. The Crown Court also acts as an appeal court for cases heard and dealt with by magistrates.


Where an appeal against a judicial decision ends with the original ruling being maintained.