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Home > Resources > Definitions





accused – a person who is charged with an offence

acquittal – a finding of not guilty in a criminal case

act – a law passed by Parliament or a provincial legislature; also called a statute

adjournment – a temporary postponement of court

affidavit – a statement written and sworn to be true before a notary public or a commissioner for oaths

affirmation – a non-religious oath given before testifying or signing an affidavit

appeal – a request to have a higher court determine if errors were made by a trial court, a judge sitting in Queen's Bench chambers or a tribunal

appeal allowed – the Court has decided or ruled in favour of the appellant

appeal book – a collection of materials from the case before the trial court

appeal dismissed – the Court has decided or ruled in favour of the respondent and against the appellant

appearance notice – a form issued by a police officer requiring the appearance of an accused to answer to a charge; it outlines the date, time and location of court

appellant – the person who brings an appeal

application for leave to appeal – the procedure for requesting the Court's permission to hear an appeal



book of authorities – a book of photocopies of decisions of other courts or tribunals, relied upon in a written argument or factum, and put together by the appellant, or respondent, separately or jointly, and filed with the Court



chambers – a type of hearing that differs from a full trial; usually deals with procedural issues that come up as a court case progresses

common law – law developed by judges through decisions of courts and similar tribunals (as opposed to statutes adopted through the legislative process); also known as case law

court of record – a court whose proceedings are recorded

cross-appeal – an appeal filed by a respondent if the respondent decides to commence his or her own appeal against the appellant



damages – monetary compensation for financial or property losses, emotional or physical injuries, loss of earnings and cost of care




election – a person charged with having committed an indictable offence (except treason and murder) may elect (choose) to be tried by a Provincial Court judge, a Queen’s Bench judge alone or a Queen’s Bench judge and jury



factum – a statement of facts and an outline of the legal argument submitted to the Court of Appeal; a person representing himself or herself does not file a factum, as such, but files a written argument in civil matters



indictable offence – a more serious criminal charge that carries a higher penalty as compared to a summary offence

interlocutory order – generally an order made by the Queen's Bench either in chambers for that Court or during the trial which does not finally determine the matter in dispute



judgment – the decision of the Court; a judgment may be in writing or given orally in court

judgment reserved – when the decision of the Court is not given at the hearing, but issued on a future date



motion – an application to the Court for an order or judgment during the course of a court proceeding, brought by notice to the other side and supported by an affidavit



Notice of Appeal – the form completed by an appellant to start the appeal process

Notice of Motion – the form completed by an appellant or respondent to start a process in chambers



Preliminary Inquiry – a hearing before a Provincial Court Judge to decide whether there is sufficient evidence for the accused to go to trial; a preliminary inquiry only takes place where the accused is charged with an indictable offence and chooses to be tried by a judge or judge and jury of the Court of Queen’s Bench

probation - a punishment given out as part of a sentence which means that instead of jailing a person convicted of a crime, a judge will order that the person reports to a probation officer regularly and according to a set schedule.

puisne – a regular judge of the Court, as distinguished from the Chief Judge or Justice



relief – the remedy being sought before the Court

reserved judgment – when the decision of the Court is not given at the hearing, but issued on a future date

respondent – person against whom an appeal is brought and who must respond to the appellant's case, or the person who responds to an application by an applicant

Rules of Court – the rules of procedure that govern all proceedings before the Courts; each Court has its own rules of procedure



serve or service – the official delivery of legal documents to another party in the proceeding

setting down – the setting of the hearing date

sittings of the Court – the weeks of each month when the Court is hearing cases or appeals or "sitting" in Court

subpoena – a document issued under the authority of a court to compel the appearance of a witness

summary offence – an offence of a less serious nature and carrying a lesser penalty than an indictable offence

summons – an order requiring an accused to appear in court to answer to a charge; the summons outlines the date, time and location of the court appearance

supernumerary judge - under The Judges Act, a judge who has been in office for at least 15 years and has combined age and years of judicial service of not less than 80 may elect to hold office as a supernumerary judge and thereby hear a reduced number of trials or appeals.


transcript – a typed recording of the proceedings of the court or tribunal

tribunal – the name given to a decision–making body established by statute which is not a court; examples include the Law Society of Saskatchewan and the Workers' Compensation Board




witness – a person who gives evidence in a case