Introduction
Introduction

We recommend that you watch the introductory video first. It will provide you with an overview of the British Columbia court system, and this website.

To learn more about British Columbia's trial and appeal courts, select an option from the menu above.

Glossary

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A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

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Parking Violation: A crime or infringement of a law or rule with respect to parking regulations.

Personification: Somebody who embodies something: an embodiment or perfect example of something.

Petition: A pleading in a civil action by which the plaintiff or person suing sets down the cause of action and invokes the court’s jurisdiction to make a decision in the case.

Petitioner: The person who petitions the court to take action in a civil case.

Personal Property: Somebody’s tangible movable property such as automobiles, boats and money.  It does not include land.

Plaintiff: Somebody who begins a lawsuit in a civil court against somebody else called the defendant.

Plea: A plea is the answer given by an accused when charged with a criminal offence.  Also see Guilty and Not Guilty.

Precedent: The requirement of a court to follow earlier decisions of a superior or previous court. For example, following a decision that can be used subsequently for a similar type of case.

Preliminary Hearing / Preliminary Inquiry: A hearing to determine if there is sufficient evidence to commit an accused to trial by a higher Court.

Pre-Trial Conferences: If the parties are unable to agree on a resolution, and the case has to go to trial, then there may also be a pre-trial conference so that everyone is clear in advance about the legal issues and how the trial is to proceed.

Proof Beyond a Reasonable Doubt: The onus is on Crown Counsel to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt before the court can convict. Therefore, after hearing all the evidence, if the court has reasonable doubt about whether the accused is guilty, the accused receives the benefit of that doubt and is acquitted. See also Burden of Proof.

Probable: Something that is likely to exist, occur, or be true, although evidence is insufficient to prove or predict it with certainty.

Prosecuted: To take legal action against someone in a court of law.

Prosecution: Prosecution is when legal proceedings are started against a person charged with a criminal offence.

Provincial Court: A trial court in the B.C. court system, dealing with criminal, quasi- criminal (Provincial Statute Violations), family, youth, small claims, traffic and municipal matters. This Court also conducts preliminary hearings.

Publication Ban: This means that the Court makes an order that prohibits the publication or broadcasting of trial information.

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