Court jargon … what the alphabet soup means

Posted to: 
Court
06/01/2021

The court lists posted online and in BC courthouses use short forms and acronyms (a short form made up of the first letters of the words being shortened). And even when judges and lawyers try to use words that everyone can understand, their speech can sometimes sound like alphabet soup.

In a BC Provincial Court courtroom, you might hear someone say, “See the JCM for an FCC in your FLA matter” or “It’s an intended GP with a PSR”.

What does it all mean? This eNews explains some of the short forms and jargon you may see and hear in BC Provincial Court.

Terms used in all types of cases

Amicus
short for Amicus Curiae – Latin for “friend of the Court” – refers to a lawyer who participates in a court proceeding as an impartial advisor, not as a party’s lawyer
APP
application
BCCA
BCPC
BCSC
counsel
lawyer
FA
First Appearance
FXD
Fix Date - court appearance at which a date is set (usually a date for a trial or hearing)
JCM
Judicial Case Manager – a judicial officer whose responsibilities include scheduling court matters and presiding in Initial Appearance Court
picklist
a numbered list containing standard wording for common court orders (also sometimes called a “cheat sheet”)
PTC
a pre-trial conference where the parties discuss with a judge what is needed to be ready for trial
TFD
to fix a date – to schedule the date of the next court appearance


Terms used in criminal cases

AHR
B&E
break and enter - a criminal offence
CCC
CDSA
Controlled Drugs and Substances Act – federal law dealing with drug offences
CLC
consult legal counsel (consult a lawyer)
CPIC record
a list of criminal convictions matching a name and birthdate, provided by the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC also maintains records of property reported stolen)
Crown
Crown Counsel, a lawyer employed by the provincial government to prosecute criminal offences
CSO
Dispo court
Disposition Court – a courtroom where criminal charges are ended by a judge imposing a sentence or the Crown entering a stay of proceedings or withdrawing a charge
Duty Counsel
a lawyer provided by Legal Aid to give free legal advice and representation at a first court appearance or bail hearing
FTA
failing to appear in court – a criminal offence
GP
guilty plea
IAR
Initial Appearance Room – the courtroom where people who are not in custody make their first appearance on a criminal charge
Information
a sworn document charging someone with a criminal offence
JIR
judicial interim release – the term used in the Criminal Code for bail
JP
JUSTIN
a computerized program providing criminal case tracking and court administration records - a "JUSTIN record" usually refers to a record of criminal convictions based on data from JUSTIN
particulars
a summary of the evidence supporting a criminal charge
PNI
proceed on new Information – when the Crown stays an Information and lays a new one to replace it
PPSC
Public Prosecution Service of Canada – the federal government branch responsible for prosecuting drug and other federal offences
PSR
PTA
RCC
Report to Crown Counsel – the police report outlining evidence of an alleged criminal offence
s. 530 rights
an accused person’s right under section 530 of the Criminal Code to have a trial in either of Canada’s official languages: English or French
SOP
stay of proceedings
SPTC
a courtroom in which trials expected to take less than half a day are scheduled
YCJA
Youth Criminal Justice Act – federal law dealing with offenders aged 12 to 18
YO
young offender


Terms used in family court

DR
Dispute Resolution – often used to refer to mediation and other ways of resolving disputes by agreement
CCO
continuing custody order – an order under the CFCSA making the Director of Child Protection the guardian of a child (See flowchart)
CFCSA
CSG
Child Support Guidelines used to calculate child support in divorce and Family Law Act proceedings (may also be called FCSG meaning Federal CSG) - includes tables of support amounts for each province
DA
Divorce Act – Provincial Court judges do not deal with divorce – Divorce Act matters must be dealt with in BC Supreme Court
Director
Director of Child Protection - the person designated under the CFCSA with child protection powers and duties, who delegates those powers to social workers
DOME
Director of Maintenance Enforcement – the person designated under the FMEA with duties and powers to enforce orders for child and spousal support
FCC
FCSG
FDC
Family Duty Counsel - a lawyer provided by Legal Aid to give free legal advice and help to people with lower incomes at first appearances and for emergency applications in family court
FJC
FLA
FMC
family management conference – the parties’ first appearance in court in Family Law Act matters in Victoria and Surrey, a meeting with a judge to discuss settling issues that can be resolved by agreement and making orders to manage any hearing needed
FMEA
FMEP
Form 4
the Financial Statement both parties must file in a case in BC Provincial Court involving child or spousal support, except in Surrey and Victoria where Form D must be filed (Find Form D by scrolling down on Early Resolution and Case Management Model forms
FRA
Family Relations Act – this law has been replaced by the Family Law Act
ISO or ISOA
Interjurisdictional Support Orders Act – BC law setting out the process for getting or changing support orders when one person lives in BC and the other does not
JAC
Justice Access Centre – centres in Nanaimo, Surrey, Vancouver, and Victoria offering help with family and civil law issues like separation or divorce, income security, employment, housing or debt
NOM
Notice of Motion – a form used to start some types of Family Law Act proceedings
PO
Protection Order issued under the Family Law Act to protect at-risk family members from family violence by a family member (formerly called a “restraining order”)
s.7 expenses
an amount of child support added to the basic guidelines table amount to pay for certain kinds of special or extraordinary expenses specified in the guidelines
TCO
temporary custody order - an order under the CFCSA making the Director of Child Protection the guardian of a child for a specified period (See flowchart)


Terms used in small claims court

Cause of Action
The legal or statutory basis on which a civil claim is brought
CRT
Civil Resolution Tribunal – an online dispute resolution tribunal that is not related to the BC Provincial Court, although in some circumstances a CRT case may be brought to Provincial Court
MVA
motor vehicle accident
Particulars
a concise summary of the material facts or details giving rise to a claim and the damages sought
NOC
Notice of Claim - the form used to begin a lawsuit in the BC Provincial Court’s small claims division
RTB
Residential Tenancy Branch – the BC government branch providing information and dispute resolution services for residential tenancies


More Info

A glossary is a list of terms related to a particular subject and their meanings. Find links to glossaries of legal terms and words used in court at Glossaries and translations.

Other Terms

If we’ve missed an acronym or term it would be helpful to explain, you can let us know by tweeting @BCProvCourt, and we’ll update the list.