to lie on the file

16:51 Dec 16, 2016
This question was closed without grading. Reason: Other

English to English translations [PRO]
Law/Patents - Law (general) / Circus
English term or phrase: to lie on the file
"an order is made for the charge to lie on the file"


Does it mean that the defendant is acquitted or that he is convicted, but the punishment is delayed/suspended or that he is convicted, but the police cannot find him?

Thank you.
United States
Local time: 08:51

Summary of reference entries provided
A definition
Helena Chavarria
Another definition


Reference comments

28 mins peer agreement (net): +5
Reference: A definition

Reference information:
You might find this definition easier to understand.

In the Crown Court the judge has the power to order that entire indictments or some counts on an indictment are ordered to 'lie on the file'. There is no verdict, so the proceedings are not formally terminated. There can be no further proceedings against the defendant on those matters, without the leave of the Crown Court or the Court of Appeal.
The consent of the judge is required to leave an indictment or counts to lie on the file. In practice, the judge usually consents, provided that the defence agrees.

The procedure is particularly useful when:

- the defendant has pleaded guilty or has been convicted of other counts in the same indictment; or
- the defendant has pleaded guilty or has been convicted on counts on another indictment; and
- convictions for the remaining offences would have no significant impact on the sentence; and
- it is no longer in the public interest to proceed on the remaining matters.

Note added at 43 mins (2016-12-16 17:35:25 GMT)

"To lie on the file" is shorthand for "To lie on the file marked 'not to be proceeded with without the leave of this Court or the Court of Appeal'". It's one of the two methods by which the prosecution can choose not to proceed on a charge which has reached the Crown Court. The other is for them to offer no evidence, which results in the defendant being found Not Guilty.

Technically a matter which lies on the file could be re-instituted, but that happens very very rarely. A matter which has had no evidence offered on it cannot be re-instituted.

The prosecution usually ask for a matter to lie on the file when they don't want to concede that there is no evidence to prosecute a particular defendant but when they don't feel they need to secure a conviction on that charge (usually, as in your example, because of other guilty pleas being offered by the defendant which the prosecution think are acceptable).

Helena Chavarria
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 12
Note to reference poster
Asker: Thank you! It's very helpful.

Asker: I don't need a translation. Your explanation was very helpful, so please post it as an answer.

Peer comments on this reference comment (and responses from the reference poster)
agree  philgoddard: "Remain on the record" would be a rough equivalent if this is being translated into another language.
38 mins
  -> Post it as an answer. I know what it is in Spanish but don't know another way of expressing it in English.
agree  Jack Doughty
3 hrs
  -> Thank you, Jack. If a definition occurs to you, please post it.
agree  AllegroTrans: And it most often happens when the prosecution has secured a conviction on another count of the indictment
3 hrs
  -> Thank you, AllegroTrans. Like I mention above, if a definition occurs to you, please post it. I can't answer if I don't know what to put in the box! In a very informal context I would probably say 'put on stand-by'!
agree  Yasutomo Kanazawa
11 hrs
  -> Thank you, Yasutomo
agree  acetran
18 hrs
  -> Thank you, acetran
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5 hrs
Reference: Another definition

Reference information:
In United Kingdom law, a criminal charge is allowed to lie on file when the presiding judge agrees that there is enough evidence for a case to be made, but that it is not in the public interest for prosecution to proceed, usually because the defendant has admitted other, often more serious, charges.
Lie on file - Wikipedia

Asker, the defendant is neither acquitted or convicted - it simply means that the particular charge is not proceeded with. The important point though is that it is not withdrawn, so technically it could be reinstigated at a later date. The practical and usual reality is that it is not, as the prosecution will have secured a conviction on one or more other counts.

United Kingdom
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 15
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