Brought to trial

Brought to trial means to calendar a legal case for a hearing, or to bring a defendant to the bar of justice. The simplest definition is "the commencement of the trial in a court by formally calling and swearing in of the witnesses to initiate the trial proceedings."[1] However, it has several different, ambiguous meanings and examples used in the law. To bring to trial is when the process is ongoing.

Political, war, and other infamous crimes

Most often, the terms brought to trial, bring to trial, brought to justice and bring to justice refer to the prosecution at trial of alleged war criminals[2] and political prisoners,[3][4] as well as those accused of treason or misprision of treason, sexual assault, and other infamous crimes.[5][6][7]

Speedy trial

In some cases, the context of the term actually indicates a speedy trial issue, as guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution.[8][9][10][11]

A number of related terms and meanings exist:

  • "Arraign, litigate, lodge, bring a complaint, bring to view evidence, exhibit, manifest and bring together, [and] accumulate." [12]
  • "Lawsuit, suit, suit in law, suit at law, litigation, prosecution, bring a case before the court or bar, [and] bring to justice." [13]
  • To "call to the bar, ... take silk, take to the law, bring to the bar, put on trial, pull up, accuse, ... file a claim, [and] inform against." [14]
  • When the parties in a mediation or settlement conference can not come to an alternate dispute resolution, the action is brought to trial.

In the United Kingdom

Schedule 1[15] of the Interpretation Act 1978 defines:

“Committed for trial” means—

(a) in relation to England and Wales, committed in custody or on bail by a magistrates’ court pursuant to section 6 of the Magistrates’ Courts Act 1980, or by any judge or other authority having power to do so, with a view to trial before a judge and jury; [1889]

(b) in relation to Northern Ireland, committed in custody or on bail by a magistrates’ court pursuant to Article 37 of the Magistrates’ Courts (Northern Ireland) Order 1981, or by a court, judge, resident magistrate or other authority having power to do so, with a view to trial on indictment. [1st January 1979]

“Sent for trial” means, in relation to England and Wales, sent by a magistrates' court to the Crown Court for trial pursuant tosection 51 or 51A of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998.


  1. "Legal Explanations - Free legal resources in plain English".
  2. B'TSelem Press Release about bringing to trial those Palestinians responsible for alleged war crimes Archived December 26, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  3. Amnesty International Press Release about Haitian political prisoners Archived December 1, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  4. "Viet Nam: Another elderly dissident to be brought to trial - Amnesty …". 22 April 2008. Archived from the original on 22 April 2008.
  5. Court TV article mentioning "Brought to trial" in context Archived August 24, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  6. "Draft Dodgers Brought to Trial"
  7. "Good Morning, Economics". Good Morning, Economics.
  8. 2007 California Rules of Court, Rule 8.913, found at California Rules of Court
  9. Nebraska statutes, found at
  10. Idaho statutes section 19-3501, found at Idaho state web site
  11. New York Criminal Procedure Law (CPL) section 30.30, found at NY State web site
  12. Burton, W.C.. Burton's Legal Thesaurus, p. 597.
  13. Chapman, R.L. & Chapman, P.M. (1989). Roget's International Thesaurus, p. 767.
  14. Grumley, C.P. (n.d.) Roget's Thesaurus, p. 977.
  15. "Interpretation Act 1978". Expert Participation. Retrieved 2018-09-08.CS1 maint: others (link)
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