Definition of counsel noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˈkaʊnsl//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈkaʊnsl//
    [uncountable, countable] People in law
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  1. 1(formal) advice, especially given by older people or experts; a piece of advice Listen to the counsel of your elders. In the end, wiser counsels prevailed.
  2. 2(law) a lawyer or group of lawyers representing somebody in court to be represented by counsel the counsel for the defence/prosecution defence/prosecuting counsel The court then heard counsel for the dead woman's father. Wordfinderaccuse, appeal, counsel, defendant, evidence, justice, offence, plea, prosecution, trial CollocationsCriminal justiceBreaking the law break/​violate/​obey/​uphold the law be investigated/​arrested/​tried for a crime/​a robbery/​fraud be arrested/ (especially North American English) indicted/​convicted on charges of rape/​fraud/(especially US English) felony charges be arrested on suspicion of arson/​robbery/​shoplifting be accused of/​be charged with murder/(especially North American English) homicide/​four counts of fraud face two charges of indecent assault admit your guilt/​liability/​responsibility (for something) deny the allegations/​claims/​charges confess to a crime grant/​be refused/​be released on/​skip/​jump bailThe legal process stand/​await/​bring somebody to/​come to/​be on trial take somebody to/​come to/​settle something out of court face/​avoid/​escape prosecution seek/​retain/​have the right to/​be denied access to legal counsel hold/​conduct/​attend/​adjourn a hearing/​trial sit on/​influence/​persuade/​convince the jury sit/​stand/​appear/​be put/​place somebody in the dock plead guilty/​not guilty to a crime be called to/​enter (British English) the witness box take/​put somebody on the stand/(North American English) the witness stand call/​subpoena/​question/​cross-examine a witness give/​hear the evidence against/​on behalf of somebody raise/​withdraw/​overrule an objection reach a unanimous/​majority verdict return/​deliver/​record a verdict of not guilty/​unlawful killing/​accidental death convict/​acquit the defendant of the crime secure a conviction/​your acquittal lodge/​file an appeal appeal (against)/challenge/​uphold/​overturn a conviction/​verdictSentencing and punishment pass sentence on somebody carry/​face/​serve a seven-year/​life sentence receive/​be given the death penalty be sentenced to ten years (in prison/​jail) carry/​impose/​pay a fine (of $3 000)/a penalty (of 14 years imprisonment) be imprisoned/​jailed for drug possession/​fraud/​murder do/​serve time/​ten years be sent to/​put somebody in/​be released from jail/​prison be/​put somebody/​spend X years on death row be granted/​be denied/​break (your) parole see also Queen’s Counsel More Aboutlawyers Lawyer is a general term for a person who is qualified to advise people about the law, to prepare legal documents for them and/​or to represent them in a court of law. In England and Wales, a lawyer who is qualified to speak in the higher courts of law is called a barrister. In Scotland a barrister is called an advocate. In North American English attorney is a more formal word used for a lawyer and is used especially in job titles:district attorney. Counsel is the formal legal word used for a lawyer who is representing someone in court:counsel for the prosecution. Solicitor is the British English term for a lawyer who gives legal advice and prepares documents, for example when you are buying a house, and sometimes has the right to speak in a court of law. In North American English solicitor is only used in the titles of some lawyers who work for the government:Solicitor General. See related entries: People in law
  3. Word OriginMiddle English: via Old French counseil (noun), conseiller (verb), from Latin consilium ‘consultation, advice’, related to consulere ‘take counsel’. Compare with council.Extra examples He instructed his counsel to file bankruptcy proceedings. He is there to give you counsel on all matters. He worked for the committee as legislative counsel on issues of crime policy. His counsel argued that he had not intended to harm the women. Lawyers do not usually interrupt opposing counsel during closing arguments. My solicitor will brief the senior counsel. She is general counsel for the American Bankers Association. She is lead counsel for the plaintiffs in the case. The accused was represented by a leading counsel. The witness was cross-examined by the prosecuting counsel. They were denied legal counsel or the right to call witnesses in their defence. the counsel for the defence/​defense. The court then heard counsel for the dead woman’s father. Williams is the leading counsel for the victims’ groups. the lead counselIdioms (formal) advice not to try to do something because it is too difficult
    a counsel of perfection
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    (formal) advice that is good but that is difficult or impossible to follow
    (formal) to keep your opinions, plans, etc. secret Emily doubted what he told her but kept her own counsel.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: counsel