Click on a link below to see the glossary entries for that letter.

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2007 Act - On this website, it refers to the Legal Profession and Legal Aid (Scotland) Act 2007


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Ab extra - Literally "from outside".

Ab initio - The Latin term "Ab initio " means, in a UK legal context: "from the beginning".

Absolvitor - The judgement pronounced when a court assoilzies a party.

Accountant in Bankruptcy - The administrative supervisor of sequestrations and personal insolvency.

Accountant of Court - An officer of court who supervises the conduct of judicial factors.

Accused - A person charged with committing a crime or offence.

Act and warrant - The interlocutor in sequestration proceedings which confirms the appointment of the trustee

Action - Proceedings instituted by a person in a civil court.

Acts of Adjournal - Regulations as to court procedure made by the High Court of Justiciary in criminal law.

Ad factum praestandum - For the performance of a certain act.

Ad fundandam - For the purpose of founding jurisdiction jurisdictionem

Ad hoc - Referring only to a particular case or to a specified set of circumstances.

Ad infinitum - Without limit.

Ad interim - In the meantime.

Ad litem - For the purposes of this action only.

Ad longum - At length.

Ad valorem - According to value.

Ad vitam aut culpam - For life or till fault.

Adjudication - An action used to take possession of heritable property, i.e. where a seller of land refuses to give a conveyance to the buyer, or as a means of taking a debtor’s land to satisfy his creditor’s claim for debt.

Adjust - To alter the written basis of an action or its defence in its early stages.

Administration Order - A court order appointing an administrator for a company in financial difficulties but not hopelessly insolvent.

Adoption - The statutory process whereby the parental rights and duties of natural parents are extinguished and vested in adopters.

Advocate - A member of the Scottish Bar.

Advocate General - A UK Government Minister and the UK Government’s chief legal adviser on Scots law.

Advocate, Lord - The senior Scottish Law Officer responsible for the prosecution of crime and investigation of deaths in Scotland, and the principal legal adviser to the Scottish Government.

Advocatedepute - An advocate appointed by the Lord Advocate to prosecute under his/her directions, and paid by salary.

Affidavit - A signed statement made on oath. Some cases which come before the Court can be dealt with by affidavit evidence. This is basically a sworn statement which the Court has regard to and means witnesses don’t have to turn up. It saves a good deal of time but can only be used in certain types of case (where there is no real dispute) as a written statement cannot be crossexamined.

Aliment - Support or maintenance of a spouse or child enforceable by law.

Allocated to a Roll - Assigned to a particular court and Judge / Sheriff.

Animus - Will or intention.

Appearance - The formal act whereby the defender in an action intimates his intention to defend.

Arrestment - Legal attachment of money or moveable property in the hands of a third party.

Articles of Roup - Conditions of sale by auction.

Assignation - The transfer of a right from one party to another.

Assize - In Scotland this word is occasionally and formally used to mean a jury.

Associate -

Assoilize - Criminal-to acquit or find not guilty. Civil-to find for the defender/respondent.

Auditor of Court - A person responsible for examining legal accounts. The Auditors of the Court of Session and Sheriff Courts respectively examine and are said to “tax” accounts of expenses incurred by parties in civil actions in the respective courts.

Aver - To state or allege.

Avizandum - Judgement deferred (verbal or written decision to be given later).


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Bail - (i) In Admiralty proceedings the security given to obtain the release of a ship. (ii) In criminal proceedings an arrangement for the conditional release of an accused person pending trial or sentence subject to penalties.

Bond and Disposition in Mortgage - Mortgage secured over heritable property.

Bond of Caution - Where the Court appoints someone to act on behalf of another (judicial factors etc.) it may require that they find caution in a specified amount. This may be done by depositing cash, or by arranging a bond with an insurance company. It ensures that compensation is available in the event that the judicial factor etc acts improperly. Note ‘ Caution’ is pronounced to rhyme with station.

Books of Adjournal - The books or records of the Justiciary Office.

Books of Council and Session - A popular title for the Registers of Deeds and Probative Writs in which, according to the directions they contain, deeds, etc., may be registered for preservation or preservation and execution.

Books of Sederunt - Records of the Acts of Sederunt in the Court of Session

Brevitatis causa - For the sake of brevity.


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Caution - Security (pronounced ‘Kayshun’)

Caveat - “Warning”. A legal document lodged in court by a party so that no order or ruling affecting him or her passes in his or her absence or without receiving prior notice.

Circuit Court - The court held by the judges of the High Court of Justiciary when they sit outside Edinburgh.

Cite / Citation - (i) To summon to court a party, witness or juror. (ii) To refer in argument to some authority such as a statute or decided case.

Cognitionis causa tantum - An action raised by creditor of a deceased debtor for purpose of constituting his or her debt against the estate.

College of Justice - A formal name of the Court of Session. The College of Justice includes advocates, solicitors, court staff and others, as well as the judges.

Commissary - Relating to establishing the succession rights and disposal of a deceased persons estate.

Commissary Court - The Court which grants a title to Executors or Administrators.

Commission - On this website, the term Commission means the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission

Compearance - The appearance of a Defender.

Complaint - A document instituting summary (minor) criminal proceedings in a sheriff or district court setting out the offence charged.

Conclusion - The conclusion in a Court of Session summons is the statement of the precise order sought. To conclude for is to claim in this fashion.

Condescendence - A written statement in an action setting out the grounds of action of the Pursuer.

Confirmation dative - The title of the Executor of a deceased’s estate where there the deceased has not left a will.

Confirmation nominate - The title of the Executor of a deceased’s estate where there the deceased has left a will.

Consignation - The deposit in court or with a third party under court authority of money or an article in dispute.

Consistorial - Relating to family matters, including actions between husband and wife / civil partners, or parent and child which involve status.

Corpus - The Latin term "Corpus" means, in a UK legal context: "body".

Counsel - In Scotland a member of the Faculty of Advocates practising at the Bar.

Courtesy - The estate which the husband has for life in the real estate left by his wife.

Creditor - A person to whom another person (or debtor) is obliged in some monetary or other obligation.

Criminal Appeals / Justiciary appeals - Criminal appeals result from summary (less serious) work. Justiciary appeals result from solemn work.

Curator - A person either entitled by law or appointed by the court or an individual to administer the estate of another, as of a young or insane person. Commonly mispronounced curator.

Curator ad litem - A person appointed by the court to look after the interests of a party to proceedings who is under legal disability but has no guardian.

Curator bonis - The person appointed by the court to manage the estate of a young person in place of his legal guardian or to manage the estate of an adult suffering from mental or, less commonly, bodily infirmity.

Curatory/Judicial Factor Accounts - Where people are too young, or infirm, to look after their own (financial) affairs they have someone appointed to do so (a curator or judicial factor). These appointments are made by the Court and those appointed have to account for their intermission on the estate of the ‘incapax’.

Custody Order - now known as a “Residence Order”.

Cy Pres - Approximation; as near as possible.


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De facto - According to the fact; in point of fact.

De fideli administratione - Of faithful administration (This phrase is used to describe an oath perhaps to a translator for a witness).

De jure - According to law, or in point of law.

De novo - Of new.

De plano - Immediately, summarily, without attention to forms.

Debate - Intermediate step in procedure when legal points are considered, and which can result in the conclusion of a civil case prior to evidence being led.

Debtor - A person obliged to pay some monetary or other obligation to another (the creditor).

Decern - A formal verb meaning to give final decree or judgement.

Decree - The common term for a final judgement. (The word as is accented on the first syllable). Thus decree arbitral, the decision of an arbiter; decree conform, a decree given by the Court of Session in aid of a lower court to enable diligence to be done.

Decrees in Absence - Applications to the court dealt with by the Sheriff in his chambers in the “absence” of opposition thereto.

Defences - The statement by way of defence lodged by the defender, being the party against whom a civil action is brought. The plural signifies, presumably, that the defender may rely on more legal answers than one.

Defender - A person who disputes the claim of the pursuer and lodges defences.

Diet - The date fixed by the court for hearing a case for any one of a variety of purposes.

Diligence - Procedure for enforcing decree against debtors; Process for procuring the recovery of writings from an opponent or third party; or Process for obtaining the evidence of witnesses before a commissioner.

Discharge - Release.

Dispone - To grant transfer, applied usually to heritage.

District Court - The court in each district or island area dealing with the most minor criminal offences, which replaced the burgh or magistrates courts existing before the local government reorganisation in 1975.


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Eik to confirmation - Title of Executor to additional estate.

Eodem die (eo die) - The same day.

Et sequentes paginae (Et seq) - And following pages.

Evidence Led - When a trial (either summary or solemn) calls in Court it will either – (a) proceed (evidence will be led by the Crown and the Defence); (b) Evidence will be partly led and the trial continued to another date; (c) The trial may be adjourned to another date for some reason (with no evidence led); or (d) it may be disposed of - either the Crown no longer proceeds, or a plea to the charge is accepted.

Ex facie - On the face of it; evidently.

Ex officio - As holder of a particular office or appointment.

Ex parte - Proceedings are ex parte when the party against whom they are brought is not heard, e.g. in interdict proceedings an interim interdict may be granted ex parte.

Ex post facto - From something done afterwards.

Ex proprio motu - On the court’s or judge’s own initiative.

Ex tempore - At the time. e.g. an ex tempore judgement given there and then.

Executor dative - Executor appointed by the Court.

Executor nominate - Executor named in a Will.

Exoner - To discharge of liability. Thus a judicial factor may seek exoneration and discharge at the hands of the court.

Expede Confirmation - To lodge the necessary documents in court and to obtain a Grant of Confirmation in favour of an Executor.

Extract - A written instrument signed by the officer of court, containing a statement of a decree and if necessary, a warrant to charge the debtor and to execute all competent diligence against person or property.

Extract Decree / Copy Interlocutor - Each step of an Ordinary Action (one other than a summary cause or small claim) is recorded in an interlocutor. It is a short summary of what has happened to the case each time it comes before the Sheriff. A copy of the interlocutor is enough in some instances to carry out the order of the Court (what the Sheriff had decided). An extract decree is required where a copy interlocutor would not do and a more formal document is required.

Extrajudicial - The word today occurs perhaps most often in the expression extrajudicial expenses, meaning expenses incurred outwith the normal course of judicial proceedings and as such not normally recoverable by a successful party from his opponent.


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Feu duty - Perpetual ground rent.

Fiar - The person entitled to the fee of say Land or Securities which may be liferented by another.

Fiat ut petitur - Let it be done as prayed for.

First Deliverance - First order in proceedings. Term normally used for liquidations, sequestrations and other civil matters.

Forum non conveniens - As applied to a court which although having jurisdiction is not the appropriate court for the matter in issue.

Fund in medio - The property or money in the hands of the holder of the fund in an action of multiplepoinding.


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Germane - Of full blood; born or deceased of the same father and mother.

Germane (1) - Of full blood; born or deceased of the same father and mother.


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Habili modo - In the manner competent.

Heirs in mobilibus - Nearest heirs including representatives of predeceasers entitled to succeed to moveable estate as opposed to heritage.

Heritable Estate/Property - The term for property in the form of land and houses.

Holograph Writ - A deed or writing handwritten entirely by the grantor. Where printed or otherwise mechanically produced or written by another the grantor may “adopt as Holograph” which has the same effect as if wholly written by the grantor. Applies only to wills made before 1 August 1995.


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Ibidem (Ibid) - In the same place.

In foro - As applied to a decree of the court signifies that it has been granted against a party for whom defences or answers have been lodged, as opposed to decree in absence.

In hoc statu - For the time being, at this stage.

In litem - In the case or action.

In meditatione fugae - About to leave the country.

In perpetuum - Forever.

In praesentia dominorum (IPD) - In the presence of the Lords (usually seen as the abbreviation I.P.D. after the signature of the chairman of the Appeal Court).

In retentis - Evidence taken to lie in retentis – to be laid aside until the proper time arrives for adducing it.

Incapax - As applied to a person, signifies legal, mental, or physical incapacity.

Indictment - An accusation of crime running in the name of the Lord Advocate, tried by a jury, in serious cases in the High Court, or in sheriff court. A document setting out the charge(s) against the accused in more serious crimes (known as – Solemn Crime). For less serious crimes, see – Summary Crime.

Inhibition - A writ which prohibits a debtor from burdening his heritage or parting with it to the detriment of the inhibiting creditor.

Initial Writ - The document by which ordinary civil proceedings in the sheriff court are normally initiated the corresponding document in the Court of Session being the summons.

Inner House - The two appellate divisions of the Court of Session, socalled originally on the simple topographical ground that their courts lay further from the entrance to the courthouse than did the Outer House.

Insolvency - The state of being unable to pay one’s debts.

Insolvency practitioner - A person, usually an accountant or solicitor, qualified in terms of the Insolvency Act 1986 to act as liquidator or supervisor in relation to a company or as trustee or supervisor in relation to an individual.

Instance - The part of a summons or writ in which the parties to the action are identified.

Inter alia - among other things.

Inter vivos - Between living persons.

Interdict - The judicial prohibition issued by the Court of Session or Sheriff Court comparable with the English injunction In an emergency, interim interdict can be obtained ex parte. A court order sought to prevent a particular action being carried out.

Interim - As applied to the ruling of a court, temporary or partial, e.g. in matters of interdict.

Interlocutor - An injunction or order of court made during the course of an action.

Interlocutor (final) - Final decision of the action.

Intermediate diet - Mandatory step in criminal proceedings which allows the court to check whether the case is likely to proceed on the date assigned for trial. Minimises inconvenience to witnesses etc.

Interrogatories - Written questions adjusted by the court, to be put to witnesses examined under a commission.

Inventory of Deceased’s Estate - List of deceased estate.

Inventory of Process -

Inventory of Process (1) - A list of the documents in a court process.

Ipso facto - By that very fact.

Ipso jure - By the law itself.


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Judicial Factor - Usually a solicitor or accountant appointed by the court in specific matters.

Judicial Review - A remedy whereby the Court of Session may review and if necessary rectify the decision of inferior courts, tribunals and other public officers and authorities where no other form of appeal is available.

Jurisdiction - (i) In international law the power of the state to enact and enforce legislation. (ii) In national systems the power of a court to entertain particular cases as determined by factors such as location or district or the value or type of the case.

Jury - A group of lay persons chosen to decide upon issues of fact in legal proceedings.

Jus relictae - The right of a widow / civil partner (one half or one third as the case may be) in her deceased husband’s / civil partner’s personal estate.

Jus relicti - The right of a widower / civil partner (one half or one third as the case may be) in his deceased wife’s / civil partner’s personal estate.

Justice - General, Lord - The highest criminal judge in Scotland. The position is, in modern times, held by the Lord President.

Justice-Clerk, Lord - The second in dignity of the Scottish judges, who presides over the Second Division of the Court of Session.


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Lack of Time Adjournment - This occurs when a case is down for trial or proof etc. but cannot proceed because other business takes priority on the day. Witnesses etc. inconvenienced, waiting periods affected.

Lawyer Member - This refers to a Member or Commissioner of the SLCC who is: a solicitor who is a member of the Law Society of Scotland; an advocate who is a member of the Faculty of Advocates; a conveyancing or executry practitioner regulated by the Law Society of Scotland; a member of the Association of Commercial Attorneys or any person exercising a right to conduct litigation or a right of audience.

Lay Member - This refers to a Member or Commissioner of the SLCC who does not fall within the terms of "lawyer member".

Legitim - The legal share (one half or one third as the case may be) of a parent’s free moveable estate due on death to the children.

Life rent - An estate for life as opposed to the fee. Legal liferents are Terce (dower) and Courtesy.

Liquidation - The procedure for winding up and dissolving a corporate body such as a limited company, the person appointed to ingather assets and adjust and settle claims being called the liquidator.

Loco parentis - In place of a parent.

Loco tutoris - In the place of a tutor.

Locus - Place.


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Mace - An ornamental staff of authority borne by a macer before a judge of the Court of Session or High Court of Justiciary and displayed in his/her court while it is sitting.

Matrimonial home - Any structure provided by one or both spouses / civil partners and forming a family residence.

Mens rea - Guilty purpose.

Messengers-at-Arms - Formerly called OfficersatArms, are officers appointed by the Lord Lyon King of Arms, whose function is to execute civil and criminal process of the Court of Session and High Court of Justiciary.

Missive of Sale - Agreement setting forth terms of sale.

Mora - Undue delay.

Mortis causa - Deeds made in contemplation of death.

Motion - An application made in court for some subsidiary purpose during the course of an action.

Moveable Estate - Personal estate.

Multiplepoinding - An action to determine the rights of parties to a fund in dispute and to release the holder of the fund from any claim for repetition.

Mutatis mutandis - With the necessary alterations, e.g in a document or clause applying to various circumstances.


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Next of Kin - Survivors of a class nearest in degree including representatives or predeceasers in that class.

Nobile officium - The noble office or duty of the Court of Session; an equitable jurisdiction in virtue of which the court may, within limits, mitigate the strictness of the common law and provide a legal remedy where none exists.

Notes of Appeal / Stated Case - When someone wishes to appeal from the Sheriff Court to the High Court, they do so by either method. If they wish to appeal against sentence only (i.e. the severity) they appeal by note of appeal. If they wish to appeal against conviction and/or sentence they appeal by stated case.

Nullity - Non existent or lacking legal force as applied to acts or writings which are null and void: also applies to a marriage / civil partnership affected by an inherent defect such as existence of a prior marriage / civil partnership or relationship within a prohibited degree.


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Oath - In court proceedings the undertaking by a witness to give truthful evidence, the alternative for a witness having no religious belief being affirmation.

Ob contingentiam -

Obiter dictum - Opinion given incidentally.

Obtemper - To obey, usually of the decree or order of a court.

Opinion - A statement by a court or judge of reasons for the decision in a case.

Ordinary Action - All sheriff court civil actions which because of their value or complexity are started as this. The case is detailed in an ordinary writ.

Ordinary Civil - Civil proceedings as above (wider ranging, including divorce etc.). Monetary claim £5,000 and above.

Ordinary, Lords - The judges who try cases at first instance in the Court of Session.

Outer House - The part of the Court of Session which exercises a first instance jurisdiction. Cf. Inner House. The Supreme Court is split into these two Houses. The Judges in the Outer House deal with ‘first instance’ (new work) which has not been before a ‘Court’ but may have been before a tribunal or panel. See also Inner House.


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Pari passu - To share and share alike or ranking equally, e.g. in the case of claims or security rights.

Parole evidence - Oral evidence of witnesses, as contrasted with documentary evidence.

Per incuriam - Through negligence, mistake or error.

Per stirpes - By descent, i.e. through parent and not in own right. (Where per stirpes the share which would have fallen to the predeceasing parent if alive is divided equally among his children).

Perjury - The crime committed by a witness in court proceedings involving the affirmation of a deliberate falsehood on oath or on an affirmation equivalent to oath.

Petition - A document by which court proceedings are initiated like a summons but used for specific types of case. Can have various meanings. An indictment originally calls as a petition until the Crown are in a position to indict the accused on the charges. In civil business the term also relates to certain types of applications to the court.

Petition and Complaint - The procedure in the Court of Session where the remedy sought is a punishment for failure to obtemper a decree.

Pleading Diet - Date assigned for case to call and for plea to be given i.e. guilty, not guilty, insane etc.

Pleainlaw - A short proposition at the end of a written case showing exactly the remedy sought and why.

Practitioner - On our website, this refers to: a solicitor who is a member of the Law Society of Scotland; an advocate who is a member of the Faculty of Advocates; a conveyancing or executry practitioner regulated by the Law Society of Scotland; a member of the Association of Commercial Attorneys.

Precedent - (i) The decision of a court regarded as a source of law or authority in the decision of a later case. (ii) A form of deed or writ regarded as basically satisfactory and accordingly suitable for use or adoption in legal practice.

Precognition - Preliminary statement by a witness.

Precognosce - To take a precognition.

President, Lord - The highest civil Judge in Scotland who presides over the First Division of the Court of Session.

Pro forma - A document used as a form or style.

Pro indiviso - In an undivided state, usually in relation to property held by several persons.

Pro loco et tempore - Without place and time.

Pro non scripto - As not written.

Pro tanto - For so much.

Proceeded to Evidence - Similar to evidence led but in a civil proof.

Procurator-fiscal - Literally, the procurator for the fiscal or treasury; now the style of the public prosecutor in the sheriff court.

Production - An article produced as evidence in court.

Professional Organisation - this refers to the Law Society of Scotland or the Faculty of Advocates of the Association of Commercial Attorneys.

Proof - In addition to its general meaning, this word has the formal sense of the determination of a case by a judge alone after hearing the facts (the evidence). Where evidence is heard on the facts before questions of law are determined, there is said to be a proof before answer.

Prorogate - Continue or extend.

Pursuer - The person suing in an action. The English equivalent is plaintiff.


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Quam primum - Forthwith or as soon as possible.

Quantum - An amount fixed or specified in money as in a claim for damages.

Quantum valeat - For as much as it is worth.

Quasi - As if, as though.

Quoad ultra - As regards everything else.


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Receiver - A person appointed to enforce the rights and remedies of the holders of a floating charge over the assets of a company which is in default in relation to the claim or debt which the charge secures.

Record - The statements of their respective claims and answers by parties to an action, lodged in court; when finally adjusted it is closed by order of the court and becomes the Closed Record; Up to then it is the open record. When used in this sense the words bears the accent on the second syllable.

Recoveries under Specification - Where documents etc. (productions) are likely to be used to prove a case, they sometimes require the Court to grant authority to receive them from a third party e.g. xrays from a hospital.

Reduce - To annul or set aside by legal process.

Register of Inhibitions and Adjudications - The Register of Notices of personal diligence which affect the voluntary conveyance of real property.

Register of Sasines - The Register of Titles to land and heritable property in Scotland.

Regulations as to court procedure made by the High - Acts passed by the Lords of Council and Session relating to civil procedure.

Remit - The transfer of some matter by one judge to another, but more often by a judge to a person named as, e.g. to an expert “a man of skill”, in order that the latter may inquire and report.

Repel - A Scottish court does not overrule a plea or an objection, it repels it. The opposite is to sustain (or uphold).

Repone - To repone a defender is to restore him to his position as a litigant when decree in absence has been given against him. Also competent in, e.g. case of failure to lodge documents in appeal to Court of Session.

Reporter - A person appointed to hold a public inquiry; also applied to professional persons, lawyers or others, to whom the court may remit some aspect of a case for investigation or advice; to the officers responsible for bringing cases before children’s hearings; also to those who prepare and compile the published reports of cases decided by the courts.

Res ipsa loquitur - The thing done or the transaction speaks for itself.

Res judicata - A question decided by competent legal proceedings, which cannot again be raised.

Residence Order - A formal order by a court in relation to whom the child of a relationship should be with.

Resident Sheriff - The Sheriff who holds the commission to sit at a particular Court, as opposed to a Sheriff sitting temporarily i.e. a part-time Sheriff arranged by the Shrieval Booking Unit.

Respondent - The party in a civil action defending on appeal.

Retrocession - Reconveyance of a right to him who gave it.

Review - Revision by a higher court on appeal.

Rolls - Official lists of cases as set down for hearing. Thus, in the Outer House of the Court of Session there is a motion roll; a procedure roll, of cases in which preliminary pleas are to be decided; and the summar roll of cases in the inner house which call for hearing. The single bills is also a roll of the Inner House, being that in which motions are entered for hearing.

Roup - Public auction.

Rubric - A chapter heading.


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Scottish Statutory Instrument (S.S.I.) - The form in which Scottish orders, rules and regulations or other subordinate legislation are now made superseding, since 1947, statutory rules and orders (S.R.& O.).

Seised - See Vest.

Separatim - Apart from anything already advanced or pleaded.

Sequestration - To render bankrupt. Strictly, it is a person’s estate which is sequestrated or set aside for the use of his creditors. To sequestrate for rent is to take the furniture, etc., on leased premises to satisfy a claim for rent. Sequestration therefore means a process of bankruptcy, except where qualified by the words “for rent”.

Service of heir - The Court process by which an heir proves and acquires a right or title to real estate of an ancestor.

Sheriff - A qualified person who sits in judgement. In the sheriff court (there are 49 sheriff courts) in Scotland.

Signet - The Seal of the Court of Session and a sign of its authority. It is applied to a summons as authority to serve the summons on the defender.

Sine die - No day fixed.

Sine qua non - Without whom nothing can be effectually done.

Sist - (i) To stay or stop process; (ii) To summon or call as a party.

Small Claim - Civil proceedings for payment, delivery, repossession, implement of obligation (monetary claim not exceeding £3000). This type of simplified action was devised to allow the layman to conduct the case without the need for employing a solicitor.

Solatium - Extra damages allowed in certain cases in addition to actual loss – for injury to feelings.

Solemn Crime - Serious criminal offence(s). Proceedings commence by way of a petition and may proceed to an indictment. Maximum penalties on indictment in the sheriff court is 5 years imprisonment, unlimited fine. (Common law). Statute may direct higher penalties for certain statutory offences. There is no maximum on the penalty which may be imposed in the High Court. For less serious crimes, see – Summary Crime.

Solemn Procedure - The procedure under which a person charged on indictment is tried by a judge of the High Court of Justiciary or a sheriff with a jury of 15, the votes of eight being sufficient for a conviction.

Statute - An Act of Parliament.

Statutory Instrument (S.I.) - The form in which UK orders, rules and regulations or other subordinate legislation are now made superseding, since 1947, statutory rules and orders (S.R.& O.).

Summary - Criminal – see under Summary Crime below; Civil (sheriff court) summary cause is the form of simplified procedure applicable to cases with a limit of £5000 in the case of monetary claims. Summary application is a comprehensive name for applications which can be disposed of in a summary manner. Summary diligence denotes diligence proceeding on a deed or document registered for execution or on certain bills of exchange, in each case without an action constituting the debt. A summary warrant is a warrant issued by the sheriff to a local authority authorising diligence for the recovery of arrears of council tax.

Summary Cause - Civil proceedings as above (perhaps wider ranging). Monetary claim above £3,000 but not exceeding £5,000.

Summary Crime - Less serious criminal offence(s). Proceeds by way of a complaint. Maximum penalties 3 months imprisonment, 6 months for 2nd/subsequent offence of dishonest appropriation or violence; fine not exceeding £5,000. (Common law) Statute may direct higher penalty. For more serious crime, see Solemn Crime.

Summons - Form of writ in the Court of Session issued in name of the sovereign, containing a royal mandate to messengers-at-arms to cite the defender to the Court.

Superior - The grantor of a feudal right.

Supra citatum (Sup cit) - Above cited.

Surrogatum - A thing substituted for another.


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Taxation - As applied to legal expenses including solicitors’ or advocates’ fees incurred in court proceedings or otherwise means the scrutiny of the account by the Auditor of Court to exclude or amend items unjustifiably included or excessively charged.

Teinds - Tithes – the tenth part of the annual produce of land out of which a minister’s wage was originally payable.

Terce - The widow’s legal right of Dower in real estate.

Tithe - The tenth part of the increase annually arising from the profits of land and stock, allotted to the clergy.

Trial - Criminal proceedings (when an accused person has pled not guilty) where the court hears the evidence of witnesses to the alleged crime(s).

Tribunal - A person or body of persons other than a court of law, having power to determine claims or disputes of some particular nature.

Trustee in Sequestration - Trustee in Bankruptcy.

Tutor or Tutrix - The guardian of an infant.


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Ultimus haeres - Last heir. The crown.

Ultra vires - Authority.


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Verdict - The decision of a jury on the matter or matters submitted to it by the court.

Vest (seised) - One is seised or vest in heritable estate when the title is recorded in the appropriate Register or Sasines.

Vexatious litigant - A person who takes proceedings primarily for the annoyance or embarrassment of the defender and whose activities in raising actions may be restrained by the Court of Session.

Vitious intromission - The meddling with the moveable estate of a deceased without probate of the Will of other Title

Volenti non fit injuria - Accepting the risk of injury.


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Waiting Period - The length of time between fixing a trial, proof etc. and the case calling for that purpose.

Warrandice - Absolute warrandice is a warranting or assuring of property against all claims whatever.

Warrant - A written authority, e.g. from court, authorising certain actions such as a search of premises or an eviction of occupiers. Also used to signify a document evidencing a right of some kind, e.g. in a title to heritable property. Formal permission bt the Court to cite.

Writs - Documents of title.


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