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This is a procedure by which a party gives up civil proceedings or an appeal.


Absolute discharge 

This is a court disposal that can be used in certain circumstances where a person has been convicted of, or pleaded guilty to, an offence. It can be imposed instead of a sentence (or in summary cases instead of a conviction) discharging the person absolutely. This means no penalty is imposed, and in summary cases no conviction is recorded.



In civil cases, one party can raise an action against another party. When a court decides in favour of the party that has had the action raised against it, the judgment given is an absolvitor.


Accountant in Bankruptcy 

This is the administrative supervisor of sequestrations and personal insolvency.



The accused is a person or group of people charged with (accused of) committing criminal offences by a prosecutor. The formal term for the accused in solemn proceedings cases (on indictment before a jury) is "panel" or "pannel". The word "defendant" is not used in Scotland.



This is a verdict of a jury or a decision of a judge finding an accused person not guilty or the case not proven.


Act and warrant 

This is the interlocutor in sequestration proceedings which confirms the appointment of the trustee.



An action is the proceedings raised by a person in a civil court seeking enforcement of a legal right against another (the defender). See also summons and petition.


Acts of Adjournal Rules 

These are about court procedure made by the High Court of Justiciary for proceedings in criminal courts.


Acts of Sederunt Rules 

These are rules passed by the Lords of Council and Session (the judges of the Court of Session) relating to civil procedure.


Ad factum praestandum 

A Latin phrase meaning for the performance of a certain act.


Ad fundandam jurisdictionem 

A Latin phrase meaning for the purpose of founding jurisdiction.


Ad hoc

This refers to a particular case or to a specified set of circumstances.


Ad infinitum 

This means without limit.


Ad interim 

This means in the meantime, for example, in an action for an interdict, an order may be made ad interim before a final or perpetual order is made.


Adjourned diet 

This is a date to which a hearing has been put off.



This is an interruption to court proceedings when the court stops the hearing of the case for part of a day or for a longer period.



This is to alter the written pleadings of an action or its defence in its early stages.


Ad longum 

A Latin phrase meaning at length.


Administration order 

This is a court order appointing an administrator for a company in financial difficulties.



In some circumstances when a person has pled guilty or been convicted of an offence, the judge may admonish the offender not to commit the offence again and impose no other penalty.



This is the statutory process whereby the parental rights and duties of natural parents in relation to a child are extinguished and vested in adopters.



This is when a judgment of the High Court of Justiciary or the Court of Session is delivered.



See the Faculty of Advocates website.


Advocate depute

An advocate depute is a person appointed by the Lord Advocate to prosecute in the High Court of Justiciary.


Advocate General 

This person is the UK Government's chief Scottish legal adviser.


Advocate, Lord 

See Lord Advocate.



This is a signed statement made on oath. Some cases or evidence may be dealt with by affidavit evidence.



This is the undertaking by a witness, who does not wish to swear an oath, to tell the truth when giving evidence in court.



This is the financial support of a spouse or child enforceable by law.



A Latin phrase meaning will or intention.



This is a statement setting out the factual and legal response of a party to proceedings raised against them.


Antisocial behaviour order 

This is an order which prohibits a person indefinitely or for a fixed period from doing anything described in the order which is necessary to protect others from that person's anti-social behaviour.



This is a re-hearing of a case by a higher court than the court which first heard the case (at first instance). A re-hearing means re-consideration by the higher court of the evidence led, and the legal issues considered. The courts where appeals are heard are called appellate courts.



This is the formal act whereby the defender in an action intimates their intention to defend the action.


Appropriate Adult

This person is an independent adult who may attend police interviews and procedures when a victim, witness, suspect or accused is a person who lives with a mental disorder. The role of the Appropriate Adult is to facilitate communication between all parties.


Articles of Roup 

These are the conditions of sale by auction.


ASBO See Antisocial Behaviour Order.



This is the transfer of a right from one party to another.



This word is occasionally and formally used to mean a trial by jury.



In civil law this means to find in favour of the defender or respondent in respect of the claim(s) made by the pursuer.


Auditor of Court 

The auditors of the courts are responsible for examining legal accounts. The auditor of the Court of Session and sheriff courts, respectively, examine and 'tax' accounts of the expenses incurred by parties in civil actions in the respective courts.



This means to state or allege.



This means 'to be considered' and is used where a judgment is deferred; where an oral or written decision is to be given later.