This page is under development. Please email to suggest words to be added to the glossary.


Faculty of Advocates

This is an independent body of lawyers who have been admitted to practise as advocates before the courts and tribunals of Scotland, especially the Supreme Courts. It is the professional body to which all advocates belong. For more information see their website

Fatal accident inquiry An inquiry before a sheriff into the circumstances of a death of a person. Such an inquiry must be held where the person died at work or in legal custody.


A fine is a penalty where money must be paid to the court. The amount is set by the judge. Organisations can also be fined for offences including health and safety breaches.

First deliverance This is the first order in petition proceedings such as petitions for liquidation of a company and sequestrations (personal bankruptcy).

First diet

This is a date for a case calling in the sheriff court in solemn (more serious) proceedings to determine whether the prosecutor and the defence are ready to go to trial.

First Division The Division of the Inner House of the Court of Session presided over by the Lord President.

First hearing The first time a case calls in court.

First instance

Cases at first instance are those which are being heard in court for the first time.

First offender

This is a person who is convicted of an offence of any kind for the first time.

Fixed diet A date fixed by the High Court of Justiciary for a trial to proceed.

Floating sheriff A full-time or permanent sheriff who is not resident at a court but may sit at more than one sheriff court. See also Resident sheriff.

Forum non conveniens The court, although having jurisdiction is not the appropriate court for the matter in dispute.

Fund in medio The property or money in the hands of the holder of the Fund (money or property) in an action of multiplepoinding.