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



Next of kin The person(s) nearest in degree to another person; e.g., the nearest ascendant or descendant of a deceased person.

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 law and provide a legal remedy where none exists.

Non-harassment order An order of court prohibiting a person from conduct specified in the order in relation to another person for a specified period of time or an indefinite period.

Not proven A verdict or decision of acquittal of an accused person.


Notary public

A public officer who serves the public in non-contentious matters

These matters usually relate to estates, deeds, powers-of-attorney, and foreign and international business. Main functions include administering oaths and affirmations; taking affidavits and statutory declarations, and witnessing and authenticating the execution of certain classes of documents.

Note (1) A form of application to the court in existing proceedings. (2) A form of appeal. (3) The reasons for a decision attached to an interlocutor in the Sheriff Court.

Note of appeal The formal document by which an application to appeal is made from a decision of a judge to an appellate court. See also Stated Case.

Notification requirements A person convicted of certain sexual offences must be made subject to the notification requirements of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 by which he or she must keep the police informed of address and any change of name for a specified period of time. Sometimes referred to as the "Sex Offenders' Register".

Notional diet An informal reference to a diet of trial or proof in criminal proceedings at which it is not expected that evidence will be led.

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.