Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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PROCURATOR, n. Also reduced forms procutor (Sc. 1808 Jam.), -ar, -er, proketor, -itor, procoter. The form proctor in Sc. usages is gen. found in Eng. writers or may be a misreading of a scribal abbreviation of the full form. Sc. forms and usages. [′prokjuretər]

1. Sc. Law: (1) in comb. procurator-fiscal, †-f(e)iskal, ¶-fliskie, the public prosecutor in a Sheriff Court, who initiates the prosecution of crimes and carries out to some extent the duties of an Eng. coroner. He is appointed by the Sheriff or magistrates, see quots. Freq. also in reduced form fiscal, id. Fif. 1708  A. Laing Lindores (1876) 284:
In causa proketor fiscal against David Blyth eldr. Earle for being drunk upon the twelfth and thretteenth.
Sc. 1711  Analecta Scot. (Maidment 1834) I. 296:
When persons are really guilty, there is no desertion of diets . . . Soe careful is our Proctor Fiscal, that he secures in prison all witnesses against the party accused, till they find surety to appear when summoned.
Gsw. 1737  P. B. McNab Hist. Incorp. Gardeners Gsw. (1903) 289:
By cash to the Clerk to give the feiskal for the McNair's plea.
Sc. 1823  Scott St. Ronan's W. xiv.:
Murder, Mrs Dods? — it cannot be — there is not a word of it in the Sheriff-Office — the Procurator-fiscal kens nothing of it.
Dmf. 1836  A. Cunningham Lord Roldan II. iii.:
I hae a cousin that clerks to the procuter fliskie.
Abd. 1871  W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xviii.:
The shirras an' the fiscal manag't to win up to the laft, an' in o' the heritors' seat i' the forebreist.
Sc. 1904  A. M. Anderson Crim. Law Scot. 266:
Sheriff-Court case. At the first diet the procurator-fiscal of the district in which such first diet is called shall act as representing His Majesty's Advocate, unless an advocate-depute or the procurator-fiscal of the district of the second diet shall appear to prosecute.
wm.Sc. 1943  Scots Mag. (May) 128:
But you know what the Fiscal is. He'll never put a bettin' case afore the coort withoot slips.
Sc. 1947  Scotland (Meikle) 103, 102:
Originally the Procurator-Fiscal was the Sheriff's own officer, dating from the distant day when the Sheriff was both prosecutor and judge in his own court. To-day he is the subordinate of the Lord Advocate, whom he represents in the Sheriff Court, in which he prosecutes for the public interest. He is also responsible for the investigation of crime within his district, and reporting the result of his investigations to the Lord Advocate . . . In Scotland there are no coroners, any necessary enquiries being privately conducted by the Procurator-Fiscal.

(2) a solicitor or lawyer practising before the lower courts (Sc. 1798 Monthly Mag. (Sept.) 175, 1946 A. D. Gibb Legal Terms 69), a law-agent. Now rare, and only in formal contexts, e.g. in the official name of the society of solicitors in Glasgow. Sc. 1709  Morison Decisions 12248:
It is the constant custom in inferior courts, for a defender's procurator to get first a general mandate to defend.
Peb. 1715  A. Pennecuik Tweeddale 399:
The procutors bad him be stout, Care not for Conscience a leek.
Sc. 1736  Crim. Trials Illustrative of “H. Midlothian” 212:
The procurators for the pursuers to give in theirs against Monday next, the 14th instant, at six o'clock at night, and the procurators for the pannel to give in theirs against Thursday the 17th instant, at six o'clock at night.
Sc. 1744  Session Papers, Catanach v. H. Gordon (1 Nov.) 15:
Put an Apprentice to Mr. Keith an Aberdeen's Procurator, and past his Time after the Manner, as other Apprentices to Procurators there do.
Sc. 1791  Boswell Johnson (1904) II. 428:
The Society of Procurators, or Attornies, entitled to practice in the inferior courts at Edinburgh . . . had taken care to have their ancient designation of Procurators changed into that of Solicitors, from a notion, as they supposed, that it was more genteel.
Ags. 1798  A. Reid Bards of Ags. (1897) 12:
[He] placed a procoter of sense To plead the cause in his defence.
Sc. 1818  Scott H. Midlothian viii.:
Writing himself procurator before the Sheriff-court, for in those days there were no solicitors.
Ayr. 1845  Stat. Acc.2 V. 57:
There are twenty-one resident practising procurators, besides writers belonging to other towns in the county, who have a right to practise.
Rxb. 1868  Hawick Advertiser (7 March) 3:
Having heard parties' procurators, and thereafter considered the whole case.
Gsw. 1897  Sc. Law Review (Feb.) 36:
On 6th June, 1796, King George III. granted a charter erecting the Faculty of Procurators in Glasgow into a body politic and corporate for ever.
Sc. 1904  A. M. Anderson Crim. Law Scot. 269:
In all cases a procurator who is entitled to conduct proceedings in the courts of the district of the second diet shall be entitled to appear at the first diet, and to conduct the defence, although he may not be entitled to conduct other law business in the locality of the first diet.
Sc. 1949  Scots Mag. (Feb.) 369:
The Incorporated Society of Law Agents was founded by Crown Charter in 1883. Prior to that litigations in the inferior courts were carried on by practitioners usually called “writers” or “procurators”. They had the entire charge of their client's case, but could only practise in the court to which they had been admitted.
Sc. 1952  Sc. Law Review (Feb.) 29:
The Procurator is proper to the Canon Law, the term being taken over from Roman Law, but in our practice the word Procurator has practically swallowed up Attorney. . . . In England the Attorney and the Proctor remained distinct.

(3) reduced form of procurator-fiscal, see (1) above. Sc. 1879  Stevenson Deacon Brodie i. i. 7:
Brodie. There was my uncle the Procurator — Smith. The Fiscal?
Sc. 1899  Daily News (6 May) 2:
Four pleaded guilty of rioting only. The plea was accepted by the Procurator, and the men were sentenced to thirty days' each with the alternative of a ¥5 fine.

2. In the Church of Scotland: a solicitor appointed to be the official advisor in legal matters to the General Assembly. Sc. 1709  W. Steuart Collections i. xv. § 84:
Beside the clerk of the Assembly, there useth to be an advocate or procurator for the Kirk chosen by them who was to advise them in matters of civil right, and to plead what concerns the right of the church before civil courts.
Sc. 1819  Lockhart Peter's Letters lvii.:
To the left, the Procurator of the Kirk, (the official law-adviser of the Assembly,) in his advocate's wig of three tails.
Sc. 1945  J. T. Cox Practice Ch. Scot. 187:
The Procurator is present at meetings of the Assembly and its Commission, that he may give advice in any business before the court; holds himself retained for the Church in all questions affecting her interests; advises all the courts of the Church in matters coming judicially before them; revises libels and other proceedings.

3. In the Scottish Universities: †(1) in the University of Aberdeen: an official in charge of the college finances. Abd. 1722  Fasti Aberdonenses (S.C.) 444:
The college procurator shall pay to him [the oeconomus] six bolls bear and six bolls meal betwixt Yuill and Candlemass.
Abd. 1795  Stat. Acc.1 XXI. App. 57:
The collection and distribution of the revenue is committed to a procurator or common receiver.

(2) in the University of Aberdeen and also, before 1859, in the Universities of Glasgow and St Andrews: a student representative appointed by each Nation to preside over it (and, in Aberdeen, to vote on its behalf) in Rectorial elections. Sc. 1711  W. C. Dickinson Two Students (1952) lxix.:
[At St Andrews Univ.] after the Comitia had been formally constituted, the members were divided according to their place of birth into four nations. . . . Each nation appointed a procurator to preside over its affairs, and an intrant who represented it in the actual election of the Rector.
Gsw. 1727  Munimenta Gsw. Univ. (M.C.) II. 570:
Each nation shall elect an intrant or delegate, to whom the procurator shall intimate the person whom the nation shall so chuse for Rector.
Sc. 1896  Daily News (16 Nov.) 7:
The students at Aberdeen do not give a direct vote for the Rectorial candidates. They vote for a student who represents them, called the Procurator. After the recording of the votes . . . the “Procurators” meet in another room, and the successful candidate is he who has a majority of Nations. If the Nations are equally divided the winner is he who has the numerical majority of votes.
Sc. 1910  J. Kerr Sc. Education 43:
[At St Andrews] the Rector . . . was elected by the votes of proctors chosen (one for each nation) by the students . . . The election of the Rector by the students as above described has continued to our own times in Glasgow and Aberdeen.
Sc. 1934  W. M. Alexander Four Nations vi.:
The unique survival in Aberdeen University of the Procurators of the Nations.

[O.Sc. procuratore, overseer, a.1400, procuratour, an agent in law, 1408, of the Kirk. 1588, procurator-fiscall, 1539, procurator, = 3. (2), 1664. The shortened forms procutor, etc., gave rise to the Eng. proctor.]

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"Procurator n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 Sep 2018 <>



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