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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1960 (SND Vol. V).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

JUSTICIAR, n. Also -ier. [dʒʌs′tɪʃər]

1. Sc. Law: under the early kings, the title of two supreme judges, having jurisdiction north and south of the river Forth respectively (see D. Hume Trials for Crimes (1800) I. 6). Now obs. exc. hist., but the office survives as that of the Lord Justice General (see Lord).Sc. 1773 Erskine Institute i. iii. § 24:
The Justiciar of Scotland, or, as he was afterwards called, the Justice-General, or simply the Justice, had in ancient times a supreme jurisdiction, not only in criminal, but in civil matters . . . After the institution of the College of Justice [1532] the Justiciar never judged in civil matters.
Sc. 1829 P. F. Tytler Hist. Scot. II. 240:
William the Lion . . . appears to have changed or new modelled these offices, by the creation of two great judges named Justiciars.
Sc. 1924 J. Mackinnon Constit. Hist. Scot. 130:
The Justiciars and the Sheriffs were the dispensers of justice in civil and criminal causes outside the king's Court.
Sc. 1947 Scotland (Meikle) 101:
The supreme criminal court of Scotland, known as the High Court of Justiciary, derives historically from the ancient office of the Justiciar, formerly one of the great royal officers.

2. Used attrib. in comb. Justiciar Court, the High Court of Justiciary. Phr. lord of justiciar, a judge in this court.Sc. 1706 Earls of Crm. (Fraser 1876) II. 3:
The lords of justiciar have represented the very low salary that is allowd to Mr Baird.
Sc. 1818 Scott H. Midlothian v.:
It's a beautiful point of presumptive murder, and there's been nane like it in the Justiciar Court since the case of Luckie Smith the howdie.

[O.Sc. justiciar, = 1. from 16th c., ad. Med.Lat. iustitiarius, a judge. In 2. the word may be rather a reduced form of Justiciary below, on the analogy of Necessar, etc.]

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"Justiciar n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 Feb 2024 <>



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