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A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (up to 1700)

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First published 1963 (DOST Vol. III).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Justice clerk, n. Also justis, jwsteys and clark, cleark(e. [Justice n. 6, 7; Clerk n.]

1. An officiating clerk of a diet of the justice court or justice ayre. 1424 Acts II. 6/1.
The Justice clerk be indytement sall gar sic trespassouris be attachit to comper befor the Justice
1436 Ib. 23/2.
That al crownaris sal arrest … all thaim that salbe gevin hym in portuis be the Justice clerk
1449 Ib. 37/1.
It is ordanit that justice clerkis reueil nocht to na persone his accion
1490 Treas. Acc. I. 173.
To Ormond to pas in the northland to proclame the ayris … ; Item, to Dave Strathawching, justis clerk, to pas to rasave the dittay thare
c1550 Rolland Ct. Venus iii. 6.
The justice clark was callit Fremmitnes
1589 Antiq. Aberd. & B. III. 190.
In vse to be present with the iustice clerkis to tak vp dittay
1601 Crim. Trials II. 367.
That the Justice declaris that Sir Johne Cokburne … , Justice clark, sall nocht be judge nor assessour, nor yit justice clark in this mater

2. The principal clerk of justiciary. a. Originally, the officer of state who, either in person or by depute, officiated as clerk of the justice court or justice ayre. Also Justice clerk general, principall. b. Latterly, one of the principal judges of the Court of Justiciary. 1487 Reg. Paisley 272.
We charge oure Justice Clerk that he ressave na dittay of the personis foresaid for the said actionis
1490 Acta Conc. I. 166/2.
As wes preffit be the copy of the adiurnale subscripvit with the hande of Maister Richard Lawsoune Justice clerk
1494 Ib. 354/2, 372/1. 1501 Ib. II. 478.
[An extract subscribed by David Straithauchin, depute to Mr Richard Lausone,] Justice Clerc Generale
1513 Acta Conc. Public Aff. 4.
[Master James Wishart asked instrument] of his admissioun and aitht making to the office of justice clerk and advocat to the Kingis graice
1524 Acts XII. 40/2.
That the Justice Clerk send his deputis incontinent throu all shiris to tak dittay
1530 Crim. Trials I. i. *145.
Justice clerk … , ȝe sall geif to him … the autentik copy of the … proces led … aganis his said fader
1539–40 Ib. *226.
The said Williame … becumis … souirte to oure souerane lord and his Justice clerk in his name that the said Robert [etc.]
1554 Corr. M. Lorraine 393.
All thingis betuix the Jwsteys clerk and my dowhtyr
1564 Crim. Trials I. i. *443.
Mr. Dauid Borthwik allegit that the Justice-clerk mycht nocht be clerk in this mater, nor voit thairintill, becaus he and the Lard of Merchamestonis wyfe wes sister and brethir bairnis
1558-66 Knox II. 310.
Thair war appointed to modifie the ministeris stipendis, the Erles Ergyle, Murray, and Mortoun, Lethingtoun, the Justice Cleark, and Cleark of Registrie
c1575 Balfour Pract. 270.
That na deliverance of billis be in ony criminal actioun … except the Justice-general … , or in his absence, the Justice-clerk, subscrive the samin
1610 Reg. Privy C. VIII. 614.
The Justice-generall … sall weare a reid scarlatt gowne … , and the Justice-depute and Justice-clerk principall sall weare blak gownis
1622 Crim. Trials III. 596.
On Thomas Scot of Abotishall, quho was Justice clerk to King James the Fyft
1625 Justiciary Cases I. 33.
Sir Archibald Naper of Merchinstoun, … thesaurer depute of our said kyngdome of Scotland, last Justice Clerk and maister of the said ceremonies
1626 Ib. 59.
Thaireftir the saidis fyve persones war be directioun of my lord Justice Clerk tane bak to waird be the bailȝie
1628 Reg. Privy C. 2 Ser. II. 525.
That the Justice Clerkes hes ever beene without intermissioun counsellours
Ib. 527.
The Advocat, who continewes a pleader before the Sessioun and Justice whair the Justice Clerk sitts as a judge, at the least principall assessour in caises civill and criminall
1663 Ib. 3 Ser. I. 470.
Upon consideration … of the power formerly given be them to the Earle of Tueiddale, Lords Halcartoun, Lie, and Justice Clerk, to be assessors to the justice deputts in the saids matter, … finds and declares that my Lord Justice Clerk is one of the judges of the Justice Court and hes power to sitt and vote therein, and that the saids assessors have
1672 Acts VIII. 87/2.
That the Justice-Generall being present preside, and in his absence the Justice Clerk
1678 Mackenzie Laws & C. ii. xv. 4. (1678) 426.
But whether the Justice-clerk be a judge, or a clerk only, has been doubted
1681 Acts VIII. 234/2.
The Lord Justice Clerk protested that the calling of all the officers of Estate who are not noblemen may not prejudge him of his precedency before them

3. Deput justice clerk, Justice clerk deput. 1490 Acta Conc. I. 148.
As wes preffit be the copy of the adiurnale extract be the hand of Dauid Straithauchin, deput justice clerk, schewin … before the lordis
c1650 Spalding II. 142.
Mr Alexander Colvein, justice deput, and Mr. Alexander Hammiltoun, justice clerk deput, held ane justice court at Elgin be way of committee
1678 Mackenzie Laws & C. ii. xv. 4. (1678) 427.
The Justice Court have a seal, which they append to publick acts, and is kept by the Justice-clerk-deput. This deput is admitted by the Justice clerk
Therefore no justice court, either in the border, or elsewhere, is lawful; except it be served either by the Justice-clerk-deput, or any having commission from him

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"Justice Clerk n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 23 Jun 2024 <>



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