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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1968 (SND Vol. VII).

PARTIAL, adj. Sc. usages in n.combs.: †1. partial counsel, in Sc. Law: improper communication in the form of advice, information, etc. between a witness in a legal case and one of the parties in the action, which until 1852 constituted a ground for excluding the evidence of the witness as biased (Sc. 1946 A. D. Gibb Legal Terms 63). See quots. and Purge; †2. partial session, in the Scottish Universities: a period of token attendance counting towards the total attendance required for a degree course (see quot.).1. Ork. 1703 P. Ork. A. Soc. IX. 51:
Betrix Mackay, deeply sworn, purged of partial counsel, deponed.
Sc. 1713 Session Papers, Anstruther v. Wallace (13 July) 9:
Alexander Brown, Merchant in Edinburgh, aged Fourty four, Solemnly Sworn, Purged of Partial Council, examined and Interrogat.
Sc. 1754 Erskine Principles iv. ii. § 15:
All witnesses, before they are examined in the cause, are purged of partial counsel, that is, they must declare, that they have no interest in the suit, nor have given advice how to conduct it; that they have got neither bribe nor promise, nor have been instructed how to depose; and that they bear no enmity to either of the parties.
Sc. 1800 D. Hume Trial for Crimes II. 152:
Lord Kames sustained the objection of partial counsel to George Keith; who had attended at the precognition, and been busy in suggesting questions to the Sheriff.
Sc. 1838 W. Bell Dict. Law Scot. 708:
Partial Counsel is one of the circumstances which either throws discredit upon a witness's testimony, or renders it inadmissible. In criminal trials, a witness is disqualified by partial counsel, if he have, with the proseccutor's countenance, acted as his agent, by searching for evidence, preparing the charge, or the like. . . . Every witness is, before making oath of affirmation, purged of partial counsel.
2. Sc. c.1820 P. R. S. Lang Duncan Dewar (1926) 96, 98:
Dewar entered St. Mary's College [St. Andrews], and studied Divinity there for the next three sessions, besides having in addition a “partial session”. . . . Attendance for one single day in each year of “irregular attendance” was sufficient for that session to count as a “partial session”, and it was not uncommon for a student to comply with the requirements by coming to town some day at ten o'clock, delivering a discourse, and leaving by one p.m. Subsequent to 1826 all students of Divinity were required to give at least one year of regular attendance at the Hall.

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"Partial adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 14 Aug 2022 <>



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