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Haver The person in possession of a document or property from whom a party to proceedings wishes to obtain it for the purposes of the proceedings. See also Recovery of documents and Specification of documents.

Headline sentence

The headline sentence is the sentence selected by the court which takes into account the seriousness of the offence and any aggravating and mitigating factors. It does not take into account any adjustment of the sentence for other reasons, such as a discount for a plea of guilty at an early stage in the case, and may therefore not be the sentence actually imposed by the court.

Hearing Any proceedings called before a judge.

Her Majesty's Advocate The senior Law Officer responsible for the prosecution of crime and investigation of deaths and the principal legal adviser to the Scottish Government. Referred to as "Her Majesty's Advocate" in criminal matters and the "Lord Advocate" in civil matters.

Heritable estate/property The term for property in the form of land and houses,as distinct from moveable property such as jewelry or an animal.

High Court of Justiciary 

This is Scotland's supreme criminal court. It hears the most serious criminal cases, such as murder and rape.

Historical offence

This is an offence that has occurred in the past, sometimes when the law or sentence levels were different to how they are now.


HMA stands for Her Majesty‚Äôs Advocate and is the title given to the Lord Advocate, the senior law officer in Scotland. All criminal prosecutions in Scotland are raised in the name of the Lord Advocate. See also Advocate depute.

Home Detention Curfew

This is a system where offenders released from prison are fitted with an electronic tag which lets police know where they are. They must stay at an agreed address for about 12 hours every night. Other conditions can be set for each person depending on their offence. Any offender who breaks the curfew can be taken back to prison. Certain violent or sexual offenders are not eligible for tagging. For more information see 'Home Detention Curfew' on our prison sentences page.

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