1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Lord Advocate

LORD ADVOCATE, or king’s advocate, the principal law-officer of the crown in Scotland. His business is to act as a public prosecutor, and to plead in all causes that concern the crown. He is at the head of the system of public prosecutions by which criminal justice is administered in Scotland, and thus his functions are of a far more extensive character than those of the English law-officers of the crown. He is aided by a solicitor-general and by subordinate assistants called advocates-depute. The office of king’s advocate seems to have been established about the beginning of the 16th century. Originally he had no power to prosecute crimes without the concurrence of a private party; but in the year 1597 he was empowered to prosecute crimes at his own instance. He has the privilege of pleading in court with his hat on.