Definition of justiciar in English:



  • 1historical An administrator of justice.

    • ‘In Ireland the justiciar was the king's chief representative in the 13th cent. until superseded by the king's lieutenant, the lord deputy, and the lord-lieutenant.’
    • ‘He appointed churchmen as justiciars, to counterbalance the native barony, and installed a royal treasury in a new stone castle at Dublin.’
    • ‘‘We command you’, he had written to his justiciar, ‘that with all haste, by day and night, you send to us 40 bacon pigs of the fattest and less good for eating to bring fire under the tower.’’
    • ‘Deathbed confessions show that lords not only recognized in principle the rights of tenants and the limits of lordship, but also saw God in the role of justiciar in the redress of these wrongs.’
    1. 1.1A regent and deputy presiding over the court of a Norman or early Plantagenet king of England.
      • ‘Kidwelly was established on the estuary of the river Gwendraeth in 1106 by Roger, bishop of Salisbury, the justiciar of England, within a short time of the Norman conquest, to defend the road to west Wales.’
      • ‘Theobald was a brother of Hubert Walter, the future archbishop of Canterbury and justiciar and chancellor of England.’
      • ‘But how aware of this were the archers and foot soldiers from Cheshire, where Hotspur had been royal justiciar, and a commander of the King's army against the rebel Welsh?’
      • ‘As justiciar, archbishop of Canterbury, and papal legate Hubert Walter stood for harmonious co-operation between king and Church.’
      • ‘The Norman kings were often overseas and appointed a Justiciar, Regent or Lieutenant to represent them in the kingdom, as the Sheriff did in the shire.’
    2. 1.2Either of two supreme judges in medieval Scotland.
      • ‘In Scotland the justiciar was the supreme law officer until replaced in the 15th cent. by the lord justice general.’
      • ‘When Edward I of England conquered Scotland, he divided it into four justiciarships of two justiciars each.’
      • ‘In Scotland the title of justiciar was borne, under the earlier kings, by two high officials, one having his jurisdiction to the north, the other to the south of the Forth.’


Late 15th century from medieval Latin justitiarius (see justiciary).