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debatein Scottish civil procedure, that part of an action where legal argument takes place only on the pleas-in-law. It can take place before any proof if the plea is preliminary, such as a plea to the relevance or specification or after the case if it was impossible to answer the plea-in-law until evidence had been heard. For example, in ordinary negligence cases where, until the facts have been heard, it is not possible to say that the defender has or has not been legally negligent.
DEBATE, legislation, practice. A contestation between two or more persons,
in which they take different sides of a question, and maintain them,
respectively, by facts and arguments; or it is a discussion, in writing, of
some contested point.
2. The debate should be conducted with fairness, candor and decorum, and supported by facts and arguments founded in reason; when, in addition, it is ornamented by learning, and decorated by the powers of rhetoric, it becomes eloquent and persuasive. It is essential that the power of debate should be free, in order to an energetic discharge of his duty by the debator.
3. The Constitution of the United States, art. 1, s. 6, provides, that for any speech or debate, in either house, the senators and representatives shall not be questioned in any other place.
4. It is a rule of the common law, that counsel may, in, the discharge of professional duty, use strong epithets, however derogatory to the character of the opponent, or his attorney, or other agent or witness, in commenting on the facts of the case, if pertinent to the cause, and stated in his instructions, without any liability to any action for the supposed slander, whether the thing stated were true or false. 1 B. & Ald. 232; 3 Dow's R. 273, 277, 279; 7 Bing. R. 459; S. C. 20 E. C. L. R. 198. Respectable and sensible counsel, however, will always refrain from the indulgence of any unjust severity, both on their own personal account, and because browbeating a witness, or other person, will injuriously affect their case in the eyes of a respectable court and jury. 3 Chit. Pr. 887, 8.