Skip to main content

Legal history: England & common law tradition: Scotland

Subjects: History - British, Law

Identifying early works ....

The Stair Society's An introductory survey of the sources and literature of Scots law (1936) & its index are at KL402.STA

The Society's  volumes  Scotland under Jus commune : census of manuscripts of legal literature in Scotland, mainly between 1500 and 1660 (2010- ) can be requested from the Closed Stacks (see link below)

Heraldry in Scotland

Related guides from LawBod

"... many parts (of Scots law) still bear an unmistakably Roman stamp." per P. Stein  1963 JR 205

Scottish legal history

Scotland has drawn on both its own legal traditions, and those of its neighbours - both cross-wall and cross-sea - to develop a unique "mixed" legal system.

Institutional Writers

(The dates are those of the first editions)

  • James Dalrymple, Viscount Stair 1619-1695 - Institutions of the laws of Scotland (1681 - revised in 1693)

  • Professor John Erskine 1695-1768 - An institute of the law of Scotland (1773)

  • Baron David Hume 1757-1843 - Commentaries on the law of Scotland : respecting the description and punishment of crimes (1797)

  • Archibald Alison  1792-1867 - Principles of the criminal law of Scotland (1832)

  • John Hay Athole Macdonald 1836-1919 - Practical treatise of the criminal law of Scotland ()

Modern editions of these works are: