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Scottish Law

Scots law is a unique legal system which has roots in various different sources of law. Up until the mid-tenth century, the law in Scotland was almost certainly Celtic, but after that point, feudal and canon law gradually took over. On succeeding to the throne in 1124, King David I introduced elements of Anglo-Norman laws and legal institutions, such as sheriffs and justices. Scots law's first known text, Regiam Majestatem, was based heavily on Glanvill's English law treatise, although it also contains elements of civil law, feudal law, canon law, customary law and native Scots statutes. Although there was some indirect Roman law inflence on Scots law, via the civil law and canon law used in the church courts, the direct influence of Roman law was slight up until around the mid-fifteenth century. After this time, Roman law was often adopted in argument in court, in an adapted form, where there was no native Scots rule to settle a dispute; and Roman law was in this way partially received into Scots law. Thus comparative law classifies Scots law as a mixed legal system, a group that also contains South African law and the legal systems of Louisiana, Quebec and Puerto Rico.

Since the Acts of Union, in 1707, it has shared a legislature with the rest of the United Kingdom. Scotland retained a fundamentally different legal system from that of England and Wales, but the Union brought English influence on Scots law. In recent years, Scots law has also been affected by European law under the Treaty of Rome, the requirements of the European Convention on Human Rights (entered into by members of the Council of Europe) and the establishment of the Scottish Parliament which may pass legislation within its areas of legislative competence as detailed by the Scotland Act 1998.

 

The High Court, Glasgow

The High Court, Glasgow

There are substantial differences between Scots Law, English law and Northern Ireland law in areas such as property law, criminal law, trusts law, inheritance law, evidence law and family law while there are greater similarities in areas of national interest such as commercial law and taxation law. Some of the more important practical differences between the jurisdictions include the age of legal capacity (16 years old in Scotland, 18 years old in England), the use of a 15 member jury in Scotland rather than the usual 12 members, the fact that the accused in a criminal trial does not have the right to elect a judge or jury trial, judges and juries of criminal trials have the "third verdict" of "not proven" available to them, and the fact that Equity does not exist in Scots law. Some of the more important practical similarities between the jurisdictions include the similar protections for consumers under the Sale of Goods Act 1979, very similar treatment under various taxation legislation and similar protections for employees and agents.

 
Text courtesy Wikipedia
 
 

 

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Bonnie, bonnie Scotland.

 

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Bonnie, Bonnie Scotland.

 

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