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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Law : Law

Undergraduate Course: Centralizing Justice: Scotland in Early Modern Europe (LAWS10192)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Law CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course will examine the development central institutions of justice in Scotland in the early modern period, as influenced by the Renaissance and the growth of royal government. As well as looking at the development of the College of Justice in a comparative European context, the course will consider the development of a central criminal court. Other key institutions will be discussed and analyzed, notably the role of Parliament as court and legislature and it changing nature. The impact of these changes and their interrelationship with other courts in Scotland will be a major theme. The development of a legal profession as well as the impact of the ius commune and the Reception of civil law will also be reflected on, as will that of the Reformation on the law and ist institutions.
Course description The course aims to allow students to explore and reach their own understandings of the mechanisms of development of these institutions and their impact on law and society. They should have an understanding of the nature of the relevant institutions and their impact on and role in Scottish society in a Renaissance and comparative European context.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Spaces on this course are allocated as part of the Law Honours Course Allocation process. Places are generally only available to students who must take Law courses. To request a space on this course, please email
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesThis course is only open to visiting students coming through a direct exchange with the School of Law (including Erasmus students on a Law-specific Exchange). Exchange students outside of Law and independent study abroad students are not eligible to enrol in this course, with no exceptions.

**Please note that 3rd year Law courses are high-demand, meaning that they have a very high number of students wishing to enrol in a very limited number of spaces.**
Priority will be given to students studying on exchange within the Law department, and it is highly unlikely that there will be additional spaces for general exchange students & independent study abroad students to enrol; we will look into this on a case-by-case basis in September/January. Visiting students are advised to bear in mind that enrolment in specific courses can never be guaranteed, and you may need to be flexible in finding alternatives in case your preferred courses have no available space.

These enrolments are managed strictly by the Visiting Student Office, in line with the quotas allocated by the department, and all enquiries to enrol in these courses must be made through the CAHSS Visiting Student Office. It is not appropriate for students to contact the department directly to request additional spaces.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Have acquired a knowledge of the development of central courts in Scotland, their relationship to other courts, and all in a comparative contex exploring the development of early modern legal systems.
  2. Demonstrate the ability to explore relevant source material about historic courts and their operation, and awareness of comparative issues; ability to read and develop knowledge of existing secondary literature, and to write about a complex topic.
  3. Concentrate on and understand complicated material and issues; and demonstrate enhanced writing skills.
  4. Develop critical reasoning, and analyse and expound complex matters.
  5. Develop and consolidate awareness of the differing sets of values.
Reading List
A.M. Godfrey, Civil Justice in Renaissance Scotland: The Origins of a Central Court, Brill 2009
John Finlay, Men of Law in Pre-Reformation Scotland, East Linton, 2000
R.K. Hannay, The College of Justice (1932; repr Stair Society Supp Vol. 1)
L. MacFarlane, William Elphinstone ad the Kingdom of Scotland, 1985; repr 1995
T.M. Green Consistorial Decisions of the Commissaries of Edinburgh, Stair Society 2014
Michael Wasser, Violence and the Central Criminal Courts in Scotland, Coumbia Univ PhD theses 1995, copy Law library
J.W. Cairns, Law, Lawyers, and Humanism EUP, 2015
Various essays in periodicals and collected volumes
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsJustice,Legal History,Early Modern Europe,Scotland
Course organiserProf John Cairns
Tel: (0131 6)50 2065
Course secretaryMiss Emma Hughes
Tel: (0131 6)50 2008
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