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date: 03 June 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Twelfth-century Scottish monarchs laid the foundations of the medieval Scottish common law. This chapter begins by exploring the political context from which that common law emerged. It then considers the various legal tools, courts, and procedures that were created by twelfth- and early thirteenth-century monarchs to deliver royal justice. Subsequently the chapter explores how later monarchs adapted the institutions laid down by their predecessors to develop the common law of the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth centuries. Particular reference is made to the brieves, many of which were inspired in their content by near-contemporary English writs. The extent to which these ‘brieves’ furnished litigants with truly ‘common’ mechanisms for the enforcement of claims across the Scottish kingdom is currently debated, as is explained in this chapter. Finally, brief reference is made to the transformation of the common law in light of Romano-canonical learning during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.

Keywords: Scotland, legal history, medieval, common law, writs, brieves

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