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The Government of Scotland 1560-1625$
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Julian Goodare

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780199243549

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199243549.001.0001

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Law and Legislation

Law and Legislation

Chapter:
(p.70) CHAPTER THREE Law and Legislation
Source:
The Government of Scotland 1560-1625
Author(s):

Julian Goodare (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199243549.003.0004

The system of formal rules by which Scotland was governed had long been a single, national one. Some laws — statutes — received their authority also from parliament, but there was no sense at the outset that this was so for law in general. The general assembly of the church and the privy council have occasionally been claimed as rivalling parliament as legislative bodies, but their measures on closer inspection always turn out to be subordinate to acts of parliament. This chapter discusses the legislative role of the Scottish parliament and traces the unintended rise of a sovereign legislature. Government is broken down into its component parts, from crown and parliament to local commissaries and baron courts. The late 16th century saw regular attempts to codify Scotland's venerated but unusable medieval laws in order to adapt them to current conditions. Meanwhile, parliament began to pass a large volume of legislation. When the codification projects failed, it became clear that the law was fundamentally statutory rather than immemorial.

Keywords:   laws, parliament, legislation, statutes, legislature, government, baron courts, codification

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