Magna Carta, Scotland and Scots Law

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The article is essentially an attempt to explain why, almost alone in the early modern English-speaking legal world, Scots lawyers gave no particular standing to Magna Carta, the great English medieval charter of liberties, either before or after the Anglo-Scottish Union of 1707. The article discusses a case in 1904 where an argument that Magna Carta affected the Crown's prerogative fishing rights in Scotland was rejected by the Court of Session, and also comments on the significance of the contribution made to the understanding of the charter by the Glasgow law professor W S McKechnie in his book on the subject (1904; 2nd edition 1914). But, as the article demonstrates, it is certain that Magna Carta was at its most important for Scotland in the year of its creation (1215), and that that importance probably did not long outlive King John (died 1216).
Original languageEnglish
Article number3
Pages (from-to)94-116
Number of pages23
JournalLaw Quarterly Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018


  • Scots Law
  • Legal History
  • Medieval Law
  • Magna Carta
  • 1707 Union
  • Parker v Lord Advocate
  • mussel fishing
  • Crown prerogative
  • W S McKechnie


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