Public Law, Private Law, and National Identity

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


This chapter reflects on the relationship between private law and national identity, and on the related problem of the continuities and discontinuities between legal and political nationalism. Scotland provides an exceptionally fertile ground to investigate those connections, as the Scottish legal system survives as a relatively autonomous body of law more than three centuries after the disappearance of the Scottish state into the United Kingdom. The chapter traces the way in which the defenders of the distinctiveness of Scots law have conceived of its relationship with political nationalism on the one hand, and national identity in a more cultural register on the other. It concludes by offering a contribution to the debate on the role that even a relatively apolitical brand of law might play in the construction of national identities.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAfter Public Law
EditorsCormac Mac Amhlaigh, Claudio Michelon, Neil Walker
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Print)9780199669318
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Publication series

NameOxford Constitutional Theory


  • law
  • national identity
  • private law theory
  • Scots law
  • law and culture


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