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An introduction to law in contemporary Scotland


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This unit will introduce you to the law making process in Scotland. It is drawn from the Open University course W150 An introduction to law in contemporary Scotland. The Scottish legal system and many aspects of the law in Scotland are different from those in England and Wales. The law of Scotland has a history and roots, which are distinct from that of England and Wales. Despite forming a union with England and Wales at various points throughout that history, Scotland has retained a separate legal system.

Like the law of England and Wales, Scots law today represents centuries of development and growth. Its evolution has been influenced by social and economic factors, the effects of war, religious, political and governmental changes, alliances with overseas powers and union with England. The most recent development has been the establishment of the Scottish Parliament with its own law-making powers.

There can be no doubt that the law of Scotland has been influenced by England and Wales and vice versa and it is true that the two systems share some characteristics. Nevertheless, there are many differences between the two systems including differences in court systems, law making, terminology and route of qualification for lawyers. An understanding of the law in contemporary Scotland can be enlightening irrespective of which side of the border the student sits!

This unit is an adapted extract from the Open University course W150 An introduction to law in contemporary Scotland [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)]