Skip to main content

About this free course

Become an OU student

Download this course

Share this free course

Law and change: Scottish legal heroes
Law and change: Scottish legal heroes

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

1 The Scottish legal system

Laws form the basis for regulating the society we live in, therefore legal systems tend to reflect the values and aspirations of the society within which they operate. The quotation below highlights the role and importance placed on the independent legal system within Scotland and helps illustrate how valued that independence is.

Scotland’s legal system is a vital public service. Each and every day it protects individual rights, settles day-to-day disputes, and ensures that crimes against person or property are punished. This strong and enduring system has been a cornerstone of Scottish life for centuries. Today, that proudly independent legal system is as important to our daily lives as it has ever been. Society is changing. Public scrutiny is high. The national and international context ever more complex and challenging. That is why it must continue to change and reform to better meet the challenges of modern laws and modern life.

Cathy Jamieson MSP Justice Minister, 2004 Factsheet on the legal system (Scottish Executive, 2004)

Figure 1 illustrates the range of the sources of law in contemporary Scotland. Many of these have their roots in history and you explore the historical sources and legal history of Scotland in subsequent weeks.

Figure 1 outlines the sources of law in Scotland.
Figure 1 Sources of law