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

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3.3 The Scottish Parliament

In Week 1 you learnt about the powers of the Scottish Parliament established by the Scotland Act 1998. Activity 2 asks you to explore the history of previous Scottish Parliaments.

Activity 2 History of the Scottish Parliament

Timing: (Allow 20 minutes)

The interactive timeline below highlights a number of Acts of key importance to Scottish history, and enables you to access and explore original copies. Reference is also made to a number of individuals who held key positions or sought changes in the law.

History of Scotttish Parliament timeline [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)]

You should now spend some time exploring the timeline. You do not need to explore every detail; look at some of the key dates and explore the events which are of interest to you. Make a note of anything you find interesting or surprising.


The course authors found a number of items on the timeline of interest. These included:

  • the language used in the early Acts of Parliament; how wordy they were and how individuals were often referred to with reference to their location or estate
  • that Acts only began to be recorded in Scots from 1424 (previously Latin had been used)
  • how Parliament had worked to ensure that the monarch ruled and worked within the laws of Scotland from late medieval times (1445)
  • when the first opposition to the ruling political party began to emerge (1669)
  • the length of time it took for ‘one person one vote’ to emerge (1928) when voting reforms began in 1832. That women gained to right to vote in 1918.