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

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Week 6: Making a difference


Law responds and changes to meet and reflect the needs of the society in which it operates. Law cannot, however, change by itself; change can only be achieved through one of the law making bodies. There are numerous individuals and organisations who have campaigned and fought for legal change whether through a change in legislation or through the court system. They could all be seen as ‘Scottish legal heroes’. As you read this you may already be thinking about examples you have come across.

Historical changes, such as the advent of the printing press and, in a later century, the internet, have enabled greater access to the law and legal commentary on the part of the public at large. In particular, the internet has created greater opportunity for access to legal knowledge across jurisdictions. By following a twitter feed or through email alerts, instant updates on the law are now readily available. Widening knowledge of differing jurisdictions can be used to foster debate about laws and their comparative effect. However, as the complexity of society grows so do its laws; and so do the range and background of persons who can be rightly termed ‘legal heroes’.

By the end of this week you will be able to:

  • explain the role of individuals, organisations and institutions in effecting change in the law
  • identify examples of how the law has changed in response to the needs of society
  • explain the tensions over the rule of the UK Supreme Court.