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

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John Muir Trust

The John Muir Trust [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] (the trust) is a Scottish Charity which takes its name from John Muir. John Muir was Scots-born and is regarded as founder of the modern conservation movement. He is known for his work as one of the early campaigners to preserve the natural wilderness in the United States where he played a key role in creating National Parks, such as the Yosemite and in setting up the Sierra Club, which is still a prominent American conservation organisation.

Their purpose is ‘To conserve and protect wild places with their indigenous animals, plants and soils for the benefit of present and future generations’. They work to defend wild land, enhance habitats and encourage people of all ages and backgrounds to connect with wild places.

The trust collects collect evidence and campaigns throughout Scotland. They note, for example, that in 2013, only 27% of Scotland was free from the visual intrusion of a man-made built development, that native woodlands cover a mere 4% of the land area in Scotland and more than half of these are dying due to overgrazing by high deer populations. That time spent by children playing outside is down 50% in just one generation.

Examples of campaigning work which has led to change include the introduction of improved wild land protection measures by the Scottish Government and the adoption of the Wild Land Areas map into planning policy.

Having considered some examples of individuals and organisations who have fought for legal change you’ll now take a more focused look at firsts, and in particular some firsts that occurred in the legal profession in the 20th century.

The Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919 opened up an exclusively male legal profession to women. Whilst females were admitted into the profession following the 1919 act it was not until the late twentieth century that a female judge was admitted to the College of Senators and sat in Scotland’s higher courts.