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Courses|College of Law

English & Scottish Legal History

Call Number: 15356
Course Number: 6650-01
Professor: TBA
Credit Hours & Type of Credit: 2
Semester Offered: TBA
Required: No
Prerequisites: Students must have completed their first year of law school.
Recommended Courses: None

Course Overview: English and Scottish Legal History will examine the development of law and legal institutions in England and Scotland during the 17th Century. This was a pivotal era in the evolution of our law, when great changes occurred in the conception of sovereignty, in the substance of the law and its procedures, and in the courts and the legal profession.

In England, it was the age of Bacon and Coke, Hobbes and Locke, Hale and Clarendon, Selden and Jeffreys, of William Sheppard and Bulstrode Whitelock. King and Parliament struggled for supremacy, a Civil War followed, the king was beheaded, a Commonwealth flourished and failed, monarchy was restored, the Glorious Revolution deposed another king, and the Bill of Rights was enacted.

In Scotland, the century began when the Stuart James VI went south to England at Queen Elizabeth's death and became James I of England. He and his successors were monarchs of the separate kingdoms of England and Scotland, leaving Scotland without a resident sovereign. Scotland, too, played its part in the revolutionary fervor which swept England. It was the century of Scottish jurists John Skene, Thomas Hope, Thomas Craig, James Dalrymple (Viscount Stair), and George Mackenzie -- all of whom wrote seminal works of Scots law.

In both England and Scotland, judicial decisions came to be regularly and seriously reported. Legislation assumed new importance. The bar began to develop a cohesive professional identity. In England the Court of Star Chamber came to an ignominious end. In both countries, judges continued to condemn witches. But in the same century, ideas of due process and the rule of law began to take hold, and, perhaps for the first time, law reform was diligently pursued.

Assigned readings will consist primarily of decisions, statutes, and readings from the 17th Century, together with more modern legal and biographical writings and text prepared by the professor. Individual copies of the readings will be distributed, and a fee not to exceed $40.00 will be collected from students for these materials.

The goal of the course is to give students a better understanding of how our law came to be as it is, through study of a revolutionary age. Scots law is included with English law to provide perspective on how a kindred legal system developed. Students will assist in planning the particulars of the course, and will make presentations on the assigned subjects for study. One or more papers will be required. Students may satisfy the College of Law advanced writing requirement in the submission of the papers.

Course Materials: See the current Book List located under Courses and Curriculum.
Course Format:
Written Assignments: Course paper required
Type of Exam:
Basis for Grading Student Performance: Paper and Presentation
Other Comments: English & Scottish Legal History has a writing component that satisfies the Advanced Writing Requirement.

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