Protestations to Parliament for remeid of law

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The Articles of Union approved by the parliaments of Scotland and England in 1707 provided for the preservation of the private law of Scotland and for the determination of disputes arising north of the border in Scottish courts. At the same time, however, the Articles not only allowed for the amendment of the law by legislation enacted at Westminster but also left open the possibility of appeals being made to the British parliament against decisions delivered in Scottish courts. The Articles did not allow explicitly for appeals, but nor did they prohibit them, and dissatisfied litigants, by exercising the privilege asserted in the Claim of Right to protest for remeid of law against decisions of the lords of council and session, enabled the upper house of the new parliament to substitute its decisions for those delivered by the supreme civil court in Scotland. This much has long been understood by historians of Scots law, as has the significant impact the opinions expressed by English judges in the House of Lords came to have on the development of the modern law. Yet what has never been properly understood is the nature of the protestations for remeid of law from which appeals to the British parliament emerged. Detailed study of these protestations in the years before and immediately following the union reveals that they were conceived of in several different ways and that their nature was never clearly defined. Nevertheless, it also tends to confirm that there is some basis for the common suspicion that appeals were not intended to be made to the House of Lords in the way that they have been.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-107
Number of pages51
JournalScottish Historical Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2009


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