In law, treason is criminal disloyalty to the state. It is a crime that covers some of the more extreme acts against one's sovereign; this includes things such as participating in a war against one's native country, attempting to overthrow its government, spying on its military, its diplomats, or its secret services for a hostile and foreign power, or attempting to kill its head of state. A person who commits treason is known in law as a traitor. In common law countries, treason covered the murder of specific social superiors, such as the murder of a husband by his wife or that of a master by his servant. Treason against the king was known as high treason and treason against a lesser superior was petty treason; as jurisdictions around the world abolished petty treason, "treason" came to refer to what was known as high treason. At times, the term traitor has been used as a political epithet, regardless of any verifiable treasonable action. In a civil war or insurrection, the winners may deem the losers to be traitors.
The term traitor is used in heated political discussion – as a slur against political dissidents, or against officials in power who are perceived as failing to act in the best interest of their constituents. In certain cases, as with the Dolchstoßlegende, the accusation of treason towards a large group of people can be a unifying political message. Treason is considered to be different and on many occasions a separate charge from "treasonable felony" in many parts of the world. In English law, high treason was punishable by being hanged and quartered or burnt at the stake, although beheading could be substituted by royal command; those penalties were abolished in 1790 and 1973 respectively. The penalty was used by monarchs against people who could reasonably be called traitors. Many of them would now just be considered dissidents; the words "treason" and "traitor" are derived from the Latin tradere, to hand over. Christian theology and political thinking until after the Enlightenment considered treason and blasphemy as synonymous, as it challenged both the state and the will of God.
Kings were considered chosen by God, to betray one's country was to do the work of Satan. Many nations' laws mention various types of treason. "Crimes Related to Insurrection" is the internal treason, may include a coup d'état. "Crimes Related to Foreign Aggression" is the treason of cooperating with foreign aggression positively regardless of the national inside and outside. "Crimes Related to inducement of Foreign Aggression" is the crime of communicating with aliens secretly to cause foreign aggression or menace. Depending on a country, conspiracy is added to these. In Australia, there are federal and state laws against treason in the states of New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria. To Treason laws in the United States, citizens of Australia owe allegiance to their sovereign, the federal and state level; the federal law defining treason in Australia is provided under section 80.1 of the Criminal Code, contained in the schedule of the Commonwealth Criminal Code Act 1995. It defines treason as follows: A person commits an offence, called treason, if the person: causes the death of the Sovereign, the heir apparent of the Sovereign, the consort of the Sovereign, the Governor-General or the Prime Minister.
A person is not guilty of treason under paragraphs, or if their assistance or intended assistance is purely humanitarian in nature. The maximum penalty for treason is life imprisonment. Section 80.1AC of the Act creates the related offence of treachery. The Treason Act 1351, the Treason Act 1795 and the Treason Act 1817 form part of the law of New South Wales; the Treason Act 1795 and the Treason Act 1817 have been repealed by Section 11 of the Crimes Act 1900, except in so far as they relate to the compassing, inventing, devising, or intending death or destruction, or any bodily harm tending to death or destruction, maim, or wounding, imprisonment, or restraint of the person of the heirs and successors of King George III of the United Kingdom, the expressing, uttering, or declaring of such compassings, inventions, devices, or intentions, or any of them. Section 12 of the Crimes Act 1900 creates an offence, derived from section 3 of the Treason Felony Act 1848: 12 Compassing etc deposition of the Sovereign—overawing Parliament etc Whosoever, within New South Wales or without, imagines, devises, or intends to deprive or depose Our M
Scotland is a country, part of the United Kingdom. Sharing a border with England to the southeast, Scotland is otherwise surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, by the North Sea to the northeast and by the Irish Sea to the south. In addition to the mainland, situated on the northern third of the island of Great Britain, Scotland has over 790 islands, including the Northern Isles and the Hebrides; the Kingdom of Scotland emerged as an independent sovereign state in the Early Middle Ages and continued to exist until 1707. By inheritance in 1603, James VI, King of Scots, became King of England and King of Ireland, thus forming a personal union of the three kingdoms. Scotland subsequently entered into a political union with the Kingdom of England on 1 May 1707 to create the new Kingdom of Great Britain; the union created a new Parliament of Great Britain, which succeeded both the Parliament of Scotland and the Parliament of England. In 1801, the Kingdom of Great Britain and Kingdom of Ireland enacted a political union to create a United Kingdom.
The majority of Ireland subsequently seceded from the UK in 1922. Within Scotland, the monarchy of the United Kingdom has continued to use a variety of styles and other royal symbols of statehood specific to the pre-union Kingdom of Scotland; the legal system within Scotland has remained separate from those of England and Wales and Northern Ireland. The continued existence of legal, educational and other institutions distinct from those in the remainder of the UK have all contributed to the continuation of Scottish culture and national identity since the 1707 union with England; the Scottish Parliament, a unicameral legislature comprising 129 members, was established in 1999 and has authority over those areas of domestic policy which have been devolved by the United Kingdom Parliament. The head of the Scottish Government, the executive of the devolved legislature, is the First Minister of Scotland. Scotland is represented in the UK House of Commons by 59 MPs and in the European Parliament by 6 MEPs.
Scotland is a member of the British–Irish Council, sends five members of the Scottish Parliament to the British–Irish Parliamentary Assembly. Scotland is divided into councils. Glasgow City is the largest subdivision in Scotland in terms of population, with Highland being the largest in terms of area. "Scotland" comes from the Latin name for the Gaels. From the ninth century, the meaning of Scotia shifted to designate Gaelic Scotland and by the eleventh century the name was being used to refer to the core territory of the Kingdom of Alba in what is now east-central Scotland; the use of the words Scots and Scotland to encompass most of what is now Scotland became common in the Late Middle Ages, as the Kingdom of Alba expanded and came to encompass various peoples of diverse origins. Repeated glaciations, which covered the entire land mass of modern Scotland, destroyed any traces of human habitation that may have existed before the Mesolithic period, it is believed the first post-glacial groups of hunter-gatherers arrived in Scotland around 12,800 years ago, as the ice sheet retreated after the last glaciation.
At the time, Scotland was covered in forests, had more bog-land, the main form of transport was by water. These settlers began building the first known permanent houses on Scottish soil around 9,500 years ago, the first villages around 6,000 years ago; the well-preserved village of Skara Brae on the mainland of Orkney dates from this period. Neolithic habitation and ritual sites are common and well preserved in the Northern Isles and Western Isles, where a lack of trees led to most structures being built of local stone. Evidence of sophisticated pre-Christian belief systems is demonstrated by sites such as the Callanish Stones on Lewis and the Maes Howe on Orkney, which were built in the third millennium BCE; the first written reference to Scotland was in 320 BC by Greek sailor Pytheas, who called the northern tip of Britain "Orcas", the source of the name of the Orkney islands. During the first millennium BCE, the society changed to a chiefdom model, as consolidation of settlement led to the concentration of wealth and underground stores of surplus food.
The first Roman incursion into Scotland occurred in 79 AD. After the Roman victory, Roman forts were set along the Gask Ridge close to the Highland line, but by three years after the battle, the Roman armies had withdrawn to the Southern Uplands; the Romans erected Hadrian's Wall in northern England and the Limes Britannicus became the northern border of the Roman Empire. The Roman influence on the southern part of the country was considerable, they introduced Christianity to Scotland. Beginning in the sixth century, the area, now Scotland was divided into three areas: Pictland, a patchwork of small lordships in central Scotland; these societies were based on the family unit and had sharp divisions in wealth, although the vast majority were poor and worked full-time in subsistence agriculture. The Picts kept slaves through the ninth century. Gaelic influence over Pictland and Northumbria was facilitated by the large number of Gaelic-speaking clerics working as missionaries. Operating in the sixth ce
Barons in Scotland
In Scotland, a Baron is the head of a "feudal" barony. This used to be attached to a particular piece of land on, the "caput", or the essence of the barony a building, such as a castle or manor house. Accordingly, the owner of the piece of land containing the "caput" was baroness; the Court of the Lord Lyon issued a new ruling April 2015 that recognises a person possessing the dignity of baron and other feudal titles. Lord Lyon now prefers the approach of recognizing the particular feudal noble dignity as expressed in the Crown Charter that the petitioner presents; these titles are recognised as the status of a minor baron but not a peer. Scottish feudal baronies may be passed to any person, of either sex, by conveyance. Scotland has a distinct legal system within the United Kingdom. In the Kingdom of Scotland, the Lord Lyon King of Arms, as the Sovereign’s Minister in matters armorial, is at once Herald and Judge; the Scottish equivalent of an English baron is a lord of Parliament. Scottish Prescriptive Barony by Tenure was, from 1660 until 2004, the feudal description of the only genuine degree of title of UK nobility capable of being bought and sold, rather than passing by blood inheritance.
Statutes of 1592 and the Baronetcy Warrants of King Charles I show the non-peerage Table of Precedence as: Baronets, Knights and Lairds, Esquire and Gentlemen. A General Register of Sasines was set up by Statute in 1617, with entry in the Register giving the prescriptive right, after so many years, to the "caput" or essence of the Barony; the individual who owned the said piece of land containing the caput was hence the Baron or Baroness. Uncertainty over armorial right was removed by the Lyon Register being set up by Statute in 1672, such that no arms were to be borne in Scotland unless validly entered in Lyon Register. Up until 1874 each new Baron was confirmed in his Barony by the Crown by Charter of Confirmation. Up until 28 November 2004 a Barony was an estate of land held directly of the Crown, or the Prince and Great Steward of Scotland, it was an essential element of a barony title that there existed a Crown Charter erecting the land into a Barony, recorded in the Register of the Great Seal of Scotland.
The original Charter was lost, however an Official Extract has the same legal status as the original Charter. From the Treaty of Union of 1707 - until 1999 - a unified Parliament of Great Britain, at Westminster, was responsible for passing legislation affecting private law both north and south of the Scottish border. In 1999 the devolved Scottish Parliament was established, Private law measures can now be passed at Holyrood, the seat of the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh. Using a prescriptive feudal grant allowed developers to impose perpetual conditions affecting the land; the courts became willing to accept the validity of such obligations, which became known as real burdens. In practical and commercial terms, these real burdens were like English leasehold tenure; the first Scottish Executive was committed to abolishing the anachronism of the feudal system. On 28 November 2004 the Abolition of Feudal Tenure etc. Act 2000 came into full effect, putting an end to Scotland's feudal system. Under Scots law, a Scottish Prescriptive Barony by Tenure is now "incorporeal feudal heritage", not attached to the land and remains the only genuine, degree of title of UK nobility capable of being bought and sold – since under Section 63 of the Act, the dignity of Baron is preserved after the abolition of the feudal system.
However, the Abolition Act did end the ability to get feudal land privileges by inheriting or acquiring the caput in Scotland. In common law jurisdictions, land may still be owned and inherited through a barony if the land is titled in "the Baron of X" as baron rather than in the individual's name. In America it passes with the barony as a fee simple appurtenance to an otherwise incorporeal hereditament, the barony being treated like a landowning corporation. In Scotland, the practice has not been tested in a Court of Session case since the Act. What is the oldest barony in Scotland, the Barony of the Bachuil, has not depended on land ownership for centuries. Unlike all other barons in Scotland, the lawful possessor of the stick is the Baron of the Bachuil, regardless of landholdings. After 28 November 2004 under Scots law, a Scottish Barony, Scottish heritable property, became incorporeal heritable property. Prior to the Act coming into effect, Scottish Feudal Baronies were the only genuine title of UK nobility capable of being transferred following the sale of land containing a "caput".
Most baronies were created prior to 1745 but one was erected as late as 1824. Since the Abolition of Feudal Tenure etc. Act 2000 came into effect, the Lord Lyon, the Chief Herald of Scotland, has restored a more traditional form to the coat of arms of a Baron. Barons are now identified by the helm befitting their degree. A new policy statement has been made by the Lord Lyon to this effect. Independent Scots legal advice should always be taken before entering into any contract that claims to offer a Baronial title for sale; the holder of the dignity of a Barony may petition the Lord Lyon
Scots law is the legal system of Scotland. It is a hybrid or mixed legal system containing civil law and common law elements, that traces its roots to a number of different historical sources. Together with English law and Northern Irish law, it is one of the three legal systems of the United Kingdom. Early Scots law before the 12th century consisted of the different legal traditions of the various cultural groups who inhabited the country at the time, the Gaels in most of the country, with the Britons and Anglo-Saxons in some districts south of the Forth and with the Norse in the islands and north of the River Oykel; the introduction of feudalism from the 12th century and the expansion of the Kingdom of Scotland established the modern roots of Scots law, influenced by other Anglo-Norman and continental legal traditions. Although there was some indirect Roman law influence on Scots law, the direct influence of Roman law was slight up until around the 15th century. After this time, Roman law was adopted in argument in court, in an adapted form, where there was no native Scots rule to settle a dispute.
Scots law recognises four sources of law: legislation, legal precedent, specific academic writings, custom. Legislation affecting Scotland may be passed by the Scottish Parliament, the United Kingdom Parliament, the European Union; some legislation passed by the pre-1707 Parliament of Scotland is still valid. Since the Union with England Act 1707, Scotland has shared a legislature with Wales. Scotland retained a fundamentally different legal system from that south of the border, but the Union exerted English influence upon Scots law. Since the UK joined the European Union, Scots law has been affected by European law under the Treaties of the European Union, the requirements of the European Convention on Human Rights and the creation of the devolved Scottish Parliament which may pass legislation within all areas not reserved to Westminster, as detailed by the Scotland Act 1998; the United Kingdom, consists of three jurisdictions: England and Wales and Northern Ireland. There are important differences between Scots Law, English law and Northern Irish law in areas such as property law, criminal law, trust law, inheritance law, evidence law and family law while there are greater similarities in areas of national interest such as commercial law, consumer rights, employment law and health and safety regulations.
Examples of differences between the jurisdictions include the age of legal capacity, the fact that equity was never a distinct branch of Scots law. Some examples in criminal law include: The use of 15-member juries for criminal trials in Scotland who always decide by simple majority; the accused in a criminal trial does not have the right to elect between a jury trial. Judges and juries of criminal trials have the "third verdict" of "not proven" available to them. There are differences in the terminology used between the jurisdictions. For example, in Scotland there are no Magistrates' Courts or Crown Court, but there are Justice of the Peace Courts, Sheriff Courts and the College of Justice; the Procurator Fiscal Service provides the independent public prosecution service for Scotland like the Crown Prosecution Service in England and Wales and the Public Prosecution Service in Northern Ireland. Scots law can be traced to its early beginnings as a number of different custom systems among Scotland's early cultures to its modern role as one of the three legal jurisdictions of the United Kingdom.
The various historic sources of Scots law, including custom, feudal law, canon law, civilian ius commune and English law have created a hybrid or mixed legal system. The nature of Scots law before the 12th century is speculative, but is to have been a mixture of different legal traditions representing the different cultures inhabiting the land at the time, including Gaelic, Welsh and Anglo-Saxon customs. There is evidence to suggest that as late as the 17th century marriage laws in the Highlands and Islands still reflected Gaelic custom, contrary to Catholic religious principles; the formation of the Kingdom of Scotland and its subjugation of the surrounding cultures, completed by the Battle of Carham, established what are the boundaries of contemporary mainland Scotland. The Outer Hebrides were added after the Battle of Largs in 1263, the Northern Isles were acquired in 1469, completing what is today the legal jurisdiction of Scotland. From the 12th century feudalism was introduced to Scotland and established feudal land tenure over many parts of the south and east, which spread northward.
As feudalism began to develop in Scotland early court systems began to develop, including early forms of Sheriff Courts. Under Robert the Bruce the importance of the Parliament of Scotland grew as he called parliaments more and its composition shifted to include more representation from the burghs and lesser landowners. In 1399 a General Council established that the King should hold a parliament at least once a year for the next three years so "that his subjects are served by the law". In 1318 a parliament at Scone enacted a code of law that drew upon older practices, but it was dominated by current events and focused on military matters and the conduct of the war of Scottish Independence. From the 14th century we have surviving examples of early Scottish legal literature, such as the Regiam Majestatem and the Quoniam Attachiamenta (on procedure
Politics of Scotland
Scotland is a country, in a political union with the rest of the United Kingdom. Having been directly governed by the UK Government since 1707, a system of devolution was established in 1999, after the Scottish people voted by a firm majority to re-establish a primary law making Scottish Parliament in a referendum held in 1997. Scotland entered into a political union with England in 1707, since has sent representatives to the Palace of Westminster, which succeeded the Parliament of England to become the British Parliament. 59 Members of Parliament represent Scottish constituencies at Westminster, issues such as the constitution, foreign affairs, social security, issues of medical ethics, fiscal and monetary policy are decided on a nationwide UK level. In 1999, a 129-member Scottish Parliament was established in Edinburgh. In the UK government, Scottish affairs are represented by the Secretary of State for Scotland David Mundell MP; the Scottish Government is headed by a First Minister, the leader of the political party with the most support in the Scottish Parliament Nicola Sturgeon MSP.
The head of state in Scotland is the British monarch Queen Elizabeth II. There are six Members of the European Parliament elected by Scotland, as the UK is a member state of the European Union. Scotland can best be described as having a multi-party system. In the Scottish Parliament, the centre-left pro-independence Scottish National Party is the party which forms the devolved government. Opposition parties include: the Scottish Conservative Party, Scottish Labour Party, the Scottish Liberal Democrats, the Scottish Green Party. Elections are held once every five years, with 73 Members being elected to represent constituencies, the remaining 56 elected via a system of proportional representation. At Westminster, Scotland is represented by 35 MPs from the Scottish National Party, 13 from the Conservative Party, 7 MPs from the Labour Party and 4 from the Liberal Democrats. Today, the independence of Scotland from the United Kingdom remains a prominent political issue. On Thursday 18 September 2014, the Scottish electorate voted in a referendum on whether or not to become independent, opted to stay as part of the United Kingdom, with 55.3% voting to stay in the United Kingdom and 44.7% voting for independence.
The party with the largest number of seats in the Scottish Parliament is the Scottish National Party, which campaigns for Scottish independence. The current First Minister of Scotland is SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon, who has led a government since November 2014; the previous First Minister, Alex Salmond, led the SNP to an overall majority victory in the May 2011 general election, lost in 2016 and now forms a minority government. Other parties represented in the parliament are the Labour Party, Conservative Party which form the official opposition, Liberal Democrats and the Scottish Green Party; the next Scottish Parliament election is due to be held in May 2021. Under devolution, Scotland is represented by 59 MPs in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom elected from territory-based Scottish constituencies, out of a total of 650 MPs in the House of Commons. A Secretary of State for Scotland, who prior to devolution headed the system of government in Scotland, sits in the Cabinet of the United Kingdom and is responsible for the limited number of powers the office retains since devolution, as well as relations with other Whitehall Ministers who have power over reserved matters.
The Scottish Parliament can refer devolved matters back to Westminster to be considered as part of United Kingdom-wide legislation by passing a Legislative Consent Motion — referred to as a Sewel Motion. This has been done on a number of occasions where it has been seen as either more efficient, or more politically expedient to have the legislation considered by Westminster; the Scotland Office is a department of the Government of the United Kingdom, responsible for reserved Scottish affairs. The current Secretary of State for Scotland is a Conservative; until 1999, Scottish peers were entitled to sit in the House of Lords. The main political debate in Scotland tends to revolve around attitudes to the constitutional question. Under the pressure of growing support for Scottish independence, a policy of devolution had been advocated by all three GB-wide parties to some degree during their history; this question dominated the Scottish political scene in the latter half of the twentieth century with Labour leader John Smith describing the revival of a Scottish parliament as the "settled will of the Scottish people".
Now that devolution has occurred, the main argument about Scotland's constitutional status is over whether the Scottish Parliament should accrue additional powers, or seek to obtain full independence. The long term question is: should the Scottish parliament continue to be a subsidiary assembly created and abolished by the constitutionally dominant and sovereign parliament of the United Kingdom or should it have an independent existence as of right, with full sovereign powers? To clarify these issues, the SNP-led Scottish Government published Choosing Scotland's Future, a consultation document directed to the electorate under the National Conv
History of Scotland
The recorded history of Scotland begins with the arrival of the Roman Empire in the 1st century, when the province of Britannia reached as far north as the Antonine Wall. North of this was Caledonia, inhabited by the Picti, whose uprisings forced Rome's legions back to Hadrian's Wall; as Rome withdrew from Britain, Gaelic raiders called the Scoti began colonising Western Scotland and Wales. Prior to Roman times, prehistoric Scotland entered the Neolithic Era about 4000 BC, the Bronze Age about 2000 BC, the Iron Age around 700 BC; the Gaelic kingdom of Dál Riata was founded on the west coast of Scotland in the 6th century. In the following century, Irish missionaries introduced the pagan Picts to Celtic Christianity. Following England's Gregorian mission, the Pictish king Nechtan chose to abolish most Celtic practices in favour of the Roman rite, restricting Gaelic influence on his kingdom and avoiding war with Anglian Northumbria. Towards the end of the 8th century, the Viking invasions began, forcing the Picts and Gaels to cease their historic hostility to each other and to unite in the 9th century, forming the Kingdom of Scotland.
The Kingdom of Scotland was united under the House of Alpin, whose members fought among each other during frequent disputed successions. The last Alpin king, Malcolm II, died without issue in the early 11th century and the kingdom passed through his daughter's son to the House of Dunkeld or Canmore; the last Dunkeld king, Alexander III, died in 1286. He left only his infant granddaughter Margaret, Maid of Norway as heir, who died herself four years later. England, under Edward I, would take advantage of this questioned succession to launch a series of conquests, resulting in the Wars of Scottish Independence, as Scotland passed back and forth between the House of Balliol and the House of Bruce. Scotland's ultimate victory confirmed Scotland as a independent and sovereign kingdom; when King David II died without issue, his nephew Robert II established the House of Stuart, which would rule Scotland uncontested for the next three centuries. James VI, Stuart king of Scotland inherited the throne of England in 1603, the Stuart kings and queens ruled both independent kingdoms until the Act of Union in 1707 merged the two kingdoms into a new state, the Kingdom of Great Britain.
Ruling until 1714, Queen Anne was the last Stuart monarch. Since 1714, the succession of the British monarchs of the houses of Hanover and Saxe-Coburg and Gotha has been due to their descent from James VI and I of the House of Stuart. During the Scottish Enlightenment and Industrial Revolution, Scotland became one of the commercial and industrial powerhouses of Europe, its industrial decline following the Second World War was acute. In recent decades Scotland has enjoyed something of a cultural and economic renaissance, fuelled in part by a resurgent financial services sector and the proceeds of North Sea oil and gas. Since the 1950s, nationalism has become a strong political topic, with serious debates on Scottish independence, a referendum in 2014 about leaving the British Union. People lived in Scotland for at least 8,500 years before Britain's recorded history. At times during the last interglacial period Europe had a climate warmer than today's, early humans may have made their way to Scotland, with the possible discovery of pre-Ice Age axes on Orkney and mainland Scotland.
Glaciers scoured their way across most of Britain, only after the ice retreated did Scotland again become habitable, around 9600 BC. Upper Paleolithic hunter-gatherer encampments formed the first known settlements, archaeologists have dated an encampment near Biggar to around 12000 BC. Numerous other sites found around Scotland build up a picture of mobile boat-using people making tools from bone and antlers; the oldest house for which there is evidence in Britain is the oval structure of wooden posts found at South Queensferry near the Firth of Forth, dating from the Mesolithic period, about 8240 BC. The earliest stone structures are the three hearths found at Jura, dated to about 6000 BC. Neolithic farming brought permanent settlements. Evidence of these includes the well-preserved stone house at Knap of Howar on Papa Westray, dating from around 3500 BC and the village of similar houses at Skara Brae on West Mainland, Orkney from about 500 years later; the settlers introduced chambered cairn tombs from around 3500 BC, as at Maeshowe, from about 3000 BC the many standing stones and circles such as those at Stenness on the mainland of Orkney, which date from about 3100 BC, of four stones, the tallest of, 16 feet in height.
These were part of a pattern. The creation of cairns and Megalithic monuments continued into the Bronze Age, which began in Scotland about 2000 BC; as elsewhere in Europe, hill forts were first introduced in this period, including the occupation of Eildon Hill near Melrose in the Scottish Borders, from around 1000 BC, which accommodated several hundred houses on a fortified hilltop. From the Early and Middle Bronze Age there is evidence of cellular round houses of stone, as at Jarlshof and Sumburgh on Shetland. There is evidence of the occupation of crannogs, roundhouses or built on artificial islands in lakes and estuarine waters. In the early Iron Age, from the seventh century BC, cellular houses began to be replaced on the northern isles by simple Atlantic roundhouses, substantial circular buildings with a dry stone construction. From about 400 BC, more complex Atlantic roundhouses began to be built, as at Howe and Crosskirk, Caithness; the most massive constructions that date from this era are the circular broch towers, p
Heritable Jurisdictions (Scotland) Act 1746
The Heritable Jurisdictions Act 1746 was an Act of Parliament passed in the aftermath of the Jacobite rising of 1745 abolishing judicial rights held by Scots heritors. These were a significant source of power for clan chiefs since it gave them a large measure of control over their tenants; the position of Sheriff-principal originated in the 13th century and still exists in modern Scotland. Appointed by the Crown, over the centuries the majority had become hereditary, the holders appointing legal professionals known as Sheriff-deputes to do the work; the Act returned control of these to the Crown. Since Article XX of the 1707 Acts of Union recognised these rights as property, compensation was paid to the deprived heritors; the long title of the Act, which sets out the scheme and intention, is: An Act for taking away and abolishing the Heretable Jurisdictions in Scotland. For remedying the inconveniences that have arisen and may arise from the multiplicity and extent of heretable jurisdictions in Scotland, for making satisfaction to the proprietors thereof, for restoring to the crown the powers of jurisdiction and properly belonging thereto, according to the constitution, for extending the influence and protection of the King’s laws and courts of justice to all his Majesty’s subjects in Scotland, for rendering the union more complete.
The Act was one of a number of measures taken after the defeat of the 1745 Jacobite Rising to weaken the traditional rights held by clan chiefs, the others being the 1746 Dress Act and the Act of Proscription. Such rights were widespread throughout Scotland. There had been a number of previous attempts to either weaken them. Many remained, one of the most significant being control of the thirty-three Sheriffs who presided over the Scottish court system. In 1745, only eight of these were appointed by the Crown, three were appointed for life, with the rest being hereditary; the Act gave the Crown control over the appointment of Sheriffs, with the role of Justiciar transferred to the High Court of Justiciary. Since these were recognised as private property under Article XX of the 1707 Act of Union, their owners were compensated, although Jacobites were excluded. A total of £152,000 was paid out in compensation, the two biggest payments being £38,000 to the Duke of Hamilton and £25,000 to the Duke of Argyll.
Other recipients included Sir Andrew Agnew, hereditary sheriff of Wigtownshire, who received £4,000 in recognition of his support for the government in 1745. In speaking for the Bill, Lord Hardwicke argued. In response, Argyll quoted Montesquieu in support of his argument that multiple jurisdictions were a check on the Crown and thus a defence of liberty. Since Argyll was one of the main beneficiaries, his intervention was to enable Hardwicke to highlight the House of Stuart's outdated belief in the divine right of kings and unquestioning obedience, he did so by agreeing such safeguards were required for states ruled by an absolute monarch but'fortunately, Britain was not in that position.' This was because the constitution limited the powers of the ensured liberty. George II, in a speech written by Hardwicke, praised the Act as measures for "better securing the liberties of the people there"; the Prime Minister Henry Pelham considered it the most important measure in dealing with Jacobitism in Scotland.
Most of its provisions have since been repealed, but it still specifies that any noble title created in Scotland after 6 June 1747 may grant no rights beyond those of landlordship. The last remnants of feudal tenure in Scotland were ended by the Abolition of Feudal Tenure etc. Act 2000 which came into force on 28 November 2004. Attainder Act of Proscription 1746 Disarming Act 1716 Dress Act 1746 Browning, Reed, ‘Lord Hardwicke, the Court Whig as Legist’, Political and Constitutional Ideas of the Court Whigs