Published online by Cambridge University Press: 25 October 2017
This is the first of two volumes of selected essays on Scottish legal history. As with many working in this field, I have sometimes published in relatively obscure collections and very specialised journals, making some of the papers presented here difficult to obtain, even in these days of the internet. But to have selected only such papers would have created rather strange and unbalanced volumes, so other articles and chapters have been included, both to form a coherent account of specific topics, and to present a picture, if limited, of my view of Scottish legal history. In each volume there is an introduction to pull the papers together and relate them both to other contributions of my own and to current thinking about legal history in Scotland and elsewhere.
In producing these volumes, I have accumulated many debts. First, I must thank Professor Elspeth Reid who encouraged me to think that the publication of such a selection was worthwhile: she has also shown forbearance towards an author who has, as they would have put it in the eighteenth century, a “delaying humour”. I am grateful to Professors Kenneth Reid and Hector MacQueen who also supported me in this project. Dr Karen Baston helped administratively in a variety of ways; and I am obliged to the Editorial Board of Edinburgh Studies in Law for accepting these two volumes.
The earliest of the essays in these two volumes was published as long ago as 1984, and the latest as recently as 2010. Their publication therefore covers much of my academic career, and indicates both continuities as well as developments. I completed my doctorate under the supervision of Professor Alan Watson (to whom I owe so much I cannot possibly express it here) and Dr (as he then was) Sandy McCall Smith in December 1980; in October of that year I had had the good fortune to have been appointed a lecturer in the Queen's University of Belfast in the Department of Jurisprudence. The Department was headed by Professor (now Sir) Colin Campbell, and there I had as good an introduction to an academic career as I believe to have been possible.