Men of Law in the Aberdeen Council Register? A Preliminary Study, ca.1450-ca.1460

Andrew Robert Craig Simpson

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Abstract

The Aberdeen Council registers, which survive in a near-continuous run from 1398, provide historians with considerable information concerning the operation of the burgh courts of Aberdeen during the medieval period. Recently, the "Law in the Aberdeen Council Registers" project has transcribed the surviving volumes of the registers dating from 1398–1511. The present study uses the transcription to explore one aspect of the operation of the burgh courts in the period 1450–1460. The study starts by posing the question of whether or not there was a group of individuals who would have considered themselves "men of law" in medieval Aberdeen. Furthermore, it poses the question of whether or not such a group might have entertained common assumptions concerning the law applicable to the resolution of disputes. Given the paucity of explicit references to "men of law" in the council registers, the article then proceeds to say that such questions can only be answered once some more preliminary matters have been addressed. The article focuses primarily on identifying a small number of individuals who were trusted reasonably regularly, and more frequently than other contemporaries, to represent medieval Aberdonians in the burgh courts. Did these representatives have anything in common that might, in turn, explain why they were trusted more frequently than others to act for their fellow Aberdonians in the burgh courts?
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)136-159
Number of pages24
JournalJuridical Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Keywords

  • Aberdeen
  • Administration of justice
  • Legal history
  • Legal representatives

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