The Prosecution of Murder and Slaughter in the Justiciary Court, 1625-1650: Court Processes and Jurisdiction

Stephanie Ann Dropuljic

Research output: Contribution to conferenceUnpublished paper


Murder and slaughter cases brought before the Justiciary Court (1625-1650) allowed for an investigation into procedural matters, as constructed through a thesis presented for the degree of Master of Law (Research) at the University of Aberdeen. The thesis used both the printed sources as well as revisited the manuscripts at the National Records of Scotland. The criminal letters formed the centre of prosecution and provided the basis for evidence, defences, terminology and categorisation of the crimes. The records indicated that there was more than a simple familial connection required to pursue a case. Rather, members of a family generally (even close friends and feudal lairds) were seeking justice. In the cases that went before the assize, its members were both judge and witness. Eighty-three percent of assizes contained fifteen members and the remained were less than fifteen. The participation of Parliament and the Privy Council along with the replegiation of cases show that the lines of jurisdiction in the early seventeenth century were still fluid. The King’s Advocate (possibly for the Crowns interest) appeared in cases that involved feudal lairds and were particularly egregious. However, the majority of cases (sixty-eight percent) were still private prosecution. Although blood-feuding may have started to dissipate after 1625, it is not surprising to see that families of the defunct were still exercising their right to compensation (assythment), especially in cases wherein the close kin were mentioned.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2016
EventScottish Legal Histroy Group -
Duration: 1 Oct 2016 → …


ConferenceScottish Legal Histroy Group
Period1/10/16 → …


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