Glasgow Tercentenary Essays

Late in 1713, the masters of the University or College of Glasgow persuaded Queen Anne to allow the funding out of the Bishop’s Rents, which had come into the hands of the Crown, of a chair in law. Given the source of the money, the Crown was later able to assert patronage over the appointment, although the College was allowed to choose the first professor. The choice lighted on William Forbes, who enjoyed the patronage of the Dalrymple family, who entered into his new office in 1714, whose visage enlivens the cover of Glasgow Tercentenary Essays: 300 Years of the School of Law, edited by R.G. Anderson, James Chalmers, and John MacLeod, just published by Avizandum, Edinburgh, 2014.

William ForbesOld Glasgow Building

There is much here in a miscellaneous collection to interest any lawyer. But some will be of considerable interest to readers of this Blog. The essay by James Chalmers, based on his inaugural lecture, contains interesting historical material, as do those by Gillian Black on Exclusive Privilege and Kenneth Campbell on confidentiality. A directly historical account is found in Olivia Robinson’s discussion of use of the civilian literature, and J. Irvine Smith’s entertaining and passionate account of the famous trial of Captain Green, which some readers of this blog may recall being given as a Stair Society Annual Lecture some years ago. Bill McBryde’s wonderful exploration of Muir v. Glasgow Corporation will remind many of some of the studies of the late great Brian Simpson. It indicates just how much understanding and indeed detailed social history can be gained form such study of an individual case. Maks del Mar also investigates modern intellectual history and draws a moral from it for the future of legal theory.

The other essays are less historically oriented: but all are a worthy tribute to three hundred years of legal study in Glasgow.