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Title: Chiefs, lawyers and debt : a study of the relationship between Highland elite and legal profession in Scotland c1550 to 1700
Author: Watt, Douglas A.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1998
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The relationship between Highland chiefs and the Edinburgh legal profession had its origin in the period following the establishment of the College of Justice in 1532. Relations existed between Edinburgh lawyers and many chiefs in the later 16th century but the relationship became closer in the early 17th century and a group of lawyers emerged who specialised in Highland clients. A significant change took place in the later 17th century as a large number of Highlanders became lawyers in Edinburgh themselves. The rise of these "clan lawyers" meant that the client-lawyer relationship was more likely to be governed by kinship in the later 17th century than it had been in the 16th century. Around 1550 a significant change took place in the nature of the lawyers that chiefs employed in the locality. Incoming Scots speaking lawyers from outside the kindred took over the top positions as notaries public and legal servitors. By the later 17th century members of Highland kindreds became lawyers in the burghs bordering the Highlands. Another group of lawyers operated within the Highlands, outwith the households of the chiefs, in the later 17th century. Legal costs were an increasing financial burden on the chiefs as legal fees escalated in the early 17th century. The chiefs borrowed extensive sums of money from the legal profession and the management of debt became a central part of the legal work carried out for the chiefs. By the later 17th century chronic indebtedness was a major cause of social change in the Highlands.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available