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Law, Lawyers, and HumanismSelected Essays on the History of Scots Law, Volume 1$
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John W Cairns

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780748682096

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748682096.001.0001

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Alfenus Varus and the Faculty of Advocates: Roman Visions and the Manners that were Fit for Admission to the Bar in the Eighteenth Century

Alfenus Varus and the Faculty of Advocates: Roman Visions and the Manners that were Fit for Admission to the Bar in the Eighteenth Century

Chapter:
(p.371) 13 Alfenus Varus and the Faculty of Advocates: Roman Visions and the Manners that were Fit for Admission to the Bar in the Eighteenth Century*
Source:
Law, Lawyers, and Humanism
Author(s):

John W Cairns

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9780748682096.003.0013

The Bar was a socially exclusive institution in most countries, even though it was in theory an open one. This chapter focuses on two curious episodes towards the end of the eighteenth century, when the Faculty unsuccessfully attempted to exclude two men — John Wright and Robert Forsyth — from membership. The debates among the Faculty arising from these episodes show the deployment of the language of manners, sentiment, and politeness, as well as argument about the traditional Roman models of what it was to be an advocate. To some extent, we can view these debates as helping redefine not only the advocates’ perception of themselves, whereby they moved away from identification with the Roman jurists, but also the role of Roman law in the training of the Bar. At the same time, the social composition of the Faculty was changing.

Keywords:   Scots law, civil law, social status, law students, faculty, John Wright, Robert Forsyth

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