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Enlightenment, Legal Education, and CritiqueSelected Essays on the History of Scots Law, Volume 2$
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John W. Cairns

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780748682133

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748682133.001.0001

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The First Edinburgh Chair in Law: Grotius and the Scottish Enlightenment

The First Edinburgh Chair in Law: Grotius and the Scottish Enlightenment

(p.82) 4 The First Edinburgh Chair in Law: Grotius and the Scottish Enlightenment*
Enlightenment, Legal Education, and Critique

John W Cairns

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter examines the development of teaching from the chair of Public Law and the Law of Nature and Nations at the University of Edinburgh during the Scottish Enlightenment, with particular emphasis on the intellectual content of the classes and the politics of professorial appointments. For the first half-century, law teaching from the chair was intermittent. However, this does not mean that the holder was incapable or unlearned. When the holder of the chair did teach, the class was based on Hugo Grotius' De iure belli ac pacis libri tres. The chapter first provides an overview of legal education in Scottish universities before profiling the law professors who were appointed to the new chair between 1707 and 1831, including Charles Areskine, William Kirkpatrick, George Abercromby, Robert Bruce, James Balfour, Allan Maconochie, and Robert Hamilton. Robert Bruce was the last holder of the chair to teach Grotius' natural law.

Keywords:   law teaching, Public Law, University of Edinburgh, Scottish Enlightenment, professorial appointments, Hugo Grotius, legal education, Scottish universities, law professors

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