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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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“Famous as a School for Law, as Edinburgh … for Medicine”: Legal Education in Glasgow, 1761–1801

“Famous as a School for Law, as Edinburgh … for Medicine”: Legal Education in Glasgow, 1761–1801

(p.192) 7 “Famous as a School for Law, as Edinburgh … for Medicine”: Legal Education in Glasgow, 1761–1801*
Enlightenment, Legal Education, and Critique

John W Cairns

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter examines legal education in the University of Glasgow during the period 1761–1801, focusing on John Millar's tenure as chair of Civil Law. Millar succeded Robert Davidson, who failed to attract students in part due to the location of the University. Millar turned Glasgow from a minor law school with very few students to a major centre of legal education. A pupil of Adam Smith, Millar taught Smith's jurisprudence in all his courses at some level or another. He used Smith's theory of rights to understand and to structure his courses in Civil Law. The reasons for Millar's success were complex, but they seem to lie in his expansion of the Glasgow law curriculum, in the content of his courses and in his abilities as a teacher, as well as in the weakness of legal education in contemporary Edinburgh during crucial periods of his tenure.

Keywords:   legal education, University of Glasgow, John Millar, Robert Davidson, Adam Smith, Civil Law, law curriculum

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