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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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From “Speculative” to “Practical” Legal Education: The Decline of the Glasgow Law School, 1801–1830

From “Speculative” to “Practical” Legal Education: The Decline of the Glasgow Law School, 1801–1830

(p.238) 9 From “Speculative” to “Practical” Legal Education: The Decline of the Glasgow Law School, 1801–1830*
Enlightenment, Legal Education, and Critique

John W Cairns

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter focuses on the decline of the Glasgow Law School during the period 1801–1830. When John Millar died in 1801, he was succeeded by Robert Davidson, who lacked his predecessor's broad, philosophical approach. While, with Millar, the masters at the University of Glasgow had been keen to use the patronage system to gain an active and successful professor who would attract students and promote the values of Enlightened education, Davidson was appointed because he was the principal's son. He failed to maintain viable classes in Civil Law, and appears to have ceased to teach it after 1819. He did have students for Scots law, seemingly in reasonable numbers. The chapter considers how legal education in Glasgow changed, away from the values of Adam Smith and Millar, and towards a supposedly ‘practical’ rather than theoretical focus, during Davidson's tenure.

Keywords:   legal education, Glasgow Law School, John Millar, Robert Davidson, University of Glasgow, patronage, Civil Law, Scots law

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