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Private Law

Private law has been central to teaching and research at the University of Edinburgh since the establishment of the Chair of Scots Law in 1722.  Nearly 300 years later, it remains at the very heart of the activities of the Law School and of its degree programmes. 

Court of Session

The focus of private law research at Edinburgh Law School is mainly, although not exclusively, the private law of Scotland.  Over the years a distinctive methodology has developed that gives particular weight to legal history and to comparative law. This has been as much concerned with the intellectual history of the law and the circulation of ideas across legal traditions as it has been with matters of legal doctrine. 

Scots private law lends itself naturally to comparative study since Scotland is a mixed legal system. Much Scots law originates in the civil law tradition of continental Europe but it has borrowed many principles and the case law method from its common law neighbours in England and Wales.  Edinburgh’s private lawyers work in a tradition that is outward-looking by its very nature. They maintain active research links with scholars in contintental Europe and with the larger common law world beyond the United Kingdom. 

Edinburgh’s private lawyers have long kept strong links with the courts and the legal profession, and with the Scottish Law Commission and the Scottish Government. The professional development seminars offered annually to legal practitioners have become a familiar institution in Scottish legal life and an important outlet for the Law School’s research expertise. The income raised has been used to fund research studentships in private law.

As Scottish Law Commissioners, Edinburgh’s private lawyers have been instrumental in re-making the modern Scots family law, and the Scots law of property and of contract. Members of the private law research area continue to play a part in the reform of family law and the law of security over property.

Gillian Black, Personal Chair of Scots Private Law

Alexandra Braun, Lord President Reid Chair of Law

Dan Carr, Senior Lecturer in Private Law

David Fox, Chair of Common Law

George Gretton, Emeritus Lord President Reid Chair of Law

Martin Hogg, Chair of the Law of Obligations and Head of Edinburgh Law School

John Lovett, Honorary Visiting Professor, and De Van D. Daggett, Jr. Distinguished Professor of Law, Loyola University New Orleans

John Macleod, Senior Lecturer in Private Law

Katy Macfarlane, Senior Teaching Fellow in Child and Family Law

Laura Macgregor, Chair of Scots Law

Elspeth Reid, Emeritus Professor of Scottish Private Law

Kenneth Reid, Emeritus Professor of Scots Law

Veronica Ruiz Abou-Nigm, Senior Lecturer in International Private Law 

Andrew SimpsonProfessor of Scottish Legal History

Andrew Steven, Personal Chair of Property Law

Scott Wortley, Lecturer

Journal articles

Delict in Scotland in 2018.
Hogg, Martin. In: European Tort Law Yearbook, Vol. 9, No. 1, 12.11.2019, p. 563-588. View article

Symposium: Reforming intestate succession law.
Braun, Alexandra (Editor). In: Edinburgh Law Review, Vol. 24, 28.10.2019, p. 153. View article

The value of communication practices for comparative law: Exploring the relations between Scotland and England.
Braun, Alexandra. In: Current Legal Problems, Vol. 2019, 30.10.2019, p. 1-31. View article

Protecting privacy in divorce actions : Article 8 and the need for Law Reform.

Black, Gillian. In: Edinburgh Law Review, Vol. 23, No. 3, 01.09.2019, p. 332-359. View article

Restitution upon rescission for breach of contract, mutuality, and unjustified enrichment: Lyle v Websters
MacQueen, Hector. In: Edinburgh Law Review, Vol. 23, No. 2, 01.05.2019, p. 278-283. View article

Joe Thomson and Contract Law in Scotland.
MacQueen, Hector. In: Juridical Review, 20.03.2019, p. 18-32. View article

Book chapters

Bridging and balancing: Diversity and integration in private international law.
Ruiz Abou-Nigm, Veronica. Diversity and Integration in Private International Law. ed.
Veronica Ruiz Abou-Nigm; Maria Blanca Noodt Taquela. Edinburgh University Press, 2019. View chapter

Unlocking private international law's potential in global (migration) governance.
Ruiz Abou-Nigm, Veronica. Private International Law: Contemporary Challenges and Continuing Relevance. ed.
Franco Ferrari; Diego P Fernandez Arroyo. Edward Elgar, 2019. (Elgar Monographs in Private International Law). View chapter

Lashley v Hog (1804) : Forced heirship, and succession across borders.
Carr, Daniel. Landmark Cases in Succession Law. ed.
Brian Sloan. 1. ed. Bloomsbury Publishing, 2019. View chapter

Are equity and law in Scotland fused, separate or intertwined?
Carr, D. (2019) Equity and Law: Fusion and Fission. ed. Goldberg, J.C.P.; Smith, H.E.; Turner, P.G. Cambridge University Press

Cryptocurrencies as property in civilian and mixed legal systems.
Carr, D. (2019) Cryptocurrencies in Public and Private Law. ed. Fox, D. & Green, S. Oxford University Press

Hogg, Martin. Reimagining Contract Law Pedagogy: A New Agenda for Teaching. ed.
David Campbell; Warren Swain. Routledge, 2019. (Legal Pedagogy). View chapter

My word is my bond: Unilateral promises in Scots law re-visited.
MacQueen, Hector. Le Parole del Diritto: Scritti in onore di Carlo Castronovo: Essays in Honour of Carlo Castronovo. Napoli: Jovene, 2019. p. 1893-1904. View chapter


Diversity and Integration in Private International Law.
Ruiz Abou-Nigm, Veronica (Editor); Blanca Noodt Taquela, Maria (Editor). Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2019. 416 p. View book

Recent research projects and collaborations by members of the private law reseach area, include:

Contract Law

Review of Contract Law - published by the Scottish Law Commission

Monetary Law

Money in the Western Legal Tradition - funded by the Gerda Henkel Stiftung

Security Law

Report on Moveable Transactions - published by the Scottish Law Commission

Succession Law

Nature and Role of Will-Substitutes - funded by the John Fell Fund, the British Academy and Leverhulme Trust

Edinburgh Centre for Private Law
The Edinburgh Centre for Private Law exists to foster and develop private law scholarship in the Law School.
Visit the Edinburgh Centre for Private Law website

Edinburgh Law Seminars
Edinburgh Law Seminars is the main outlet for the private law research areas CPD work.
View the Edinburgh Law Seminars website

The Children’s Panel for Scotland
A member of the Private Law Subject Area serves as member of the Children’s Panel.
Visit the Children's Panel for Scotland website

The EUCOTAX Network
Edinburgh Law School is the UK participating partner in a network established to stimulate the instruction in and research on European aspects of tax law.
View the EUCOTAX Network website

Ius Commune Research School
Edinburgh Law School is an Associate Partner in the Ius Commune Research School, which provides training in comparative legal methodology for our research students.
Visit the Ius Commune website

Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law, Hamburg
Edinburgh private lawyers are regular visitors at the Institute. Our research students have traditionally spent a year of their degree studying there.
Visit the Max Planck Institute website

Scottish Law Commission
A number of Edinburgh private lawyers have served as Scottish Law Commissioners or contributed their expertise to the Commission’s consultations.
Visit the Scottish Law Commission website

University of Salzburg Summer School in Comparative Private Law
Each year a number of our Law undergraduates attend the Salzburg Summer School in Comparative Private Law.
Visit the University of Salzburg Summer School website

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