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Court of Session

Court of Session. In the 15th cent. the general jurisdiction of the Scottish royal council was delegated to a committee. In 1532, partly at papal suggestion, James V established a Court of Session, or College of Justice. There were to be fifteen members, ‘cunning and wise men’, half of whom, including the president, were to be clerics. After the Reformation, the clerical numbers were reduced and the last clerical judge, Archbishop Burnet of Glasgow, served 1664 to 1668. The arrangements were confirmed by the Act of Union, though the number of justices has been increased to deal with the growth of litigation. The court sits at Parliament House in Edinburgh and there is no appeal in criminal matters to the House of Lords at Westminster. The justices are accorded the courtesy title Lord, though they do not sit in the House of Lords, and the title is not hereditary.

J. A. Cannon

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