Faculty of Law

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A Faculty of Laws was established in 1707 by the creation of a Regius Professorship of Public Law. The Faculty was further established during the first quarter of the eighteenth century. Previous to this, many scholars intent on training in law had chosen to go to known centres of learning such as Utrecht, Leyden, Groningen or Halle.

There had been previous attempt to establish a school of Law in Edinburgh. The first was as part of Robert Reid's bequest for the creation of a College of Arts and Law; the second was an attempt by the College of Justice to establish a Professorship of Laws in 1590. Neither of these two attempts succeeded.

In 1710, James Craig (1672-1732) was appointed Professor of Civil Law and assigned a classroom for teaching purposes. His appointment was not salaried until 1716 when an Act of Parliament provided for a tax on ale and beer sold in the City of Edinburgh. The revenues thus raised where to be used to settle a salary on the Professor of Law in the University of Edinburgh. An Act of 1722 required the revenues to provide for the salary of the renamed Professor of Civil Law, as well as a Professorship of Universal Civil History and Greek and Roman Antiquities. The Act also provided for a Professor of Scots Law.

Throughout the eighteenth century the Faculty consisted of three Professors - Public, Civil and Municipal Law. There was also a Professor of History. Teaching in Public Law appears to have been intermittent with the Chair vacant between 1831-1862, however, it was revived by the Universities (Scotland) Act 1858.

Following university restructuring in 2002, the Faculty of Law became the School of Law within the College of Humanities and Social Science.