The Convention of  

 The Baronage of Scotland 

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Jurisdiction


The jurisdiction and authority of a baron's court were derived from the charter of erection and common law.  As such a baron could not exercise his jurisdiction until he had taken seisin and was infeft in his barony. The act of seisin was, in the early days, a ceremony held on the actual lands where the 'owner' (technically a 'vassal') or his attorney was given formal possession by the symbolic placement of a stone and a turf in his hands by a Notary Public.


CHARTER OF ERECTION

The charter of erection of a barony granted or withheld a wide range of powers. Typically, but not necessarily, they would include civil, criminal and military jurisdiction.


COMMON LAW

In 1747 the common law was changed allowing the baron to exercise any of his jurisdiction through a baillie.


PROFITS OF JUSTICE

The right to jurisdiction included the right to the fines and other profits of justice which at times represented a considerable income.

These profits were necessary to pay for the courts expenses. These included the costs of the Officers of the Court but also the provision of the prison. The 1747 Act required the baron to inform the sheriff of the location of the prison and the sheriff had to inspect it to ensure it was not "grievous or unhealthy". The prison had to allow a visitor to "visit, see and converse with the prisoner, when he shall be so minded." This phrase shines a bright light upon the spirit of the times - another manifestation of the Declaration of Arbroath.
In our country today we do not meet these standards.