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Justiciar of Scotia

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The Justiciar of Scotia (in Norman-Latin, Justiciarus Scotie) was the most senior legal office in the High Medieval Kingdom of Scotland. Scotia (meaning Scotland) in this context refers to Scotland to the north of the River Forth and River Clyde. The other Justiciar positions were the Justiciar of Lothian and the Justiciar of Galloway.

The institution has some Anglo-Norman origins, but in Scotland north of the Forth it represented some form of continuity with an older office, a senior version of a Judex or Brithem, a native Scottish lawman often with province-wide responsibilities. Mormaer Causantín of Fife was styled judex magnus (i.e. "great Brehon") in Scotia, and it is probable that the Justiciarship of Scotia was just a further Latinisation/Normanisation of that position. By the middle of the thirteenth century, the responsibilities of the Justiciar became fully formalised. He supervised the activity and behaviour of royal sheriffs and sergeants, held courts and reported on these things to the king personally.

List of Justiciars of Scotia, to 1400[edit]

The following list, going up to 1400, consists of names who appears as Justiciar of Scotia in sources. The sources, especially in the twelfth century, are far from exhaustive, and so many names are doubtless missing. In the earliest period, there could be more than one Justiciar in operation at the same point in time.


  1. ^ Barrow, Prof. G.W.S., The Kingdom of Scots, London, 1973, pps:85 & 137, citing Bower & Fordun.
  2. ^ Barrow, 1973, p.137.
  3. ^ Barrow, 1973, p.106.
  4. ^ Barrow, 1973, pps:97 & 106.
  5. ^ Barrow, 1973, p.113.
  6. ^ Barrow, 1973, p.85.
  7. ^ Barrow, 1973, p.85
  8. ^ Barrow, 1973, p.98.
  9. ^ Barrow, 1973, p.138.
  10. ^ Douglas, Sir Robert, Bt., The Baronage of Scotland, Edinburgh, 1798, p.571.
  11. ^ The Great Seal of Scotland number 163 dated at Dunfermline 1st October 1362, when his pension was granted for this position.
  12. ^ Anderson, William, The Scottish Nation, Edinburgh, 1867, vol.iv, p.62.
  • Barow, G.W.S., "The Judex", in Barrow (ed.) The Kingdom of the Scots, (Edinburgh, 2003), pp. 57–67
  • Barow, G.W.S. "The Justiciar", in Barrow (ed.) The Kingdom of the Scots, (Edinburgh, 2003), pp. 68–111