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MacCormick's Scotland

Edited by Neil Walker

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A well-rounded appreciation of the Scottish dimension in MacCormick's thinking and writing

Sir Neil MacCormick (1940–2009) was a the world-renowned legal philosopher and prominent Scottish public intellectual who held the Regius Chair in Public Law and the Law of Nature and Nations at Edinburgh University for 36 years. MacCormick's work and works about MacCormick attract both a domestic and an international audience. Readers will gain an understanding of how MacCormick's Scottish roots, interests and commitments coloured his work – both his distinctively Scottish writings and the overall intellectual outlook that informed his broader legal and philosophical writings.

Focusing on a number of prominent Scottish themes in MacCormick's work and life, this volume is structured around four key themes: 1) the nature and identity of a legal system; 2) sovereignty, European integration and Scottish independence; 3) the legacy of the legal and political thought of the Scottish enlightenment; and 4) the role of the academic in the Scottish public sphere.

Key Features

  • Edited by Neil Walker – a highly respected scholar, thinker and writer who succeeded MacCormick in the Regius Chair
  • The editor and all of the contributors were closely acquainted with MacCormick - both as a scholar and a man
  • The first book to examine MacCormick through a distinctly Scottish lens


Preface and Acknowledgements, Neil Walker
1. Scotland's MacCormick
1. A Post-Positivist Outlook From the Thistle, Hector MacQueen
2. The Works of Neil MacCormick: A Bibliography and a Bibliographical Essay on Scottish Themes, Maksymilian Del Mar
2. Enlightened Scots
3. John Millar and Slavery, John W Cairns
4. Adam Ferguson, Classical Republicanism and the Imperative of Modernity, Alexander Broadie
3. What's in a Legal System?
5. The Many Conceptions of a Legal System, Gerry Maher
6. The Idea of a Legal System: Between the Real and the Ideal, Julie Dickson
4. Sovereignty and Beyond
7. Scottish Nationalism For and Against the Union State, Neil Walker
8. Stateless Nations in the European Union: Two Cheers Not Three, Joanne Scott
5. The Scottish Public Intellectual
9. Neil MacCormick: Public Intellectual, Drew Scott
10. Scotland's Meridian: A Memoir of Neil MacCormick in the Scottish Public Sphere, William Storrar
11. Neil MacCormick: An Epilogue, Zenon Bankowski.

About the Author

Neil Walker is Regius Professor of Public Law and the Law of Nature and Nations in the School of Law, University of Edinburgh. His main area of expertise is constitutional theory. He has published extensively on the constitutional dimension of legal order at sub-state, state, supranational and international levels. He has also published at length on the relationship between security, legal order and political community. In December 2008, Professor Walker conducted an independent review of final appellate jurisdiction in the Scottish legal system on behalf of the Scottish Government.


MacCormick's Scotland sets out to explain the distinctiveness of MacCormick's life and thought in terms of his "Scottishness"....Taken as a whole the book shows how MacCormick's conerns, agendas and distinctive ideas have deep roots in Scottish, history, culture, polictics, institutions, law and, above all, the Scottish Enlightenment. But it makes clear that his influence and significance reach far beyond Scotland....

- William Twining, University College London, Cambridge Law Journal, Volume 72 Part 2

Professor Sir Neil MacCormick, FRSE, FBA (always in that order: with the Edinburgh society preceding the British Academy on his business card!), LLD, Jur.Dr.h. c. (multi!), QC, Regius Chair of Public Law and the Law of Nature and Nations at Edinburgh and MEP, was one of the greatest contemporary legal scholars in Scotland and furth its shores until his untimely death in 2009. Neil Walker and his colleagues put together this set of essays as a tribute to this great man.... Limitations of space militate against a review of all the contributions to this work, but all are stimulating and insightful.


- Scott Crichton Styles, University of Aberdeen, The Edinburgh Law Review, 17.3 (2013),

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