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The Spiritual Jurisdiction in Reformation Scotland

A Legal History

Thomas Green

Hardback (Forthcoming)

Re-evalutes the medieval Church in Reformation Scotland from the perspective of legal history

  • Offers a substantial re-interpretation of several major elements of the Scottish Reformation
  • Includes the Wars of the Congregation; the Reformation Parliament; the legitimacy of the Scottish government from 1559 to 1561; the courts of the early Church of Scotland; and the legal significance of Mary Stewart’s personal reign
  • Considers neglected aspects of the Reformation, including the roles of the Court of Session and of the Court of the Commissaries of Edinburgh
  • Re-evaluates the actual impact in law of key events in the history of the Scottish Reformation
  • Studies jurisdiction in matrimonial disputes during a period of revolution

This book examines the Scottish Reformation from a new perspective – that of the legal system and lawyers. For the leading lawyers of the day, the Scottish Reformation presented a constitutional and jurisdictional crisis of the first order. In the face of such a challenge moderate judges, lawyers and officers of state sought to restore order in a time of revolution by retaining much of the medieval legacy of Catholic law and order in Scotland.


1. The Suppression of the Courts of the Catholic Church in Scotland
2. Revolution and Law: The Reformation Parliament, the Proclamation of Leith, and the Law of Oblivion
3. Papal and Episcopal Jurisdiction in Scotland following the Reformation Crisis
4. The Rise of the Courts of the Church of Scotland
5. The Lords of Council and Session
6. The Court of the Commissaries of Edinburgh
7. The Commissary Courts and the Jurisdiction of the Courts of the Church of Scotland
Outline Chronology
Select Bibliography

About the Author

Thomas M. Green, BA, MTh, PhD, is an ecclesiastical and legal historian with interests in Reformation Studies and the history of Canon law. He holds degrees in history, historical theology and ecclesiastical history, is a former British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at the School of Law, University of Edinburgh, and is a former Honorary Research Fellow at the School of Law, University of Glasgow.

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