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Justiciar of Scotia

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 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, 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 1328

The following list, going up to 1328, 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. Note also that, in the earliest period, there could be more than one Justiciar in operation at the same point in time.


  • 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

See also

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