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Access to the transcript and notes is limited to users on campus; copyright belongs to Robert Sutherland.

Transcribed Text

Heir followes certaine Practiques drawine furth of certaine processis befoir the Lords of the Colledg of Justice and Sessione and decreits of the same collected and set furth be Sir Ritchard Maitland of Lethingtoune Knight one of the Senators of the Colledg of Justice


Maitland's Practiques played a significant part in the development of the Court of Sessions after its reorganisation in 1532, and its content also reflects a wide range of interesting political, legal, economic and social aspects of Scotland at a critical time. This text is therefore of some considerable value in the history of Scots Law, and is also of relevance to historical scholarship in general.

MS Gen 1333 is a sixteenth century manuscript volume from the collection of John Orr (fl. 1705); it also contains another set of practiques - those of Henry Sinclair, dating from 1540 to May 1549. Both items are paginated individually, the second set of practiques (those transcribed here) therefore beginning at a 'second' page one. It has been transcribed into modern form by Robert Sutherland (retired Senior Lecturer, School of Law) as the Scots secretary hand in which the original is written makes it somewhat inaccessible to the reader untrained in Scots palaeography.

Robert Sutherland's transcription was published by the Scottish Record Society (new series, vol. 30) in 2007. As well as a transcription, this document includes a very useful introduction to the text, with biographical information about Maitland, a discussion of the context in which the Practiques were written, and further details about the Glasgow manuscript. Included is a set of incidental notes: these attempt to make some initial juridical sense of the items as a help to ensure correct transcription, where the originals are obscure, incoherent or otherwise doubtful, usually because of the lack of punctuation. The transcription is accompanied by an appendix containing:

  • a table of cases
  • index of pursuers/petitioners
  • index of defenders/respondents
  • index of references
  • a table of headings

Robert Sutherland's transcription (including appendix) as published by the Scottish Record Society is presented here as a PDF file that can be read using Adobe Acrobat. Download the file by following the link below (owing to copyright restrictions, access is restricted to users on campus only):

 icon: This is an Acrobat PDF Filetranscription of Maitland's Practiques (with notes & appendix) by Robert Sutherland


photograph of Lethingtoun (now 'Lennoxlove') House, Maitland's ancestral home
Robert Sutherland

A sample entry from the manuscript is displayed here:

 MS Gen 1333: item 2: page 2: entry no.9

Click here to read a transcription of this entry.

Robert Sutherland (transcription and notes)


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Page created by Julie Gardham: April 2003