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Collection of Case Papers of the Scottish Court of Session

Identifier: MSS-2015-01


The University of Virginia Law Library's collection of Scottish Court of Session Papers consists of printed and formerly bound case materials presented before the Court of Session, the highest civil court in Scotland, from 1759 to 1834. As a court of appeal and of first instance, the Court of Session in this period held jurisdiction over contract and commercial cases, matters of succession and land ownership, divorce proceedings, intellectual property and copyright disputes, and contested political elections. The UVA collection includes approximately 2500 printed petitions, answers, replies, and case summaries, many of which have contemporary annotations. Supplemental case materials appended to these documents include maps, building plans, and printed copies of correspondence, wills, financial accounts, and census reports.


  • Creation: 1757 - 1834


Language of Materials



There are no restrictions.

Biographical / Historical

The UVA Session Papers collection originally belonged to lawyer Andrew Skene, who was born in 1784 and served as Scotland’s Solicitor General from 1834 until his death in 1835. Many of these documents include his handwritten, and often lengthy, annotations on the content and judgments for individual cases. Skene likely enlarged his own library by acquiring Session papers from other personal collections. The earliest documents in UVA’s collection predate Skene’s legal career and include the annotations of other Scottish jurists, such as William Craig, lawyer and judge from 1768 to 1812.

Biographical / Historical

William Craig, Lord Craig (1745-1813), began assembling this collection as an advocate, and later a judge, on the Court of Session in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. The papers apparently passed to Andrew Skene after Craig's death. Skene (1784-1834) also worked as an advocate and later briefly served as Scotland's solicitor general. He greatly expanded Craig's original collection. When Skene died in 1835 the papers were sold in an estate sale, after which the Library of the Society of Advocates in Aberdeen, Scotland, came into possession of them. The Library sold them, along with many of their manuscript collections, in the 1980s. The UVA Law Library purchased the records in 1986.


58 Cubic Feet

Immediate Source of Acquisition

UVA Law Library purchased the records in 1986.

Physical Description

58 cartons, 58 linear ft.

Approximately 2500 printed documents; 50 oversize maps and architectural drawings.

Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Arthur J. Morris Law Library Special Collections Repository

Arthur J. Morris Law Library
580 Massie Road
University of Virginia
Charlottesville Virginia 22903 United States