Judges’ history and headgear make impression on US visitors

25 Jul


A tour of the Faculty and Parliament House - and judges’ wigs - caught the imagination of a group of more than 20 students from the United States who are visiting Scotland.

Through a longstanding partnership with Aberdeen University, the law schools of the University of Baltimore and the University of Maryland run a Summer Abroad Program. American professors team up with colleagues from Aberdeen and deliver courses to give the students an insight into the laws of another country and a new perspective on the American legal system.

The Edinburgh tour was arranged so the students could meet practising Scottish advocates and to witness courts in session.

“We were generously and graciously given private tours of the building, which not only covered the key elements of the Scottish legal system but also the fascinating history of the courts,” said Professor Kimberly Brown, of the University of Baltimore.

“Our guide shared with us how the judges originally sat in a public market-type forum in the midst of active food vendors and other town business, to hear grievances.  Over many years, a formal system of courts sprung up and was refined.

“The morning culminated in a visit to active courtrooms, which are curious to the American eye by virtue of the formality and theatre of the white wigs worn by the judges!

“It's my great pleasure and honour to be co-teaching with the University of Aberdeen's Mike Radford this summer, in what will no doubt be an experience of a lifetime.”