University of Glasgow School of Law

The School of Law at the University of Glasgow provides undergraduate and postgraduate courses in Law, and awards the degrees of Bachelor of Laws (Legum Baccalaureus, LL.B.), Master of Laws (Iuris Vtriusque Magistrum, LL.M.), LLM by Research, Master of Research (M.Res.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Philosophiæ Doctor, Ph.D.), the degree of Doctor of Laws being awarded generally only as an honorary degree.

University of Glasgow
School of Law
TypeLaw school
EstablishedDecember 1713 (Chair of Law)
HeadProfessor Jane Mair
Administrative staff
49 academic
Students1,000 approx.
AffiliationsUniversity of Glasgow

There are forty-nine full-time academic staff[1] and over one thousand students.[2] The current Head of the School of Law is Professor Iain MacNeil.[3]

The 2019 Complete University Guide league rankings placed Glasgow at 2nd in the UK while the 2019 rankings from The Guardian placed Glasgow at ninth in the UK.[4][5] The 2018 The Times league rankings placed Glasgow at 4th in the UK.[6]


At the University's foundation in 1451, there were four original faculties: Arts, Divinity, Law and Medicine. Both Canon and Civil Law were taught,[7] however by the sixteenth Century, instruction in both of these had fallen out of practice. It was during this time that James Dalrymple of Stair came to Glasgow to study for an M.A. (1633-1637) and then became a regent (1641-1647) teaching philosophy.[8] He went on to become Lord President of the Court of Session in 1671, and published his Institutions of the Law of Scotland in 1681, the first systematic exposition of Scots Law. The Stair Building, where the School of Law is housed, is named in his honour.

In 1713, Queen Anne endowed the Regius Chair of Law at the University. The first occupant of the Chair (from 1714) was William Forbes, and subsequent notable Professors have included John Millar, William Gloag, David Walker and Joe Thomson. This revived the teaching of Law at Glasgow, and subsequent Chairs included the Chair of Conveyancing,[9] established in 1861 by the Faculty of Procurators; the Douglas Chair of Civil Law[10] in 1948; the Chair in Jurisprudence[11] (1952); in Public Law[12] (1965); and the John Millar Chair of Law[13] in 1985, named for the previously mentioned Regius Professor of Law.

In 1984, the Faculty of Law became the Faculty of Law and Financial Studies, and in 1992, the individual legal departments were grouped together into the School. In 2005, the Faculty merged with the Faculty of Social Sciences, becoming the Faculty of Law, Business and Social Sciences.[14] On 1 August 2010 the Faculty of Law, Business and Social Science was combined with the Adam Smith Business School, the School of Social and Political Studies, the School of Education and the School of Interdisciplinary Studies into a new College of Social Sciences.


National rankings
Complete (2020)[15]3
Guardian (2020)[16]6
Times / Sunday Times (2020)[17]4

The School of Law is housed in the Stair Building (named for Viscount Stair), a row of internally connected terraced houses on The Square opposite the University Chapel. The School is associated with traditional Scots law teaching and with internationally recognised research across a wide range of subjects including Corporate Law and Financial Regulation, Intellectual Property Law, and Law and Security.


CREATe is the RCUK research centre for copyright and new business models in the creative economy. With an ambitious programme of 40 projects delivered by an interdisciplinary team of academics (law, cultural economics, management, computer science, sociology, psychology, ethnography and critical studies), the centre is a pioneering academic initiative designed to help the UK cultural and creative industries thrive and become innovation leaders within the global digital economy. CREATe will examine the business, regulatory and cultural infrastructure of the cultural and creative industries by exploring cutting-edge questions around digitisation, copyright, and innovation in the arts and technology. The University of Glasgow, leads a consortium of 7 Universities which also comprises the University of East Anglia, the University of Edinburgh, Goldsmiths (University of London), University of Nottingham, University of St Andrews and the University of Strathclyde. CREATe is supported by £5m of funding over four years (2012-2016) from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).


The following Chairs of the University have provinces within the School of Law:


Students in the School of Law elect class representatives from each of their classes to represent them at meetings of committees within the School of Law. The School comes within the College of Social Science constituency on the Students' Representative Council.[18]

Law Society

The Glasgow University Law Society organises social activities for students at the School of Law, including the annual Law Ball, held every February. The event is of a comparable size to the GUSA Ball, and because of the number of students attending it is necessary to hold the event in city centre hotels as there is no hall in the University large enough to accommodate it. The Society co-ordinate various different events, focusing around being either social, academic or charity, headed by their respective Convenor. Membership is open to all students of the School of Law, and the Society is affiliated to the SRC.

The Society publishes the Glasgow University Law Review, an annual publication containing legal articles written by members of the Society.


The School of Law has a student-run Mooting Society,[19] which runs an internal competition, The Dean's Cup, as well as organising the Alexander Stone National Legal Debate. All Scottish universities offering the LL.B. are entitled to enter this, although the competition is generally between Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Strathclyde universities. The final is held in February or March each year in the Alexander Stone Court Room on the ground floor of the Stair Building. University of Strathclyde currently holds the trophy.

The Sheriff's Cup, organised by Glasgow Sheriff Court, is an inter-varsity event held between Glasgow and Strathclyde and judged by a Senator of the College of Justice. The moot is held annually and takes place in one of the larger court rooms at Glasgow Sheriff Court. The team of Craig MacLeod and Christopher Rae led Glasgow to victory in 2016, with the moot judged by Lord Matthews.

Notable alumni and staff


Alumni of the School of Law include, the first woman appointed to the Scottish Bench, five current judges of the Court of Session (including the present Lord Justice Clerk, Lord Gill), two Law Lords, six Lord Presidents, twelve Lord Advocates, a Justice of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom and a Lord Chancellor, as well the first First Minister of Scotland, the current First Minister, and a Speaker of the House of Commons of Canada.



Other professions



  1. "Staff of the School of Law". University of Glasgow. Retrieved 23 February 2010.
  2. "About the School of Law". University of Glasgow. Retrieved 23 February 2010.
  3. "Law School contacts". University of Glasgow. Retrieved 4 November 2015.
  4. "Law - Top UK University Subject Tables and Rankings 2019". Retrieved 12 July 2018.
  5. "University league tables 2019". the Guardian. Retrieved 12 July 2018.
  6. "University Guide 2016 - The Times". Retrieved 12 July 2018.
  7. "A brief history of the School of Law". University of Glasgow. Retrieved 23 February 2010.
  8. "James Dalrymple, 1st Viscount Stair". The Stair Society. Retrieved 23 February 2010.
  9. "Chair of Conveyancing". University of Glasgow. Retrieved 23 February 2010.
  10. "Douglas Chair of Civil Law". University of Glasgow. Retrieved 23 February 2010.
  11. "Chair in Jurisprudence". University of Glasgow. Retrieved 23 February 2010.
  12. "Chair in Public Law". University of Glasgow. Retrieved 23 February 2010.
  13. "John Millar Chair of Law". University of Glasgow. Retrieved 23 February 2010.
  14. "Corporate Biography of the Faculty of Law and Financial Studies". Gateway to Archives of Scottish Higher Education. 1 September 2005. Retrieved 27 October 2009.
  15. "University League Table 2020". The Complete University Guide. 1 May 2019.
  16. "University league tables 2020". The Guardian. 7 June 2019.
  17. "The Times and Sunday Times University Good University Guide 2020". Times Newspapers.
  18. "Student Representation".
  19. "Mooting in the School of Law".
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