chapter  8
47 Pages

Other interactions of religion and law

Education and Personal Relationships have been given separate treatment. The many other interactions of law and religion that affect individuals can be dealt with more summarily.

First, a general observation. In previous centuries the Christian faith as understood mainly through Protestantism undergirded Scottish society and was reflected in Scots law. Of course the Church of Scotland was a major force. As we have seen, slowly other denominations and belief systems gained recognition, affecting and changing expectations. Some of that is clear in history. After the Union of the Parliaments in 1707 Westminster became the UK legislature and modified both UK and Scots law but not always recognising the separate Scots tradition. Whether devolution will change that is unclear. The Christian influence in Scots law is now often inarticulate, but nonetheless real. The principles are there, but only those willing so to do acknowledge their source. Indeed, it is important to note that in many of the topics to which I am coming, ‘human rights’ is a retrospective classification. Calling for ‘human rights’ has not always been necessary. The Scots courts were proud that they righted wrongs ubi ius ibi remedium – where there is a right a remedy will be given.1 What is now argued as a human right was often already present in the developing law. Foundations can be well buried.