An enduring feature of Scotland’s identity is a legal system which differs in many important respects from that of England. It has long been suggested that the maintenance of law and order, and the level of violence in society marked Scotland as essentially different from England. Yet there is a conflict between this image and the equally prevalent one of a Calvinist, God-fearing country within which the strong grip of the reformed kirk had produced a closely controlled and biddable society. It is impossible to understand Scottish society without appreciating the framework of law and order within which it operated and patterns of crime and violence.