Scots law sources continuing to increase on BAILLI

SLLG member, Anthony, informs us of the progress being made with the continuing BAILLI/SCLR project to increase access to much of the historic Scottish law reports.

SLLG members will be interested to learn that BAILII have been making good progress in loading the data supplied by the Scottish Council of Law Reporting. They have been working hard to expand on it and to increase its utility.

Thus Scottish Appeal Cases and the Jury Court Cases have been added in the past few weeks. There are three volumes of Scottish appeal Cases still to be added.

Details may be found at

BAILII’s database of historic Scottish Law Reports as of now is chiefly made up of:

  • Morison’s Dictionary of Decisions (Court of Session) 1540-1808

In addition to these reports the database also includes:

  • Decisions of the Court of Session:
      • Brown’s Supplement (A Supplement to the Dictionary of Decisions of the Court of Session)1622 to 1780
      • Elchies’ Decisions and notes 1733-54 (which augments and sometimes duplicates) Morison’s Dictionary
      • Hailes’ Decisions of the Lords of Council and Session 1766 to 1791

    Decisions of the House of Lords (Scotland):

      • Robertson’s Reports (Robertson) 1709 – 1727
      • Paton’s Scotch Appeals, House of Lords (Paton) Vols 1 – 6 : 1726 – 1821#
      • Dow’s House of Lords Cases (Dow) Vols 1 – 6 : 1812 – 1818
      • Bligh’s House of Lords Reports (Bligh) Vols 1 – 4 : 1819 – 1821
      • Shaw’s Scotch Appeal Cases (Shaw) Vols 1-2 : 1821 – 1824
      • Wilson & Shaw’s Appeal Cases, House of Lords (WS) Vols 1 – 7 : 1825 – 1835
      • Shaw & Maclean’s Scotch Appeal Cases (SM )Vols 1 -3 : 1835 – 1838
      • Maclean & Robinson’s Appeal Cases (MacRob) Vol 1 : 1839
      • Robinson’s Scotch Appeal Cases (Rob) Vols 1-2 : 1840 – 1841
      • Bell’s House of Lords Appeal Cases (Bell) Vols 1 – 7 : 1842 – 1850
      • Macqueen’s Scotch Appeal Cases (Macqueen) Vols 1 – 3 : 1851 – 1861

    Jury Court Cases:

      • Murray’s Jury Court Cases (Murray) Vols 1 – 5 : 1815 – 1830

Morison collected most of the Scottish Court of Session law reports from 1540-1808 and organised them by subject matter. The Notes section from Tait’s Index to Morison’s Dictionary informs us that these reports were gathered from all sorts of early sources. These Notes also provide further information about Morison’s Dictionary, Brown’s Supplement and the Elchies and Hailes collections of reports. BAILII is slowly incorporating the corrections to Morison’s Dictionary found in Tait’s Index into this database (most of these corrections deal with report dates). Although Morison assigned two levels of subjects to each report, there was never a compiled subject index to the whole work.

BAILII is proud of being able to generate a Subject Index to the Decisions of the Court of Session 1540 – 1808 which is currently a work in progress.

We really appreciate the updates Anthony gives the SLLG on the valuable ongoing work to make these often difficult to locate materials accessible. 

Morison’s Dictionary and other historic Scottish case reports now widely available

The Secretary of the Scottish Council of Law Reporting (SCLR) contacted the SLLG Blog with the following:
Readers of the SLLG blog may be interested to learn of the continuing work by the Scottish Council of Law Reporting to make important historic (but cited) Scottish law reports available as widely as possible.

As a result, BAILII has now loaded the reports gathered in Morison’s Dictionary (together with Brown’s Supplement) plus Hailes and Elchies law reports. These are accessible on open access through their site.

The Council has also completed the data capture (both in PDF and xml) of the Scottish Appeal Cases (mostly civil appeals to the House of Lords from 1707 to 1873) and Jury Court Reports (1815-1830). BAILII are planning to load this material over the next few months. Some of these reports are extremely rare in hard copy.

In pursuit of its objective of improving access to these materials, the SCLR has also offered the data, free of charge, to the commercial legal information vendors. Westlaw are the first to have uploaded the Morison etc. cases in their entirety and these reports are now available to Westlaw subscribers. William S Hein have also included some additional Morison material and it is hoped that Justis will include these reports in their service soon.

The SCLR is open to further suggestions from SLLG members as to historic Scottish case law that might be captured usefully. Please contact Anthony Kinahan as secretary(at)sclr(dot)scot or via the contact form on the SCLR website.