{ subscribe_url: '/share/sites/library-of-congress-blogs/law.php' }

Advocate’s Close, Edinburgh – Pic of the Week

Advocate's CloseDuring a recent vacation in Scotland I took several treks along the Royal Mile in Edinburgh’s Old Town. On one such walk, in the darkness of the late afternoon, I snapped a picture of Advocate’s Close and the plaque that provides brief information about it. All along the Royal Mile there are narrow alleyways called “closes,” often named for a former notable occupant of one of the private residences on the close, or for the type of trade that took place in that close.

Advocate’s Close, according to the plaque, is so-named because it was the former residence of Sir James Stewart of Goodtrees (1635-1713), who was Lord Advocate of Scotland from 1692 to 1709 (although it appears he resided at the close until his death). I found detailed information about this particular James Stewart — his father and son (a lawyer and member of the Scottish parliament) were also called Sir James Stewart (or Steuart) — in an 1883 book about Scotland’s Lord Advocates that is available both in our collection and online courtesy of the Internet Archive. This book provides interesting historical information about the role and those who held it over several centuries, as well as some of the key legislation and cases with which they were involved.

Sir James was called to the bar in 1661 and had a practice in Edinburgh. It seems that, in the years prior to becoming Lord Advocate, he had some run-ins with the ruling authorities and consequently spent time in France and London under false identities. His troubles initially related to the defense of his father, who was Lord Provost of Edinburgh during the Restoration period, which saw the monarchy being restored in Scotland. The elder Sir James was arrested on various charges, including treason. The younger Sir James was also said to have been involved in writings and activities against the government, resulting in warrants being issued for his arrest, a trial and conviction in absentia, and a sentence of death. He was later pardoned and became a key adviser to the Whig party in Scotland. Following the “Glorious Revolution” (1688-89), which saw the overthrow of King James II of England (James VII of Scotland) and the establishment of the supremacy of parliament over the monarchy, he was appointed Lord Advocate, an office that he held until his resignation in 1709.

The book on Lord Advocates notes that, during his lifetime, Lord Advocate Stewart had witnessed three important events: the Restoration, the Revolution, and the Union (i.e., of Scotland and England in 1707). The book also mentions that “[i]n person, Stewart is said to have been a big handsome man. His massive figure and dark face are to be seen in a portrait which hangs in Signet Library at Edinburgh.” I wonder if it is still there. Maybe I should have popped into the library for afternoon tea!

Other items in the Law Library’s collections with information on Sir James Stewart, Lord Advocate of Scotland, include:

Scotland continues to have the position of Lord Advocate, who is Scotland’s most senior law officer and the government’s principal legal adviser. The Lord Advocate heads Scotland’s prosecution service, the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service. He or she is nominated by the First Minister before being formally approved by the Scottish Parliament and then by the Queen.

Advocate's Close - Plaque

Presidential Inaugurations Outside of Washington, D.C. – Law and Tradition

The following is a guest post by Janice Hyde, assistant law librarian for the Law Library’s Global Legal Collections Directorate.  Janice has previously contributed to this blog with posts such as: Crossing State Lines to Settle Squabbles – Pic of the Week, Archived Legal Materials from Official Gazettes Now Available Through Law.gov and A View […]

A Congress.gov Interview with Fred Simonton, Information Technology Specialist

This week’s interview is with Fred Simonton, an information technology specialist in the Office of the Chief Information Officer. Describe your background. Born in Vermont, I grew up in Hawaii, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and New York, surrounded by and participating in the arts with a decided preference for music and drawing. In my college years […]

Locating a State Constitution: A Beginner’s Guide

This post is coauthored by Barbara Bavis, instructional librarian, and Robert Brammer, senior legal information specialist One of our most frequent requests from patrons is for assistance with their constitutional research, particularly with regard to state constitutions.  While the best resource for information is likely the state library and/or state archives of the state that created the constitution […]

Düsseldorf, Germany Courthouse— Pic of the Week

On my recent visit to Düsseldorf, Germany, I could not stop my nerdy lawyer self from visiting the Administrative Court of Düsseldorf (Verwaltungsgericht Düsseldorf). The Administrative Court in Düsseldorf is the court of first instance in administrative matters and handles all kinds of non-constitutional public law matters. Examples include disputes over building permits, access to public institutions and […]

Most Viewed In Custodia Legis Blog Posts of 2016

Last week we highlighted the reports on our website that received the most views in 2016. This week,  we wrote about the most viewed bills on Congress.gov for the year and the most read Global Legal Monitor articles. Today, I take a look at the In Custodia Legis blog posts that proved particularly popular in 2016. We […]

Human Rights and the Miranda Warning in Eastern Europe

On Friday, December 9, 2016, the Law Library of Congress celebrated Human Rights Day and marked International Anti-Corruption Day with a panel discussion on human rights in Eastern Europe. The event featured a distinguished panel of American and European politicians, scholars, and practitioners. Panelists discussed how the U.S. Congress helped to develop human rights in […]

The Congress.gov Top 16 in 2016

This has been an exciting year working on Congress.gov.  In April we announced that THOMAS would be retired on July 5, which is when we officially pulled the plug.  Congress.gov matured over the year with new advanced ways to search the system and a variety of email alerts for tracking what is happening in Congress. We […]