The Stair Society was founded in 1934 to encourage the study and advance the knowledge of the history of Scots Law by the publication of original documents and by the reprinting and editing of works of sufficient rarity or importance.

The Society, a registered charity, has produced over 60 volumes, aiming to publish a volume each year (although this is not guaranteed). Some of these are of antiquarian interest, while others are of wider intellectual and historical significance.

Membership is open to all with an interest in the history of Scots law, in the UK or abroad. Our members include practising lawyers, legal academics, law students, and a wide range of academic and professional institutions, libraries and law firms.

Latest news

Stair Society Postgraduate Bursary, 2017-2018 -
The Stair Society is pleased to offer one or more one-year bursaries of £1,000 to postgraduate students at a UK or Irish university who are preparing a thesis in Scottish legal history. The deadline for applications is 31 March 2017.
New Book: The Art of Law in Shakespeare -
Through an examination of five plays by Shakespeare, Paul Raffield analyses the contiguous development of common law and poetic drama during the first decade of Jacobean rule.

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Annual Lecture 2016

The Stair Society's AGM and Annual Lecture for 2016 took place on Saturday 19 November at in the Mackenzie Building, Old Assembly Close, Edinburgh, by courtesy of the Faculty of Advocates.

The Annual Lecture was delivered by John W. Cairns, Professor of Civil Law in the University of Edinburgh, formerly Professor of Legal History there and the Society’s Chairman of Council from 1999 to 2015. Professor Cairns' title was 'Reforming Legal Education in Edinburgh: Roman Law, 1792-1800'.