Commissariat Court of Edinburgh

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Commissariat Court of Edinburgh

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At the Reformation of 1560, the system of consistorial courts where the bishops exercised their civil jurisdiction over executry and matrimonial cases, broke down. This led to such confusion that the commissary courts were re-established between 1564 and 1566. The new system of commissary courts lasted until 1823 when all inferior commissary courts were abolished and their business transferred to the sheriff courts. The principal commissary court at Edinburgh had general jurisdiction over the whole of Scotland and local jurisdiction over the Lothians, Peebles and part of Stirlingshire, the two latter areas being later removed. In 1836 the commissary court of Edinburgh was abolished and its powers and jurisdiction were transferred to the sheriff court. The commissary courts were finally abolished completely and their functions taken over by the sheriff courts in 1876. The office of commissary clerk of Edinburgh was retained, however, and the sheriff court of Edinburgh remained the proper forum for the confirmation of testaments of persons dying outside Scotland possessed of moveable estate there. It had exclusive jurisdiction in cases of a strictly consistorial nature, such as marriage, divorce, separation and legitimacy and in the confirmation of testaments of all persons dying outside Scotland, with or without any fixed domicile, who had moveable estate in Scotland. The court had the right of review of inferior commissaries throughout Scotland although appeals were usually made direct to the Court of Session, which also had right of review of the decisions of the principal commissary court. Source:


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