The Nobile Officium: The Extraordinary Equitable Jurisdiction of the Supreme Courts of Scotland
An ambitious new text has just been published on the nobile officium – the extraordinary equitable jurisdiction of the Supreme Courts of Scotland. The author, Stephen Thomson, spoke about this unusual jurisdiction at the conference “Filling the Gaps: The Study of Judicial Creativity and Equity in Mixed Jurisdictions and Beyond” at the University of Catania in May 2013, co-organised by the World Society of Mixed Jurisdiction Jurists.
The nobile officium enables the Supreme Courts of Scotland to (i) supply a legal norm where an existing norm is deficient, unavailable or absent, or (ii) provide alleviation where the application of an existing norm would be unduly excessive, oppressive or burdensome. The jurisdiction has found application across broad areas of civil and criminal jurisdiction, and continues to form an important aspect of procedural law.
Dr. Thomson has brought his research forward to the point of publication and produced the first ever text to systematically examine the nobile officium. Of potential interest to Juris Diversitas readers, this text provides a unique national case study in equitable jurisdiction (and moreover in a mixed jurisdiction). Dr. Thomson launched the book with a lecture to distinguished practitioners, scholars and invited guests at the Faculty of Advocates and Supreme Courts of Scotland, Parliament House, Edinburgh. The text has been well received, carrying a foreword by Lord Hope of Craighead KT, former Deputy President of the UK Supreme Court.
The nobile officium of the Court of Session and the High Court of Justiciary is a long-established but elusive power. The extraordinary equitable jurisdiction of the Supreme Courts of Scotland continues to be relevant and useful today but its scope and limitations are poorly understood. This is the first book to systematically examine the nobile officium. Placing it in its historical and conceptual context, the book explores the development and application of the nobile officium in such diverse areas as:
ñ Judicial factors, curators, tutors and guardians
ñ Bankruptcy, insolvency and sequestration
ñ Custody of children
ñ Public officers
ñ Statutory omissions
ñ Civil procedure
ñ Criminal law and procedure
This ambitious text provides original and informative commentary and analysis for practitioners, teachers and students of Scots law.
“A work of real scholarship which makes a significant contribution to the literature on Scots law.” Lord Hope of Craighead
Stephen Thomson is an Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Law, The Chinese University of Hong Kong. He holds a Ph.D. in constitutional and administrative law from the University of Edinburgh.
The book is available for purchase here and at a number of other outlets.