Scotland

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Religion and Language

The Church of Scotland, a Presbyterian denomination, is the official state church. The Roman Catholic church is second in importance. Other leading denominations are the Episcopal Church in Scotland, Congregationalist, Baptist, Methodist, and Unitarian. Jews are a small minority. English is generally spoken; fewer than 100,000 Scots (mainly inhabitants of the Highlands and island groups) also speak the Scottish form of Gaelic.

Education

Schools in Scotland are administered by the Scottish Education Department and by local education authorities.

Elementary and Secondary Schools

In the mid-1980s some 879,000 pupils were attending publicly maintained schools and about 31,900 were in private schools. The transfer from elementary to secondary schools generally takes place at the age of 12. For a discussion on specialized schools.

Universities and Colleges

Scotland has about 66 institutions providing programs of study beyond the secondary level for those students who do not go on to the universities. These include colleges of agriculture, art, commerce, and science, and in the mid-1980s the total enrollment was more than 81,000. Teacher-training colleges numbered seven, with approximately 3000 students. Of the eight universities in Scotland, the oldest (University of Aberdeen, University of Edinburgh, University of Glasgow, and University of St. Andrews) were founded in the 15th and 16th centuries. Four universities have received their charters since 1960. Total university enrollment was about 43,100 in the early 1980s.

Culture

Clans, the traditional keystone of Scottish society, are no longer powerful. Originally, the clan, a grouping of an entire family with one head, or laird, was also important as a fighting unit. The solidarity associated with clan membership has been expanded into a strong national pride. The Puritan zeal of Scottish Presbyterianism, which is traceable to John Knox, the 16th-century religious reformer and statesman, is also strong. Popular sports of Scottish origin include curling and golf. Bagpipes, usually associated with Scottish music, were probably introduced by the Romans, who acquired them in the Middle East. Scottish music is noted for the wide use of a five-tone, or pentatonic, scale. Folk tunes are not standardized, and a single song may have hundreds of variations in lyrics and music.

Government

Scotland is governed as an integral part of Great Britain. It is represented by 72 members in the House of Commons and by 16 Scottish peers in the House of Lords.

Central Government

Scottish affairs are administered by a British cabinet ministry, headed by the secretary of state for Scotland. The statutory functions of the secretary of state are discharged by five main departments of equal status: the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries for Scotland, the Scottish Development Department, the Scottish Education Department, the Scottish Home and Health Department, and the Industry Department for Scotland. Each is administered by a secretary who is responsible to the secretary of state. The routine administration of the department’s proceeds from Edinburgh, but each department has representatives in London, where they perform liaison and parliamentary duties.

Legislature

Before the union of Scotland and England in 1707, Scotland had developed its own system of law, which continued after the union. The Scottish law system is based on civil law, which is derived from ancient Roman law, whereas the other parts of Great Britain follow the common law, which originated in England with the evolution of case law and precedents. Because of the different systems of law, separate statutes or statutory provisions often are enacted by Parliament for application in Scotland. Any statute must state expressly or imply that it is applicable to Scotland in order to become enforceable.

Judiciary

The Scottish judiciary is organized separately from that of the rest of Great Britain. The two higher courts of Scotland are the High Court of Justiciary (criminal) and the Court of Session (civil). A panel of 21 judges is provided for both courts together. Major criminal trials are held before 1 or 2 judges of the High Court of Justiciary and a 15-member jury; criminal appeals may be heard by a bench of at least 3 judges. The Court of Session is divided into an Outer House, which holds all divorce trials and the more important civil trials, and an Inner House, which functions chiefly as an appellate court in civil cases. Appeals to the British House of Lords may be made from the Court of Session; appellate judgments of the High Court of Justiciary are final. Each of the six sheriff domes, into which Scotland is divided, has a sheriff court for less important civil and criminal cases. Petty cases are tried by police courts and justices of the peace.

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