Act for the justiciary in the Highlands

Our sovereign lady, considering how necessary it is for suppressing the robberies and depredation so frequently committed in the Highlands that the commission of justiciary, which has from time to time been granted since 1693, should be renewed with such conditions and provisions as may render the same most effectual, does therefore, with advice and consent of the estates of parliament, enact and declare that her majesty, by virtue of her prerogative royal, may of new grant commissions of justiciary, one or more, to such persons and for such times as her majesty shall think fit for the bounds of the Highlands, that is to say for the shires of Ross, Inverness, Nairn, Elgin, Banff, Aberdeen, Kincardine, Angus, Perth, Stirling, Dunbarton and Argyll, with all the powers necessary and usual in such commissions, by the advice of the lords of her majesty's privy council, consisting always with the laws of the kingdom, the nomination of the persons being left to her majesty; and excepting therefrom the bounds and lands lying and comprehended within the heritable right of justiciary general pertaining to [Archibald Campbell], duke of Argyll within the said bounds, recommending nevertheless to the said duke that when her majesty grants the said commission, one or more, for the said bounds not above-excepted, for the space of three years after the date of this act, he shall grant ample commissions of the like nature for his bounds at the same time during the said space, and to the same persons that shall be named by her majesty, at least to so many of them as are willing to act by virtue of the said commissions, to the effect that all the said commissioners acting of consent within the whole foresaid bounds, the foresaid robberies and depredation may be the more effectually restrained; but reserving power to the duke of Argyll as having right of heritable justiciary general within his bounds to sit with the said commissioners to be nominated, as said is, within the said bounds and to preside amongst them when present; and providing further that the court held within his bounds, when fenced in her majesty's name, shall be also fenced in his name as her majesty's justiciary general in manner foresaid, without prejudice always to the duke of Argyll and of the lords of regality and all others of their respective heritable rights and jurisdictions, and reserving to them their rights of prevention for fifteen days with their rights to all the escheats and other casualties, as appropriate. Likewise her majesty, with advice and consent, statutes and ordains that in case any robberies and depredations shall happen to be committed within the bounds of the said commissions, and the persons, committers or hounders out shall happen to flee after being attacked by citation or arrestment without the bounds of the said commission, the judges within whose bounds any such delinquents, hounders out or abettors live or reside or shall be found shall be obliged to give their concurrence to apprehend the said delinquents, to the effect they may be brought before the said commissioners, who are hereby empowered to judge them though they do not reside within the bounds of their commissions.

  1. NAS. PA2/38, f.59v-60. Back