Texas A&M Global ​Programs 2018 ​Scotland Field Study Student Blog

Scotland Aberdeen LawThe Texas A&M University School of Law Global Programs May 2018 Field Study course "Scotland: Natural Resource Management and Dispute Resolution" explored European Union and international law as they apply to energy, environmental, and climate change policy issues. The​ students were able to experience dispute resolution and commercial arbitration in Scotland, the UK, and the EU. ​

The​ course offered a first-hand deep dive into the regulatory, political, and environmental issues at play in the region. Taking advantage of the Scottish location, students learned about the history and evolution of Scots Law and the present mix of legal institutions, as well as the ​legal issues and business of managing the North Sea oil and gas fields -- unique experiences ​which ​could not be replicated in the classroom.

► Learn more about the Scotland field study.

Check out the student blog posts about their experiences in Scotland:

International Comparative Law

Posted by John Thomas, J.D. '​2​0

Scotland classroomDr. Andrew Simpson, Senior Lecturer at the University of Aberdeen School of Law, presents an introduction to Scottish law, discussing Scottish legislation and legal institutions.

When I was in seminary I had a professor who encouraged us to read scripture through a lens other than our own. He would always encourage us to take a historical perspective and to see things outside of our own lens.

In many ways this is the same approach to a global studies class. While we are comparing the law in a foreign country to our own legal system, we would be doing the Scottish ​legal system a disservice to merely compare and contrast it to ours.

The legal system in Scotland evolved organically over centuries of history, change, and a process of refinement. This history existed and occurred completely separate from our own, and yet our own legal system serves as a foundation of which we may be able to better understand a system that is unlike ours.

In order to be able to successfully compare legal systems, one must have a foundation rooted in their own legal heritage. This allows a person to then compare and contrast the system to another, finding the idiosyncrasies and quirks of the other system as well as their own. When doing comparative legal studies, it is imperative to keep this delicate dialectic in tension in order to preserve the cultural and legal heritage of the other system, but also remain rooted in their own system to dissect the two systems appropriately.

I was floored during the first two days of our class sessions as we studied Scottish legal history and the ways in which it came to be formed. To see a system that developed over at least a thousand years that, in many ways, differs from the American legal system demonstrates how context plays a pivotal role in the law. In essence, the law is shaped over time through context and legal issues that arise. This gives us insight into why the law is the way that it is today.

scotland-au-library-simpson-wThe Aggie Law students attend a lecture by Dr. Simpson on the history of Scotland at the University of Aberdeen central library in Old Aberdeen.
scotland-aberdeen-univ-lib-ext-w scotland-aberdeen-univ-library-int-w
The modern Sir Duncan Rice Library (exterior on left, center; interior on right), the University of Aberdeen central library, was added to the campus (founded in 1495), in 2012.