Dundee Law School

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Coordinates: 56°27′25″N 2°58′41″W / 56.457°N 2.978°W / 56.457; -2.978

Dundee Law School
Dundee University Scrymgeour.jpg
The Scrymgeour Building
TypeLaw school
Established1967 - school of independent university
1954 - faculty of Queen's College, St Andrews
1899 - faculty of University College Dundee[1][2]
Head of DisciplineDr Sarah Hendry[3]
Academic staff
34 (2020)[4]
Students885 (2018/19)[5]
AffiliationsUniversity of Dundee

The Dundee Law School is the law school of the University of Dundee in Scotland. It provides undergraduate and postgraduate teaching in Scots and English law, permitting students to qualify into all three United Kingdom legal jurisdictions. The law school traces its roots to the University of St. Andrews, and has placed in the top 15 law schools in the UK on the University League Tables. The school is based in the Scrymgeour Building—named for Henry Scrymgeour, a 16th-century legal philosopher from Dundee—while the Law Library is based in the libraries building, both on the university's main campus. The Law School is part of the wider School of Social Sciences at Dundee.[6]


The lobby of the Scrymgeour Building

The origins of the Law School begin with the foundation of the University of St Andrews, around 1413. A group of Augustinian clergy, driven from the University of Paris by the Avignon schism and from the universities of Oxford and Cambridge by the Anglo-Scottish Wars, formed a society of higher learning in St Andrews, which offered courses of lectures in subjects including law. Through several centuries the teaching of law was incorporated into St Mary's College at St Andrews. By the late 19th century, St Andrews was contending with geographic isolation and dwindling numbers of students, whilst University College Dundee, founded in 1881, was burgeoning in nearby Dundee.

Law lectures had commenced in Dundee on 18 January 1866 with the first, entitled "Law Studies", given by William Guthrie. Guthrie, at that time an advocate, later became editor of the Journal of Jurisprudence (1867-1874) and of editions of both Erskine and Bell's Principles of the Law of Scotland (1870-1899).[7][8] This series of lectures was sponsored by the Society of Writers in the city and in particular organised by Sir Thomas Thornton, founder of the eponymous law firm.[7]

Following several aborted attempts at various forms of incorporation and association, in 1890 the university college began to establish closer links with St Andrews and it was incorporated into the university in 1897. The campus in Dundee was reconstituted as Queen's College in 1954, with the teaching of law formally transferred to a new Faculty of Law in Dundee. In 1967, the independent University of Dundee was created by Royal Charter, incorporating the former Queen's College, including the now School of Law. St Andrews became, and remains, the only ancient university not to offer the study of law.[2][9]



National rankings
Complete (2023)[10]11
Guardian (2022)[11]4
Times / Sunday Times (2022)[12]9
Global rankings
THE (2022)[13]151-175
QS (2023)[14]201-250
ARWU (2022)[15]151-200

Dundee is one of two law schools in the United Kingdom to offer qualifying Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) degrees in both Scots and English/Northern Irish law—the other being Strathclyde Law School. Both LL.B. degrees can also be taken as "Law with Languages" degrees in French, German or Spanish. Dundee pioneered the "dual qualifying" degree in Scots and English law which has since been rolled out at other Scottish institutions.

Admission is extremely selective; for undergraduate degrees an average of 900 applications are received per year for approximately 125 places. [16][17] Dundee traditionally has a small staff and student body with around a third of the number of students at Glasgow and Edinburgh law schools and half of those at Aberdeen law school.


Facilities for postgraduates are located in the Old Technical Institute

At postgraduate level, the Law School offers a range of Master of Laws (LL.M.) courses and the vocational Diploma in Professional Legal Practice (PgDip). Undergraduate and postgraduate teaching in energy and minerals topics is delivered in conjunction with the University's Centre for Energy, Petroleum and Mineral Law and Policy, and the UNESCO Centre for Water Law, Policy and Science.[18]


In the 2014 Research Assessment Exercise the law school was one of only two in the UK to have 100% of its research rated as being of "international standard". Dundee is the only law school to have achieved that feat in both the 2008 and 2014 Research Assessment Exercises.[19]


The Scrymgeour Building viewed through the trees at College Green

Dundee International Law Society

Dundee International Law Society is a student-led society made up of current and former Dundee University students, faculty members as well as scholars and friends from across the wider legal and academic community. The Society represents one of several linkages between the School of Law and the Centre for Energy, Petroleum and Mineral Law and Policy. Dundee International Law Society organises regular seminars, colloquia, debates, roundtables and presentations on a wide range of international law problems and prospects, and serves as an informal society for analysis of international law questions both great and small. Practitioners, academics and students are invited to attend, to participate and to present papers or lead discussions.

Dundee Student Law Review

The Law School publishes a student law review bi-annually. The review offers the first chance for most students to publish their academic writing.

Law Clinic

The student-run Law Clinic offered free legal advice and help to residents of Dundee, including both the local and student populations, who could not afford a solicitor and do not qualify for legal aid. The Law Clinic became operational on 31 January 2011.

Law Society

The long running student law society organises social- and careers-events for Dundee law students. Several traditional social events take place each year, including a Gaudie Night where first year students are assigned 'parents' from older years, with whom they must survive the night and who will then act as academic and social mentors. The law society also runs an annual pub quiz which is typical attended by teams of academics from within the School, and hosts an annual law ball at different ornate locations around Scotland. The law society further coordinates the School's sports teams which compete in inter-varsity matches against law schools from elsewhere in the United Kingdom, in sports such as football, basketball and hockey.


The Law School has an active mooting society, which organises an internal competition and competes in various Scottish and UK external competitions. The Honorary President of the Mooting Society is Lord Justice Jones. The Mooting Society bases itself at the moot court room located within the School's premises at the Scrymgeour Building. In 2013/14, the Mooting Society entered the Alexander Stone Moot, the Inner Temple Inter-Varsity Moot, the ESU/Essex Court Moot, the NSLS Moot and the OUP/BPP National Moot. Out of these competitions, the Dundee team made it to the semi-final of the Inner Temple Inter-Varsity Moot and the final 16 teams in the ESU/Essex Court Moot. Furthermore, three of the Society's undergraduates represented Scotland in the 37th Edition of the Telders International Law Moot Court Competition held at the Peace Palace in the Hague, Netherlands. The Dundee team participated in the "Roundsian Rescue Dispute" together with another 27 teams from 26 countries across Europe, and were named "Outstanding Team".

Notable alumni[edit]

Frank Doran MP
Kevin Dunion OBE
George Mackenzie.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Records of University College, Dundee". Retrieved 9 August 2017.
  2. ^ a b "Town, Gown and Traditions: The Craxford Family Genealogy Magazine". www.craxford-family.co.uk. Retrieved 29 December 2017.
  3. ^ Dundee, University of. "Sarah Hendry : Law". University of Dundee. Retrieved 24 February 2019.
  4. ^ Dundee, University of. "Staff : Law". University of Dundee. Retrieved 30 August 2020.
  5. ^ "Table 13 - HE student enrolments by HE provider and subject of study 2014/15 to 2018/19 | HESA". www.hesa.ac.uk. Retrieved 30 March 2020.
  6. ^ Dundee, University of. "Schools : Main". University of Dundee. Retrieved 29 December 2017.
  7. ^ a b Dundee, University of. "Dundee Law School Sesqui Centenary : Law : University of Dundee". www.dundee.ac.uk. Retrieved 29 December 2017.
  8. ^ "Sheriff Guthrie". www.glasgowwestaddress.co.uk. Retrieved 29 December 2017.
  9. ^ "Master of the Universe". IncomparaBubble. 2 May 2017. Retrieved 29 December 2017.
  10. ^ "Complete University Guide 2023". The Complete University Guide. 5 July 2022.
  11. ^ "Guardian University Guide 2022". The Guardian. 11 September 2021.
  12. ^ "Good University Guide 2022". The Times. 17 September 2021.
  13. ^ "THE World University Rankings 2022". Times Higher Education. 2 September 2021.
  14. ^ "QS World University Rankings 2023". Quacquarelli Symonds Ltd. 8 June 2021.
  15. ^ "Academic Ranking of World Universities 2022". Shanghai Ranking Consultancy. 15 August 2022.
  16. ^ "UCAS Acceptance Statistics". Retrieved 15 March 2017.
  17. ^ "UCAS Application Statistics". Retrieved 15 March 2017.
  18. ^ "Water-related Centres under the auspices of UNESCO". UNESCO. Retrieved 29 December 2017.
  19. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 22 February 2009. Retrieved 19 December 2014.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

External links[edit]