The College of Justice is a term used to describe the Supreme Courts of Scotland, and its associated bodies.
The constituent bodies of the supreme courts of Scotland are the Court of Session, the High Court of Justiciary, and the Accountant of Court's Office. Its associated bodies are the Faculty of Advocates, the Society of Writers to Her Majesty's Signet and the Society of Solicitors in the Supreme Courts of Scotland.
The College is headed by the Lord President of the Court of Session, who also holds the title of Lord Justice General in relation to the High Court of Justiciary, and judges of the Court of Session and High Court are titled Senators of the College of Justice.
The Parliament of Scotland passed an Act on 17 May 1532 authorising the creation of the college with 14 members, half spiritual, half temporal, plus a president and the Lord Chancellor. The college convened for the first time on 27 May 1532, in the royal presence.
Supplementing the 14 ordinary lords, who were called Senators, were an indefinite number of supernumerary judges called extraordinary lords.
The founding members of the College of Justice were: the Lord Chancellor, Gavin Dunbar, Archbishop of Glasgow; the Lord President,Alexander Myln, Abbot of Cambuskenneth; Richard Bothwell, Rector of Ashkirk; John Dingwell, Provost of Trinity College; Henry White, Rector of Finevin; William Gibson, Dean of Restalrig; Thomas Hay, Dean of Dunbar; Robert Reid, Abbot of Kinloss; George Ker, Provost of Dunglass; Sir William Scott of Balweary; Sir John Campbell of Lundy; Sir James Colville of Easter Wemyss; Sir Adam Otterburn of Auldhame andRedhall, King's Advocate; Nicholas Crawford of Oxengangs; Francis Bothwell of Edinburgh (brother of Richard); James Lawson of Edinburgh; Sir James Foulis of Colinton (He was added at the first meeting of the court when the king added him as a "Lord of the Session".
The College at its foundation dealt with underdeveloped civil and criminal law. There was little legal literature. Acts of the Parliament of Scotland and the books of the Old Law as well asCivil and Canon law texts were about all to which the pursuer and defender could refer. It was only after the establishment of the court that this situation improved, with judges noting their decisions in books of practicks.
The Treaty of Union 1707 with England preserved the Scottish Legal System. Article XIX provided "that the Court of Session or College of Justice do after the Union and notwithstanding thereof remain in all time coming within Scotland, and that the Court of Justiciary do also after the Union ... remain in all time coming."