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Court of Exchequer (Scotland)

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The Court of Exchequer was formerly a distinct part of the court system in Scotland, with responsibility for administration of government revenue and judicial matters relating to customs and excise, revenue, stamp duty and probate. Its judicial functions are now carried out by the Court of Session.



The date of establishment of the Court of Exchequer is unknown because of the loss of ancient records. Originally, Crown revenues were managed by overseers who came to be known as the Lords Auditors of the Checker, later King's Compositors, then Lords of Exchequer.

Article 16 of the Act of Union 1707 provided:

"And that there be a Court of Exchequer in Scotland after the Union, for deciding Questions concerning the Revenues of Customs and Excises there, having the same power and authority in such cases, as the Court of Exchequer has in England And that the said Court of Exchequer in Scotland have power of passing Signatures, Gifts Tutories, and in other things as the Court of Exchequer in Scotland hath; And that the Court of Exchequer that now is in Scotland do remain, until a New Court of Exchequer be settled by the Parliament of Great Britain in Scotland after the Union;"

The new Court of Exchequer was established by the Exchequer Court (Scotland) Act 1707. It provided that the judges of the Court were to be the Lord High Treasurer of Great Britain and such other persons who might be appointed by royal commission, and who were known as the Chief Baron of Exchequer and Barons of Exchequer. The number of Barons of Exchequer was limited to five. The Court's jurisdiction related to customs and excise and matters of revenue, stamp duty and probate.

In 1856 the jurisdiction of the Exchequer Court was transferred to the Court of Session, which became the Court of Exchequer in Scotland. One of the Lords Ordinary in the Outer House of the Court of Session was to be Lord Ordinary in Exchequer Causes, this was restated by the Court of Session Act 1988. In modern times the business of the court consists in the main of appeals on law from the determination of the Special Commissioners of Income Tax on issues of liability to tax.

Chief Baron of the Court of Exchequer

  • James Ogilvy, 4th Earl of Findlater (1707–1708)
  • John Smith (1709–1726)
  • Matthew Lunt (1726–1741)
  • John Idle (1741–1755)
  • Robert Ord (1755–1775)
  • Sir James Montgomery of Stanhope (1775–1801)
  • Robert Dundas of Arniston (1801–1819)
  • Sir Samuel Shepherd (1819–1830)
  • James Abercromby (1830–1832)
  • References

    Court of Exchequer (Scotland) Wikipedia

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