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heritable jurisdictions

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In the Scottish legal system before 1747, many of the king's subjects were not under the jurisdiction of royal courts either at local or at central level. Instead, they were answerable to a complex of hereditary or franchise jurisdictions in the hands of the feudal nobility. High treason alone justified royal intervention. Though resented by the crown, the system provided cheap, quick local justice. It was abolished after the 1745 Jacobite rising by the Heritable Jurisdictions (Scotland) Act of 1747.

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