Parliament House, Edinburgh
For the building that houses the modern Scottish Parliament, see Scottish Parliament Building. Parliament House in Edinburgh, Scotland, was home to the pre-Union Parliament of Scotland, and now houses the Supreme Courts of Scotland. It is located in the Old Town, just off Edinburgh's High Street, beside St Giles Cathedral.

Parliament Hall
The oldest part of Parliament House is Parliament Hall, which King Charles I had built as a permanent home for the parliament. It was completed in 1639. It has a dramatic hammerbeam roof made of Scandinavian oak, which may have been designed to evoke Parliament Hall at Stirling Castle, a previous home to the Scottish court. The roof of the new Scottish Parliament Building continues this tradition, and is supported by large laminated oak beams. After the Act of Union 1707 the Parliament of Scotland was adjourned, and the building ceased to be used for its original function. The Hall was used for the sitting of courts, but in recent times has been subject to restoration work and now remains open as a meeting place for lawyers.


Even while the old Parliament was still in existence, parts of the buildings were used for legal cases, and afterwards this became the main function of the building. The building is now used to house the Supreme Courts of Scotland and other connected functions. In modern times, the building is chiefly used by the Court of Session, which hears civil cases, whilst most of the work of the High Court of Justiciary, which hears criminal cases, takes place in a dedicated building on the other side of the Royal Mile which formerly housed Edinburgh's Sheriff Court.

The Advocates' Library was founded in 1682, and is currently located in a William Henry Playfair-designed building at the south of the buildings. It remains a heavily-used legal resource. As well as collecting legal works, it was also a deposit library, and in 1925 the non-legal books in their collection were gifted to the new National Library of Scotland, which is located next to the library, on George IV Bridge. Alongside Parliament House is The Signet Library. It is a private library, funded by members of The Society of Writers to Her Majesty's Signet, who are generally practising solicitors. The current building is located on the north side of the buildings. Construction began in 1810 to a design by Robert Reid, and it presents a classical front to Parliament Square. This façade wraps around Parliament House as well, and replaced the existing Scottish baronial façade.

Scots law This article is part of the series: Law of Scotland