Papers of Professor Sir D. Neil MacCormick (b. 1941)

Scope and Content

The papers relating to MacCormick's career as an MEP include: legislative and legislative-consultative material, including work on various Directives; material on policy-shaping, in the form of reports committees etc; material relating to scrutinising implementation, including work on whisky, and ferries; implementation of rights, including specific instances of taking up isues with governments on behalf of individuals, but also constituency issues; constitutive work including SNP policy formulation, UK policy formulation, and European Parliament policy formulation; communications, in the form of newsletters, press releases, letters to editors, lectures, seminars and publications, conferences, and MEP correspondence with universities; material relating to the European Free Alliance Group; material from Brussels; and, material on the Convention of the Future of Europe.

There are also background papers - mostly 2002 - relating to Parliamentary Immunity and requests to the Committee on legal Affairs and the Single Market for waivers of that immunity. And, material on the European Parliament's temporary committee on the Echelon System, 1999-2001.

Administrative / Biographical History

(Donald) Neil MacCormick was born on 27 May 1941. He was educated at Glasgow's High School, and he studied at Glasgow University, then Balliol College, Oxford. He was awarded an Edinburgh University LLD in 1982. Between 1965 and 1967 he was a Lecturer at St. Andrews University (at Queen's College, Dundee, now Dundee University). From 1967 until 1972 he was a Fellow and Tutor in Jurisprudence at Balliol College, and from 1968 until 1972 was also a Lecturer in Law at Oxford University. MacCormick came to Edinburgh University in 1972. He was Dean of the Faculty of Law, 1973-1976. He is currently Regius Professor of Public Law. He has been a visiting professor at universities in Australia, the USA, and Sweden. MacCormick has fought to enter Parliament on several occasions, for the Scottish National Party (SNP), contesting Edinburgh North (1979) and Edinburgh Pentlands (1983 and 1987), and Argyll and Bute (1992 and 1997). In 1999 he became a Member of the European Parliament representing the SNP. His publications include, as editor, The Scottish debate: Essays on Scottish nationalism (1970), and Lawyers in their social setting (1976), and also Legal reasoning and legal theory (1978), H. L. A. Hart (1981), Legal right and social democracy: Essays in legal and political philosophy (1982), and with O. Weinberger Grundlagen des Intstitutionalistischen Rechtspositivismus (1985). More recently his work includes Interpreting precedents (1997), and Questioning sovereignty (1999). MacCormick was knighted in 2001.

Access Information

Generally open for consultation to bona fide researchers, but please contact repository for details in advance

Acquisition Information

The material was deposited by Professor Sir D. Neil MacCormick MEP, 5 October 2004, Accession no. E2004.27, and June 2006, Accession no. E2006.15.


The biographical/administrative history was compiled using the following material: (1) Who's who 2004. London: A. and C. Black, 2004.

Other Finding Aids

Important finding aids generally are: the alphabetical Index to Manuscripts held at Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections and Archives, consisting of typed slips in sheaf binders and to which additions were made until 1987; and the Index to Accessions Since 1987.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

Access to records in a fragile condition may be restricted

Archivist's Note

Compiled by Graeme D. Eddie, Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections Division.


Check the local Indexes for details of any additions.