Early Scots law before the 12th century consisted of the different legal traditions of the various cultural groups who inhabited the country at the time, the Gaels in most of the country, with the Britons and Anglo-Saxons in some districts south of the Forth and with the Norse in the islands and north of the River Oykel. The introduction of feudalism from the 12th century and the expansion of the Kingdom of Scotland established the modern roots of Scots law, which was gradually influenced by other, especially Anglo-Norman and continental legal traditions. Although there was some indirect Roman law influence on Scots law, the direct influence of Roman law was slight up until around the 15th century. After this time, Roman law was often adopted in argument in court, in an adapted form, where there was no native Scots rule to settle a dispute; and Roman law was in this way partially received into Scots law.
Examples of differences between the jurisdictions include the age of legal capacity (16 years old in Scotland but 18 years old in England and Wales), and the fact that equity was never a distinct branch of Scots law. Some examples in criminal law include:
The use of 15-member juries for criminal trials in Scotland (compared with 12-member juries in England and Wales) who always decide by simple majority.
The accused in a criminal trial does not have the right to elect between a judge or jury trial.
Judges and juries of criminal trials have the "third verdict" of "not proven" available to them.