World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Udal law


Udal law

Udal law is a near-defunct Norse derived legal system, which is found in Shetland and Orkney, Scotland and in Manx law [1] in the Isle of Man. It is closely related to Odelsrett.


  • History 1
  • Description 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4
  • Further reading 5
  • External links 6


Udal law was codified by the kings Magnus I of Norway "the good" and Magnus VI of Norway "lawmender". The Treaty of Perth transferred the Outer Hebrides and Isle of Man to Scots law while Norse law and rule still applied for Shetland and Orkney.

Scottish Courts have intermittently acknowledged the supremacy of Udal law in property cases up to the present day. Major differences from Scots law include shore ownership rights, important for pipelines and cables.

Udal law generally holds sway in Shetland and Orkney, along with Scots law.


The udal tenant holds without charter by uninterrupted possession on payment to the Crown, the kirk, or a grantee from the Crown of a tribute called scat (Danish: skat, now meaning "tax"), or without such payment, the latter right being more strictly the udal right. They were convertible into feus at the option of the udallers until feu was abolished in 2004.[2]

While in the rest of Britain ownership of land extends only to the high water mark, and the Crown is deemed to own what lies below it, in Orkney and Shetland it extends to the lowest Spring ebb.[3]

See also


  1. ^ Collegium Medievale 8.1 (1995, publ. 1996), 5-49
  2. ^  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain
  3. ^ Udal law: [1]

Further reading

  • Drever, W.P. Udal Law in the Orkneys and Zetland

External links

  • Historical look at Udal Law - Retrieved from Internet Archive on 10 February 2006.
  • Udal Law campaign group
  • Article including several case references
  • Article on Udal Law and coastline ownership
  • Scotsman article
  • Article highlighting Udal/Feudal Difference

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.