Writers To The Signet
WRITERS TO THE SIGNET, in Scotland, a society of law agents corresponding to solicitors in England. They were originally clerks in the secretary of state's office and prepared the different writings passing the signet; every summons is still signed on its last page by a writer to the signet. By the Titles to Land Consolidation (Scotland) Act 1868, they have the exclusive privilege of preparing all crown writs, charters, precepts, etc. , from the sovereign or the prince of Scotland. They have no charter but are usually considered a corporation by long custom; they have office-bearers and are members of the College of Justice. On the Act of Union there was much debate as to whether writers to the signet should be eligible to the Scottish bench. It was finally decided that they should be eligible aften ten years' practice. But, with the exception of Hamilton of Pencaitland in 1712, no writer to the signet has ever had a seat on the bench.
* A reference to Du Cange will show the great variety of the non-legal uses of brevis or breve. It may mean, inter alia, an annual rent, an amulet, a notice of the death of a monk. Brevetum signified what are now known as ship's papers.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)