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At the heart of Scotland’s law

The WS Society is the incorporated body of an exceptional brand of Scottish lawyers known as Writers to the Signet or “WS” with over 500 years of heritage. The Society supports and entertains lawyers and legal business with research, comment, learning, networking and culture. We also provide support services to the charitable sector.

WS today

Today most Writers to the Signet are solicitors in law firms or in-house within the public or private sector. Writers to the Signet take a special oath before an officer of state, the Keeper of the Signet, signifying a personal commitment to the exceptional standards of competence and integrity expected of those associated with the historic seal of Scotland’s kings and queens, known as the Signet. Writers to the Signet belong to Scotland’s College of Justice along with the nation’s senior judges, known as Senators, and its advocates, the equivalent of barristers.

The Society

The Society is a not-for-profit corporation for public benefit under Scottish law, meaning it is a legal person separate from its Writer to the Signet members. The Society provides a range of support services to the legal profession, including research, analysis, writing and learning. It also offers support services to the charitable sector. It owns and operates the Signet Library, a magnificent example of neo-classical architecture from the Enlightenment era.

Signet Library

The WS Society owns and occupies the Signet Library in Parliament Square, adjacent to St Giles’ Cathedral and connected to Parliament Hall where Scotland’s Supreme Courts are situated. The Signet Library is a working centre for legal research and learning but it also a place to meet for business or pleasure. The building is open to the public and the first class café restaurant Colonnades is open during the week and on Sundays.