A striking feature of the history of the Scots burgh in this period, and of bodies within it, was their readiness to resort to legal redress in the Court of Session, Scotland's leading civil court. The law was a regular and often intrusive presence in burgh life, a means by which burghs, guildries and trades incorporations defended their privileges. This article will explore this propensity in relation to what it can tell us both about urban identity and the constitution of urban community in this period, but it will also begin to examine the role which the law may have played in the re-constitution and re-shaping of urban community. In other words, it will consider the law and judgments made in the Court of Session as active forces in a wider process of governance. We know relatively little, in fact, about this dimension of urban governance, but the surviving record is a rich one and demands much more systematic examination.