Comparative cultures of accountability: The Scottish Exchequer and the Audit Chamber of Holland between 1477 and 1515

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    Abstract

    This comparative paper describes the spread of a new culture of probatory accountability in North-Western Europe through the study of the Scottish Exchequer and the Audit Chamber of Holland between 1477 and 1515. It allows to re-evaluate persisting views of an inefficient and archaic Scottish Exchequer, as opposed to the ‘Weberian ideal’ of the Burgundian bureaucracy. Both institutions primarily had a fiscal goal, the auditing of accounts, while archival and judicial tasks supported this process. Through a study of the format of important series of these accounts as well as their marginalia, it has been revealed that by 1515 the daily practices surrounding the auditing process in Scotland and Holland showed important similarities. These cases serve to portray that through the auditors’ work, a new written culture of accountability spread among all governmental officials in either Scotland or Holland.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)158-183
    Number of pages26
    JournalComparative Legal History
    Volume6
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018

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