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Heraldry in Scotland, while broadly similar to that practiced in England and elsewhere in western Europe, has its own distinctive features. Its heraldic executive, vested in the Court of the Lord Lyon, is separate from that of the rest of the United Kingdom.
The principal function of heraldry, whether personal or corporate, is to symbolise the identity of the owner of the armorial bearings. In Scottish heraldry there is no such thing as a "family coat of arms". Junior members of a family are assigned specific and relevant differences to the armorial bearings of an ancestor. In Scotland the use of Arms is protected under law. Displaying Arms improperly is subject to fine, and is aggressively enforced by the Court of the Lord Lyon.