The Law Society of Scotland has called for a course on law and the legal system to be added to the secondary school curriculum.
The society also called for the creation of a new law qualification when it published its manifesto for this year's Scottish elections last week.
Jamie Millar, president of the Law Society of Scotland, said: "We are told that ignorance of the law is no excuse. However, the complexity and sheer bulk of law immediately puts the citizen at a disadvantage. We need to redress the balance for those who are subject to the law, but not aware of their obligations or their rights."
He added: "We believe this kind of education needs to start at a far earlier age."