Legal Subject: Female Succession

Case Date Legal Subject Abstract
Dame Robina Pollock, Spouse to Sir Hugh Crawford, and Sir Hugh, for his Interest v. Mary Porterfield, Widow of John Lockhart of Lee 10 Mar 1779 Jurisdiction, Female Succession, England In 1708, an Act of Parliament was passed enabling Dorothy Luckyn and James Lockhart to sell some lands the former had inherited. Upon their deaths the money from the sale was held in trust on behalf of their young heir, John Lockhart. Rather than petition the Court of Chancery to remove the tailzie from the trust, Lockhart's trustee, Robina Lockhart, removed the money to Scotland and conveyed it to her pupil upon his coming of age. When John Lockhart died a number of decades later his unentailed estate passed to his wife, Mary. John Lockhart's niece and her husband then brought action against Mary Lockhart and other trust-disponees, claiming the above-mentioned money as heirs of entail. They argued that the money in question still remained entailed under English law. The defenders, on the other hand, argued that the trust-money, having been removed to Scotland and conveyed to Lockhart, was therefore a sum of money belonging to him. Furthermore, they argued that even if there had originally been a case against the trustee's actions, it was no longer viable due to the negative prescription. To support this second argument, the defenders cited the Court's decision on Boyd Porterfield of Porterfield v. Joanna, Margaret, and Lilias Porterfields. The Court of Session determined that the negative prescription had cut out the claim of the substitute heirs, and the House of Lords upheld this decision.
James Scott v. John Bruce-Stewart 1 Jul 1779 Positive Prescription, Wadset, Female Succession, Reversion This case concerns a property dispute over a number of landholdings throughout Shetland, "within the parishes of Dunrosnes, Burray, Tingwall, Aithsting, Walls, Detline, Northmaven, Yell, Fetkor, Bressa, and Lerwick." The cause dated back to the late 17th century, when Sinclair of Scalloway granted wadsets to Stewart of Bigtown over the lands of "Blosta, Aithsetter, and Flathabister, and certain other lands" as well as "Houland, Reafirth, Sellafirth, Woodwick, and Gravone." The wadset was never redeemed and the lands passed to Clementina Stewart, who conveyed them to her husband, John Bruce of Symbister. Around the same time the two co-heirs of Scalloway, Philadelphia Scott and Katherine Sinclair, conveyed this property to Sinclair's husband, James Scott. Scott, now of Scalloway, then brought a process of reduction and declarator, demanding that Bruce-Stewart cede the wadset-lands, or at least return them after receiving the wadset fee. Bruce-Stewart produced various documents that he argued proved the positive prescription, namely a 1706 disposition of these lands by Stewart of Bigtown in favor of his heir. In July 1776, Lord Kennet assoilzied (absolved) Bruce-Stewart from the reduction, and Scott petitioned the Court for review. Scott argued that the right of reversion was heritable and perpetual, and not subject to the positive prescription. Furthermore, he argued that as a result of various technicalities, the disposition upon which the defender made his claim of the positive prescription was null and void. The Court found in favor of Scott at first, but later overturned their previous interlocutor, determining that Bruce-Stewart had produced sufficient evidence to exclude.
Young v. Scotts 3 Jul 1777 Illness, Convalescence, Oath, Female Succession, Flesh Market A month before his death, Jedburgh merchant John Young settled his heritage upon the daughters of his older sister, although his customary heir was Andrew Young, the eldest son of his younger brother. Andrew Young then sold his right to this heritage to his sister, Agnes, who raised an action of reduction of Young's disposition on the head of deathbed, because he had died within sixty days of its execution. The defenders asserted to Lord Covington that Young had recovered his health just before his death, and produced two witnesses who swore that they had encountered Young at the Flesh Market after he had executed the disposition. Covington pronounced that Young had indeed recovered. The pursuers then petitioned the Court to alter this interlocutor. They asserted that numerous countervailing testimonies cast doubt on whether Young had really visited the Flesh Market in the weeks before his death. On July 3rd, 1777, the Court adhered to Lord Covington's interlocutor. The pursuers submitted another petition, emphasizing that the oaths of the two witnesses to Young's alleged convalescence were unreliable: "Robson is in low circumstances, and considerably in debt to the defender in this reduction; and Laidlaw is in a manner subsisted upon charity." Marginalia on the second petition indicates that the Court may indeed have altered their decision on August 6th, however reports of this case mention no such revision.