Robert Syme, defender, had in his possession a number of papers belonging to John Finlay, pursuer. Finlay sued his own father, Robert Finlay, and asked Syme for the papers as evidence in the suit against his father. Syme sought to retain Finlay's papers because Finlay was indebted to him. The court twice ordered Syme, by interlocutor, to return the papers to Finlay's custody. Syme refused, claiming that he had a hypothec (security) on the writings in his custody. Syme argued that he was not required to return the papers until Finlay satisfied his debt to Syme. Syme cited authorities for the proposition that agents have a right of hypothec or retention in their client's writings for claims of payment.

Published Reports

William Morison, The Decisions of the Court of Session (1811), pg. 6250
Sir David Dalyrymple of Hailes, Decisions of the Lords of Council and Session, from 1766 to 1791 (1826), pg. 516


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