Pursuers Mansfield, Hunter, Cochran, Murdoch, and Rigg, were creditors of the late John Nisbet of Northfield. Defender, Thomas Cairns, became a preferred creditor of Nisbet through a loan to Nisbet in November 1769. (A preferred creditor had priority to the repayment of a debt over other creditors.) The money was put into Nisbet's hands through Cairns's trustee, William Kerr, who also entrusted William Hart. Nisbet granted Cairns a heritable bond. Nisbet later went bankrupt. The Pursuers challenged Cairns' status as a preferred creditor. They maintained that they were creditors of the debtor Nisbet before his arrangement with Cairns, and that they had claims at least on par with Cairns.
William Morison, The Decisions of the Court of Session (1811), pg. Bankrupt App. Pt 1. P. 13
Sir David Dalyrymple of Hailes, Decisions of the Lords of Council and Session, from 1766 to 1791 (1826), pg. 403