Legal Subject: Bill (Financial Instrument)

Case Date Legal Subject Abstract
Aitcheson v. Stalker 1777 Bill (Financial Instrument), Death - Presumption of, Mala Fides In January 1770, Andrew Stalker accepted a bill for £42 sterling payable to his sister-in-law, Rebecca Spreull. Both of them died shortly afterward. Spreull's husband, John of Milton, sued Stalker's nephew, Samuel, for payment of this bill. The Sheriff of Lanark found Samuel Stalker liable, but around that time (March 1771) John Spreull died. The trustees of Spreull's son, who had been abroad, then obtained confirmation and charged Stalker upon the Sheriff's order. The case went dormant for several years, but in January 1777 Lord Kennet found Stalker liable. Stalker then petitioned the Court to alter this interlocutor, claiming several additional grounds of compensation. He also contended that the confirmation of John Aitcheson, the surviving trustee, was inept, for the person in whose name it was given - John Spreull, junior - had perished in a shipwreck shortly before his father's death. Furthermore, Stalker claimed that the original decreet charged on was null and void, for John Spreull, senior, had died shortly beforehand. John Aitcheson countered the suspender's various pleas of compensation, and declared that Stalker's contention regarding the death of Spreull, senior, was clearly false. He also claimed that there was no evidence that Spreull, junior, had been lost at sea, and that he was merely "abroad on business."
Drew v. Calder 1778 Bill (Financial Instrument), Credit Thomas Calder died owing money to his brother-in-law, Charles Drew, and to Drew's brother, Robert. When Charles Drew went bankrupt, Robert Drew pursued John Calder of Davidstoun, brother of the late Thomas Calder, for sums owed. Lord Monboddo, the Lord Ordinary, ruled that John Calder was indeed liable for his brother's share of the debts, but Calder petitioned the Court of Session contesting this decision. He argued that the various bills granted by Thomas Calder to the Drew brothers were not for value received. Rather, he argued that these bills represented lines of credit that were never spent. Robert Drew answered that the bills were clearly given for value received, and that John Calder was merely trying to draw out the litigation process in order to postpone settling his brother's debts.
Houston v. Hunter and Edmund 1782 Bill (Financial Instrument), Witness This case was about liability for a bill, and the manner in which that liability could be proved. For reasons that were disputed, defenders Thomas Hunter and James Edmund became drawers on a bill that was accepted by pursuer John Houston. The bill was then discounted at a bank to raise money for one James Osburn. At the same time, a back-bill from Osburn and his business partner was placed in the hands of Edmund. Houston alleged that he, Hunter, and Edumund had agreed to take on joint liability for the bill he accepted; Hunter and Edmund denied this. Additionally, Hunter and Edmund challenged the propriety of examining Osburn as a witness, on the ground that he was too closely connected with Houston.
Keltie v. Finlay 1776 Bill (Financial Instrument), Mala Fides, Expenses, Fraud, Class In January 1770, John Finlay granted a bill to James Beveridge. Shortly afterward he made a partial payment to Thomas Beveridge, who had possession of the bill. A note of this partial payment was marked on the bill, but five years later David Keltie, the bill's endorsee, sued Finlay for its full amount. By this point the bill had been torn and the receipt of partial payment was disfigured. Finlay thus accused Keltie of bad faith ("pessima fide") and fraud, and petitioned the Court to exempt him from paying any additional part of the bill. After Keltie produced the torn-off section of the bill, Lord Barskimming decreed that Finlay would only have to pay the remaining balance, but that he was responsible for expenses. Finlay petitioned the court to overturn this ruling, arguing that Keltie was responsible for the court fees, having unjustly pressed him for more money than was due. Keltie in turn argued that Finlay's inconsistent testimony was to blame for the unnecessary expenses. He claimed that much of the confusion arose from whether the receipt was denominated in pounds Scots or sterling. Keltie argued that he was right to have insisted in favor of pounds Scots: likening the suspender to "the lower sort of people in this country," he claimed that "people of inferior rank in Scotland, to this day, generally count in Scots, and not in Sterling money."
Mure v. Clark 1782 Bill (Financial Instrument) In this case, the pursuers sought restitution for a bill drawn by Baron Mure and Andrew Stewart, and payable to John Baird. According to the pursuers, Baird had agreed to pay the bill’s value into their account at the Thistle Bank. However, Baird indorsed the bill and passed it on to his firm—Simpson, Baird, and Company—for which he received credit on the firm’s books. In turn, Simpson, Baird, and Company remitted the bill to Bogles and Scott of London. Within the month, John Baird; Simpson, Baird, and Company; and Bogles and Scott had all failed. The drawee of the bill, Sir George Colebrooke and Company, also failed. Mure and Stewart sought restitution from Simpson, Baird, and Company, arguing that they had received no value for the bill. However, John Clerk, trustee for the creditors of Simpson, Baird, and Company, argued that Simpson, Baird, and Company were onerous endorsees, entitled to hold the bill.
Ranking of William Simpson's Creditors 1779 Negotiation, Bill (Financial Instrument), Bigamy, Ranking of Creditors William Simpson, mariner in London, died in 1771 shortly after receiving a legacy of £140 sterling from his mother, Marion Prentice. The money had been held in trust, payable upon the death of Simpson's father, Glasgow merchant Matthew Simpson. Shortly before his death, William Simpson executed a will and testament bequeathing his wife, Margaret, his entire estate. Soon afterward, William MacCormick and Company, Glasgow merchants, raised a process in the Glasgow Commissary Court against James Baird, William Simpson's power of attorney. The Company sought the sum of two bills that Simpson had drawn upon his father, Matthew, payable to the pursuers. Baird brought the cause by suspension to Lord Covington, who called a multiple-poinding. Margaret Simpson then took up the cause, arguing, as had Baird, that the bills in question had not been negotiated. Lord Covington repelled her objection and found MacCormick and Company preferable, after which Margaret Simpson petitioned the Court. She argued that it had not been established that Matthew Simpson had no articles belonging to William Simpson in his possession, and that MacCormick had conveniently waited for the two men in question to die before making diligence upon their bills. The respondents argued that there was no proof that Matthew Simpson had anything belonging to his son. They claimed that the bills had only been drawn upon the father as security because he was a clerk for MacCormick and Company. Furthermore, the respondents raised doubts over whether Margaret Simpson was indeed her late husband's rightful heir; they claimed that William Simpson had another wife, named Jean Park, who lived in Glasgow.
Robertson v. Craig 1777 Bill (Financial Instrument), Trade, Calico This case concerns a dispute over two bills drawn upon Robert Craig by Williams, Tebb, and Williams, in favor of their trustee Alexander Robertson. Both bills were for the value of calico received by Craig, a merchant in Perth, from Williams and Company, merchants in London. Craig claimed to have already paid one bill, and to have returned the calico for which the second bill was charged. Alexander Robertson brought action against Robert Craig in August 1773. Lord Coalston ordered an information, but later retired from the bench. The cause was remitted to Lord Covington, who found the defender liable for the bills and for expences. Craig then petitioned the Court to alter this decision, explaining that "he had the misfortune not to have been regularly bred to the business of a merchant, and did not keep a copy-book of letters." He argued that despite his inexact record-keeping, he had provided enough evidence to support his claim to have already paid one bill, and to have returned the calico charged by the second one. Alexander Robertson answered that the defender had failed to produce any evidence, and that even if what he claimed was true, "as he took it upon himself to return these goods, without orders, he must be considered as running the risk of their being safely delivered to Williams and Company.” According to a handwritten note on Robertson's Answers, the Court adhered.
Sommerville v. Weir 1781 Bill (Financial Instrument), Prescription Charger James Sommerville sued William Weir for payment of a bill accepted by William's late father, George Weir. William challenged the suit based on the sexennial prescription (i.e., the statute of limitations). Sommerville argued that the prescription did not apply because it had been interrupted by partial payments or, alternatively, by the acknowledgements of William's agents.
Watson v. Stewart 1780 Bill (Financial Instrument), Onerous Indorsation, Arrestment This case, which stretched from November 1776 to February 1780, concerned a bill for £14 sterling drawn by William Stevenson and accepted by James Stewart. Both parties went to elaborate lengths to disappoint the other in their attempts to recover and argue for compensation of this bill. After Stevenson endorsed the bill to James Watson, the latter allegedly secured an arrestment (detention) of Stewart's horses and chaise at the Golf House in Leith. The Court ultimately ruled in favor of Stewart, the suspender, declaring Watson, the charger, liable for expenses.