Legal Subject: Jurisdiction

Case Date Legal Subject Abstract
Aitken and Others v. Wilson and Bannatyne 1780 Birly court, Jurisdiction, Riot This case was about a “birly court”: a voluntary association of small proprietors and tenants that regulated property lines and common pasturages in their neighborhood. The birly court in Elsrighill (Elsrickle) levied a fine on one of its members, John Wilson. When Wilson refused to pay, the court’s elected officers seized two of his pewter plates. Wilson complained to the sheriff of Lanarkshire, alleging that the birly court lacked authority to take such an action. The sheriff-substitute, John Bannatyne, found that the officers were guilty of a riot and had them detained. In response, the officers sued both Wilson and Bannatyne for wrongful imprisonment.
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.
Hugh Baillie and Archibald M'Harg v. John Bland 1773 Suspension, Jurisdiction Actor George Anne Bellamy granted four promissory notes to pursuer Hugh Baillie but failed to make timely payments. Subsequently, Bellamy and actor West Digges granted Baillie a bond of corroboration, promising to pay the accumulated debt. Bellamy and Digges again failed to make all necessary payments, and Digges was charged with horning. Digges obtained a suspension of the charge, but while the suit was pending, Digges went to England, where Baillie had him arrested. Digges, Baillie, and defender John Bland then entered into an agreement in which Digges and Bland agreed to pay the remaining debt. Bland granted Baillie two notes for 50 l. each, but payment was refused on one of them. Baillie protested the note, and Bland brought a bill of suspension. Bland argued that Baillie’s decision to effect Digges’s imprisonment constituted contempt of the Scottish Court. He also argued that the agreement among Digges, Bland, and Baillie was obtained metu carceris—that is, in fear of prison—and therefore was not actionable at law.
M'Crackan v. Pulline 1775 Jurisdiction James M'Cracken, suspender, agreed to pay Richard Pulline, charger, for allowing twenty-five cattle to graze on Pulline's land. M'Cracken subsequently refused to pay on the ground that the cattle were inadequately fed. Pulline brought an action for payment before the justices of the peace, who found in his favor. M'Cracken then obtained a suspension, arguing that the justices lacked jurisdiction and that his contract with Pulline was explicitly conditioned on the cattle being given sufficient fodder.
Macindoe v. Cowley, Wallace, Crawford, and French 1780 Military, Optima Fide, Jurisdiction, Mala Fides, Damages, Wrongful imprisonment, Freemasonry This case concerns the forced enlistment and imprisonment for desertion of John Macindoe, Glasgow hair-dresser. In February of 1777, while in a drunken state, John Macindoe pledged himself to the army in exchange for a shilling from Ensign Hugh Wallace. A few weeks later, upon the order of Captain William Cowley, Macindoe was seized by a group of soldiers and imprisoned for refusing to enlist. Macindoe applied to the Court by a bill of suspension and liberation, and Lords Covington and Kennet ordered Macindoe set at liberty. Macindoe then brought action for damages and expenses against Wallace and Cowley, and against the bailies who had ordered his imprisonment. He claimed that his false imprisonment had led to the ruin of his business, and that he had been forced to enlist in another regiment out of necessity. Bailies French and Crawfurd, on the other hand, argued that because Macindoe was presently a soldier, therefore "the only consequence of his not being found a soldier in one regiment, was, that he would soon be a soldier in another.” They also argued that as bailies they had merely judged erroneously, and not acted out of malice. The Court assoilzied Crawfurd and French, as well as Cowley. Ensign Wallace then petitioned the Court for assoilment as well, stating that he had "innocently and bona fide" believed that Macindoe's enlistment was legitimate.
Margaret Scruton v. John Gray 1 Dec 1772 Marriage, Jurisdiction, Alimony Gray, defender, was a native of Cork, Ireland who attended university in Scotland. Scruton, pursuer, claimed that she and Gray married in Glasgow while he was attending college there. Scruton sought a "decree of declarator" from the Commissary Court of Edinburgh to find them to be husband and wife. (Commissary Courts were established in Scotland in the 1560s and had exclusive jurisdiction in marriage and divorce cases.) Scruton also sought alimony from Gray. Gray denied that any marriage took place. There was no public solemnization of the marriage, nor any cohabitation as husband and wife. According to Gray, there was only a "private interview" between the two. Gray also denied that the Commissary Court of Edinburgh has jurisdiction over him since he was a foreigner.