Legal Subject: Locus Poenitentiae

Case Date Legal Subject Abstract
Gibb v. Speirs 1779 Locus Poenitentiae, Sale, Bargain Robert Gibb had given heritable securities of his land to certain merchants in Paisley. In order to retrieve these securities, Gibb ventured to sell part of his land, Laigh-lyon-crosses (Lower Lyoncross) to Alexander Speirs. He sent Speirs a valuation, and after not receiving a reply, visited him the evening before his own lands were to be auctioned. The two verbally agreed that Gibb would sell his lands to Speirs and then hold a twelve-year lease on the lands; Speirs wrote a letter to Hugh Snodgrass, his agent in Paisley, saying as much. When Speirs later refused to carry out this agreement, Gibb presented a petition to the Sheriff of Renfrewshire, requesting that the defenders be compelled to produce the letter and the initial valuation. When the Sheriff's summons went ignored, the case came before the Court. Speirs argued that his agreement with the Gibb was merely verbal, and he was therefore in locus poenitentae (not yet legally obliged to stand by the agreement). He further argued that Gibb's lands had in fact been conveyed to his creditors, and they were no longer his to sell. Gibb disputed both of these claims.
Mitchell v. Kerr and Shearer 1779 Locus Poenitentiae, Tack In 1772, David Kerr and John Shearer took out a 17-year sub-tack of Long-bank Park from Robert Mitchell. They had an assignation written up, which was signed by the land's superior but not by Mitchell. In December of 1776 they renounced their tack, and a year later Mitchell brought action against Kerr and Shearer, asking that they be compelled to resume possession. The defenders argued before Lord Alva that the tack had merely been verbal, and was therefore binding for only a year. Robert Mitchell, the pursuer, argued in turn that the tack was not verbal, having been formalized in an assignation signed by the farm's superior. Furthermore, Mitchell argued that the defenders had taken scourging crops on the land, and "therefore res non erat integra" -- in other words, their intent to withdraw from the contract had been cut off by this impoverishment of the land. Lord Alva found the letters orderly proceeded, but the Court suspended the letters without qualification, and Mitchell then petitioned for review. He asked whether it was appropriate that the defenders "after having thus exhausted and deteriorated the land, can now desert the possession, after having put in their pockets the large profits they reaped, by taking these scourging crops off the best part of the ground?” The defenders, on the other hand, argued that contrary to Mitchell's claims, they had undergone great trouble and expense in clearing the land, which had been overrun with "broom, whins, thorns, briers, and sog." They asserted that the land was in better condition upon their renunciation of it than it had been when they first took possession.