|James Scott v. John Bruce-Stewart
||1 Jul 1779
||Positive Prescription, Wadset, Female Succession, Reversion
||This case concerns a property dispute over a number of landholdings throughout Shetland, "within the parishes of Dunrosnes, Burray, Tingwall, Aithsting, Walls, Detline, Northmaven, Yell, Fetkor, Bressa, and Lerwick." The cause dated back to the late 17th century, when Sinclair of Scalloway granted wadsets to Stewart of Bigtown over the lands of "Blosta, Aithsetter, and Flathabister, and certain other lands" as well as "Houland, Reafirth, Sellafirth, Woodwick, and Gravone." The wadset was never redeemed and the lands passed to Clementina Stewart, who conveyed them to her husband, John Bruce of Symbister. Around the same time the two co-heirs of Scalloway, Philadelphia Scott and Katherine Sinclair, conveyed this property to Sinclair's husband, James Scott. Scott, now of Scalloway, then brought a process of reduction and declarator, demanding that Bruce-Stewart cede the wadset-lands, or at least return them after receiving the wadset fee. Bruce-Stewart produced various documents that he argued proved the positive prescription, namely a 1706 disposition of these lands by Stewart of Bigtown in favor of his heir. In July 1776, Lord Kennet assoilzied (absolved) Bruce-Stewart from the reduction, and Scott petitioned the Court for review. Scott argued that the right of reversion was heritable and perpetual, and not subject to the positive prescription. Furthermore, he argued that as a result of various technicalities, the disposition upon which the defender made his claim of the positive prescription was null and void. The Court found in favor of Scott at first, but later overturned their previous interlocutor, determining that Bruce-Stewart had produced sufficient evidence to exclude.