Legal Subject: Ministers

Case Date Legal Subject Abstract
Mr John Snodgrass, Preacher of the Gospel, George Steel, John Beatson, and Others v. Mr John Logan and Others 16 Jun 1772 Ministers This case concerns the selection of the second minister for the parish at South Leith. In the past, the second minister has been selected by a committee with representatives from the incorporations of different trades and the kirk-session (a group of elders in the local congregation). The defender John Logan and the pursuer John Snodgrass were set up as candidates. The incorporations and the kirk-session disagree about the candidates. Each side also points to errors in the selections and voting process. In an interlocutory ruling, Lord Kennet Ordinary found for Logan. Mr Snodgrass, and the voters on his side, brought a process of reduction and declarator against Mr Logan, and his adherents, before Court. Mr Logan and his party repeated a counter-process of a similar nature.
Brown v. Maxwell 1772 Ministers The pursuer, Richard Brown, was a minister in Lochmaben. He claimed that the magistrates of the burgh harbored ill will towards him and sought to inconvenience or harass him. Among other actions, the magistrates ordered a barn on Brown's property to be destroyed, removed trees from his glebe, and reduced his seating in the kirk (church). The Lord Ordinary found that the destruction of the barn was a legitimate action authorized by the parish of Lochmaben's heritors. Brown sought a review of the Lord Ordinary's interlocutor. He argued that while he had struck an agreement with the defenders to remove the barn, they had agreed to do so at a later date. The defenders sought to avoid liability damages by claiming that they had only followed the heritors' instructions.
George Trail v. Thomas Lyell 1766 Ministers, Witness Petitioner George Trail exhibited a libel charging Thomas Lyell, minister at Lady, with fornication, attempted rape, attempted assassination, and other crimes. Trail, who was both the minister of Dunnet and a heritor in Lady, sought to have Lyell deposed from his ministry. The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland initiated a process regarding the libel, but many witnesses refused to appear on the ground that ecclesiastical courts could not compel their testimony. Trail therefore petitioned the Court of Session for letters of diligence (i.e., warrants) to force the witnesses to testify.
Porteous v. Isat and Others 12 Dec 1781 Defamation, Ministers This was a case about defamation. It stemmed from an ecclesiastical proceeding in which parishioners of Gorbals accused their minister, William Anderson, of adultery. The ecclesiastical case advanced to the General Assembly, where Rev. William Porteous gave a speech defending Anderson and attacking the complainants. A version of the speech was subsequently printed in certain Edinburgh and Glasgow newspapers, with Porteous’s assistance. The complainants published a rebuttal in a Glasgow newspaper, accusing Porteous of calumny and abuse, and threatening to expose his own “curious tete-a-tetes.” Porteous sued the complainants for defamation. However, the complainants argued that they were merely responding to Porteous’s provocation.