|James Sellars v. Ninian Anderson
||22 Jul 1778
||Emotion, Oath, Injury, Security (Physical and Mental)
||At the beginning of 1777 James Sellars, Robert Sellars, and Marion Sellars brought action against Ninian Anderson for having brought a "causeless" action of lawburrows (a warrant for extracting legal security to keep the peace) against them. They charged Anderson with malicious and vexatious intent in bringing this action, while the defender replied that he could prove the grounds upon which he had brought it, although he was not required by law to do so. The case came before Lord Covington, who ruled that because the defender had originally offered proof, he was required to provide it. Anderson petitioned the Court to alter Covington's interlocutor, arguing that Scots law was clear that a person taking out lawburrows was only required to swear that he dreaded harm from the recipients of the action. He further argued that the pursuers could not make a claim to damages, as repercussions would only follow if they were to commit unlawful harm. The pursuers answered that the lawburrows against them had indeed caused harm, for their forced march from Meikle Govan to the Glasgow town-house to provide caution had led to public humiliation. The Court altered Covington's interlocutor, finding that the defender was not required to justify the grounds of his application for lawburrows. Upon receiving a reclaiming petition from the pursuers, the Court adhered. Lord Barskimming remarked, "We will not cut a man out of his just right because he hastily offered to prove before an Ordinary what he was not obliged to prove."
|Penrose-Cumming v. Lawson
||Freeholder, Perjury, Oath, Libel
||This case was about the enforcement of qualifications to vote in a parliamentary election. Alexander Penrose-Cumming, a candidate for Parliament, alleged that his opponent, James, Earl Fife, had distributed fictitious freehold interests in order to skew the vote. Before voting, the holders of these allegedly fictitious interests were required to swear an oath attesting to their qualifications. Based on this oath, Penrose-Cumming charged the voters with perjury. One of the accused voters was John Lawson, the pannel (i.e., the defendant) in this case. Lawson argued that his oath was not false, because he was, in fact, entitled to vote. Lawson further argued that whether or not he was lawfully entitled to vote, he had reasonably believed that his oath was true.
|Penrose-Cumming v. Rev. Leslie
||Libel, Title to Pursue, Oath, Perjury, Freeholder
||This case was about the enforcement of qualifications to vote in a parliamentary election. Alexander Penrose-Cumming, a candidate for Parliament and a freeholder in Moray, alleged that James, Earl Fife, had distributed fictitious freehold interests in order to skew the vote. Before voting, the holders of these allegedly fictitious interests were required to swear an oath attesting to their qualifications. Based on this oath, Penrose-Cumming charged the voters with perjury. One of the accused voters was Rev. William Leslie, the pannel (i.e., the defendant) in this case. Leslie’s qualification to vote rested on a wadset (similar to a mortgage) of a superiority over part of the lands of Kinneddar. During the proceeding against him, Leslie raised a number of arguments against the charges. These included that Penrose-Cumming lacked the kind of specific injury that would give him title to pursue the case, that Penrose-Cumming had failed to allege sufficiently detailed facts, and that Leslie's rights were not, in fact, fictitious.
|Young v. Scotts
||3 Jul 1777
||Illness, Convalescence, Oath, Female Succession, Flesh Market
||A month before his death, Jedburgh merchant John Young settled his heritage upon the daughters of his older sister, although his customary heir was Andrew Young, the eldest son of his younger brother. Andrew Young then sold his right to this heritage to his sister, Agnes, who raised an action of reduction of Young's disposition on the head of deathbed, because he had died within sixty days of its execution. The defenders asserted to Lord Covington that Young had recovered his health just before his death, and produced two witnesses who swore that they had encountered Young at the Flesh Market after he had executed the disposition. Covington pronounced that Young had indeed recovered. The pursuers then petitioned the Court to alter this interlocutor. They asserted that numerous countervailing testimonies cast doubt on whether Young had really visited the Flesh Market in the weeks before his death. On July 3rd, 1777, the Court adhered to Lord Covington's interlocutor. The pursuers submitted another petition, emphasizing that the oaths of the two witnesses to Young's alleged convalescence were unreliable: "Robson is in low circumstances, and considerably in debt to the defender in this reduction; and Laidlaw is in a manner subsisted upon charity." Marginalia on the second petition indicates that the Court may indeed have altered their decision on August 6th, however reports of this case mention no such revision.