Defenders Ann Mackenzie and Richard Paterson retained pursuer George Forbes to help them recover a £. 200 bond granted to Mackenzie’s deceased father. Mackenzie and Paterson subsequently learned that they were eligible to receive court-appointed counsel through the “poor’s roll.” They successfully petitioned the Court of Session for the benefit of the poor’s roll and had the contract with Forbes voided. Forbes, who had already started working to recover the bond, sued Mackenzie and Patterson for the balance on their account. Mackenzie and Paterson disputed the amount that was owed and claimed that it should not be due until they had successfully recovered payment for the bond.