David Nasmith, a mason, entered into a contract with the city of Glasgow in which he agreed to construct a quay along the river Clyde. The city subsequently raised concerns about Nasmith’s work on the quay, and the parties entered into arbitration. The arbiters found that Nasmith had been overpaid for his work and directed him to refund a portion of his fee to the city. Nasmith challenged the arbiters’ decree in court. He initially argued that the arbiters were prejudiced against him because he had underbid Glasgow’s other masons to secure the contract in question. After that argument was rejected, the parties continued to dispute the proper method of measuring the work in question.