Gordon Gordon’s Trustees: HL 26 Jul 1882

A truster conveyed his estates to trustees with directions to entail them upon a person named, ‘and his heirs whatsoever,’ whom failing to another person named, ‘and his heirs whatsoever,’ whom failing to any persons that might subsequently be named by him, and then to his own heirs whatsoever and their assignees. This deed revoked eight previous deeds, ‘in so far as the same are or may be inconsistent with these presents.’ No deed of nomination was executed, and the second person named in the deed predeceased the truster. The trustees executed a deed of entail conveying the estates to the person first-named, and his heirs whatsover, whom failing to the heirs whatsoever of the truster and their assignees. The institute having on his death disposed of the estates as belonging to himself in fee-simple, the truster’s heir of line sought to reduce the deed of entail, and have a new deed executed, on the grounds that by ‘heirs whatsoever’ of the truster was meant, looking to the tenor of the truster’s intentions as shown in the series of deeds previously executed, the pursuer, who should have been substituted nominatim, and the heirs of his body. Held (aff. judgment of the Court of Session) that no such meaning could be put upon the term ‘heirs whatsoever’ of the truster-on the grounds, first, that it was inadmissible to refer to previous deeds for an interpretation of well-marked words of technical conveyancing; and second, that a reference to these deeds did not support the contention of the heir of line-and that therefore the estates belonged to the institute in fee-simple.


Lords Blackburn, Watson, and Fitzgerald


[1882] UKHL 899, 19 SLR 899






Updated: 04 July 2022; Ref: scu.637743