Johnstone v Duke of Buccleuch: HL 25 Jul 1892

In 1810 an unentered proprietor of lands, which he had inherited from an ancestor who was a singular successor of the last-entered vassal, and who held an unconfirmed a me infeftment, by an inter vivos trust-disposition and settlement disponed the lands to trustees, directing them to pay his debts, and annuities to himself and his wife, and to carry out the provisions of his deeds of settlement in favour of his wife, children, or any other person or persons. The trustees were empowered to sell his lands, with his written consent, for payment of debts, and were bound to reconvey the remainder when the debts were paid, or whether paid or not, at Martinmas 1814.
The truster died in 1811. In 1815 the trustees were infeft on a decree of adjudication and implement obtained by them against the truster’s heir, and were entered with the superior as trustees for the uses and purposes of the trust-deed only, by charter of sale, adjudication, and confirmation narrating the grounds of their right, and confirming the dispositions and unconfirmed infeftments since the date of the last vassal’s entry. They paid composition. In 1860 the last surviving trustee reconveyed the remaining lands to the truster’s heir-at-law, who was infeft on the conveyance, and was thereby in 1874 entered with the superior by the operation of the Conveyancing Act 1874, sec. 4. The last surviving trustee died in 1863. The superior demanded a casualty of composition; the vassal tendered relief-duty.
Held (aff. judgment of the Second Division) that the heir was liable in payment of composition in respect that the trustees’ entry did create a new investiture, but even if it did not, the present owner was not the heir of an investiture recognised by the superior, for his ancestor had not been entered, and the superior’s confirmation of the trustees’ title was confined to what was necessary to complete the new investiture, and had no effect in confirming the truster’s infeftment.


Lord Chancellor, Lord Watson, Lord Macnaghten, and Lord Hannen


[1892] UKHL 915, 29 SLR 915






Updated: 26 May 2022; Ref: scu.634559