Reference: Robertson (1899) 37 S.L.R. 82

Also referenced as:
  • 2 F. 127

Court of Session ↗, 1st Division
Saturday, 18th November 1899

Before (the judges sitting on the bench)

Counsel (the barristers representing the parties)

  • Pitman on behalf of James Alexander Robertson (the Petitioner)

Summary of the facts

Mr James Alexander Robertson, C.A., Edinburgh, presented this petition to the Court — “to authorise the petitioner to assume, bear, and henceforth to use the name James Alexander Robertson-Durham in exercising the said offices of judicial factor, curator bonis, liquidator, and trustee; to ordain this petition and your Lordships’ deliverance thereon to be recorded in the Books of Sederunt.”

The petitioner stated that he had succeeded to certain entailed estates of which the deeds of entail contained provisions to the effect that the heir of entail in possession should be bound to assume the name of Durham.

He further stated that he had from time to time been appointed by the Court judicial factor on various estates, and curator bonis to persons under disability; that he had been elected trustee on various estates under the provisions of the Bankruptcy Acts, and that he was liquidator of two joint-stock companies — in one case by the appointment, and in the other under the supervision of the Court.

The petitioner referred to the dicta of the Lord President in the case of Forlong, Petitioner, 15th June, 1880, 7 R. 910, as supporting his views as to the necessity of the petition.


Lord Adam —

I am of opinion that the petition is not necessary.  Mr Robertson has a perfect right to change his name, and no one can prevent him adding to or altering it.  The case of a notary is different, because a notary is an imperial officer, and a person holding a public office may require authority.  So in the case of a W.S. and other persons whose names are entered on a register.  But there is nothing to prevent a private individual from changing his name.

Lord M’Laren —

I am of the same opinion.  It is in accordance with practice that authority may be given to use a new name when the application is by someone who has been admitted to his profession by the Court.  So, where the name is entered on a roll to which the authority of the Court is given, or which is under the control of the Court, it may be necessary to present an application for authority to change the name in order that the roll may be kept in order.  But that ride does not apply to a professional accountant, and I am unable to see that any real difficulty arises from the fact that this gentleman has obtained executive appointments from the Court.

Lord Kinnear concurred.

Text of judgment is Crown Copyright ©.  Presentation, mark-up and all other content is copyright © Deed Poll Office Ltd.

Orders of the court

The Court refused the petition.