Case details

Gordon and others, as the Trustees of the Inter Vivos Trust of the late William Strathdee Gordon (Appellants) v Campbell Riddell Breeze Paterson LLP (Respondent) (Scotland)

Case ID: UKSC 2016/0142

Case summary


Whether the five-year prescriptive period under s.6 of the Prescription and Limitation (Scotland) Act 1973 begins to run on the date on which a creditor becomes aware that he has incurred a financial cost or whether he must also be aware that such a cost may constitute "loss" or "damage".


The appellants, as trustees of a trust, own three fields in the Killearn area. In 2004 their solicitors (the respondents) advised them to end the agricultural tenancies over the fields. The respondents were instructed to serve notices to quit to take effect on 10 November 2005. However, the tenant remained in possession. In February 2006, having instructed new solicitors, the appellants lodged applications with the Scottish Land Court seeking the tenant’s removal. On 24 July 2008, following a hearing on evidence, the applications regarding two of the fields were refused because of defects in the notices. On 17 May 2012, the appellants brought an action against the respondents seeking damages alleging that they had drafted ineffective notices to quit. The damages claimed include legal fees and expenses in relation to pursuing the tenants in the Scottish Land Court. The Lord Ordinary held that the five-year prescriptive period started from the date on which the legal expenses were incurred (i.e. 10 November 2005) and had therefore expired by the time the claim was lodged on 17 May 2012. The Court of Session dismissed the appellants’ appeal. The appellants now appeal to the Supreme Court.

Judgment appealed

[2016] CSIH 16


  1. Linda Anne Gordon
  2. William Andrew Strathdee Gordon
  3. James Watson Steel Laing, C.A.

Campbell Riddell Breeze Paterson LLP



Lord Neuberger, Lord Mance, Lord Sumption, Lord Reed, Lord Hodge

Hearing start date

19 Jul 2017

Hearing finish date

19 Jul 2017

Watch hearing
19 Jul 2017 Morning session