Next Clan Hay lecture with Professor Gillian Black

Professor Gillian Black

The next lecture in the Clan Hay Society's spring series of Zoom lectures will take place on Saturday 19 March at 7.00 pm UK time.  It will be given by Professor Gillian Black on the subject,  The Significance of Status and Genetics in the Succession to titles and coats of arms: is there a case for law reform?

Gillian Black is Professor of Private Law at the University of Edinburgh.  She is a Commissioner on the Scots Law Commission, where her particular responsibility is her specialism of family law.  She is Linlithgow Pursuivant Extraordinary at the Court of the Lord Lyon King of Arms and the leading expert of her time on succession to chiefship, coats of arms and peerage titles, which she will discuss during this lecture.

In the course of her talk, she will examine the inconsistencies in the law of inheritance, on matters of gender, legitimacy of birth, adoption, surrogacy and gender reassignment.  It will be of particular interest to members of Clan Hay, whose chiefship, like many, if not most, others, has several times passed through the female line.  However, there are further and wider issues now exercising the peerage lawyers: the factors referenced above do not impact on any matter of inheritance, except where it involves titles and coats of arms.  Children born by a surrogate process, who are legally their parents' offspring in every respect except this one, are excluded, as are adopted children and those born out of wedlock.  In cases of gender reassignment, the person concerned is legally of their current gender in every respect, but where titles are concerned, it is their original gender that matters.  And of course, sons are always preferred over daughters, with daughters often excluded altogether.  So should the law be reformed to bring succession to chiefship and title into the 21st century?

Professor Black says: "In this lecture, I will examine the current laws which govern succession to titles and coats of arms, and the jus sanguinis, and then contrast this with family law. Scots family law now recognises the parent/child relationship in an increasingly wide range of situations. If donor-conceived, adopted and surrogate-born children are legitimate heirs as far as the law is concerned, can we justify a different approach in the succession to titles, honours, dignities and coats of arms? By examining the legal and social principles which come in to play, we can consider whether there is a case for reform."

Email for an invitation to the Zoom meeting.  Please note that the time given is that in the UK.