Procurator, solicitor, writer in Scotland

Discussion in 'Legal Profession' started by GrannyBarb, Nov 7, 2014.

  1. GrannyBarb

    GrannyBarb Custodian of the Family Accounts

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    Lower Alabama, USA
    I was looking up some kin in Scotland. My great-grandfather's sister's husband had chronic money woes. I was very surprised to find out he was a solicitor and that his father was a procurator. One would think someone in the legal realm would be immune to poor financial decisions. Apparently this was not so with Great-great Uncle Dugald. In great-great-grandfather's will, he said to deduct Dugald's debt from his wife's share of the inheritance.

    Also, from this will we have reference to a person named the "writer" of the will. Gr-gr-Grandfather could read and write. Apparently this was a law-related job. When I have seen this listed in old directories, I thought "author", as a literary writer.

    I also didn't realize the Scottish legal system was/is different from the rest of the UK. Solicitors were generally restricted to the lower courts. Procurators were mostly legal agents for clients and solicitors. Did the wikipedia lookup (en.wikipedia .org/wiki/Solicitor#Scotland) and enjoyed this mention that I lift in it's entirety:

    In the 18th century, Dr. Samuel Johnson marked the change in designation of the lawyers in Glasgow with a jibe about their moving from "procuring" (a term which traditionally meant pimping) to "soliciting" (which was and is used as shorthand for prostitution). This was a play on the title "Procurator," meaning agent, a word still used in the Scottish courts, particularly when one Scottish solicitor tells a court that he is appearing only as the agent of another solicitor.
    Archie's Mum likes this.
  2. Ken_R

    Ken_R Well-Known Member

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    A displaced 'Brummie' now in Worcestershire
    The Scots have always had a different system to the rest of the UK (from what I remember). The Procurator Fiscal (in Scotland) is what might be considered equivalent to the Crown Prosecution Service (in England & Wales - not sure about N.I.) and the District Attorney in the U.S.

    It's easy to think of members of the Legal Profession as being 'all things to all men'. They are not. I can remember being told that, in qualifying as a Solicitor, over x number of years, the Criminal Law side was studied only in x number of weeks.

    It is only when people qualify that they then specialise in a particular area, whether it be Criminal, or Civil. Civil including such as Planning, Contract, Tort, Defamation, Conveyancing, Corporate, Tax, and yes, even Inheritance (Will Writing), just to name a few. I'm sure there are many more.

    I can remember, at a Police Station, overnight, an otherwise respectable member of the community, had been arrested for quite a serious offence where he had 'over-reacted' in a dispute with a neighbour. Rather than requesting a (Criminal) Duty Solicitor, he requested his 'Family' Solicitor.:(

    Said person attends and under his arm I spy a volume which might best be subtitled, "The Idiot's Guide to the Police and Criminal Evidence Act.":rolleyes:

    In essence, the 'Family' Solicitor was out of his depth and hadn't a clue what he was doing. Not good, either for the Detainee or the Investigator as, without proper representation, how was the Detainee to know how he was being 'best served'. It's times like these that one starts to feel sorry for the offender.:)

    We resolved the matter with a quick Court appearance and a 'Bind Over'(to keep the Peace).

    The 'Client' no doubt received a bill for some hundred(s) of £'s. Despite his Representative, doing nothing and saying little.

    Another matter that was once pointed out to me was that when a Solicitor's 'Practice' was up for sale, they often included, as a feature of the sale, the number of Wills held by the Practice.

    Alright, there is an Income from the safe storage of such documents but, the main bonus is where the 'Practice' is the Executor of the Will. I've since discovered that such is almost a Licence to Print Money. Hence the USP of including the number of Wills when offering the Practice for sale. They can charge what they like, and having been an Executor myself, in general, it is not that difficult, and not expensive (in the UK).

    In essence, when making a Will, DO NOT allow any Solicitor drawing up the document to include themselves as an Executor.:p
    Archie's Mum and GrannyBarb like this.
  3. Archie's Mum

    Archie's Mum Always digging up clues

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    Orange, NSW Australia. The Colour City.
    My Dad insisted that a particular government agency be executor of both his and my mother's wills. Dad died some years ago and it took 10 years for my sister and myself to convince our mother to have another will drawn up with both of us as Executors. The cost of having the said government agency as Executor is mind blowing, to say the least. I don't believe that Dad had any idea of the costs involved. He was of Scottish decedent and you know what comes naturally with that.:rolleyes:
    GrannyBarb likes this.

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