On appeal from: [2012] CSIH 23.

The appellant and first respondent are father and son respectively, and this case concerned a dispute over title to a property. The Inner House of the Court of Session overturned the Lord Ordinary’s decision that he did not find any of the evidence materially undermined the appellant’s account on the basis that he had gone “plainly wrong”, and substituted their own decision based on the facts from the printed record of proceedings.

The Supreme Court unanimously allowed the appeal. In cases such as this where the trial judge is faced with a stark choice between irreconcilable accounts the credibility of the parties’ testimony is of primary importance. It was incorrect for the Inner House to rely on Hamilton v Allied Domecq Ltd [2007] UKHL 33, in which a critical finding of fact had been made that was unsupported by the evidence. This was not the position in the present case. The Inner House had no proper basis for concluding that the Lord Ordinary had gone plainly wrong, let alone that on a re-consideration of the whole evidence the opposite conclusion should be reached.

For judgment, please download: [2013] UKSC 58
For Court’s press summary, please download: Court’s Press Summary
For a non-PDF version of the judgment, please visit: BAILII