12: The Succession to Titles and Coats of Arms: Is there a case for law reform?

12: The Succession to Titles and Coats of Arms: Is there a case for law reform?

12: The Succession to Titles and Coats of Arms: Is there a case for law reform?

618 618 people viewed this event.

by Prof. Gillian Black

This talk will be held jointly with the Royal Celtic Society, and will be streamed live (via Zoom) from the Royal Scots Club, Abercromby Place, Edinburgh. You may attend in person, or via Zoom in the normal way. If you attend in person, please note that tickets cost £5 on the door (£2 for members, students and senior citizens).


In Scotland, titles and coats of arms vest in the successor according to the bloodline (the jure sanguinis) and, with the advent of DNA testing, it is now very easy to establish whether the heir is indeed the true genetic heir to a title or honour. Moreover, DNA testing can also lead to the re-opening of a succession which happened in past generations, unsettling an established family succession of decades or even centuries. However, this fixation on genetics is at odds with the approach in family law over the last 20 years, and indeed with the historical position, when genetic descent typically could not be established with such scientific certainty. What role should the jus sanguinis play in Scots law in the future? How should we deal with questions of succession to titles and coats of arms in this age of DNA?

Image caption: The Pringle coat of arms.

About the speaker

Gillian Black is Professor of Scots Private Law at Edinburgh University, specialising in family law and contract law. Her work in family law brings together her interests in the legal regulation of families with her long-standing interest in heraldry. She is a trustee of the Lord Lyon Society, a member of the Heraldry Society of Scotland, and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. In 2021 she was appointed as Linlithgow Pursuivant Extraordinary by the Lord Lyon. She also enjoys exploring graveyards and runs a Twitter account Scottish Graveyard Heraldry: @SHeraldry!

How to participate via Zoom

This talk will begin at 1.00 pm (GMT) and last up to one hour, followed by questions. As the audience for each talk will be limited to 100, please register in plenty of time by e-mailing us (click either on the ‘Register for Events’ button above, or click here click here ). You will then be sent a code to allow you to join the talk.

  • Participation in these lectures is free to members of the Society and to students.
  • Non-members (other than students) are politely requested to make a donation of £5 to society funds.

To do this using PayPal just click the button below to add the lecture to your basket, and then proceed to the PayPal checkout. If you do not have a PayPal account you can still use PayPal to pay using a credit card. For alternative methods, please contact us directly.

Your cart is empty

Event registration closed.

Date And Time

08-Dec-2022 @ 13:00

Registration End Date



Online event

Event Types