I Am Not A Lawyer... oh, hold on, I am. How about you, professor?
February 10, 2015 6:23 AM   Subscribe

The great thing about social media is that it lets you contact potential customers directly. However, if you're offering a service such as offering to sell tiny plots of land in Scotland to those who wish to style themselves Laird or Lady of Glencoe you should perhaps be up on Scottish property law. Because if you're not, you're quite likely to make the rapid acquaintance of one or two people who do. McPwnage ensues. Includes bonus reference - at no extra cost! - to a drunk Finnish rock singer.
posted by Devonian (66 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
 
Man, it must feel great to have such esoteric knowledge ("the law relating to feudal abolition and land transfer" indeed) and stumble in to the one situation where you get to use it outside of your job like that.
posted by Itaxpica at 6:36 AM on February 10, 2015 [20 favorites]


Next you'll be telling me that the international star registry is a sham and I am not the Galactic Laird of SAO 622247.
posted by Think_Long at 6:41 AM on February 10, 2015 [22 favorites]


thanks for an excellent morning laugh

I'll happily give you no actual land, and no legal title, but the permission to dress as a fuedal lord of Portland Hipsterdom if you please, for a low fee of $5.00.
posted by idiopath at 6:42 AM on February 10, 2015 [5 favorites]


I'll sell you a piece of my office in Manhattan and the right to call yourself a New Yorker for the friends and family price of 12,000,000 milly.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:44 AM on February 10, 2015 [7 favorites]


Is there any legal restriction on me becoming drunk as a Laird later this evening?
posted by sobarel at 6:44 AM on February 10, 2015 [6 favorites]


Just as long as you specific your drunkness in metric Lairds, as required by EU law.
posted by MartinWisse at 6:46 AM on February 10, 2015 [13 favorites]


infeft? infeft. past participle of infeoff
posted by ennui.bz at 6:47 AM on February 10, 2015 [15 favorites]


I'll happily give you no actual land, and no legal title, but the permission to dress as a fuedal lord of Portland Hipsterdom if you please, for a low fee of $5.00.

I'll do the same artistically and locally for $12.
posted by maryr at 6:51 AM on February 10, 2015 [8 favorites]


Cards Against Humanity wanted to give away tiny parcels of an island they bought, but the legal hurdles were too great so they just gave licenses.
posted by exogenous at 6:54 AM on February 10, 2015 [4 favorites]


It's like in the army, you know? The great prince issues commands... founds states... vests families with fiefs... inferior people should not be employed.
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:54 AM on February 10, 2015 [4 favorites]


idiopath and maryr, I got one of those before it was cool. But now I have to give it up because everyone's doing it now. I'd tell you where it is but you've probably never heard of the place anyway.
posted by azpenguin at 6:56 AM on February 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


Man, it must feel great to have such esoteric knowledge ("the law relating to feudal abolition and land transfer" indeed) and stumble in to the one situation where you get to use it outside of your job like that.

I imagine it's much the same feeling I get when there's a Shakespeare question in a pub quiz, only turned up to eleven.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 7:02 AM on February 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm just fascinated at the enduring pattern of selling the guise of nobility to (mostly I'm sure) Americans. It's a big tradition with us. Some of you may remember getting scam letters in the snail mail telling you your family was descended from Scottish nobility. Garrison Kiellor has a story about it, even - The Royal Family, in Leaving Home. I love that it's made the jump to online. And then there were the 'dollar princesses,' American industrial heiresses who married impoverished European nobility in the Gilded Age, for the titles and broken-down estates.
posted by Miko at 7:11 AM on February 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


such esoteric knowledge ("the law relating to feudal abolition and land transfer" indeed)

Feudal abolition in Scotland wasn't so long ago, so it's within most lawyers' direct experience.
posted by ambrosen at 7:15 AM on February 10, 2015 [8 favorites]


Miko, the purchase of noble titles goes back as long as countries needed to raise money. I'm listing to the Revolutions podcast right now and the desires of the "old nobles" to run a quality country vs. the "new nobles" to get the most out of their investment in noble titles was one of the major factors that led to the french revolution.
posted by rebent at 7:20 AM on February 10, 2015 [6 favorites]


Cards Against Humanity wanted to give away tiny parcels of an island they bought, but the legal hurdles were too great so they just gave licenses.

I wonder if they got the idea from the Klondike Big Inch promotion.
posted by zeptoweasel at 7:24 AM on February 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


On the internet no one knows you're a Scottish conveyancer.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 7:38 AM on February 10, 2015 [10 favorites]


The thing is, if you really work at it, the guise can become the reality: See Sir John Templeton
posted by leotrotsky at 7:40 AM on February 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'll happily give you no actual land, and no legal title, but the permission to dress as a fuedal lord of Portland Hipsterdom if you please, for a low fee of $5.00.

Way to make flipping the bird (you put on it) real!
posted by srboisvert at 7:49 AM on February 10, 2015


ennui.bz: "infeft? infeft. past participle of infeoff"

Don't know why, but got the feeling somebody misspelled "invest" along the way and everybody was too stubborn to admit the error.
posted by boo_radley at 7:50 AM on February 10, 2015 [4 favorites]


Don't know why, but got the feeling somebody misspelled "invest" along the way and everybody was too stubborn to admit the error."

ƒurly you jest.
posted by Sphinx at 7:53 AM on February 10, 2015 [13 favorites]


That was totally enjoyable in every way.
posted by latkes at 7:58 AM on February 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


It's like in the army, you know? The great prince issues commands... founds states... vests families with fiefs... inferior people should not be employed.

Interestingly, you'd need 1 (proper order else misfortune), 2 (knowledgeable higher personality bringing reward to a conflict), 4 (retreat from battle), and that 6 you mention to get to the legal one, in which it is indeed favorable to let justice be administered.

Confucius would be proud.
posted by fraula at 7:59 AM on February 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


As a little kid, I always wondered what "Congreƒs" were.

That said, I would love to live in a Paradiƒe Loƒt. I bet there's lots of natural light.
posted by leotrotsky at 8:01 AM on February 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


It becomes clear to us that we have been too long apart from our people, and in our absence some have fallen into error. Allow us to make clear this situation for the good of the citizenry.

Styling oneself a Laird or Lady of Scotland has no significance in common law, or in our own Court and Canon Law as long as no postage is affixed in support of this claim. (Clearly, if Scottish postage were so affixed, our College of Postal Heralds would have to assess the claim, a lengthy and esoteric process not to be entered into lightly.)

Rather, claiming to be Scottish and claiming to be important are both acts of amusement and entertainment meant to bring joy to the people and lighten their burdens with merriment. As such this is a right of all the people, and not to be claimed or restricted for the purpose of vulgar money-grubbing.

Therefore we make what should have been obvious from the beginning explicit by Royal Decree: All the people are hereby allowed to style themselves as Laird or Lady - regardless of their true gender if any - of whatever Scottish places and holdings they deem appropriate, and no one is allowed to charge them money for granting this universal right.

- - King Janis Joplin Forever I, by the Grace of God, of the United States and his other Realms and Territories, Protector of the Weak, Fidei Defensor, Laird of Glencoe
posted by Naberius at 8:09 AM on February 10, 2015 [7 favorites]


Oh, Laird.
posted by Bentobox Humperdinck at 8:27 AM on February 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


ƒurly you jest

"Greenfleeves? Rather unlikely title.....for a fong....."
posted by gimonca at 8:30 AM on February 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


infeft if beft.
posted by jenkinsEar at 8:33 AM on February 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


It's like in the army, you know? The great prince issues commands... founds states... vests families with fiefs... inferior people should not be employed.

FOB, I can't knock success, but you still put me through too many changes.
posted by hal9k at 8:38 AM on February 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


And don't call me "ƒurly".
posted by mosk at 8:41 AM on February 10, 2015 [10 favorites]


GOD SAVE KING JANIS JOPLIN FOREVER!
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 8:53 AM on February 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


The word "McPwnage" makes me very happy.
posted by tallmiddleagedgeek at 9:03 AM on February 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


That was some delightful deep-nerdery smackdown action.
posted by rmd1023 at 9:33 AM on February 10, 2015


Sphinx: "ƒurly you jest.
"

Yeah, fine, whatever, but has English ever had a long v?
posted by boo_radley at 9:45 AM on February 10, 2015


Part of the reason there are so many Scottish land scams is that Scotland in particular has, even in recent years, sold legitimate baronies, with title. That's not what these one pound lots are, but that is from what I understand a real thing.
posted by corb at 9:48 AM on February 10, 2015


Does the Highland Titles company count as a foreign power? We could get 26 states together and start revoking citizenships!
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 10:03 AM on February 10, 2015


I'm trying to imagine the type of person who would seriously want you to know they were Douche, Lord Aƒƒhole or who would drop such a thing into casual conversation...I take that back, I know a guy who would do that. Which answers my question.
posted by maxwelton at 10:10 AM on February 10, 2015


What a glorious smackdown. One hopes the lawyers involved called whatever the appropriate regulatory body is to have the scam shut down for false advertising or something.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:29 AM on February 10, 2015


Stan Freberg Presents the United States of America features Benjamin Franklin questioning the spelling of the Declaration of Independence: "Life, liberty, and the perfuit of happineff?" (.ra audio)
posted by zachlipton at 10:48 AM on February 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


Their latest defence on Twitter:

"Like the Govt, we want Scotland's land to benefit the many, not the few. It seems the 'few' don't like that."

Rock solid on the ol' legality thing there I reckon.
posted by sobarel at 10:57 AM on February 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


...and I am Marie of Romania.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 11:01 AM on February 10, 2015 [5 favorites]


ƒurly you jest
     . . . .
And don't call me "ƒurly".

ƒor ƒuck’s sake, “ƒ” is “Latin small letter F with hook” not a “Latin small letter long S” which is “ſ” (or in italic, ſ ).
posted by D.C. at 11:12 AM on February 10, 2015 [10 favorites]


What iſ Greenfleeveſ without an improper ligature?
posted by plinth at 11:29 AM on February 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


Now I'm starting to doubt the legitimacy of my ownership of that square foot on Islay that came with that bottle of Laphroaig. That's ok. I actually have family in Glencoe so I could style myself something fancy based on that I suppose. Does it matter that it's Glencoe the small town in America probably named by homesick immigrants?

And D.C., surely you meant to write "ƒor ƒuck’s ſake"?
posted by traveler_ at 11:31 AM on February 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


If that Laphroaig offer was legit I'd own about a football pitch worth of lovely peaty bog by now.
posted by sobarel at 11:38 AM on February 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


Traveler, I think Laphroaig has taken somewhat better legal advice than our friends on the Channel Islands. If you inspect your Certificate, it says that:

"Traveler is a Friend of LAPHROAIG and, accordingly, has become the lifetime leaseholder of an
unregistered plot recorded at LAPHROAIG DISTILLERY

As a condition of this award, we agree to pay a yearly ground rent in the sum of one dram of
Laphroaig, to be claimed in person at the distillery. You’ll understand we’re not offering heritable
ownership or any right to cut peat, farm sheep or extract minerals from the plot - far better to
take up your right to a warming measure of Laphroaig."

sobarel: and only one plot per person...
posted by Devonian at 11:41 AM on February 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


Oh god, I'm well into the Google rabbithole. A fascinating read on French title transfer that seems to suggest you can legitimately acquire titles, but only for your great-grandchildren! The Earl of Bradford speaks out about fake titles! And Baronage magazine provides a resource to see if you're being scammed by a mere pretender to lordship!
posted by corb at 11:53 AM on February 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


I live in Ontario, Canada. In Ontario law, a person entitled to vote (as I am) is known as an Elector.

So, obviously, I this is pretty exciting news. I've now decided to style myself His Most Serene Highness Dreadnought, Elector of Trinity-Spadina and Ward 19.
posted by Dreadnought at 1:13 PM on February 10, 2015 [5 favorites]


"King Janis Joplin Forever I, by the Grace of God, of the United States and his other Realms and Territories, Protector of the Weak, Fidei Defensor, Laird of Glencoe"

In the tradition of his imperial majesty Norton I, you may style yourself emperor. Please issue currency only in small bills.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 1:20 PM on February 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'll happily give you no actual land, and no legal title, but the permission to dress as a fuedal lord of Portland Hipsterdom if you please, for a low fee of $5.00.

Holy Mary for Portland!
posted by ocschwar at 1:33 PM on February 10, 2015


I'd forgotten! I'm Pope Apapapipapopple, ordained thusly by Ivan Stang at a London Devival. And I have a lease on a square foot of Islay.

So, yeah. Swear fealty, you earthly princes, or I'll set the Bogus Professor of Law at Glasgow University's twitter account on yeez.
posted by Devonian at 2:46 PM on February 10, 2015


Styling oneself a Laird or Lady of Scotland has no significance in common law

Well, given that Scotland has civil law rather than common law, common law doesn't enter into it.
posted by acb at 2:54 PM on February 10, 2015


boo_radley: "Sphinx: "ƒurly you jest."
Yeah, fine, whatever, but has English ever had a long v?
"

This is hours late, but I always thought of the fancy F as something similar to the fancy B in German. ß alt0223. More of a double s sound.

Thanks, now I'm sitting in my apartment shouting Krugerstrasse! Behrenstrasse! Jagerstrasse!

Man, German is a great shouty language.

SCHNELL! ACHTUNG!
posted by Sphinx at 2:56 PM on February 10, 2015


"ƒegelein, ƒegelein, ƒegelein!"
posted by clavdivs at 3:53 PM on February 10, 2015


Sphinx, wißen Sie daß es "eszett" heißt ist? One possible origin is that it's a ligature of the long s and the letter z, ſz, which would look more reasonable in blackletter writing.
posted by traveler_ at 4:31 PM on February 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


Man, German is a great shouty language.


Shouty or pervy- those are pretty much your two choices with German.



*rubs hands across torso*

Haben sie ein Fußgängerzone?

*tweaks nipple*

Ja, ja- Ich habe ein Fußgängerzone-overpass.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 4:32 PM on February 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


ƒurly you jest
. . . .
And don't call me "ƒurly".

ƒor ƒuck’s sake, “ƒ” is “Latin small letter F with hook” not a “Latin small letter long S” which is “ſ” (or in italic, ſ ).



Yeah, we got that part about the "f" but it was, like, you know, a visual meta-joke referring to the Shirley meme, and maybe it wasn't super funny, but it was at least amusing to some of us, and...

ah, ƒcrew it.
posted by BlueHorse at 5:47 PM on February 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


Fortunately, there exist people to tell us the true crime of illegal titles - the crime of governments abolishing the nobility! Poignant stories abound.
As an example, on November 15, 2005, a lovely Japanese Imperial Princess was forced to give up her succession rights and imperial title, because there were no eligible males in the Imperial family she could marry, so she had to marry a commoner and therefore become one herself. This happened because the Constitution of 1947 destroyed or abolished the royal and noble houses that carried imperial titles. As a result, fifty-one ex-Princes, ex-Marquesses, etc. had to leave the Imperial Family and over nine hundred fifty other noble families were robbed of their right to use their titles. (Almanach de Bruxelles, WEEKLY NEWSLETTERS N 96 & 97, 13th & 20th August 2005). The law simply made it impossible for Princess Sayako to remain with the family of her birth and have a legal marriage. She was cheated out of her natural birthright.
posted by corb at 9:37 AM on February 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


She was cheated out of her natural birthright.

Not so much "cheated" as "had it stripped by the fortunes of war."
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 5:50 PM on February 11, 2015


At my weird little college, one of the things we all had to do was read a bunch of Antoine Lavoiſier's Elements of Chemiſtry, which was great and all and gave us Oh Such A Deep And Rich Understanding Of The Underpinnings Of Modern Science, but also the only cheap English edition was a facsimile of a translation from the 19th century, and to be honest was a little hard to take seriously any time someone had to read aloud in class about something being ſucked up a glass tube.
posted by moss at 8:51 PM on February 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


Not so much "cheated" as "had it stripped by the fortunes of war."

Was that one of the things we (US) demanded post-war? I knew the pacifism was, but somehow I had thought they did the stuff with the nobles on their own because they had realized it did not work well for them.
posted by corb at 9:13 AM on February 12, 2015


Prominent Scottish land reform campaigner Andy Wightman digs deeper into the dodgy business. Somebody is making an awful lot of money out of this.
posted by Flitcraft at 1:26 PM on February 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


In a rather bizarre move the people running the Highland Titles scam have set up a site called Highland Titles Scam on which they accuse the Regius Professor of Law at Glasgow University, the Keeper of the Records of Scotland and various other experts on Scottish law of being "Trolls".
posted by sobarel at 9:46 AM on February 13, 2015


Wow, sobarel, that's remarkable. They've changed the page now, by the way.
posted by ambrosen at 10:42 AM on February 13, 2015


even more thrilling Guernseys Chief Minister has become involved; https://twitter.com/letocq/status/566330883368431617
posted by stuartmm at 12:31 PM on February 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


They've changed the page now, by the way.

That's not the same as the "Twitter Trolls" page which has now been removed and - in a stunningly well-considered move - actively defamed just about every high-profile figure in the legal establishment. What an odd little escapade.
posted by sobarel at 1:42 PM on February 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


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