Genetics, Succession and Family Law – The Baronetcy of Stichill – Prof. Gillian Black

  • Date:
  • Venue: Zoom Presentation

“In this lecture, I will explore the significance of the judicial decision regarding the succession to the Baronetcy of Stichill. In 2016, the UK Privy Council confirmed that succession follows the bloodline and, with the advent of DNA testing, it is now very easy to establish whether the heir is indeed the true heir to a title or honour. However, this fixation on genetics is at odds with the approach generally taken in family law over the last 20 years – and with the historical position, when genetic descent typically could not be established with certainty. How should we deal with questions of succession to titles in the future?”

Professor 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 for Scottish Graveyard Heraldry!