Jean Aitken originally left her property to her sisters, Mary and Margaret Aitken, but 14 days before her death and on her deathbed, she changed her will and instead left all of her property to her niece, Mary Hugh Orr, the daughter of petitioner Margaret Aitken by a former husband. Mary and Margaret Aitken, as well as their husbands, brought an action of reduction against Mary Hugh Orr. Mary Orr claimed that the Aitkens had not produced proof of their original claim to the inheritance, and also that their husbands had brought the claim in their names without their consent. The Aitkens sisters husbands were ordered to produce written statements in their wives' hand writing indicating their consent, but the date the statements were due to the court passed without their submission. The Lord Ordinary held that the case should be dismissed in favor of the defenders, because the wives may be obligated to produce their concurrence to exercise their right. The Aitken sisters then objected to this ruling claiming that there is a legal presumption that husbands have the authority to speak for their wives, since married women are considered to have the same legal status as minors, and their husbands are their guardians. The marginalia notes that on 11 of February, 1802, the claim was "refused without [?]."