'But we have no slaves in Scotland, and mothers cannot sell their bairns.'
In January 1687, during the reign of James VII and II, the little-known case of Reid v Scot of Harden (Mor. 9505) was decided in the Court of Session in Edinburgh. It was about a little girl, a 'tumbling lassie' or stage gymnast, who had fled from her manager (Mr Reid) because she was being physically worn out by her work dancing as part of his travelling stage-show. She had taken shelter with Scot of Harden and his wife. Reid sued the Scots, claiming that he had bought the girl from her mother and that she belonged to him. He even produced a written contract as evidence of the purchase. The Scottish Court of Session refused Reid’s claims.
330 years later, it is astonishing but true that some people still live in Scotland effectively as slaves, often trafficked here on false pretences, threatened, trapped in menial work or worse, with their earnings withheld and their passports taken away. In other parts of the world, people languish in slavery because getting access to trained lawyers to uphold their rights (without which the tumbling lassie could not have been declared free) can be almost impossible.
What's happening and why?
Following the success of their inaugural events to raise awareness and funds to fight modern slavery and people-trafficking at home and abroad in 2015, the Tumbling Lassie Committee is organising the next Tumbling Lassie Seminar (and the associated Ball) which are taking place on Saturday 28 January 2017. They hope, in memory and celebration of The Tumbling Lassie and her vindication under Scots law, that you will feel able to support one or both of these events.
The proceeds from the events will be shared between two charities which fight for this sort of fundamental justice at home and abroad. TARA (Trafficking Awareness Raising Alliance), which works to support victims of trafficking in Scotland, and the International Justice Mission, which works with local lawyers in the developing world to fight slavery there.
The Tumbling Lassie Seminar 28 January 2017
Venue: Mackenzie Building, Off Old Assembly Close, 172 High Street, Edinburgh, Midlothian, EH1 1QX
Time: 9.30am to 12.30pm (registration from 9.00am).
The Tumbling Lassie Seminar will be considering the critical legal and practical issues arising out of trafficking.
Speakers: Human rights barrister Parosha Chandran and the Solicitor General for Scotland, Alison di Rollo QC, who will discuss the demands and dilemmas for justice systems north and south of the border in dealing with trafficking situations.
Parosha Chandran is an expert on human trafficking for the UN, OSCE and Council of Europe and received the Trafficking in Persons Hero Award 2015 from John Kerry in Washington DC for developing the rule of law on trafficking in the UK and abroad .
There will also be presentations from the anti-trafficking charities - International Justice Mission and TARA.
CPD credit will be available for legal professionals attending this event.
There will be no charge for attendance but there will be an opportunity to make donations to the International Justice Mission and TARA at the end. Costs associated with hosting the event are kindly being met by the Faculty of Advocates.
If you would like to attend the seminar, please register at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/tumbling-lassie-seminar-2017-tickets-29338981684 Places are strictly limited and early registration is recommended.
The Tumbling Lassie Ball 28 January 2017
Venue: St Paul’s & St George’s Church, 10 Broughton Street, Edinburgh EH1 3RH
Time: The reception will commence at 6.45pm for 7.15pm, with carriages at midnight.
Dress: Black tie/ Tartan & Sparkle
The evening will begin with a champagne reception (kindly sponsored by the Faculty of Advocates) and will feature a three-course dinner and dancing.
Tickets cost £65 per person and tables are available for booking for groups of 6 to 10.
To subscribe for Ball tickets please follow one of the following options:
1.Send your name, address, contact details (e-mail/telephone) and number of tickets required with a cheque for the total sum due to: Patricia Comiskey, Advocate, Advocates' Library, Parliament House, Edinburgh EH1 1RF.
2.If you would rather pay by internet banking, please e-mail your details to the Tumbling Lassie Committee and requirements at their e-mail address below and they will contact you with the relevant bank account information.
3.If you are a member of the Faculty of Advocates and would like to pay for tickets by deduction from your FSL account, please e-mail the Tumbling LassieCommittee at the e-mail address below with your name, a note of your FSL number and of the number of tickets you wish to purchase and they will make the necessary arrangements.
4.If you wish to pay by credit card, please do so at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/tumbling-lassie-ball-2017-tickets-29338617595 As this method incurs a small booking charge, the Committee encourages use of the other booking methods wherever possible.
Please note that booking for the Ball will close on 15 January 2017.
How else can I get involved?
Offers of further individual or corporate sponsorship or of contributions towards the Ball auction or raffle are welcomed. If you have any questions about the events, or have an idea about how you would like to contribute, we would be very grateful to hear from you. Please contact the The Tumbling Lassie Committee at: firstname.lastname@example.org