What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.
— Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet


In 1987 an old lady joined Glasgow Tree Lovers Society, a charity dating from Victorian times. She was a pillar of the community, a retired school secretary and Sunday school teacher.

She soon gained the trust of the other members of the Society and was given the position of honorary treasurer. “Honorary” means of course that the position was unpaid.

At the time the Society had sixty thousand pounds in the bank. The new honorary treasurer, sole signatory on the accounts, began to siphon the money.

By the time the theft was discovered the Society had just seventeen pence.

She explained in court that she did not feel the charity needed all that money, so she donated it to children’s charities. As the donations were anonymous, there were no receipts.

Despite being convicted of serious theft while in a position of trust, the old lady was not sent to prison.

The most memorable feature of the case is her name, Bunty McSkimming. Should the Tree Lovers have seen her coming?

In business, is it permissible, or even acceptable, to prefer Tim Good to Tom Crook, on the basis of their names? 

Chris Thorpe

Chris Thorpe is a respected independent lawyer in the upstream oil and gas industry, and an established lecturer and author. Chris has a LLB in law from Magdalene College, Cambridge and trained as a barrister in London. He worked for eight years' as an in-house lawyer for BP and Marathon. Since 1991, Chris has run his own upstream legal practice, CPTL, which has acted for many upstream clients. He has extensive experience of international upstream transactions, principally in the North Sea, the FSU, Africa and the Middle East. Chris has spoken at many UK and International Conferences and Seminars, both public and in-house. His most popular current lecture is Fundamental of Upstream Petroleum Agreements, a two-day course with accompanying book.