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Colonial Cases

Chartered Bank of India, London and China v. Dickson and Tatham, 1871

[promissory note]

Chartered Bank of India, London and China v. Dickson and Tatham

Judicial Committee of the Privy Council
28 January 1871
Source: The Times, 30 January, 1871

JUDICIAL COMMITTEE OF THE PRIVY COUNCIL. Jan. 28.
(Present - Lord Cairns, Sir J. Colville, Sir J. Napier, Sir R. Phillimore, and Sir L. Peel.)
THE CHARTERED BANK OF INDIA, LONDON, AND CHINA v. DICKSON AND TATHAM.
  This was an appeal from the Supreme Court of Ceylon by the bank against the respondent Thomas Dickson, who had been a merchant at Colombo, in partnership with Christopher Tatham. An action was brought on a promissory note for 5,000 l. by the bank, having a chief office in London, and the Supreme Court discharged Mr. Dickson from liability, and against that decision the bank appealed to Her Majesty in Council.
  Sir Roundell Palmer, Mr. Field, Q.C., and Mr. F. Everitt appeared for the appellants, the plaintiffs in the action; Mr. John Kerslake, Q.C., and Mr. J. C. Mathews were for the respondent, Thomas Dickson.
  The case engaged the attention of the committee the whole day. The rate of interest in the Island of Ceylon claimed on the note was 9 per cent.  The principal point raised was whether Mr. Dickson had proper notice of dishonour. There had been considerable litigation in the case, and witnesses had been examined in England under a Commission.
  Lord Cairns, after consulting their Lordships, at the close of a long argument, gave judgment, and, after diverting the case from its legal trammels, said the important question was whether presentation of the note was made within a reasonable time for payment.  He dissected the proceedings in the District Court and in the Supreme Court, and said their Lordships were most anxious, when they could, to uphold the decisions of the other Courts, where the Judges saw the demeanour of the witnesses, and could be better judges of the evidence. In conclusion, he said that their Lordships in applying the law to the facts, could not concur in the decision of the Supreme Court, and would recommend to Her Majesty that the appeal be allowed, with costs, and the judgment of the lower Court be reversed, with interest on the note and cots to the appellants.

Published by Centre for Comparative Law, History and Governance at Macquarie Law School