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Colonial Cases


The following cases emphasise the decisions of the Jamaican Slave Courts, established to try slaves for criminal offences. They were transcribed from digital copies of Newspapers in the British Library.

For discussion of the colonial slave courts, see Diana Paton, "Punishment, Crime, and the Bodies of Slaves in Eighteenth-Century Jamaica" (2001) 34 Journal of Social History 923-954; Russell Smandych, "'To soften the extreme rigor of their bondage': James Stephen's attempt to reform the criminal slave laws of the West Indies, 1813-1833" (2005) 23 Law and History Review 537-588; Bradley J. Nicholson, "Legal borrowing and the origins of slave law in the British colonies" (1994) 38 American Journal of Legal History 38-54. There was a special issue of the Law and History Review on slavery, volume 29, issue 4 (2011), in which, see particularly N.Z. Davis, "Judges, Masters, Diviners: Slaves' Experience of Criminal Justice in Colonial Suriname" 925-984. See also Judith Kelleher Schafer, "The long arm of the law: slave criminals and the Supreme Court in antebellum Louisiana" (1986) 60 Tulane Law Review 1247-1268.

Other cases

Bowebank v. Bishop of Jamaica, 1839 [marriage] Judicial Committee of the Privy Council

Elliott v. Turquand, 1881 [bankruptcy]  Judicial Committee of the Privy Council

Minor cases Jamaica

Nunes v. Carter, 1866 [insolvency] Judicial Committee of the Privy Council

The Royal Mail Steampacket Company v. Braham, 1877 [civil procedure] Judicial Committee of the Privy Council

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