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Colonial Cases

Ah Kim v. Paul, 1874

[employment law, Chinese]


Ah Kim v. Paul

Local Court, Palmerston
Price SM, 2 April 1874
Source: Northern Territory Times and Gazette, 10 April 1874, p 3

Ah Kim v. Paul.-Claim for £11 13s.

Mr. Smith for the plaintiff and D. Kaufmann for the defendant. In this case Ah Kim, a Chinese servant stated that he engaged under an agreement made in Melbourne to come to the Northern Territory with the defendant, and to remain in his service twelve months. Went with him to Yam Creek, and received wages up to July 26. Never had a settlement after that. He therefore left on 28th October, telling defendant's son that he was going to Palmerston to see about his wages. On reaching Palmerston saw defendant, who told him he must go back to his work or else sign an agreement for £10 and be liberated from the service. The £10 was to be on account of passage-money. But never agreed in Melbourne to pay passage money, and always worked on board the ship. Defendant said if he did not sign the agreement he would have to go to "chokee," so he went into Mr. Foelsche's and signed it. Defendant said he never gave plaintiff leave to quit his service, and therefore when he saw him in Palmerston told him he must go back or else agree to pay £10 by instalments of £1 per week as soon as he obtained work. He signed the agreement after it was read over to him in the presence of Mr. Foelsche. Mr. Foelsche said the plaintiff was made to understand the object of the paper; he said he understood it. There was no coercion used. Believed the £10 was on account of passage-money.

Verdict for the defendant.

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