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Decisions of the Superior Courts of New South Wales, 1788-1899

Morris v. Lord [1800] NSWKR 3; [1800] NSWSupC 3

power of attorney - felony attaint

Court of Civil Jurisdiction

Dore J.A.., 4 August 1800

Source: Court of Civil Jurisdiction Proceedings, 1788-1814, State Records N.S.W., 2/8147 [1]

[314] Present    The Judge Advocate, John Morris esq., Captain Edward Abbott.

A letter having been received by the Judge Advocate from Governor King enclosing a paper subscribed by John Chapman Morris, a felon under sentence of death in the gaol of Sydney (but whose case is suspended) stating certain grievances of a civil nature, the Judge Advocate has thought it expedient to report to the court for the third time (the same having being twice before under consideration) the circumstances under which this complaint is founded, and John Chapman Morris being present before the court, and Simeon Lord (one of the parties complained against) being also present, and the account being investigated item by item, the balance of £35.10.4 appeared to be justly due to Simeon Lord who verified the same upon the oath. It appeared to the satisfaction of the court that Simeon Lord had acted under and by virtue of a general assignment including a power of attorney to an unlimited extent, under which no cause of complaint or impropriety attached to Simeon Lord in the premises.

[Judge Advocate Richard Dore made the following notes in the left margin:] Although the Judge Advocate allowed John Chapman Morris to be brought personally into court in custody of the Provost Marshal, his conduct was highly indecorous as the indulgence was irregular and his demeanor disgraceful as his complaint frivolous. R. Dore.


[1] In this case the first legally trained judge in New South Wales, Richard Dore, allowed a convicted felon to sue in the colony's highest court. As the marginal note (reproduced at the bottom of the case report) indicated, Dore was aware that English law refused to allow condemned convicts to sue.
The case also shows something of the relationship between debtors and creditors in the colony. Morris apparently owed money to Simeon Lord. Lord then secured his creditor's interest by a general assignment from Morris, and by a power of attorney to collect in his debtor's assets. Morris then sought an examination of the accounts.

Published by the Division of Law, Macquarie University