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

Greenway v. Sanderson [1817] NSWKR 2; [1817] NSWSupC 2

assault - damages, assessment of - provocation

Supreme Court
Field J., 30 June 1817
Source: Sydney Gazette, 5 July 1817[1]

In an action for assault and battery which was tried last Monday, and damages laid at £200, His Honor the Judge expatiated at much length on the necessity which the Court was ever under the actions of this nature to ascertain the quantum of damage actually sustained by the complaining party, and also at the provocation from which the assault had itself originated. It did appear that the provocation was great, this consideration would of course go in mitigation of damages, if not in some instances almost to a justification of the act, for it was very easy to be conceived possible that a gross insult, which was of itself tending to a breach of the peace in the first instance, might provoke the actual breach; and as that appeared to be a good deal the complexion of the present action, the Court considered £20 to be a sound?? sufficient to give as damages.


[1] With the arrival of Barron Field as the new Judge of the Supreme Court to replace Jeffery Bent, the colony gained a more formal approach to the delivery of judgments in civil cases. Field often gave written reasons for his decisions, which he had published in the Sydney Gazette . His judgments became more complex as his career developed in Sydney . On this case, see also Supreme Court of Civil Judicature, Judgment Rolls, 1817-1824, 9/2211 (no. 19)

Published by the Division of Law, Macquarie University