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

Rossiter v. Thornton [1834] NSWSupC 18

work done - professional secrets - prices

Supreme Court of New South Wales

Forbes C.J., 6 March 1834

Source: Sydney Herald, 10 March 1834

Thursday, March 6. - Before his Honour the Chief Justice, and two Assessors.

Rossiter v. Thornton. - This was an action brought by the plaintiff to recover the sum of £25 the balance of an account rendered to defendant for work done.

After a minute investigation into the merits of the claim, which occupied the Court the whole day, a verdict was returned for the defendant.

In the course of this trial, Mr. Wentworth put a question to Mr. Babridge, one of the witnesses, as to the prices he had allowed for certain work done, he objected to answer it on the ground of professional secresy, and stated that Judge Stephen had, on a former occasion, protected professional men, when it had been wished to extract from them similar evidence. - Mr. Wentworth insisted that his question should be answered, and quoted the case of the Duchess of Kingston, whose physician was obliged to state the private conversation that took place between them.  Mr. Norton observed, that Professional men were bound to secresy, though not sworn to it.  The Chief Justice observed, that witness must answer the question, in order to judge in this case, whether proper and justifiable charges had been made. - This being necessary for the ends of justice, the question must be answered.

Published by the Division of Law, Macquarie University