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

Sharp v. Robinson [1839] NSWSupC 69

hairdressing - goods sold and delivered - caveat emptor

Supreme Court of New South Wales

Dowling C.J., 23 September 1839

Source: Sydney Gazette, 26 September 1839[1] 

(Before the Chief Justice and Messrs. Lord and Donaldson, assessors)

Sharp v Robinson. -- This was an action to recover the sum of £63 for goods sold and delivered. The plaintiff was a perriquier, late in the employment of the defendant, the well known hair-dresser of George-street. The articles, the value of which was sought to be recovered, consisted of materials used in the business and brought out by the plaintiff from England, and subsequently purchased by the defendant. After the purchase a disagreement took place between the parties and they separated. The assessors found a verdict for the plaintiff to the amount sought to be recovered.

Sharp v. Robinson. -- This was an action between the same parties as in the last case, and was to recover damages for a breach of agreement. Damages were laid at one thousand pounds. It appeared that the plaintiff had been induced by the representations of the defendant's agent to come out to this Colony for an engagement with the defendant. Shortly after his arrival an agreement was entered into between the parties, in which it was determined that the plaintiff should be allowed a salary of two pounds a week for three years, with board and lodging for himself and his wife, who was then expected from England and at the expiration of that period it was agreed, on the part of the defendant, that the plaintiff should succeed to his business and the stock in trade be made over to him. After the plaintiff had been in the employment of Robinson for a few weeks, another professor of the same art, named Inch, arrived in the colony and was engaged by the defendant and Sharpe was discharged. For the defence it was contended that Sharpe had made use of filthy language in his business, and had offended the customers, and that he had refused to perform certain work that he had been ordered to do. It appeared from the evidence that Sharpe had been ordered to manufacture some ornaments in hair such as watch-guards and eardrops, and had refused on the ground that it formed no part of his agreement, and was not a part of a hair-dresser's business. Several witnesses were examined on this point and varied very much in their evidence; some alleged that the work in question was invariably performed by jewellers and not by hair dressers; others stated that it was the performance of hair dressers although sometimes undertaken by jewellers. The evidence was very lengthy and in many parts would not bear publication, abounding in smutticisms. It was asserted for the defendant that the terms of the alleged agreement were of such a nature that the defendant would have been out of his senses to have entered into it. On the other hand it was contended that if he were fool enough to enter into it, he had done so with his eyes open and must abide by it. After a lengthy consideration of the case, the Assessors found a verdict for the plaintiff, -- damages £250.

Counsel in both cases; for the plaintiff, Messrs. Foster and Windeyer; for the defendant Messrs. a'Beckett and Broadhurst.



[1]  See also Sydney Herald, 27 September 1839.

Published by the Division of Law, Macquarie University