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

Amner v. Duck [1840] NSWSupC 24

work and labour, ships' crews, imprisonment for debt on mesne process, judicial attitude to

Supreme Court of New South Wales

Stephen J., 10 June 1840

Source: Sydney Herald, 12 June 1840[1]

Amner v. Duck. - This was an action brought by the plaintiff, a master ship-carpenter in Sydney, in order to recover the sum of £21 18s 5d for work and labour performed by him and his servants, by the defendants order, for the brig Meanwell, of which the defendant has the command.  It appears that the action would have been resisted had not the plaintiff, under the impression that the Meanwell when she was going on a short trip to Port Stephens, had the defendant arrested, he having been informed that the vessel was about to leave the colony on a long voyage.  The only defence offered was, that a new jib-boom made by the plaintiff for the vessel, was too small; and Mr. Darvall, for the defendant, submitted that his client would consent to a verdict for any sum under £20.  In putting the case to the assessors, his honor said they should be careful in making up their verdict, as it was a principle of that part of the law of arrest which related to the case before the court, that no man could be arrested for less than £20.  After examining the documentary evidence the assessors returned a verdict, for the plaintiff, damages £20 8s. 5d.  After the verdict had been recorded his honor recalled one of the witnesses and enquired, if after the repairs were done, and before the vessel sailed for Port Stephen, the plaintiff was aware that the vessel was going only to Port Stephen, when he was answered that the plaintiff knew where the vessel was going, on which he pronounced it a very scandalous case of arrest, if it really was known to the plaintiff when he applied for the order to arrest, but he did not see how a judge could act otherwise than by granting the order.


[1]              See also Australian, 13 June 1840.

Published by the Division of Law, Macquarie University