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

Cobcroft v. Pringle [1840] NSWSupC 35

squatting run, trespass

Supreme Court of New South Wales

Willis J., 6 July 1840

Source: Sydney Herald, 8 July 1840

Cobcroft v. Pringle - This was an action for trespass, alledged to have been committed beyond the boundaries of the Colony.  The learned Judge Willis instructed the Jury to return a verdict for the defendant, on the ground that the plaintiff had not established a legal case of previous possession.  A verdict was returned for the plaintiff, damages one farthing.

Dowling C.J. and Willis J. 13 July 1840

Source: Sydney Herald, 17 July 1840

Cobcroft v. Pringle - This was a squatting case and tried before Mr. Justice Stephen, when a verdict was returned for the plaintiff, damages one farthing.  The Jury after returning this verdict said they thought the defendant had not trespassed on any part of the run below the Sandy Creek; this verdict the defendant insisted amounted to a verdict in his favor, and he therefore applied to have a verdict recorded in his favor, or a new trial granted.  Justice Willis thought that the Court ought not to interfere in the case, as these squatting actions had already gone to a most extraordinary extent, and were merely trifling cases, and he thought it was lowering the dignity of the Court to occupy its time in arguing about merely nominal damages, especially as there were precedents to show that the Court was not called on to interfere in cases where the damages were under twenty pounds.  The Chief Justice said after the verdict had been returned, the Jury might be assumed to have talked nonsense, and therefore the case could not be again re-opened.

Published by the Division of Law, Macquarie University