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

In re Hazlehurst [1841] NSWSupC 68

insolvency - imprisonment for debt, living in the rules

Supreme Court of New South Wales
July 1841
Source: Sydney Herald, 31 July 1841

___________ V. HAZLEHURST.

The present insolvent had been sold off by the present plaintiff in April last, and on Monday last had been taken in custody by a separate execution for £46, from that under which he had been sold off. He had been a number of years in business, and in different lines of business, viz., as a manufacturer of pottery, as a brickmaker, also as a butcher and baker, what he had made as a baker he had lost as a potter; he had also lost severely by his callings as butcher and baker, by trusting a number of persons residing on the rocks, who after getting into his debt as much as they could, left the place, and he could not since then find them out. There was a list in his schedule of between sixty or seventy persons who owed him for their respective debts, a sum which collectively amounted to £625, but there was only between £30 and £40 of the same marked as good debts, and only the surnames of the greater portion of [them were enter]ed in the schedule. He was unable to fill up the Christian names as he did not know them.
Mr. JOHNSON opposed him for the plaintiff, as he had not placed his books in Court, also in order that an assignee might be appointed.
The JUDGE expressed surprise that the insolvent had been able to get his papers ready so soon as he had only been in custody since Monday.
Mr. G. R. NICHOLS, as amicus curia; informed the Court that the insolvent never had been in gaol at all, but was living in the rules as many others were doing; that since the rules had been made to extend along Elizabeth-street, it had been the means of raising the rents of that part of the town at least twenty-five per cent.
His HONOR said still that did not explain how that enabled the insolvent to get his papers ready so expeditiously.
Mr. NICHOLS explained this part of insolvency by stating that many insolvents were never in custody at all - they got their papers cut and dry, then went to the sheriff, up stairs - surrendered themselves - gave bail, and waled off to their lodgings, in the rules: he thought if the rules were extended in Maitland as they are in Sydney, and the insolvents discharged there by the Circuit Court, that it would not only benefit that town, but also prevent such numbers from coming to Sydney to live in the rules. The insolvent having put his books into Court, and Mr. Campbell having been appointed Trustee he was discharged.

Published by the Division of Law, Macquarie University