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

Important Forbes period cases

IMPORTANT JUDGMENTS

Forbes court, 1824-1836

Listed below are what we consider to be the most important judgments delivered by the Supreme Court of New South Wales under Forbes C.J. There are 262 cases listed, including many examples of what would now be called appellate court judgments.  The court often sat in banco, when all members of the court considered complex questions of law.  The list also includes decisions on the law delivered by the trial judge in his charge to the juries or assessors who considered these cases.  These were particularly important when Forbes C.J. sat alone in the court.  As well, it includes some advisory opinions: some of the most important decisions by the judges of the court were delivered in response to government requests for legal opinions.

Each case listed here contains two ratings, separated by a slash.  The maximum rating is 10/10 = 20.  The first figure is our assessment as to the quality and length of the judgment, and the second concerns the significance of the point of law.  Our initial view is that all cases with an overall rating of 16 or more are worth reporting formally.  There are 18 cases listed here with an overall rating of 20 (out of 102 with a rating of 16 or better), which should be contrasted with Gordon Legge's decision in 1896 to report only 7 of the Forbes period cases in his Legge's Reports.  Our list notes those cases which have been reported in Legge, but our reports are not the same as his.  Ours are more comprehensive in every case, and in R. v. Murrell, 1836, in particular, it is clear that his report is inadequate.  (See B. Kercher (ed.), "R v Ballard, R v Murrell, and R v Bonjon" (edited law reports, with introduction) (1998) 3 (3) Australian Indigenous Law Reporter 410-425.)  In all but one case, we agree with Legge's assessment that his cases were worth reporting.  The exception is Allan v. Bull (1836) 1 Legge 71, which we consider so insignificant that we do not include it.  It concerns the adoption of English criminal procedure in libel cases.  Many other cases make the same point with greater detail and authority.  One other case was reported in a different set of retrospective law reports, the Supreme Court ReportsDoe dem. Clark v. Smithers(1834) 1 Supreme Court Reports 33 (appendix).

The keywords used here are taken from the online versions of the cases, with the primary points of law in italics.  Additional keywords added during the compilation of this list are in parentheses.  To search for topics among cases in this list, we recommend that you use your browser's search or find facility. This document is divided into two pages.  This page covers 1824-1830, and the second the cases decided by the Forbes court between 1831 and 1836 For a complete search, you will have to search both pages.

1824: (3 cases)

 

R v Charland, 1824: attempted murder - reception of English law - defence of insanity - criminal procedure - nolle prosequi - county - trial by jury - Lord Ellenborough's Act

2/9 = 11

 

R. v. Dargan and Wildred 1824: [Court of Quarter Sessions - appointment of magistrates - supervision of inferior courts]

3/7 = 10

 

R. v. the Magistrates of Sydney 1824: [Terra nullius - adoption of English law - Crown prerogative - criminal procedure -trial by jury - felony attaint - supervision of inferior courts - mandamus]

10/10 = 20

 

1825: (13 cases)

 

Berry v. Lord 1825: [action on Bill of Exchange - laches - new trial - fresh evidence]

5/6 = 11

 

Cooper and Wife v. Best 1825: [married women's legal disabilities - slander - defamation -appeal - nonsuit]

5/5 = 10

 

Criminal procedure case 1825: [indictments - criminal procedure - supervision of inferior courts - criminal appeals]

8/7 but opinion = 15

 

Mitchell v. Howe 1825: [libel - defence of truth - jury trial - arrest of ship - East India Company's monopoly - prize vessel - the Almorah]

5/6 = 11

 

Payne v. Smithers 1825: [evidence - competence of witness - bill of exchange - appeal - new trial]

8/7 = 15

 

R. v. Cooper 1825: [reception of English law - title to land - land law - conveyancing - trial by jury - evidence by Governor - Crown prerogative]

6/9 = 15

 

R. v. Dwyer, Kinnear, Madden and Blewit 1825: [murder - felony murder rule - pardon - delegation of Crown prerogative - conditions precedent and subsequent - felony attaint - convict evidence]

3/8 = 11

 

R. v. Mitchell (No. 2) 1825: [trespass to goods - detinue - arrest of ship - condemnation of ship - Admiralty - East India Company's monopoly - prize vessel - the Almorah - conflict of laws -election]

7/6 = 15

 

R. v. Sheriff of New South Wales 1825: [trial by jury - emancipists - convict rights -mandamus - reception of English law]

8/9 = 17

 

R. v. Wentworth, Campbell, and Dunn 1825: [reception of English law - trial by jury - felony attaint - emancipists' rights - supervision of inferior courts - mandamus]

9/9 = 18

 

Raine and Ramsay v. Piper 1825: [trover - tobacco - import duties - customs duties - excise - taxation - navigation laws - statutory interpretation - East India Company's monopoly - customary law]

7/7 = 14

 

Walker v. Scott (No. 1) 1825: [Prohibition - ecclesiastical visitor - law of education -   schools -  charitable trusts - reception of English law]

6/9 = 15

 

Willink v. Moore 1825: [law reporting - assumpsit - statutes of limitations - reception of English law - English attitudes to New South Wales courts - conflict of laws]

7/7 = 14

 

1826 (14 cases)

 

Doe dem. Mills and Douglass v. Robinson 1826: [succession - ejectment]

4/3 = 7

 

R. v. Broadbear and Broadbear 1826: [reception of English law, date of reception - married women's legal disabilities - supervision of inferior courts - master and servant - schools - education law]

9/8 = 17

 

R. v. Cable 1826: [stealing, horse - felony attaint - convict evidence - convict service, assignment to spouse - married women's legal disabilities, wife of convict - Crown mercy - death recorded - capital punishment - sentencing discretion]

5/8 = 13

 

R. v. Cook and Curry 1826: [highway robbery (elements) - bushrangers - Parramatta - entrapment]

6/8 = 14

 

R. v. Galvin 1826: [reception of English law - counties - Cawdor - evidence - contempt - service of process - Court of Quarter Sessions, jurisdiction - witness refusing to be sworn]

7/8 = 15

 

R. v. Howe 1826: [criminal libel - press freedom - convict punishment - magistrate, illegal punishment - Macarthur faction]

7/8 = 15

 

R. v. Laurie 1826: [stealing - larceny by bailee - mens rea]

4/8 = 12

 

R. v. Moore and Reilly 1826: [highway robbery - Parramatta - promissory notes - Spanish dollars - currency - forgery]

5/6 = 11 (Forbes' comment on superannuated law...)

 

R. v. Ridgway, Chip, Colthurst and Stanly 1826: [murder - Port Stephens - Aborigines, killing of - capital punishment, at place of crime - Crown mercy]

3/10 = 13

 

R. v. Rossi, Principal Superintendent of Police 1826: [criminal procedure - compounding of felony - magistrates, corruption - supervision of inferior courts - receiving stolen goods]

6/8 = 14

 

R. v. Short 1826: [stealing - women defendants in crime - criminal procedure - indictments - arrest of judgment]

6/8 = 14

 

Jurisdiction of Supreme Court Opinion 1826: [Supreme Court, jurisdiction of - nisi prius - New Zealand, Supreme Court jurisdiction over]

8/7 = 15 advisory opinion

 

Transportation Opinion 1826: [Sudds and Thompson case - transportation, convict - convict punishment - Crown prerogative - Crown mercy - press freedom]

7/6 = 13 advisory opinion

 

Walker v. Scott (No. 2) 1826: [Prohibition - judge in own cause - ecclesiastical visitor -Visitor's jurisdiction -  schools -  education law - charitable trusts - law reporting]

10/10 = 20

 

1827 (15 cases)

 

Broadbear and wife v. McArthur et al. 1827: [false imprisonment - master and servant - schools - education law - Stephen J., complaint against - Forbes C.J. and Governor Darling, conflict between - magistrate, action against - separation of powers]

7/8 = 15

 

Convict Assignment Opinion 1827: [convict service - convicts, analogy with slavery - transportation, convict - ticket of leave, legality - felony attaint, right to sit on jury - trial by jury - Forbes C.J. and Governor Darling, conflict between]

8/9 = 17 advisory opinion

 

Ex parte Wardell and Wentworth 1827: [Colonial Secretary, action against - criminal libel - criminal procedure - Crown immunity - press freedom - Forbes C.J. and Governor Darling, conflict between - convict service]

5/6 = 11

 

Fuller v. Drake 1827: [assault - ship, discipline on - ship's crew]

5/8 = 13

 

Newspaper Acts Opinion 1827: [press freedom - press laws - sedition - criminal libel -repugnance to English law - reception of English law - stamp duty - taxation - Forbes C.J. and Governor Darling, conflict between - Macarthur faction - auctioneers' licensing law, consistency with English law - theatre licensing law, consistency with English law - licensing, repugnance to English law]

10/10 = 20 advisory opinion

 

R. v. Davison 1827: [criminal procedure (appt of Attorney General) - criminal informations - arrest of judgment - Magna Charta - autrefois acquit - presumption of innocence - stealing, cattle - death recorded]

6/8 = 14

 

R. v. Flanagan et al. 1827: [piracy - Norfolk Island - New Zealand - convict escape - convict service - Crown mercy - transportation, convict - sentencing discretion - death recorded - capital punishment (duress)]

8/9 = 17

 

R. v. Howe 1827: [contempt of court, attachment - press freedom - law reporting]

6/7 = 13

 

R. v. Lowe 1827: [murder - Aborigines, killing of - military defendant in crime]

8/10 = 18

 

R. v. Walton et al. 1827: [piracy - Admiralty jurisdiction - reception of English law - Norfolk Island - New Zealand - convict escape - Crown mercy - convict escape - hulk]

7/8 = 15

 

R. v. Wardell (No. 1) 1827: [seditious libel - imprisonment for debt - Forbes C.J., liberalism of - taxation without representation - trial by jury - criminal procedure - Grand Jury - prosecutions, ex officio - reception of English law]

7/9 = 16

 

R. v. Wardell (No. 2) 1827: [criminal procedure - criminal informations - seditious libel - press freedom - convict service]

7/8 = 15 prelim judgment

 

R. v. Wardell (No. 3) 1827: [seditious libel (jury) - press freedom - Sudds and Thompson case - law reporting - Forbes C.J. and Governor Darling, conflict between]

7/8 = 15

 

R. v. Wardell (No. 4) 1827: [criminal libel - election - criminal procedure - reception of English law - Forbes C.J. and Governor Darling, conflict between]

9/9 = 18

 

Sims and Foster v. The Ship Cumberland, Robert Carns, Master 1827: [admiralty - master and servant - ship's crew]

7/8 = 15

 

1828 (28 cases)

 

Applicability of Criminal Laws Opinion 1828: [reception of English law, date of reception - criminal code - imprisonment for debt]

7/9 = 16 opinion

 

Briggs v. Colls 1828: [costs, small cases - reception of English law - Court of Requests - Supreme Court, jurisdiction - supervision of inferior courts]

9/6 = 15

Brown v. Alexander 1828: [land title - permissive occupancy - reception of English law - Crown prerogative - Newfoundland]

8/10 = 18

 

Brown v. Mannix 1828: [reception of English law, date of reception - liquor laws - goods sold and delivered]

10/9 = 19

 

Ex parte Howe 1828: [contempt of court, press commentary on pending cases - press freedom - law reporting]

8/9 = 17

 

Franks v. Ikin 1828: [assumpsit - common money counts - liquor laws- reception of English law - married women's legal disabilities - set off - new trial]

9/6 = 15

 

Green v. Woodroffe 1828: [convict service, assignment to spouse - felony attaint - married women's legal disabilities]

6/8 = 14

 

In re Bardsley 1828: [supervision of inferior courts - certiorari, costs (against crown) - magistrate, liability as to costs - magistrate, action against - liquor laws - witness, competency when interested]

9/8 = 17

 

In re Campbell 1828: [insolvency]

5/4 = 9

 

In re Lookaye alias Edwards 1828: [hulk - convict punishment - habeas corpus - convict escape - convict service, assignment to spouse - supervision of inferior courts - certiorari - magistrate, illegal punishment by - Port Macquarie - Bathurst - Norfolk Island - Wellington]

5/4 = 9

 

In re Mahony 1828: [insolvency - imprisonment for debt - ne exeat regno - habeas corpus - reception of English law, bankruptcy - equity, delays in]

8/7 = 15

 

In re Nowlan 1828: [supervision of inferior courts - certiorari - magistrates, liability as to costs]

7/7 = 14

 

McVitie v. Maziere 1828: [insolvency - warrant of attorney]

6/7 = 13

 

Mills v. Rowe 1828: [family law - warrant of attorney - separation deed between spouses - adultery - contract, equity setting aside - Supreme Court, merger of equity and common law jurisdictions - equitable jurisdiction - contract, consideration - reception of English law - Wardell, personal life]

10/8 = 18

 

Nash v. Purcell 1828: [judicial notice, legislation - Governors' Orders, validity - replevin - impounded animals - distress damage feasant - new trial - repugnance to English law - judicial review of legislation - Legislative Council, legislative powers of - legislative power, delegation of - Georges River - Liverpool]

10/10 = 20

 

R. v. Atkin, Chalmers and Milton 1828: [murder - manslaughter - duelling]

7/8 = 15

 

R. v. Bensley 1828: [stealing, cattle - Cowpastures - indictments - approver, evidence of - criminal procedure - appeal]

3/7 = 10

 

R. v. Binge Mhulto 1828: [Aboriginal defendant - murder - attempted murder - Lord Ellenborough's Act - Moreton Bay]

4/10 = 14

 

R. v. Geeson, Herbert and Welsh 1828: [military defendants in crime - murder, mens rea - manslaughter - provocation - convict evidence - jury, military - principal and accessory - benefit of clergy - reception of English law, date of reception]

5/7 = 12

 

R. v. Hall (No. 2) 1828: [criminal libel - press freedom - trial by jury - Aborigines, character of - military jury - bond, criminal - sentencing discretion]

5/6 = 11

 

R. v. Hall (No. 3) 1828: [press freedom - stamp duty - press laws - statutory interpretation, "newspaper"]

8/6 = 14

 

R. v. Howe 1828: [criminal procedure - criminal informations - criminal libel - Forbes C.J. and Governor Darling, conflict between - Marsden, Rev. Samuel - Douglass, allegations against - Sudds and Thompson - magistrates, illegal punishment by - contempt of court, press commentary on pending cases]

6/5 = 11

 

R. v. Lelland 1828: [Lord Ellenborough's Act - attempted murder - police, criminal defendants -police, powers of - drunkenness, offence of - death recorded]

6/7 = 13

 

R. v. Mackaness 1828: [Sheriff's liability - fee system of administration - Forbes C.J. and Governor Darling, conflict between - set off - Crown immunity]

6/7 = 13

 

R. v. Vignell 1828: [forgery - promissory note - Spanish dollars - currency - evidence, competence of witness - statutory interpretation - reception of English law - repugnance to English law]

8/7 = 15

 

Roberts v. Moncrief 1828: [convict discipline - ship, discipline on - false imprisonment - new trial]

7/7 = 14

 

Short v. Berry and Woolstencraft 1828: [Mareva injunction - injunction - partnership - detainers]

3/10 = 13

 

Taylor v. Mackaness 1828: [trespass to goods - damages, loss of use of goods - damages, remoteness of damage - Sheriff's liability - ship, title to - civil procedure - fieri facias]

6/9 = 15

 

1829 (27 cases)

 

Division of the Legal Profession: 1829 [legal practitioners, division of profession]

5/10 = 15

 

Beale v. Raine 1829: [convict service, assignment to spouse - married women's legal disabilities, wife of convict]

9/9 = 18

 

Belcher v. Dences 1829: [tenancy - set off - distress for rent - quantum meruit]

3/7 = 10

 

Bell v. Leary 1829: [replevin, judicial attitudes to - tenancy]

4/7 = 11 strong judicial comment

 

Bensley v. Stroud 1829: [malicious arrest - felony attaint - married women's legal disabilities, wife of convict - imprisonment for debt - legal practitioners, division of profession - legal practitioners, liability for negligence]

6/8 = 14

 

Buchanan v. Keith 1829: [bill of exchange - laches - customs and usages]

6/6 = 12

 

Cavenagh v. Pendeay 1829: [promissory note - imprisonment for debt - assumpsit]

7/6 = 13

 

Cullen v. Crawford 1829: [accord and satisfaction - master and servant - set off]

7/7 = 14

 

Doe dem. Busby v. Payne 1829: [costs, legal - ejectment - non suit]

5/5 = 10

 

Doe dem. Riley v. Campbell and Walker 1829: [succession, interpretation of will - primogeniture - intestacy]

9/8 = 17

 

Ex parte Wentworth, in re Mansfield 1829: [criminal informations - criminal procedure - Darling, Governor, move to impeach - Grand Jury - criminal libel - Sudds and Thompson case]

6/7 = 13

 

In re Clegg 1829: [insolvency, repeal of legislation - imprisonment for debt, campaign to abolish]

5/6 = 11

 

In re Hayes 1829: [convict rights - convict service - press freedom - law reporting]

5/8 = 13

 

In re Pashley 1829: [liquor laws - mandamus - reception of English law - supervision of inferior courts]

6/7 = 13

 

In re Shelly 1829: [prison conditions - bail - imprisonment for debt]

6/7 = 13

 

In re Tyler 1829: [habeas corpus - convict service - Wellington Valley - convict punishment -magistrate, action against - certiorari - supervision of inferior courts - Jane New's case - press freedom]

10/10 = 20

 

In re Jane New 1829: [Jane New's case - convict service - convict rights - Female Factory - convict punishment - Dowling J., attitude to government - Bushranging Act - statutory interpretation - appeals to Crown law officers]

10/10 = 20

 

Lord v. Wentworth 1829: [Privy Council - appeal, stay of execution]

3/10 = 13

 

R. v. Ballard or Barrett 1829: [Aboriginal defendant, offence against another Aborigine - Aboriginal land rights - Aboriginal law, recognition of - Aborigines, killing of - Aborigines, legal status]

9/10 = 19

 

R. v. Baxter 1829: [Sudds and Thompson case - sentencing discretion - reception of English law - larceny - habeas corpus - transportation, convict - convict punishment]

7/8 = 15

 

R. v. Gardener and Yems 1829: [convict evidence - reception of English law - capital punishment, mass execution]

9/9 = 18

 

R. v. Hall (No. 1) 1829: [trespass - church pew - ecclesiastical law - reception of English law - tenancy - trial by jury - established church of New South Wales]

9/9 = 18

 

R. v. Hall (No. 8) 1829: [criminal libel, banishment for - press laws - legislation, disallowance - press freedom - Jane New' case - law reporting, privilege - jury, military]

9/8 = 17

 

R. v. Hayes 1829: [seditious libel - trial by jury - jury, military - jury, challenge to - Sudds and Thompson case - press freedom - judicial review of legislation]

10/10 = 20

 

R. v. Pickering and Baxter 1829: [perjury - criminal procedure - indictments - children, criminal defendants]

6/7 = 13

 

The Schooner Darling 1829: [prohibition - customs duties - admiralty - navigation laws - reception of English law - civil procedure - quo warranto - qui tam - locus standi]

10/8 = 18

 

Transportation Opinion 1829: [transportation, convict - transportation, secondary - hulk]

7/8 = 15

 

1830 (32 cases)

 

Anonymous (No. 2) 1830: [reception of English law, prisons regulations - prisons regulations, clothing of prisoners - Supreme Court, power to regulate prisons - Supreme Court, power over sheriff - Sheriff, source of regulation of]

6/6 = 12

 

Blackman v. MacVitie 1830: [promissory note, defence that stolen - money laundering]Anonymous (No 2) [1830] NSWSupC 74 (Macquarie Law School)

7/8 = 15

 

Budenham v. Phillips 1830: [set off - promissory notes]

8/7 = 15

 

Doe demise Foster v. Sinclair 1830: [fieri facias, application to land]

5/7 = 12

 

Dunahay v. Ritchie 1830: [replevin - civil procedure - counties]

5/7 = 12

 

Ex parte England, Mackay and Coomber 1830: [convict escape - habeas corpus - Western Australia - hulk, Supreme Court rules concerning - Supreme Court Rules, disallowance of]

7/8 = 15

 

Ex parte Hutchinson, In re Terry v. Meehan 1830: [fieri facias - sheriff's liability - conveyancing, recovery of deposit - fee system of administration - reception of English law, liability of sheriff - law reporting]

6/6 = 12

 

Geary v. Vivian 1830: [Admiralty - penal bonds - penalties, relief against - entire contracts rule - ship's crew, desertion - master and servant - law reporting - Legge's Reports]

9/9 = 18

(1830) 1 Legge 1

 

Hall v. Hely 1830: [convict service, withdrawal of - press freedom - trial by jury - Crown debt recovery - Law of Extents]

7/8 = 15

 

Hall v. Mansfield (No. 1) 1830: [law reporting - press freedom - libel - arrest of judgment - new trial]

8/9 = 17

 

Hall v. Mansfield (No. 2) 1830: [libel, defences - new trial - press freedom - costs, legal - set off - trial by jury]

9/8 = 17

 

Hall v. Rossi and Others, Justices of the Peace 1830: [magistrate, action against - supervision of inferior courts - trial by jury - jury, military - Jane New's case - convict service, withdrawal of - press freedom]

6/9 = 15 value is statement at first jury trial

 

Hansey v. Girard 1830: [sale of goods, sale by description - contract law, unfair contracts]

6/9 = 15

 

Hoskin v. McQuoid 1830: [fieri facias, priority in time - fieri facias, against land - land, liability for debts - sheriff's liability]

7/8 = 15

 

In re de Mestre 1830: [British subject status - nationalisation - ship registration - liquor laws]

7/8 = 15

 

In re Raine 1830: [Mareva injunction]

3/10 = 13

 

Noble v. Cotton and others 1830: [Admiralty - ship, forfeiture of - Crown prerogative -Supreme Court, concurrent jurisdiction with Vice Admiralty Court - Supreme Court, exchequer jurisdiction - revenue laws - smuggling - Vice Admiralty Court, jurisdiction of]

8/9 = 17

 

R. v. Finch 1830: [women defendants in crime - receiving stolen goods - entrapment - Female Factory]

6/8 = 14

 

R. v. Gregson 1830: [bill of exchange, embezzling - embezzling]

6/6 = 12

 

R. v. Hayes 1830: [press freedom - press laws]

5/7 = 12

 

R. v. Hunt and Baker 1830: [stealing, clothes - succession, title to goods on death]

6/7 = 13

 

R. v. Johnson and Nimmo 1830: [receiving stolen goods]

4/6 = 10

 

R. v. Lee 1830: [larceny, emu - animals, property in native - ferae naturae]

5/9 = 14

 

R. v. Mansfield (No. 1) 1830: [Sudds and Thompson case - criminal libel - libel, defence of privilege - Darling, Governor, move to impeach - law reporting - Stephen J. and Governor Darling, conflict between]

9/9 = 18

 

R. v. Mansfield (No. 2) 1830: [contempt of court, press commentary on pending cases - law reporting, privilege - convict service, withdrawal of]

5/7 = 12

 

R. v. Oram, Spinks and Smith 1830: [approver,  evidence by - principal and accessory - women defendants in crime]

5/7 = 12

 

R. v. Shelvey and Champion 1830: [burglary, elements of - burglary, dwelling house, meaning of "dwelling house" - criminal prosecutions, right to counsel]

6/8 = 14

 

Raine v. McQuoid 1830: [specific performance - injunction - equitable principles]

3/7 = 10

 

Roach v. Fitzpatrick and another 1830: [trespass to the person - false imprisonment - Court of Requests - imprisonment for debt - damages, nominal - damages, exemplary]

4/6 = 10

 

Rodd v. Mansfield 1830: [press freedom - contempt of court, press commentary on pending cases - contempt of court, attachment - law reporting, privilege - libel, qualified privilege]

7/8 = 15

 

Weller v. Campbell 1830: [bill of exchange, laches - laches - law reporting]

7/8 = 15

 

Yeomans v. Smith 1830: [fieri facias, sale at undervalue - debt recovery]

5/9 = 14

JUDGMENTS 1831-1836

Published by the Division of Law, Macquarie University