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

In re Thurlow

legal practitioners, discipline of

Supreme Court of New South Wales, Port Phillip

Willis J., 29 June 1841

Source: Port Phillip Patriot, 1 July 1841

J.W. Thurlow, One &c. ---On Tuesday last, Mr. John William Thurlow appeared on the floor of the Supreme Court, pursuant to an attachment that had been issued against him. At 12 o'clock, his Honor took his seat on the bench, and stated, that he thought he had fixed 11 o'clock for hearing the case. His Honor then addressed Mr. Thurlow as follows:---

I have read what you have stated respecting the matter before me, and, taking the circumstances into consideration, the Court is disposed to deal as leniently with you as the nature of the contempt will allow. The Court will mark its sense of your conduct by its sentence, as contempt cannot be looked over; thinking by such a course, more effect will be produced on an honourable mind than inflicting a severer sentence, and I therefore direct, that you be suspended from practising as an attorney, solicitor, and proctor of this court, until the 1st day of October next.

At present, under the act, I cannot prevent your acting as a conveyancer. I have thus leniently performed my duty, having taken your family into consideration; as your suspension merely extends over the long vacation, it cannot injure you much; and I trust you will be so cautious in your future conduct, as not again to incur the displeasure of the Court.

Mr. Barry moved, that his honor would allow Mr. Hinton, who was admitted on the first day of Easter term provisionally on his filing an affidavit of the manner he had employed himself since that time. His Honor remembered something of the case, and would grant the application, although it should strictly be made in term; but the present case would not be established as a precedent. Mt. Hinton was then sworn in as an Attorney, Solicitor, and Proctor.

The Court then adjourned.

Willis J., in Chambers, 13 July 1841

Source: Port Phillip Patriot, 15 July 1841

Re J.W. Thurlow, one &c. ---Mr. Thurlow, the solicitor, who had been sent for by His Honor, having entered the court, was thus addressed by the learned Judge, "Mr. Thurlow I have sent for you in consequence of a letter or memorial I received from you a few days since, wherein you state that in consequence of your being suspended from practising as an attorney, solicitor and proctor of this court until October next, you have been deprived of business of every kind. At the time of your suspension, which was, to use the mildest term, for improper conduct as an officer of this court, I distinctly stated that I could not prevent you practising as a conveyancer, and I say now as I did on a recent occasion, that I will not exercise a jurisdiction I think I do not conscientiously possess; you also state that in the event of your suspension being persisted in, you have not the means to support your wife and family, and that inevitable ruin to yourself must be the consequence, and at the same time you pray to be restored to the profession for the benefit of your family, and you pledge yourself to uphold the dignity of the profession; I am inclined to take that pledge, and hope that your suspension will have such an effect, that you will in future guard yourself from such misconduct.

I now speak as a friend, not as a Judge, and sincerely hope never to have occasion to animadvert on your conduct in future. I am willing to give you every advantage in the present case; in looking over the affidavit of Mr. Simpson, I perceive he has sworn himself to be the acting Police Magistrate,, having previously resigned his appointment as Police Magistrate for this district; in swearing this Mr. Simpson has certainly committed an error, but it was no doubt an oversight; Mr. Simpson ought to have known that previous to swearing he was the Acting Police Magistrate of Melbourne, it was necessary for him to take the customary oath prescribed by the Act of Council, before me. This did not occur to me in the investigation of your case, and you will therefore now have the benefit of it. I shall therefore remove the suspension and you are as heretofore privileged, to act as an attorney, solicitor and proctor of this court. His Honor then directed the Deputy Registrar to rescind the order for Mr. Thurlow's suspension.

Published by the Division of Law, Macquarie University