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Colonial Cases

Campbell v. Forrest, 1869

[Mixed Court, jurisdiction over]

Campbell v. Forrest

Supreme Court of China and Japan
22 June 1869
Source: The North-China Herald, 26 June 1869



June 22nd 1869.

Before Sir E HORNBY, Chief Judge.


The plaintiff in this case, who was asked to show cause why the petition should not be dismissed, read at some length a document asking that as he was unable to procure legal assistance his Lordship would be pleased to overlook all informalities that might appear on the face of his petition, and give him his assistance; the more so as he was able to state on oath that the defendant had made himself personably liable for the amount, and that in a similar case, some time ago decided, namely that of Reynolds v. Medhurst was a precedent that he could obtain redress.

His Lordship said that did not get over his difficulty of exercising jurisdiction over the Mixed Courts.  It was a foreign Court attended by Assessors who watched over the cases affecting foreigners.  They were not responsible for the action of the Court, and could not be made so.

Petitioner then asked where he could get justice.

His Lordship said he could not tell.  In this case the defendant was acting as an Assessor, and was not liable unless indeed it could be shown that he had maliciously stepped out of his way to do or cause to be done an injury to a suitor.

Petitioner then asked what was the use of getting a judgment in the Mixed Court.

His Lordship said he could not tell.  When the bond turned out insufficient, and it was proved that it ought not to have been taken, Mr. Medhurst had kindly exercised himself to get the mistake rectified - he arranged to have the case reheard and thoroughly sifted.  The magistrate Chen had assented to this, and a day was fixed for the hearing, when the Petitioner chose to listen to bad advise - refused to attend the Court - wrote letters to the papers abusive of the Consular officers, and it was not likely that Mr. Medhurst or any one else would again  exert themselves on  his behalf.  On this point he had no one to blame but himself.  That, however, was beside the present question.  This Court had no jurisdiction over Mr. Forrest as Assessor of the Mixed Court.

The petition must stand dismissed; the court having no jurisdiction.

Published by Centre for Comparative Law, History and Governance at Macquarie Law School