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Colonial Cases

China Fire Insurance Co. v. Harvie, 1886


China Fire Insurance Co. v. Harvie

Rennie CJ, 9 February 1886
Source: North China Herald, 10 February 1886

Shanghai, 9th February, 1886.
Before Sir R. T. Rennie, Kt., Chief Justice.
  This was an action for foreclosure of a mortgage on some property of the defendant's registered in the British Consulate as Lot 1498, title-deed, 1491, bounded on the north by the Foochow Road, and the south by the Swatow Road, on the east by the Yunnan Road and on the west by the Thibet Road.  The plaintiff's, according to their petition, had originally granted a loan of Tls. 22,500 at 9 per cent on the security of the land, and afterwards a further loan of Tls. 6,000 at ten per cent on the security of the hereditaments and premises; and they prayed for payment of principal, interest and expenses, or in default foreclosure of the mortgage.
  Mr. R. E. Wainwright appeared for the plaintiffs, and the defendant, who is now a prisoner in H.B.M.'s gaol, did not appear.
  Alfred Barnes, Chief Gaoler at H. B. M.'s Gaol, deposed that he had served the defendant with a copy of the petition in this case, and that in answer to a question as to whether he wished to appear the defendant had said, "No., let things take their course."
  Mr. Wainewright produced the deeds or mortgage referred to in the petition, and, having been sworn, deposed to having witnessed the defendant execute the original deed and had seen him sign a receipt for the money.  He also deposed to having given notice to the defendant to pay off the mortgage money in January, 1885.
  Alexander McLeod, a partner in the firm of Gibb, Livingston & Co., agents in Shanghai for the plaintiff firm, deposed to the facts stated in the petition, stating that no part of either principal sum had been paid only up to the 25th November, 1884.  He had also paid certain sums or costs and expense, fire insurance, etc. The Plaintiffs had entered into possession of the property in about November of last year, and were still in possession.
  William Buchanan, partner in the firm of Bisset & Co., said he had collected the rents of the property in question for the plaintiffs since the 7th September, 1885. Up to the end of December the net amount collected was Tls. 307.94.  There were 123 houses on the property, of which 63 were more or less complete.  He had obtained three estimates from contractors as to the cost of completing the other sixty, and these varied from Tls. 1,650 to Tls. 2,500; he thought Tls. 2,000 was about what it would comer to.
     His Lordship asked what was the object of this evidence.
  Mr. Wainewright said the plaintiffs wanted the sanction of the Court to their improving the property by completing these houses.
  His Lordship intimated that a separate application would be required for this.  He thought, however, that as the witness had commenced to give evidence with regard to that point he had better complete it.
  The witness, in answer to further questions from Mr. Wainewright, said all the finished houses were let, and he believed if the others were completed this would improve the property and give a fair interest on the outlay.
  His Lordship directed accounts to be taken, after which a Decree would be issued in accordance with the prayer of the petition.

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