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Colonial Cases

Sheng Shing v. Woodward, 1897

[sale of goods]


Sheng Shing v. Woodward

United States Consular Court, Shanghai
Goodnow, December 1897
Source: North China Herald, 31 December, 1897



Shanghai, 24th December.

Before John Goodnow, Esq., Consul-General, and Messrs. C. C. Bennett and A. W. Danforth, Assessors.


   This was an action by the Sheng Shing Hong against A. Woodward, trading in Shanghai under the name of Woodward Bros. & Co. and representing A. T. Woodward & Co. of Kobe, for Tls. 2,374.16, balance due on a sale of cotton. Plaintiffs were represented by Mr. H. P. Wilkinson, defendant conducting his own case.

   The evidence showed that on the 1st of July last they sold to defendants 1,000 piculs of cotton. They delivered half the quantity and a cheque for Tls. 6,000 was received in payment. The balance, Tls. 2,374.16 was, however, still unpaid, and this was the account for which plaintiffs were suing. The cheque was dishonoured, and defendant gave another in its place, dated July 26th, plaintiffs guaranteeing that if this cheque were paid, they would deliver the remaining 500 piculs of cotton. Defendant was under the impression that the delivery of the remaining 500 piculs was not dependent upon the payment of the cheque, and his intention was to hold the Tls. 2,374.16 as a guarantee for the delivery. 

   No further consignment of cotton was delivered, and on the 26th of July, upon presentation of the cheque which defendant had tendered, payment was refused. The first 500 piculs of cotton had in the meantime gone to Kobe, and the circumstances of the case being brought to the notice of Mr. Jernigan, he telegraphed the U.S. Vice-Consul in Kone to seize the cotton, which was done.

   Defendant set up in defence that the original contract specified a time within which the cotton was to be delivered. This condition had not been complied with, and the cotton had not been delivered within the specified time. Defendants' firm in Kobe were fined 18,000 yen by the Japanese authorities for failure to deliver the cotton to other parties within the specified time. The contract with the complainants had been made in China and as translated to defendant by his compradore a specified time was mentioned. The compradore may have misrepresented the contents of the agreement.

   Plaintiff denied the existence of a specified time in the agreement. There was no written agreement.

   His Honour reserved judgment.

.  .  .  

29th December.

   Upon the Court resuming,

   His Honour suggested that the defendants should pay to the plaintiff two-thirds of the amount claimed in settlement of the case, and that he should give a bond that the money should be paid within thirty days.

   Defendant said he could not at once get guarantors.

   His Honour suggested that the parties should then retire in order that they might come to some arrangement as to the matter of the bond.

   Mr. Wilkinson and the defendant then left the Court. On returning the learned Counsel said he had suggested that the Court should agree to adjourn the hearing of the case until 2 p.m. that day, and that if defendant could provide such sureties as would be acceptable then the proceedings should terminate on the conditions suggested by his Honour, if not the case could go on. On that basis, if the proper sureties were provided for the payment of two thirds within a month, the plaintiffs would take that in satisfaction for their claim and as judgment.

   The Court then adjourned.

.  .  .  

   Upon resuming at two o'clock, Mr. Wilkinson said he had had a consultation with the defendant, and was prepared to take the money that was in Court in immediate payment, and a bond for the balance, two thirds of the claim. If the balance were paid there would be no further proceedings.

   Defendant expressed his approval of this proposal, and the Court adjourned till two o'clock on the following day for the production of the bond by defendant.

.  .  .  

30th December.

   In this case judgment was given for the plaintiffs against A. Woodward, doing business as A. Woodward, Bros & Co. in Shanghai, for the whole amount of the claim, with interest at the rate of 6 per cent from 26th July,1897, and costs.

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