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Colonial Cases

Minor cases China 1920-1929

The Canton Times, 23 January 1920


Shanghai, Jan. 20. - Judge Lobingier has delivered an interesting ruling in the American court.  Oral wills are invalid except in the case or soldiers on service and sailors at sea.  The case arose from Frederick Paterson George, who died last October at Sinyang, Hupeh, bequeathing his personal effects, including his library, to the local mission in the presence of several witnesses.  The Court ruled that the property must go to deceased's estate. - C.M.


The Canton Times, 24 January 1920


Shanghai, Jan. 21. - Mr. Linebarger, the American lawyer recently suspended by the British Assessor, at the Mixed Court, for hasty remarks in connection with the municipal prosecution of recalcitrant shopkeepers has suitably apologised in open court and was thereupon reinstated. - C.M.


The Canton Times, 24 January 1920


Shanghai, Jan. 19. - Germans are gradually returning to Shanghai in a desultory manner.  George Sinnecker, who gained fame during the war by repeated appearances at the Mixed Court for failure to register, as an enemy subject, has miraculously reappeared directly peace is concluded.  He evaded deportation by vanishing from sight.  Others are also emerging from their hiding places. - China Mail.


The Canton Times, 29 January 1920

   Horace M. Wood, sentenced by the United States Court for China to nine months in Bilibid Prison, Manila, was sent to the Philippines Jan. 14 on the Pacific mail liner "Columbia," in custody of Mr. L. T. Kanake, appointed special United States Deputy Marshal.


The Canton Times, 17 February 1920

Shanghai, Feb. 12. - The French Mixed Court has dismissed the action in which a Chinese amah sought to recover half the Champions' Sweepstake won by another amah.  She alleged there was an agreement.  The case disclosed that a witness had been bribed to give evidence in plaintiff's favour.


The Canton Times, 11 May 1920

Korean Murdered, Consulate Verdict.

   A Korean found dead in a pool of water off Route de Siemen Shanghai on April 30, has been identified as Hai Zung-ho, who resided at a  Boone Road lodging house and was formerly employed as an interpreter at the Japanese Consulate-General.  After an investigation by Japanese Consular officials, a verdict of "murder by unknown person or persons" was returned.


The Canton Times, 28 June 1920


Shanghai, June 23. - The Supreme Court has awarded Tls. 30,000 damages to the Tsing Yue Dyes Co., against Frederick Large & Co.  The damages are for breach of contract.  The original claim was for Tls. 43,000.


The Times, 24 September 1920

FRANK JOSEPH KITCHING, late of Tongku, North China (Tientsin), PROBATE.


St. Petersburg Times, 27 December 1921 [Google News Archive]


Mixed Court Holds Till New Tribunal Is Organized.

SHANGHAI, Dec. 26. - Shanghai's Mixed Court, which has jurisdiction over Chinese generally who reside within the international Settlement and over foreigners who lack consular protection, is to have jurisdiction over Germans until such time as a special system of judicature is establisher, according to a decision handed down by the Mixed Court in October.

   The ruling was given on a demurrer that was filed in a case in which a German was a defendant.  The contention advanced was that the Mixed Court has no jurisdiction over Germans by reason of the agreement completed recently between Germany and China.  In overruling the demurrer the court held that the Sino-German agreement directs that cases involving germane shall be tried by new o5 modern courts but that until such a court or some other court is establisher having jurisdiction over Germans in the international settlement, the Mixed Court is bound to take jurisdiction, as the Mixed Court cannot admit that any person in the Settlement can at any moment be subject to the jurisdiction of no existing court.

   The ruling points out that it is for the German authorities by diplomatic methods to see that the proper courts are established without delay.


The Times, 5 April 1922

EDWARD SEGAR LEEDS, deceased, Newchwang, PROBATE.


Albury Banner, 5 May 1922


A 200-year-old grave was opened in Shanghai, China, to prove the owner's title in a difference between Chinese litigants who appeared in the mixed court recently, the court directing that the grave be opened.  The dispute concerned the ownership of a small tract of ground.  In the action Sung Chui-dong alleged that Yih Woo-zoong invaded the premises under controversy and erected a bamboo fence around certain graves thereon, asserting that the place was his ancestral burying ground.  The plaintiff claimed the property as his own by ancestral grant.  When the grave mounds were opened there was brought to light the tablets of a Chinese and his wife who had lived and died under the reign of the Emperor Kang-Hsi.  When the tablets were brought to court it was found that the characters on them were of a peculiar form, and the writing read from left to right instead of from top to bottom, but the inking was clear and the plaques were well preserved.  After the reading of the tablets the court announced the graves as those of the defendants' family and Sung's petition was dismissed.


Cairns Post, 23 February 1925



   A Chinese soldier who was arrested at 5.30 p.m. on Boundary Road, when found to be in possession of a Mauser automatic revolver and 151 rounds of ammunition, was sentenced to three months' imprisonment in the Mixed Court at Shanghai, on a charge of possession of arms (says the "North China Herald".)

   Police evidence stated that the accused was arrested while attempting to force his way into the Settlement.  Although the policeman had tried to stop the accused, the latter had forced his way through, with the result that several other constables had to be summoned to the scene.  Inspector Mackenzie told the Court that this sort of thing was becoming very common, and that nearly every day no less than 100 soldiers had to be turned back from the Settlement boundary.  The accused stated that he was under th4 command of General Bei Baoshan, and that he acted according to the command of his superior officer.  He did not understand what the Chinese constable said to him.


The Times, 9 June 1925

DEATH OF MR. R. A. MOWAT.  China and Japan.


The Sydney Morning Herald, 6 July 1925



Protest from Moscow.

   SHANGHAI, July 3,

   A Russian named Dosser, and his wife, who is suspected Bolshevik agents, appeared before the Shanghai Mixed Court on charges of being in possession or literature liable to cause a breach of the peace and of being undesirables and a menace to the peace of the settlement.  The Dossers' counsel applied for at least a fortnights' remand, and the grounds that the charges were incomplete.  The Court overruled the objections.  Mr. Fischer then challenged the Court's jurisdiction, pointing out that under the Chino-Russian agreement Soviet citizens in China must be tried by Chinese courts.  The Court again overruled the point, the British Assessor stating that he had most definite instructions from the Consular body in regard to hearing all Russian cases - criminal and civil.

   Mr. Fischer's third plea was that he had not received from the police all relevant documents.  The Court replied that the documents he had not received would not be admitted during that day's hearing.

   After police evidence had been given of the documents found in the Dossers' luggage, the case was adjourned until Monday. - Reuter. ...


The Sydney Morning Herald, 15 July 1925


 SHANGHAI, July 11.

   Eugene Fortunatoff, a doctor at the Soviet Consulate, appeared before the Mixed Court this morning charged, under Articles 142-3 of the Chinese Provisional Criminal Code, with offering a bribe to a public official.  After evidence of arrest, accused was remanded.  The police assert that accused offered 10,000 dollars to Municipal-constable Kodrolivansky, who assisted in the arrest of the Bolshevik suspect, Dosser, recently, if he would sign a document stating that he had forged a certificate found in Dosser's luggage, on instructions from his British superior, after which Kodrolivansky was to leave Shanghai.  Kordolivansky stared that he pretended to comply, but reported the matter to the police authorities, who arranged a trap, and arrested Fortunatoff when the latter kept tryst with 10,000 dollars.

   Dosser will reappear before the Mixed Court this afternoon, when evidence will be taken regarding the certificate, which Dosser's counsel last week asserted he would be able to prove was a forgery. - Reuter.


The Sydney Morning Herald, 27 December 1925


LONDON, Dec. 26. - The mixed court at Shanghai has re-opened.  As the case before the Court concerned a German subject, German assessors sat with the Chinese magistrate.


The Spokeman Review, 29 August 1926 [Google News Archive]


International Mixed Body Decides All Cases, Larceny to Murder.

   The volume and variety of work handled by the Shanghai international mixed court is stupendous, says James Porter Davis in Current History Magazine.  Criminal charges running from blocking traffic with a wheelbarrow or stealing scrap iron the the capital offences of murder and armed robbery are heard and disposed of by thousands without jury and without appeal, though rehearings are frequently granted if there appears afterward any probability of error in the original judgment.

   Criminals condemned to be executed are sent to the Chinese military authorities outside the settlement to be shot.  Others convicted are fined or sent to the municipal jail to serve their sentences.  Civil suits, equity cases, admiralty cases, probate cases, all the complicated judicial work of a great seaport city is poured into this court, day in and day out.

   It is not uncommon for cases to come up in which hundreds of thousands of dollars arc involved.  Whether in those cases where they act as American assessors (when an American is bringing suit) i.e. in the cases between Chinese, there is no more trying or responsible work in the hands of our foreign service than this onerous task. Their burden is not lessened by the fact that this court applies Chinese not foreign law.  Its decisions are based on foreign law only when there is no Chinese law or established custom to cover the case.


The World's News (Sydney), 18 September 1926

MISS SOUMI CHENG [Illustration] a Cantonese young woman, who helped overthrow the Ching dynasty, is the first and only woman lawyer in China.  She is now practicing in the French Mixed Court at Shanghai.


The Age (Melbourne, Australia), 7 January 1927.


New Court's Ridiculous Decisions.

SHANGHAI, 6th January. - Extraordinary judgments have marked the opening sessions of the Shanghai mixed court under Chinese  control since 1st inst., and their continuation threatens to create a serious breach between the Chinese and foreign authorities.

   The procedure of the new court forbids the foreign judges from influencing decisions.  Wholesale discharges granted by Chinese judges, sitting for the first time, are causing tremendous dissatisfaction in the ranks of the foreign police responsible for the arrests, who frequently risk their lives.  Highway robbers and others charged with major offences have been liberated on small bail instead of being remanded in custody.  Smugglers of opium have been discharged with a caution in direct contravention of the Chinese code.  A crime wave may be expected if this sort of thing continues.


The Daily News (Perth, Australia), 9 April 1927



Appeal to "Tommies."

SHANGHAI, April 8.

Three Shanghai Sikhs, who attempted to seduce Indian troops, were sentenced to 18 months' imprisonment with hard labor by the British Consular Court this morning.


The Times, 11 September 1929

ALEXANDER WOOD DAVIDSON, deceased, Hankow, engineer, PROBATE.

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