IMPORTANT TO LITIGANTS.
From the Wellington Post,
At the conclusion of a judgment summons case in the Resident Magistrate’s Court this morning, Mr. Shaw gave a ruling with reference to a question raised in Court last week, viz., is the defendant
to a judgment summons entitled to his travelling expenses before he can be compelled to attend Court for the purpose of being examined as to his ability to discharge a debt ! His Worship referred to a decision of Mr. Justice Williams on the subject, tho learned Judge ruling that such a defendant is in the position of a witness, and is consequently entitled to his expenses ; and, he (Mr, Shaw) found that it was most universal in the colony that where a defendant’s evidence was acquisite to prove the plaintiff’s case he becomes a witness in the Court, and before an order could be made for contempt for non-appearance it was necessary to be shown that such a defendant had been paid his expenses. This practice was followed in the Nelson, Dunedin, Hokitika, and Napier districts, and there seemed to be a consensus of opinion on the matter, which was fair and obvious. As the matter was one of considerable importance to litigants, he would like it to be understood that if a plaintiff’ is in a position to prove a defendant’s ability to pay at the time, then two courses are open to him—either to summon the defendant at the Court where the latter resides, or to tender his expenses to a foreign Court. Mi-, Fite, herbert remarked that Mr. Giles, R.M, of Hokitika, once ordered a plaintiff, to pay a defendant’s travelling expenses, and the defendant appropriated the money to pay hjs passage to Melbourne. Mr. Shaw etorted that in Dunedin, where the people were particularly “ canny,” such plaintiffs did not forward the money, but transmitted a second-class ticket for the journey instead, so that if the defendant failed to avail himself of it he might be committed for contempt.
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