1 Haw. 69 (Haw.Super. 1852), Gregory v. Hanna

Citation:1 Haw. 69
Opinion Judge:LEE, CHIEF JUSTICE
Party Name:JOSEPH W. GREGORY v. BENJAMIN F. HANNA.
Judge Panel:AT CHAMBERS, BEFORE CHIEF JUSTICE LEE.
Case Date:June 14, 1852
Court:Superior Court of Hawai'i
 
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Page 69

1 Haw. 69 (Haw.Super. 1852)

JOSEPH W. GREGORY

v.

BENJAMIN F. HANNA.

Superior Court of Hawai'i.

June 14, 1852

Syllabus by the Court

Plaintiff's attorney must show his authority to bring the suit, if called upon to do so by the defendant or his attorney, previous to the impanelling of a jury to try, or the hearing of the case.

AT CHAMBERS, BEFORE CHIEF JUSTICE LEE.

LEE, CHIEF JUSTICE

This is a motion to compel the counsel for the plaintiff to show their authority to bring this suit.

In opposition to the motion it is argued that the Court, where an attorney takes upon himself to prosecute a suit, should proceed as if he had sufficient authority, and leave the party, if the attorney does wrong, to his action against him.

We are aware that the English and many of the American authorities go far to sustain the doctrine contended for by the learned counsel opposed to the motion, but many of those decisions were made with great reluctance, and the Judges confessed that they followed the precedents of others rather than their own convictions of right. Here we are untrammeled by former rulings on this point, and let us go back and base our decision on first principles.

At common law a party could not appear and prosecute a suit, except in proper person, unless by the King's patent. Afterwards all suitors were permitted by statute to appear by attorney. This privilege is allowed by our statutes, but there is nothing contained in them to permit an attorney to appear for another without authority. As a general rule one man cannot properly act for, and bind another, without due authority for so doing, and I can see no reason why attorneys should be freed from the operation of this rule. If they have authority let them show it, and if not, then they have no right to bring suit. Cases have occurred where attorneys acting without authority have collected debts and made off with the money, and the plaintiffs have brought other suits for the same demands and recovered the debts over again, leaving the innocent defendant without any redress. But the learned counsel say, let the defendant if...

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