MARFLEET Including variants e.g. MERFLET(T); MARFLETE; MARFLIT(T); MARFLIGHT, etc. Family History

Extract from:
Staffordshire Sentinal
February 1st 1889



In the Queen's Bench Division, yesterday, the case of Marfleet ex-parte Marfleet came before Mr. Justice Cave and Mr. Justice Charles, sitting in a divisional court to hear bankruptcy appeals. - This was an appeal by Mr. John Marfleet from a receiving order made against him on the 11th of September last on the petition of Mr. W. Adderley, brother of Mr. C. Adderley, solicitor, of Longton, and formerly in partnership with the appellant. The case came before their lordships a few days since, when it was adjourned in order that counsel for the appellant might have an opportunity of cross-examining Mr. C. Adderley as to the partnership assets. Mr. Underhill, Q.C., and Mr. H. Reed appeared in support of the appeal; while Mr. Cooper Willes, Q.C., and Mr. F. Willis opposed it.

Mr. Charles Adderley was now called and cross-examined by Mr. Underhill: He stated that he and the debtor were in partnership as solicitors at Longton, in Staffordshire, from 1872 down to 1887. He had disagreements with the debtor in 1886, and they extended into 1887. They were not intensified in 1887.
Mr. Underhill: And in 1887, I think, you caused proceedings to be taken against him on a charge of bigamy? I did not. I placed two marriage certificates in the hands of the police. - You obtained the certificate of a marriage which he had contracted with some person, he having a wife alive, and then you took it to the superintendant of the police, with the view of his acting upon it? I did. I did it for the purpose of keeping my office pure. - By getting rid of him? Certainly, - The lady was no relation of yours? Certainly not. - No connection whatever? Certainly not. - if the proceedings were successful, it occurred to you, I suppose, that it would be a means of getting rid of him? The father of the first wife asked me to take that step. - Was it in your mind that if the proceedings for bigamy were successful against him it would assist you in getting rid of him out of the partnership? It might have been? - Was it? I do not say that it was. - Was it not? I say it might have been. - Is that the full extent to which you will go? Yes. - You had ascertained distinctly, had you not, that the second lady with whom the bigamy was committed knew perfectly well that he was married? I did not know then his relations with the second lady. - Had you heard that the second wife was perfectly aware that he was a married man? I had not at that time. - Did you hear of it before the proceedings came on? I did not. - You have heard of it since? Yes. - You had contracted a debt with your brother, the petitioning creditor in this case? The firm had. - Were you the individual who contracted with your brother? After submitting it to Mr. Marfleet. - Did you communicate the transaction to Mr. Marfleet before you entered into it? The transaction was imposed upon me, and then I mentioned it to him. - What was the transaction? It was a building transaction, on which we were advancing money. - As a firm do you mean? Yes. - Did it become necessary for you to get an advance 'of a considerable sum' of money? It did. - And you got it from your brother? I did. - Did you borrow 1,439 5s. from your brother? Yes. - That was a joint debt, which you and Mr. Marfleet owed to your brother? Yes. - And it remained so ever since? Yes. - Therefore it had to be satisfied out of the assets of the firm? Assuming that there were sufficient assets. - The debt, in respect of which this petition was made-namely, 489 7s 6d.-is a portion of the 1,439, is it not? It is. - Therefore your brother at the present moment is trying to obtain, by means of the pressure of the bankruptcy proceedings, from Mr. Marfleet that which is a joint debt of the firm? Yes.

The cross-examination was then continued, with the view of showing that it was at the instance of witness that his brother had instituted proceedings. Witness admitted that he advised his brother to take proceedings against Mr. Marfleet alone. In this, he asserted, he was not considering himself at all, but was advising his brother as any other solicitor would have done. It was arranged between Mr. Marfleet and himself that the accounts should be audited up to 1887, from which time the partnership between them should be dissolved. The sum paid by Marfleet on entering into the partnership was 550.

Re-examined by Mr. Willis, the witness stated that the assets ought to be reduced by 3,500, this representing irrecoverable debts. The value of the property ought to be reduced by 2,000. The estimates had been prepared by Marfleet.

Mr. Underhill, in support of the appeal, contended that the receiving order ought to be set aside, on the ground that it had been obtained, not for the bona-fide purpose of distributing the debtor's assets amongst his creditors, but with the object of assisting the debtor's partner, Mr. C. Adderley. He was prepared to have the order dismissed on his paying one-third of the debt into court.

Mr. Cooper Willes said he could not accept that offer now. He denied that the receiving order had been obtained for a collateral purpose. Mr. W. Adderley was perfectly justified in obtaining judgement upon his debt, and he had no idea of bankruptcy proceedings until he ascertained that he could not realise the amount of his judgement in consequence of Marfleet having sold his property. There was no ground for saying that this was an attempt by Mr. W. Adderley to assist his brother against his partner.

Mr. Justice Cave, in delivering judgement, said the question was whether this was a bona-fide proceeding by Mr. W. Adderley, or whether it was simply an abuse of the process of the court by reason of its being a collusive proceeding by Mr. W. Adderley substantially for the benefit of Mr. C. Adderley. The facts were somewhat peculiar, and after looking into them carefully he had come to the conclusion that they ought to make an order which was not exactly in favour of either party. He thought that under the circumstances, Mr. W. Adderley ought to have accepted the offer of one-third, considering that this was a partnership debt. He believed that the petition was presented really in the interest of Mr. C. Adderly, and not in the interest of Mr. W. Adderley, and was not presented with a bona fide desire to distribute the assets amongst Mr. Marfleet's creditors, but solely for the purpose of enabling Mr. C. Adderley to cross-examine Mr. Marfleet respecting partnership questions. On the whole, he thought the proper order to make was that if one-third of the judgment debt was paid into Court within a fortnight the appeal should be allowed, and the receiving order discharged. If it was not paid within the time the receiving order would stand. - Mr. Justice Charles concurred.
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