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Collins v Godefrey (1831) 1 B & Ad 950 King's Bench Division

The claimant, Collins, had been subpoenaed to attend court as a witness in separate court case involving the defendant, Godefrey. Godefrey had sued his attorney for malpractice and Collins was required by the court to attend as an expert witness. In fact Collins never gave evidence but was required to be on standby for six days in case he was called. After the trial Collins gave Godefrey an invoice to cover his time spent at court and demanded payment by the next day. Without giving him the full day to pay, Collins commenced an action to enforce payment.


Collins was under a public duty to attend court due to the subpoena. Where there exists an existing public duty this can not be used as consideration for a new promise. Godefrey was not required to pay him.
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