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AUG. 11, 1855.]

Professional Fees in Scotland.

285

53. Bonds for composition under private | purchase of an estate, it may happen that the settlement with creditors. Same as 52, so far as value can be ascertained.

XI. Executory Proceedings. Superseded by Act of Sederunt, 10th March,

1849.

man of business has no trouble whatever, the bargain being wholly settled by the parties themselves, the agent having nothing whatever to do but to prepare the necessary deeds. In such a case there can of course, be no room

for commission.

XII. Revising Papers drawn in Court of Ses- PARLIAMENTARY BUSINESS, RAILWAY COM

sion Cases.

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PANIES, JOINT-STOCK COMPANIES, &c.
Preliminary meetings and attendances,
whether for promoting or approving bills,
6s. 8d. an hour.

Drawing prospectus,
Double registration fees.

Gazette notices,

Five guineas for the first sheet, and one guinea 6 for every other, besides the meetings and time occupied in consulting Acts of Parliament, &c. Parliamentary contract,

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XIV. Registration of Heritable Bonds and As

Regulation fees.

Subscribers' deed of agreement,

To be charged as a contract of copartnery at ad valorem fees, according to subscribed capital, including stock reserved by directors; but signations and getting same entered in Mi-amount of fee in no case to exceed sixty guineas. nute Book, Attendance, Comparing and Revising Minute, and other Attendances and trouble connected therewith.

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the cases therein enumerated where there is no particular stipulation on the subject. course, therefore, it is competent to the parties to make any arrangement between themselves, relative to all such matters, which they may consider more equitable, or convenient in the

circumstances of each case. On the subject

of commissions for selling and purchasing estates, and other money transactions, it has been found impracticable to afford even an approximation to a fixed rule; as the subjects of such charges are too much diversified, to allow the application of general rules. A commission is a remuneration for trouble and reresponsibility; and the only rule therefore for regulating it is the extent of that trouble and responsibility. In the case, e. g. of the sale or

Church-door notices,

For each person necessarily employed 21. 2s. day, besides outlay.

Deposit of plans with sheriff-clerks and school-masters,

21. 28. each, besides travelling charges. Drawing, copying, and comparing notes and

relative schedules, including duplicate, 3s. 4d. for each name in the book of reference

requiring notice.

Serving notices,

38. 4d. each party, including parties at a distance, besides outlay.

Meetings of committees,

for each hour after the first.
10s. 6d. for first hour, and 6s. 8d. an hour

Correspondence,

3s. 4d. and 6s. 8d. according to length.

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Time in, and to, and from, London, where agent is either promoting or opposing bill, 51. 5s. a day.

and the sum of 18. only shall be payable on one search, although more names than one shall be searched for where such names shall

Where a procurator or agent is attending relate to the same purchase, mortgage, or

merely as a witness,

Fee not to exceed 31. 3s. a day.

For expenses in London, 21. 2s. a day.

Travelling expenses,

81. 88. each way.

Clerks in London, if necessarily required, 21. 2s. a day each, including expenses. Clerks travelling expenses, 51. each way. Drawing bill,

Twenty guineas if ordinary length of model bill; if exceeding that length 108. for each additional sheet.

Affidavits to prove standing orders, 11. 1s. for each affidavit.

Petitions in favour of or against a bill, 10s. for first sheet, and 6s. for every other. Commission receiving applications and attending at allocation of shares, Same charge as brokers on amount of stock allocated.

Issuing allocation letters, receiving back bankers' receipts, agency getting scrip signed, issuing the scrip, and making up register of subscribers,

6d. per share on shares paid-up, for the first 2,000, and for all above that number, 3d. per

share.

Appendixes to the contract, containing list of shareholders, lists of parties locally interested, and of shareholders holding 2,000l. and upwards of stock,

10s. for first sheet, and 6s. for every other.
Lists of assents and dissents,

6s. for first sheet, and 4s. for every other.
Commission on sums passing through agents'
hands, and for acting as treasurers for
companies, &c.,
10s. per cent.

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I. LAW BILLS IN PARLIAMENT. SINCE the last Annual Meeting, the Council of the Society have given their attention to the general business of the Society, and especially to numerous Bills relating to the practice of the Law which have been under the consideration of Parliament.

It may be useful to state concisely the purport of the principal Acts so passed, and which liament were carefully watched by the Council, in their progress through the Houses of Parwherever the provisions they contained appeared to involve the interests of the suitors and the administration of justice.

The most important Act was the second Common Law Procedure Act,' which effected improvements, not only in the mode and forms of procedure, but in the jurisdiction of the Courts, facilitating and expediting the proceedings, and diminishing the expense of the suitors. Thus, it enables the Judges to try questions of fact by consent without a jury; to order cases of complicated accounts to be forthwith referred to arbitration; to examine the parties before trial; and obtain a full discovery of documents. Trials also may be adjourned; and the restrictions are relaxed in cross-examining witnesses, and the contradiction of a party's own witnesses. Proof of hand-writing SEARCHES AT THE REGISTER OF insufficiently stamped are receivable in evidence by comparison may be admitted; documents

It being optional to the agent to charge either the fees ad valorem for books of reference, notices, &c., or according to the time actually employed.

JUDGMENTS.

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on payment of the duty and a penalty. An appeal may be made on the refusal of a new trial; the oral examination of witnesses may take place on motions and summonses; injunctions may be issued; and judgment debtors may be examined to discover their assets; which may be attached or taken in execution. Under the Witnesses' Act,' witnesses in Ireland or Scotland may be compelled to attend

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AUG. 11, 1855.]

Incorporated Law Society-Annual Report of the Council.

and give evidence in England, and witnesses in England to give evidence in the Irish and Scotch Courts; but reserving the power of examining them before Commissioners.

The Act for registering Bills of Sale of y fpersonal property within 21 days, like warrants of attorney, is designed to prevent frauds on creditors.3

An Act was also passed "to make further Provisions for the more speedy and efficient Despatch of Business" in Chancery, by appointing additional temporary Clerks and Accountants to wind up the matters depending in the remaining Masters' offices, and, in case of need, to call in the aid of the solicitor to the Suitors' Fund.1

Another Act was passed extending the jurisdiction of the Court of Chancery of the County Palatine of Lancaster against persons residing out of its jurisdiction, and transferring appeals to the Lords Justices in Chancery instead of the Judges of Assize."

The Bankruptcy Act enables the Lord Chancellor to diminish the expense of the establishment by not filling up the present or future vacancies; and it provides that a petitioning trader must show that his assets amount to 150/.6

287

The Act to amend the Law relating to the Stamp Duties provides a new scale for inland and foreign bills and notes; also on leases for terms exceeding 35 years, regulated by the amount of rent, and on duplicates or counterparts; with provisions as to adhesive stamps on bills and bankers' drafts; repealing the exemption from Receipt Stamp Duty on letters of acknowledgment; directing that deeds made for several valuable considerations shall be chargeable in respect of each; and indemnifying parties from omitting to state the full purchase-money in assignments on the sale of the goodwill of a business.

In the latter part of the last Session several Bills were postponed or negatived, and have reappeared in the present Session, to which reference will be hereafter made.

Of the new Bills which have been introduced in the present Session, four have already received the Royal Assent, namely:

The Amendment of the Lunacy Regulation Act, enabling the Lord Chancellor to empower Committees of lunatics estates to grant leases binding on issue or remaindermen.

The Protection of Purchasers in regard to Judgments of the Courts of Lancaster and Durham; the re-registration of judgments; the registration of judgments of Superior Courts; orders in bankruptcy; annuities and rent charges.

An Act passed for taking Evidence in the Ecclesiastical Courts viva voce, and another Act authorising the appointment of Commissioners to administer Oaths, and take Declarations, &c., relating to proceedings in the Admi-and the Stannary Court Act (c. 32). ralty Court, and providing that the Commissioners for Administering Oaths in Chancery may also take Affidavits, Declarations, &c., in proceedings in the Admiralty Court.

The Common Law Pleadings Act (c. 26),

The Real Estate Charges Act directs, that in case of intestacy the heir shall not be entitled to have the incumbrance on the estate paid out of the personal property; and where a testator makes a will, and directs his estate to be sold, anddoes not otherwise direct, the land shall be deemed to be personal estate.

An Act was also passed to remove doubts concerning the due Acknowledgment of Deeds by Married Women,' whereby the deeds already acknowledged are, after the certificate of acknowledgment has been filed, rendered valid, although one or both of the Commissioners have been interested in the transaction, with certain exceptions in cases wherein proceedings were then pending; but authorising the Court of Common Pleas to make rules for preventing Commissioners who are interested from taking acknowledgments.

The total repeal of the Usury Laws has also taken place, saving transactions previous to the Act, and providing that the legal or current rate of interest now payable on any contract shall mean the same as if the Act had not passed.

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The other Bills relating to the Law now before Parliament are:

The Sales and Leases of Settled Estates, under which it is proposed, in lieu of the enormous expense and delay of obtaining private Acts of Parliament, to transfer the power to the Court of Chancery, the principle having been recognised in the case of ecclesiastical matters, charities, and the Municipal Corporation Acts. It is proposed that any persons whose necessities require a power to lease their property in agriculture, mining, building leases, &c., should apply to one of the Judges of the Court of Chancery, to determine whether such lease should be granted, and to enable tenants for life to grant leases, unless the author of the settlement expressly forbids such a proceeding.

Next comes the measure authorising the Court of Chancery to settle the property of Infants on their marriage.

Another Bill proposes a more equitable distribution of the Personal Estates of persons dying Intestate.

And the Amendment of the Law of Mortmain is also proposed.

To which may be added the Bill for extending the Charitable Trusts Act, by empowering the Commissioners to approve of New Charitable Schemes, subject to an appeal to the Court of Chancery, and to apportion charities to different parts of a parish; to authorise partition and exchanges of land; and the appointment of official trustees.

17 & 18 Vict. c. 83. 418 Vict. c. 13. $ Ibid. c. 15.

Such are the several Parliamentary measures which have been brought under the consideration of the Council. They would here briefly notice only the more prominent measures. The Testamentary Jurisdiction Bill, which has been withdrawn for the present Session, proposed to vest the whole jurisdiction relating to wills and the granting of letters of administration in one Metropolitan Court, deriving its authority from the Crown, presided over by a Judge of its own, with a distinct class of officers, and called her Majesty's Testamentary Court, with a complete and exclusive jurisdiction. When this Bill re-appears, it will receive the continued attention of the Council.

object in view; and on hearing the evidence,
it appeared that summary procedure might be
easily introduced into English Law, and that
the costs under the Scotch system would not,
on the whole, be less than those which would
be incurred under the English practice. The
Bill has been accordingly amended.
Connected with the proposed registration of
dishonoured Bills of Exchange, may be men-
tioned an abuse which has occured in regard
to the registration of bills of sale, and which,
no doubt, would have prevailed if unpaid bills
and notes were registered; namely, the publi-
cation of the names of all the persons granting
such bills of sale.

The Executor and Trustee Bill is designed An important Bill for promoting "the Deto incorporate a joint-stock company for the spatch of Business in the Court of Chancery" purpose of undertaking the execution of the has passed the House of Lords, for the purprivate trusts of individuals. The Bill is based pose of increasing the number of junior clerks upon the same principles as those which were to the Equity Judges, transferring the business embodied in the Bills introduced by the South of the Report Office to the Clerks of Records Sea Company and the Executor and Trustee and Writs, and (by a recent amendment) limitCompany last year. These Bills were fully ing the power of the London Commissioners considered by a Committee of the Lords, the to administer oaths to their own office, except result of which was that both Bills were re in case of the sickness of the deponent. On jected. Nothing has since occurred which this Bill the Council prepared several observaaffects the principle upon which the Committee tions which were submitted to a considerable of last Session reported against those Bills. number of members of the House of Peers; On that occasion the Council felt it to be their and a deputation waited on Lord Lyndhurst, duty to the public to bring under the consider- who kindly considered the suggestions made ation of the House of Lords the alteration of to him with reference to this Bill. the public law proposed to be affected by On the subject of the administration of oaths those Bills, introduced as they were in the shape of private Bills; and the Council expect that, in the present Session, the question whether a private Bill of this nature should be passed or not will be discussed on public grounds upon the second reading. And that the Society may not have again to incur the expense which would be caused by an opposition in Committee.6

by London Commissioners, it may be mentioned that, some months ago, an attempt was made to exclude affidavits in Chancery sworn in any other place than the Commissioner's usual place of business; and, an affidavit having been refused to be filed, counsel were instructed on the part of the Society to bring the question before the Court, and the Lord Chancellor and Lord Justice Turner decided that affidavits might be sworn by a Commissioner at any place within 10 miles of Lincoln's Inn Hall and there was also a subsequent decision to the same effect. The Council are still watching the progress of this Bill, with a view to prevent the needless and most inconvenient alteration proposed.

Recently two Bills have been brought in on the important subjects of the Limited Liability of Partners, and the Law of Partnership in other respects, to which the Council are giving their best attention.

The Bills of Exchange, or Summary Diligence, Bill, which was reintroduced this Session by Lord Brougham, and passed the House of Lords, was referred to a Select Committee of the House of Commons, together with another Bill brought in by Mr. Keating and Mr. Mullings, for preventing frivolous defences. The Council submitted their views to the members of the Committee, and ultimately the Committee reported that each Bill was founded on the principle of preventing fictitious defences on bills and notes, and of giving greater facilities to parties seeking the assistance of a In the Criminal Law a Bill has been introCourt of Justice: the Committee heard evi- duced for the appointment of Public Prosedence as to the cost of proceedings under the cutors and the conduct of prosecutions by Scotch system, as proposed in the Bills of District Agents. It is proposed to divide the Exchange Bill, and under the English system, kingdom into districts, and appoint for each adopted in the Bills of Exchange and Promis- district one or more barristers-at-law of ten sory Notes Bill. The Committee were of years' standing, to conduct the criminal proopinion that it was unadvisable to introduce a secutions, with deputies, being barristers of new system of procedure, if the forms of the three years' standing, and assistant public English Law could be made available for the

6 A considerable number of the members of the Society petitioned against the principle of this Bill, and it has since been abandoned by the promoters.

prosecutors being barristers of five years' standing, to conduct the prosecutions at quarter sessions. Then another class of officers are to be appointed under the Act called " District Agents," who are to be attorneysat-law of seven years' standing, or barristers

AUG. 11, 1855.]

Incorporated Law Society-Annual Report of the Council.

of five years' standing; and the justices are to appoint attorneys-at-law to assist these district agents. This Bill has been referred to a Select Committee, and is not expected to pass this Session.

*289

vestigation by the letter addressed by the Lord Justice Turner to the several law societies, and to individual solicitors, a copy of which will be found in the Appendix.

It would have been more satisfactory to the Although no Bill has yet been introduced Council if some practising member of the Proon the subject of a General Register of Deeds fession had been placed upon the Commission or Titles, it may be proper in this part of the of Inquiry; but they nevertheless have the report to state that the Council, having re- most perfect confidence in the honour and inceived from the Commissioners a series of tegrity of the Commissioners selected, and in questions for the opinion of solicitors, circu- their desire to do substantial justice to the lated them amongst the members of the Con- Profession; and the Council trust that the veyancing Committee of this Society and other appeal thus made by them to the Lord Chanmembers thereof. The answers they received cellor will have the effect of introducing an were considered by the Council with a view to improved system of taxation, which shall be a collective opinion of their body; but they just and satisfactory, as well to the Public as found so much difference of opinion that they the Profession. The Society may be assured deemed it expedient to transmit the individual that the Council will use their utmost endeaopinions which they had received to the Com-vours to attain such a desirable result. missioners. The Council, however, submitted to the Commissioners copies of the two petitions and statements prepared by them, when the Bill for establishing a General Register of Assurances was under the consideration of Parliament, and, in a letter to the Commissioners, added that, so far as the statements and observations apply to the subject of a General Registration of Deeds, the Council still retain the opinions therein expressed.

III. LEGAL AND GENERAL EDUCATION.

Some time has elapsed since the extension of the Examination was proposed in classical and scientific subjects, either before or during the articles of clerkship. Many meetings have taken place, and much consideration of the subject has been bestowed by the Council and the Committee; and in the Appendix an account is given of the labours of the Committee.. The Council think it will be expedient to propose to the Judges that the student should have acquired a knowledge of English History, Geography, the Latin and French languages, Arithmetic and Book-keeping; and that the examinations should take place, and certificates of proficiency be granted by competent examiners, either before or during articles, or before admission; and that such examination may take place either in London or in the provinces, as may be convenient.

IV. NEW COURTS AND OFFICES. The members are aware that for 14 years the Council have, whenever opportunity offerment the necessity of New Courts and Offices ed, urged on both the Government and Parliafor the administration of justice.

Proposed assimilation of the Mercantile Law of England, Ireland, and Scotland: -The Council have had under their consideration the questions issued by the Mercantile Law Commissioners relating to contracts for the sale of goods and chattels, warranty, actions, bills of exchange and promissory notes, limitation of actions, and prescription, law of shipping, lien, bailments, guaranties, principal and surety, debtor and creditor, partnerships, and jointstock companies. The Council have not been able to offer a collective opinion on these various and important branches of law, but some of the members of the Society have made their individual suggestions to the Commissioners. II. THE REMUNERATION OF SOLICITORS AND THE RULES OF TAXATION. The members are aware that for several years Since the report of last year the Council the Council have been engaged in the endea- have addressed the First Commissioner of vour to improve the system of taxation. The Public Works, and called the attention of alterations effected by the Claim Orders of Members of Parliament to the subject. They 1850, and the Acts and Orders of 1852, have have represented to the Government that the had the effect of reducing the emoluments of existing Courts and Offices of the Superior solicitors by at least 30 or 40 per cent., whilst Courts of Law and Equity are unfit for the their personal labour and responsibility have due administration of justice, and for the conbeen very considerably increased. In the venience of the Judges, the Bar, the Solicitors, month of March, 1854, and April last, the and the Suitors. During the last 30 years Council submitted to the Lord Chancellor statements of the case of the solicitors in this respect, which will be found in the Appendix; and the result, after various attendances upon the Lord Chancellor and the Master of the Rolls, has been that the consideration of this important subject has been delegated to Lord Justice Turner and Vice-Chancellor Wood, with the assistance of Mr. Follett and Mr. Walton.

The Commissioners have commenced the in

many additional Judges have been appointed, but no permanent accommodation has been provided for them; and they referred to an accompanying list of Courts and Offices required for the due despatch of business.

They proposed that a building containing proper accommodation for all the Courts and Offices should be erected on a convenient site, and that the expense should be defrayed out of the Surplus Fund in the Court of Chancery, which has arisen from what may be termed

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