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County Courts extended Jurisdiction.
a person other than the owner or occupier, the former is entitled to sue the latter in the County Court for the expenses incurred in so doing. In these cases, although questions of title may and do frequently arise, the decision of the Court on the matter is final.
Concurrent Jurisdiction.-The jurisdiction given by sect. 58 of 9 & 10 Vict. c. 95, is, by sect. 128, rendered concurrent with that of the Superior Courts, where the parties reside more than 20 miles from each other, or where the cause of action does not arise wholly or in some material point within the district within which the defendant dwells or carries on his business at the time of bringing the action, or where an officer of the Court is a party, except in respect of a claim to goods taken in execution by process of the Court.
By 13 & 14 Vict. c. 61, s. 1, a jurisdiction, where the amount of the claim for debt or damages does not exceed 50%., is conferred on the County Court, subject to the exceptions contained in the proviso of sect. 58 of the 9 & 10 Vict. c. 95. This jurisdiction is, however concurrent with that of the Superior Courts, and is subject to appeal at the instance of either party who is "dissatisfied with the determination or direction of the Court, in point of law, or upon the admission or rejection of any evidence." The 15 & 16 Vict. c. 54, s. 2, provides that such appeals shall be disposed of as part of the ordinary business of the Court to which the appeal is made.
County Court for duties or penalties not exceeding in any case the sum of 100%. The decision of the Judge is final in such cases. By sect. 318, in case of an alleged illegal seizure of any boat, vessel, or goods by the custom house officer, an action may be brought against him in the County Court where the damages claimed do not exceed the amount to which the jurisdiction of the Court is limited, and sect. 319 provides that the case shall not be tried by a jury, except by consent of both parties, and that the decision of the Judge shall be subject to appeal in the same manner as is allowed in other actions triable in the Court.
Jurisdiction by consent.-Under the provisions of sect. 17 of 13 & 14 Vict. c. 61, the parties may by consent confer a jurisdiction on the County Court, notwithstanding that the amount of the claim may exceed 501., and that the action is one "in which the title to land, whether of freehold, copyhold, leasehold, or other tenure, or to any tithe, toll, market, fair, or other franchise shall be in question." It will be observed that the cases in which questions of law may by consent be decided by the County Court are not so numerous as those excepted by sect 58 of 9 & 10 Vict. c. 95. By the 17 & 18 Vict. c. 16, s. 1, the decision of the Judge in such cases is subject to appeal on the same grounds as in cases where the sum claimed exceeds 201. but does not exceed
Replevin.-The County Court has also con- Arresting ships.-By the 527th section of current jurisdiction in replevin. By sect. 119 17 & 18 Vict. c. 104 (the Shipping Act), in the of 9 & 10 Vict. c. 95, all actions of replevin in event of an injury having been done by one cases of distress for rent in arrear, or damage vessel to another in any part of the world, it feasant, must be brought into the Court will on and after the 1st May, 1855, be compecreated by this Act instead of the Common tent for the Judge of the County Court, in cerLaw County Court; but either party, on com-tain cases, on the complaint of the injured plying with certain conditions, may remove the party, to direct the vessel to be detained until plaint, if he declares to the Court "that the satisfaction is made for the alleged wrong, or title to any corporeal or incorporeal heredita- security is given to abide the event of a legal ment, or to any toll, market, fair, or franchise, proceeding in respect of it. is in question, or that the rent or damage in respect of which the distress shall have been taken, is more than 201." Unless, therefore, the plaint be removed in conformity with the provisions of that section, the County Court has jurisdiction to decide all questions of title, and is not limited to any amount.
Ejectment. The proviso in sect. 58 is modified in certain cases of ejectment by sect. 122 of the same Act, which enables landlords, after the expiration of the tenancy, to recover possession of houses, lands, or other corporeal hereditaments, where the rent of value of the premises does not exceed 507. a year, and no fine has been paid.
2nd. EQUITABLE JURISDICTION. The equitable jurisdiction of the County Court is concurrent and by consent, but can not be treated as exclusive except in protection and insolvency cases.
This jurisdiction is confirmed by the 9 & 10 Vict. c. 95, and several subsequent Statutes.
Partnership; distributive share; legacy.By sect. 65 of 9 & 10 Vict. c. 95, the jurisdiction of the Court is extended to the recovery of any demand not exceeding the sum of 201. (now by the 13 & 14 Vict. c. 61, to 50%.) "which is the whole or part of the unliquiJurisdiction in certain matters dated balance of a partnership account, or the connected with the administration of the Cus-amount or part of the amount of a distributive toms Law has lately been conferred on the share under an intestacy, or of any legacy Court. By sect. 263 of 16 & 17 Vict. c. 107 under a will." (the Customs Act), the Crown may sue in the
By sect. 17 of 13 & 14 Vict. c. 61, the con
sent of the parties will give jurisdiction in such cases to any amount.
Friendly Societies. By 13 & 14 Vict. c. 115, s. 22 (Friendly Societies Act), if a dispute arise between the members and the trustees, treasurer, or other officer or committee, and is of such a kind that for the settlement of it, according to the laws now in force, recourse must be had to a Court of Equity, it may be referred at the option of either party to a Judge of a County Court.
This Act is continued by the 15 & 16 Vict. c. 65, s. 4, to the end of the Session of 1854, and by the 17 & 18 Vict. c. 101, to the 1st October, 1855, and the end of the then next Session of Parliament.
Industrial and Provident Societies. - The above provisions applicable to friendly societies, are extended by 15 & 16 Vict. c. 31, s. 8, to industrial and provident societies.
such assessment does not exceed 50%., appeal to the Judge of the County Court, who will have jurisdiction to hear and determine the matter of the appeal and the costs thereof." His decision is final. Considering the interests in property, which is the subject of the duty, as well as the provisions of the Act with respect to its collection, it is evident that difficult questions of equity as well as of law may arise in the determination of the appeal. In consequence of the mode in which sect. 50 is expressed, a far greater sum than 501. may become the subject of inquiry in the County Court.
Insolvency and Protection.-Both in protection and insolvency cases, various questions of an equitable description do of necessity frequently arise.
Literary Institutions.-By the Literary and Scientific Institutions Act, 1854, in case of any institution contemplated by the Act being desirous of dissolving itself and any dispute arising among the governing body or the members of the institution, the adjustment of its affairs shall be referred to the Judge of the County Court of the district in which the principal building of the institution shall be situate, who may make such order as he may deem requisite, or, if he find it necessary, he may direct that proceedings shall be taken in the Court of Chancery. The Judge is also to determine, in the event of disagreement, to what institution any surplus funds should be given.
3rd. AUXILIARY JURISDICTION. The auxiliary jurisdiction of the Court is both legal and equitable.
Charitable Trusts.-By the 16 & 17 Vict. c. 137 (The Charitable Trusts Act, 1853), sect. 32, where the gross annual income of any charity does not exceed 30., and where equitable relief is required, jurisdiction, subject to certain conditions contained in the Act, is given to the County Court to entertain the application, and to "give such relief and make such orders and directions in relation to the matter of such application as now might be made or given by the Court of Chancery, or by the Lord Chancellor, entrusted with the care and commitment of the custody of lunatics, in a suit regularly instituted, or upon petition, as the case may require." It is provided, however, by sect. 41, "that no County Court shall, upon any proceedings under this Act, have jurisdiction to try or determine the title at law or in equity to any real or personal property, or any term or interest therein, as between any charity or the trustee thereof, and any person holding or claiming such real or personal property, term or interest, adversely to such charity, or to try or determine any question as to the existence or extent of any charge or trust." By sect. 39 of the Act, a right of appeal, subject to cerCommon Law Procedure Act.-By the Comtain conditions, is given to the party who al- mon Law Procedure Act, 1854, it is provided, leges himself to be aggrieved by or dissatisfied that where at any time after the issuing of the with any order made by any County Court. writ in any Superior Court of Common Law It may be observed, that although the juris-it appears to the satisfaction of the Court or a diction under this Act extends only to charities, Judge, upon the application of either party, the annual income whereof does not exceed that the matter in dispute consists wholly or 301., yet should the amount with which a de-in part of matter of mere account which canfaulting trustee is chargeable exceed the sum not conveniently be tried in the ordinary way, of 50%, there is no provision in the Statute it shall be lawful for such Court or Judge to which excludes the jurisdiction of the County order that such matter either wholly or in part, Court in such a case. in country causes, shall be referred to the Judge of any County Court.
Succession Duties. By sect 50 of the 16 & 17 Vict. c. 51 (Succession Duties Act) any accountable party dissatisfied with the assessment of the Commissioners may, on complying with the conditions prescribed in the section, if the "sum in dispute in respect of duty on
Absconding Debtors.-By the 14 & 15 Vict. c. 52, power is given to the Judge of the County Court to issue his warrant for the apprehension of persons sworn to be indebted to the amount of 201. or upwards, and who are about to quit England. This power is subsidiary to actions in the Superior Courts.
Chancery. By sect. 22 of the 9 & 10 Vict. c. 95, the Judge may be required to perform all such duties relating to causes or matters depending in Chancery, or any Judge thereof, or before the Chancellor in the exercise of any
County Courts Jurisdiction-Executor and Trustee Bill Bills of Lading Bill. authority belonging to him, necessary or proper have withdrawn from it; and we are into be done in the respective districts, as the Chancellor shall from time to time by any ge
neral order direct.
Joint-Stock Companies Winding-up Act.· By sect. 20 of the 12 & 13 Vict. c. 108 (an Act amending the Joint-Stock Companies Winding-up Act, 11 & 12 Vict. c. 45), Judges of County Courts sitting at places more than 20 miles from the General Post Office, are appointed Commissioners to act under the powers of that and the previous Statute, and the Master may, by any order under his hand, refer the whole or any part of the examination of any witnesses to any such Judge.
Insolvency. The jurisdiction of insolvency under the 1 & 2 Vict. c. 110, is by the 10 & 11 Vict. c. 102, s. 10, vested in the County Court where the insolvent is in custody in any gaol more than 20 miles from the General Post Office. The Insolvent Court in London, to which, the petition of the insolvent must in the first instance be presented, is required in such cases to refer the hearing to the County Court.
In this branch of the jurisdiction, questions of law also arise.
Common Law County Court.-Except as to matters brought by Statute within the jurisdiction of the newly established Court, the County Court at Common Law retains its powers and jurisdiction, and may be held simultaneously with the modern County Court.
It is proper to observe, that no privilege is allowed to exempt any person from the jurisdiction of the modern County Court.
EXECUTOR AND TRUSTEE BILL.
formed that the remaining "executive council" (as they call themselves) are proceeding in opposition to many of their shareholders; they have expended all the money received on the first call and have been obliged to subscribe 1,000l. out of their own pockets.
We fully expect that the Bill will be thrown out on the second reading, but those who are interested in the matter should not rely too confidently on this result; but bestir themselves amongst their lordships and convince them, as they did last Session, that the proposed alteration of the law is not only unnecessary, but would be highly prejudicial.
BILLS OF LADING BILL.
THE preamble to this Bill recites, that by the custom of merchants a bill of lading of goods being transferable by endorsement, the property in the goods may thereby pass to the endorsee, but nevertheless all rights in respect of the contract contained in the bill of lading continue in the original shipper or owner, and it is expedient that such rights should pass with the property; that it frequently happens that the goods in respect, of which bills of lading purport to be signed have not been laden on board, and it is proper that such bills of lading in the hands of a bona fide holder for value should not be questioned by the master or other person signing the same on the ground of the goods not having been laden as aforesaid: And that it is expedient that foreign ships should be liable to detention in respect of claims upon bills of lading or contracts relating to the freight or hire of such vessels: It is therefore proposed to enact as fol
THIS Joint-stock Bill, for undertaking private trusts and executorships, was read a third time, and passed the House of Commons on Friday, the 25th May. It will probably be brought up to the House of Lords early next week. The members lows:of the Profession will, no doubt, com- 1. Every consignee of goods named in a bill municate their objections to the noble of lading, and every endorsee of a bill of lading Lords with whom they are respectively ac- to whom the property in the goods therein mentioned shall pass, upon or by reason of quainted. all rights of suit and otherwise in respect of such consignment or endorsement, shall have such goods as if the contract for the carriage thereof had been made with himself.
We understand that petitions will be again presented against the Bill, although the opposition of lawyers is not very favourably received. The case was very fully 2. Nothing herein contained shall prejudice heard last Session before a Select Com- or affect any right of stoppage in transitu, or mittee of the House of Lords, including any right to claim freight against the original Lord St. Leonards and Lord Brougham. shipper or owner, or any liability of the conNothing new has arisen to justify the re-signee or endorsee by reason or in consequence newal of the project; the South Sea Com- of his receipt of the goods by reason or in of his being such consignee or endorsee, or pany has given up the contest, and many consequence of such consignment or endorseof the former directors of the new company ment.
3. Every bill of lading in the hands of a amount of the claim for which the ship shall consignee or endorsee for valuable consider- be detained, with 201. for costs; and thereupon ation representing goods to have been shipped the ship shall forthwith be discharged from on board a vessel shall be conclusive evidence such detention, and the officer detaining the of such shipment as against the master or same is hereby required to discharge such ship other person signing the same, notwithstanding accordingly. that such goods or some part thereof may not have been so shipped, unless such holder of the bill of lading shall have had actual notice at the time of receiving the same that the goods had not been in fact laden on board: provided, that the master or other person so signing may exonerate himself in respect of such misrepresentation by showing that it was caused without any default on his part, and wholly by the fraud of the shipper, or of the holder, or some person under whom the holder claims.
4. Whenever any person shall have any claim for debt or damages against any foreign ship or the owners thereof, arising upon or out of any bill of lading of goods, or any charter or contract for or relating to the freight or hire of any such ship, to be performed wholly or in part within the United Kingdom, if such ship shall be found in any port or river of the United Kingdom, or within three miles of the coast thereof, it shall be lawful for the Judge of any Court of Record in the United Kingdom, or in Scotland the Court of Session, or the sheriff of the county within whose jurisdiction such ship may be, upon the existence of such claim being shown by any person applying summarily, to issue an order directed to any officer of Customs or other officer named by such Judge requiring him to detain such ship until such time as the owner, master, or consignee thereof has made satisfaction in respect of such claim, or has given security, to be approved by the Judge, to abide the event of any action, suit, or other legal proceeding that may be instituted in respect of such claim, and to pay all costs and damages that may be awarded thereon, and any officer of Customs or other officer to whom such order is directed shall detain such ship accordingly.
7. The money so deposited shall be subject to the order of the Judge to whom application shall be made for an order of detention, or, if such action, suit, or other proceeding as aforesaid shall have been instituted in any Court, shall be subject to the order of such Court, or of a Judge thereof; if an order for detention shall be finally refused, or shall be rescinded, or if such security as aforesaid shall be given, the said money shall thereupon be refunded to the person depositing the same; otherwise such money shall be security for all damages and costs that may be awarded in any such action, suit, or proceeding.
8. In any action, suit, or other proceeding in relation to such claim the person so giving security, or (if such security shall not be given) the person making such deposit as aforesaid, shall be made defendant or defender, and shall be stated to be the owner of such ship, and the production of the order of the Judge made in relation to such security or deposit shall be conclusive evidence of the liability of such defendant or defender to such action, guit, or other proceeding in respect of any damages and costs that may be awarded.
9. Any person applying for an order of detention shall give security to the satisfaction of the Judge for the costs and expenses of and attending the detention and release of the ship, and also on or before the commencement of any such action, suit, or other proceeding for the costs of the defendant or defender therein, and if the plaintiff or pursuer shall fail to recover therein he shall bear and pay all such costs and expenses; and if any such plaintiff or pursuer shall not recover the full amount of his claim it shall be in the discretion of the Court or Judge before whom the case shall be tried to deprive the plaintiff or pursuer of costs, by a certificate that there was not reasonable or probable cause for the claim.
STATUTE LAW COMMISSION.
5. In any case where it may appear that before any application can be made under the foregoing section such foreign ship will have departed beyond the limits therein mentioned, it shall be lawful for any British officer of Customs to detain such ship until such time INSTRUCTIONS FOR PREPARING BILLS IN
as will allow such application to be made and the result thereof communicated to him, and no such officer shall be liable for any costs or damages in respect of such detention unless the same shall be proved to have been made by him without reasonable grounds.
THE Statute Law Commissioners, in the execution of their laborious and important duty, have laid down several useful and practical directions for the guidance of the
6. It shall be lawful for any owner, master, draftsmen engaged in preparing Parliamentary or consignee of a ship detained under either of Bills. We deem it right to notice these inthe two preceding sections in the meantime, structions for the benefit of those who are enuntil such security as aforesaid can be given,
at any time within two days from such detengaged in legislative labours.
tion, to deposit with the collector or chief THE Board consider it very desirable that officer of customs of the port at or near to all the Bills prepared under their superintendwhich the ship shall be a sum equal to the ence should be framed on uniform principles,
and in a uniform style; they have therefore may possibly suggest. So long as Acts of caused the following general rules and sug- Parliament are drawn on the assumption that gestions to be drawn up, which they request Judges or others will not understand, or will that draftsmen will observe, as far as possible, pretend not to understand, what is meant by in drawing Consolidated Bills; without, how-the 1 & 2 Vict. c. 1,' until the Legislature ever, considering them as absolutely inflexible enacts that they may and shall understand it, where special reasons can be assigned for de- it is vain to hope that any improvement as to parting from them. brevity and perspicuity is attainable."
1. Amendments of the law not to be intro- It is conceived that, as a general rule, breduced, but may be suggested.-As the immedi-vity is only desirable within the limits above ate object of the Commission is only to conso- suggested; that Acts of Parliament should be lidate, not to amend, the law, the draftsman specimens of pure English; and that what has should consider it his duty, in the absence of been termed a Parliamentary short-hand" is special instructions, to present as correctly as not required. Remarks on this subject will be possible the effect of the Statutes in force, found in the paper above cited, Third Report, without introducing amendments beyond the p. 232. correction of clerical errors and omissions which appear from internal evidence to be unintentional; such amendments of the law as it may appear to him advisable to suggest he should, where practicable, present in a separate form; and in cases where they are necessarily mixed up with other matter, he should be careful to note what is new.
2. As to the preservation of the exact words of existing Statutes.-It is advisable to repeat exactly the material words of existing Statutes wherever such a course is compatible with concise and effectual consolidation.
3. Incorporation of the Common Law.-The Royal Commission expressly authorises the incorporation of the common or unwritten law, when found desirable, in the course of consolidating the statute law; some latitude therefore on this point is allowed to the draftsman; but he should bear in mind that the codification of the common law is no part of the objects of the present Commission, and that he is not to incorporate any part of it, except where he finds that he cannot produce a satisfactory consolidation of the statute law without it.
4. General rules as to style.-On the general subject of the proper style and phraseology of Acts of Parliament, the following extract from a paper in the Third Report of the late Board contains, perhaps, all that can be usefully laid down for the guidance of draftsmen. It is there observed that" brevity and perspicuity in Acts of Parliament are to be attained only as they are to be attained in all other compositions by observing the rules of grammar and logic. "All the faults of the statutes as to form and style which require remedy are purely literary faults, and may be remedied, and can only be remedied, by a purely literary reform, without any legislative assistance or interference. All that is wanted is, that the persons who draw Acts of Parliament should be firmly resolved to use a plain and concise style, to choose with care the proper words to express their meaning, and never to use a word that is not wanted; and, above all, to assume that they are writing for persons of ordinary candour and intelligence, and not, as is now the practice, to think it necessary to provide in terms against every foolish and unworthy quibble that unfair or unreasonable persons
In some modern Acts of Parliament it seems to have been assumed that no new phraseology, new modes of reference, or other formal improvements, may be introduced without giving an express legislative sanction to the innovation. Many interpretation clauses, the enactments authorising the use of short titles, and other similar provisions, appear to have been inserted under this impression. Such provisions, however, cannot be necessary, and generally have an awkward appearance. If intelligible language is used, a declaration that it shall be understood cannot be needed; and for the Legislature to give itself permission to express its will in what form it pleases must be at least superfluous.
As a general rule it is convenient to arrange the matter in shorter paragraphs than are now commonly met with.
5. Interpretation clauses and definitions."Interpretation clauses" or definitions have in recent legislation been introduced in a very inconsiderate manner, and a great number of those in modern Acts are objectionable, or at least superfluous; but symbols, if properly used, are certainly often useful.
By a symbol is meant a short way of expressing an assemblage of many particulars for which ordinary language provides no general term; and where such assemblages of particulars have to be several times repeated in the course of an Act, it is proper and convenient to use a symbol in their place, and to give a definition of what it is intended to mean; but care should be taken,-1st, not to use such symbols except where language does not provide an adequate generic term; and, 2ndly, so to select and employ the symbols as to make it always apparent that they are symbols, and not used in their primary sense.
An instance of disregard of the first of these cautions is the common provision that "lands” shall mean "messuages, lands, tenements, and hereditaments," where, as "hereditaments" includes all the rest, that word might have been used without any interpretation clause at all; and as an instance of uncertainty whether a word is used in its symbolic or its primary sense, the late case of Bartlett v. Kirwood (2 Ellis & Bl. 771), may be referred to, where a doubt arose whether the word " year" was used in its ordinary sense, or in that which