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1st. As to Extension of Jurisdiction.
The County Courts are already entrusted with Insolvency; there is no reason why they should not transact also the not more difficult business of Bankruptcy. The distribution of the County Court districts is far more convenient to the public than is that of the Bankruptcy districts, and the Commissioners in the country are very partially employed in return for their very large salaries. All their work might be well performed by the County Courts and their cost saved. We, therefore, propose to the Profession to adopt the principle of Lord BROUGHAM's Bill of last Session, for the transfer to the County Courts of the jurisdiction in country Bankruptcy.
Still more important is it to give to the County Courts an Original Jurisdiction in Equity. Upon this ground, we believe the Profession to be unanimous. Justice is not to be had in Chancery except at a cost which makes it ruinous to submit to that tribunal any matter of less value than 500l., nor can we imagine any reforms in its procedure which would so materially reduce the cost of a suit in equity, as to supersede the necessity for local tribunals in which, as in common law matters, redress may be had with speed and cheapness. If suitors are obliged to go to London to transact all their Equity business, however trifling, there must be heavy costs. We conclude, therefore, that, under any circumstances, an Equity Jurisdiction ought to be given to the County Courts.
At first, we were inclined to the opinion that value should in this, as in Common Law business, be the limit of jurisdiction. But further reflection has convinced us that it would be impossible to adopt that as the test, or at least as the only test. Lord BROUGHAM'S Bill, which was introduced late in the Session, for the purpose of taking the opinion of the Profession and the country upon it before next year, has the preferable plan of giving to the County Courts jurisdiction in certain classes of cases, such as those which do not usually involve any difficult questions of law, but which are rather matters in which the aid of the Court is prayed to carry out ministerially some proceedings requisite for the management of persons or property.
But we are inclined to think that a jurisdiction might also be given, limited in amount in all cases, subject to a power to be reserved to the Superior Court to remove them by order on application by either party, showing, to the satisfaction of the
Superior Court, that the suit involves questions of law which require the higher authority for their settlement, or that, although nominally for a small sum, the real amount involved is much greater, as in truth is often the case in equity matters. In addition to this original equity jurisdiction, the County Courts ought to be invested with the Jurisdiction of the Master's Offices in all cases, so that the Superior Courts of Equity might send to them such provincial cases as are now sent to the Masters in London. Provisions for the purpose were contained in the Bill that passed both Houses during last Session, and were unanimously approved, so that upon this, at least, there will not now be a question.
We are not prepared as yet to recommend the extension of the Common Law jurisdiction beyond an optional power by consent of the parties to try any cause for any amount. Our reason for this is, that we anticipate such an extensive reform of the Superior Courts, by facilitating and cheapening procedure, and providing for more speedy trial, as will make them very much more efficient than ever the County Courts are likely to be for the transaction of all important Common Law business; so that they will have the preference of suitors who now prudently shun them.
Thus, then, we propose three extensions of jurisdiction.
2nd. An Original Equity Jurisdiction, in certain cases, and to a limited amount.
3rd. A jurisdiction as Provincial Master's Offices.
be devoted to the Improvement of the Practice of The other division of the contemplated Bill will the County Courts.
With increased business there must be an increase of officers, and there ought to be an increase of remuneration.
There must be more Judges, with smaller Districts. Courts must be held more frequently.
The salaries of the Judges must be increased. The Clerks must all be paid by liberal salary, and required to devote themselves wholly to their office.
Assistant Clerkships must be abolished, and every Assistant made the Clerk of his own Court.
We are much inclined to propose that the Judges should change their Circuits continually, but this requires consideration, and we should like to have the opinions of our readers upon it.
Professional Remuneration to be placed on a more fair and reasonable basis. At present a grievous injustice is inflicted upon the suitor. The insulting fixed fees of the statute operate practically to impose upon successful suitors their own costs, instead of throwing them, as in the Superior Courts, upon the defeated party, who has driven his opponent to those costs to procure justice. It is a great mistake to suppose that the limitation of fee is a boon to the public; it merely relieves the wrong doer at the expense of the party wronged. A scale of fees for taxation is the obvious remedy.
The requirement of proof of an undisputed de-a great majority of the cases tried there are mere subjects mand is a monstrous grievance, which must be done away with. Judgment must be suffered to go in default of notice of defence.
There must be more a summary method of enforcing a Judgment.
Such are some of the most prominent features of that portion of the measure which will relate to the Improvement of Practice. Others will doubtless be suggested by the experience of our readers.
We now submit this outline of the design of the contemplated Bill. We shall next submit a sketch of the details; then a plan of the measure itself. We ask our readers to give it their most careful consideration, and to suggest to us such alterations or additions as they may deem desirable.
APPEAL FROM THE COUNTY COURTS.
TRIAL BY JURY.
It is an advantage, as well as an inconvenience, to a judge to have to decide questions of fact as well as of law. Whilst it apparently increases his responsibility, it really increases his security, and adds to his ease. A judge, with a jury to assist him, is bound to separate the law from the facts of the case, and to take upon himself | the responsibility of declaring what the law is, and its application to the facts. If there is no evidence to go to the jury, the judge must say so, and his direction will be a matter of law, which may be judged of by any lawyer, or if an objection be taken to the admissibility of evidence, he must at once decide upon the objection. If, on the other hand, the same man be judge both of law and fact, he may mix up the two together, so as to make it difficult to say what part of the decision was the result of his judgment in point of law, and what the consequence of his decision on the facts. If the admissibility of evidence be objected to, the judge will answer that, though he may admit the evidence for the present, he will not base his decision upon it, should he entertain any doubt of its admissibility. If he wishes to avoid giving an opinion on a question of law, he will ground his verdict upon the facts. Or he may even pronounce a general judgment, without stating any reasons what
It is manifestly, therefore, to the advantage of a bad judge and inexperienced lawyer, to be judge at once of both fact and law, as, by a little tact and discretion, he may, with very little knowledge of law, keep free from gross blunders for a considerable period.
Whether trial by jury in civil cases is more conducive to substantial justice than trial by the judge alone is thought by some a matter of doubt. Trial by jury has been the immemorial rule of the law of England, whilst the other system has prevailed in Scotland and other countries subject to the civil law. Within the last half century, however, trial by jury in civil cases was introduced into Scotland at the recommendation of some of the most eminent judges and advocates of that country. And the late Francis Horner, a gentleman who was in every way qualified to give an opinion on the subject, having practised both at the Scotch and at the English bars, speaks of the advantages of trial by jury with rapturous approbation.
Certainly if it be important to have the principles of law well settled and defined, and the decisions of the courts clear and precise, so as to form a rule in similar cases, trial by jury is a most invaluable institution. It necessitates the separation of law and fact, and presents unmixed propositions of law for the opinion of the judge. We do not mean to contend that it would in all cases be advisable to try cases by a jury in the County Courts;
of arrangement or matters of account; but we do think that in the great majority of cases involving questions of law and fact, it would further the ends of justice to try of a confused mass of law and fact, and a general judg by a jury. In that case the unsuccessful party, instead ment against him, without knowing whether on the facts or on a point of law, would at least know whether the decision be a verdict on facts or a judgment on a question of law: he would know whether to move for a new trial or to appeal to the court above.
We think it was the intention of the Legislature, in passing the 13 & 14 Vict. c. 61, to give to the party aggrieved by the decision of a judge in point of law, a right of appeal in cases tried without as well as those tried with a jury; but we think that, practically, the benefit is confined to the latter class of cases. Maule, J., in the case of The East Anglian Railway Company v. Lithgoe (1 Cox & Mac. 380), seems to have held that, even theoretically, the right to appeal is confined to cases tried by a jury. There his Lordship observed, "But, where the parties do not withdraw the facts or the law from the judge, but he decides, and, in deciding, states numerous facts, and draws a conclusion from them, even though you could make out of those facts a proposition of law, I have much doubt whether such a decision was intended to be the subject of appeal. Whenever the subject of the cause of action amounts to 57., either party may have a jury, and then there will be no difficulty; for the law and the facts will be separated, the jury will decide on the facts, and the judge on the law, and if any error is committed, it will be in the determination of the law, or the rejection or admission of evidence. It is true that view of the case excludes appeal where neither party has thought fit to have the matter tried before a jury; and I think that would be a wise enactment so considered, because many parties would be glad beforehand to have the decision of the judge, and be content that he should decide between them, perhaps in the hope that he would decide in their favour, but, after a decision against them, would be glad to find any little thing they could, and make of it a ground for an appeal." Whether or not his Lordship's opinion as to the right to appeal be correct, it seems clear that the only safe course for a party who wishes, in case of defeat, to appeal against the decision, is to demand a jury, so as to separate the law from the facts, and thereby secure to himself the means of obtaining a review of the judgment.
Even the right to a new trial is, to a great extent, nugatory without a jury. It is only appealing to the same judge, who, if wrong at first, will probably take the same view at the second trial; whereas, if the case be tried by a jury, a new trial must almost necessarily be before a different jury, and if there be a mistake in point of law, that also may then be amended by a higher tribunal.
LATE CASES ON THE LAW OF EVIDENCE. (a) (Continued from page 242.)
EVIDENCE of usage is admissible to explain an ambiguous grant; and the construction of such a grant is for the jury and not for the judge. Admissions in the court rolls of a manor pro pastura bosci et sub-bosci," and for " the pasture, wood, and underwood, of," &c., are sufficient to pass the land. Entries on the ancient rolls of a manor of items in the accounts rendered by the reeve of the manor, by which he charges himself with the receipt of money, are admissible in evidence; but entries in the same accounts of disbursements of the money so received, discharging the reeve, are not admissible unless they are referred to by the charging items, or are necessary to explain them. Entries made by a deceased
(a) By GEORGE HARRIS, Esq., Barrister-at-Law.
person in the ordinary course of business, but not contemporaneously with the fact entered, are not admissible in evidence. If a document be offered in evidence at a trial on one ground which is untenable, and be rejected, and after the trial it be discovered that the document might have been offered on another ground, which was a good one, the court will not grant a new trial. At all events, not unless manifest injustice would ensue, and the party could not by due diligence have offered the document on the proper ground at the trial: (Doe d. Kinglake v. Beviss, 18 L. J. 128, C. P.) Semble, that where an account of the reeve of a manor in the court rolls contains a quietus, the whole account is admissible in evidence, on the ground that the "quietus" discharging the reeve is an admission of the whole by the lord against his own interest.
Although the 9 & 10 Vict. c. 95, takes away the jurisdiction of the Sheriff's County Court in replevin, it is still the duty of the sheriff to take replevin bonds under the 11 Geo. 2, c. 19, s. 23; and a bond taken in the terms of that statute will be valid. But a bond taken in the form usually employed "to appear at the next County Court of Middlesex, holden at the sheriff's office, &c., and then and there prosecute the action with effect," is insufficient since that statute, the jurisdiction being transferred by the 119th section to the new court for the district in which the distress was taken. Even if the bond would have been good otherwise, the omission of the condition to prosecute "without delay" would have been fatal. At the trial of an action against the sheriff for taking an insufficient replevin bond, the plaintiff's counsel called for the original bond. The defendant's counsel refusing to produce it, a copy was tendered, and was about to be read; the defendant's counsel then produced the original, and objected to its being read without the evidence of an attesting witness. The judge allowed it to be read. It was held that the plaintiff was entitled to read the copy, and that the copy must be taken to have been read: (Edmonds v. Challis and another, 18 L. J. 164, C. P.)
The plaintiff was engaged by the defendant, who lived in London, as managing clerk at Southampton, by the year, and the business was conducted by correspondence. In July, 1847, the plaintiff wrote to the defendant for 140l. to pay certain debts incurred in the business, including 301., the amount of the plaintiff's salary then due. The defendant inclosed him in a letter 100l. for "business purposes." The plaintiff retained 301. for his salary, contending that that was a business purpose, and expended the remainder in paying some of the debts. The defendant dismissed him, upon which the plaintiff brought an action of assumpsit. The defendant pleaded a justification of the dismissal, on the ground that the plaintiff wrongfully misappropriated money, and acted contrary to orders. There were many letters between the parties put in as evidence in the cause. The learned Judge left it to the jury to say upon all the documents and evidence before them, whether the plaintiff misappropriated the money, and whether he willfully disobeyed the orders of the defendant. It was held that the jury were rightly directed on both points. Where a document produced in evidence is ambiguous on the face of it, the ambiguity is to be explained by the judge. But where an expression in a document produced in evidence becomes ambiguous by reason of extrinsic evidence, it is for the jury to construe that ambiguity: (Smith v. Thompson, 18 L. J. 354, C. P.)
In ejectment for twenty-two acres, parcel of the manor of H., it appeared that the whole manor was settled on the Earl of A. in 1559, when a release of it was granted to Lord L. for 100 years; and that an act of Parliament passed restraining the Earls of A. from alienating their property. In 1825 an act was passed to enable the Duke of N., the heir of the Earls of A., to sell; and the manor of
Y. was then sold to the lessors of the plaintiff. In order to shew that the lands here sought to be recovered were identified with those included in the lease of 1559 (there being no trace of any original deeds dealing with the property later than that of 1559), a book found in the muniment room of the Duke of N. was tendered, purporting to be that of one S., a steward of the Earl of A., in 1610 and 1620, in which, under the former date, was a copy of a lease from S. and L. to one H. of these lands, and a minute by S. that "H.'s widow hath assigned to Sir E. C., who yet claimeth ten years to come;" the said Sir E. C. being the ancestor under whom the defendant held possession. It was held that the minute was not evidence in the cause, either as a matter of refutation of the extent of the manor, or as an entry made by a deceased party in the discharge of his duty, and against his own interest, or as professing to be a copy of a deed seen by the writer: (Doe d. Padwick v. Skinner, 18 L. J. 107, Ex.) Parke, B., in delivering his opinion in this this case, observed, "There can be no doubt that copies of ancient deeds or documents may be received as proof of ineffectual search for originals; but this does not profess to be a copy or an abstract by the steward of any document seen by him, so that it is clearly inadmissible as a copy. In the next place it does not fall within that class of entries, which are admissible on the ground of their having been made by parties against their own interest. The steward here does not charge himself in any respect by this entry; and the only question beyond is, whether this is an entry made in the discharge of the writer's duty, at a time contemporaneous with that duty. Now, I think this is not admissible on that ground either; for it is not an entry of anything done by the steward, but a matter of hearsay, which he thinks it may be important to his master's interest for him to note. This entry, therefore, does not range itself within any of the exten sions of the strict rule of precedent, and I think we are bound to reject it."
To support the proof of a custom of a lord of a manor to take only one heriot from a tenant, whatever the num ber of his holdings might be, a paper purporting to be a copy of an old decree of the Court of Chancery, in & suit between a copyholder and the lord, produced by a witness who succceded his brother as lord of the manor, and who stated that he had found it amongst his brother's papers, is inadmissible in evidence as against a subse quent lord, evidence having been given of an ineffectual search for the original: (Price v. Woodhouse, 18 L.J. 271, Ex.)
To a certificate that A. B. had transferred to the defendant certain shares in a mine, was added a statement, signed by the defendant, that he agreed to accept and take the same. It was held in an action of debt for goods supplied to the mine, that the certificate was evidence against the defendant, as an admission by him that he was a shareholder in the mine, and that it did not require a transfer stamp: (Toll v. Lee, 18 L. J. 364 Ex.) It has also been held that letters containing a demand, written to a defendant, and unanswered by him, and in reference to which he has afterwards made unsatisfactory statements, are admissible in evidence against him, although they also state facts showing how the demand arises: (Gaskill v. Skene, 19 L. J., 2 Q. B. 275.)
In connection with the subject of the production of documentary evidence, we may here mention that, at the trial of an ejectment to recover land claimed as parcel of the glebe of a rectory, a book describing the lands, subject to tithes, and a map stating the glebe lands, were produced by an attorney, who stated that he had received them from a former rector, who was also owner of the advowson. The book being given to him for the purpose of collecting the tithes, and the map with a view to the sale of the advowson, which was afterwards
effected, and the lessor of the plaintiff appointed to the rectory by the purchaser; it was held that the map was not a privileged communication; and, semble, that the book was not: (Doe dem. Marriott, Clerk v. The Marquis of Hertford, 19 L. J. 526, Q. B.)
An agreement recited that the defendant had, as he was advised, legally put an end to a lease granted to S. H., of a farm, by entering thereon, by reason of the bankruptcy of S. H., pursuant to a power in the lease; and it was thereby agreed that the defendant should grant a lease of the farm to the plaintiff at a yearly rent, payable quarterly. The lease was to commence on a day certain, if the defendant could then legally make it, or as soon as he was in a situation to do so; the rent to commence from the commencement of the term, or on possession being given, which should first happen. The plaintiff was to pay the defendant 500l., on possession being given to him, as a bonus for the lease so to be granted. The plaintiff was admitted into possession, and occupied the farm for two years, and paid 250l. in respect of the bonus. The defendant was unable to grant the lease, the commission of bankruptcy of S. H. having been superseded. The plaintiff brought an action against the defendant for not making the lease, averring in the declaration that the defendant was in a situation to grant the lease, and that a reasonable time for granting it had expired; and he also claimed the 2501. as money had and received to his use. It was held that the recital in the agreement was prima facie evidence against the defendant that he had power to grant the lease; but that such recital purporting to be founded on the supposed bankruptcy of S. H., the evidence was answered by proof that the commission against him had been superseded: (Wright v. Colls, 19 L. J. 60, C. P.)
The following memorandum, signed by the plaintiff, was indorsed upon the registered copy of the deed of settlement of a joint stock company, produced by the defendant:-"We do hereby certify that the withinwritten deed is the deed of settlement of the Universal Gas Light Company, and that, to the best of our knowledge, the particulars therein contained are correctly set forth." It was held that the copy was primary evidence against the plaintiff of the contents of the deed: (Boulter v. Peplow, Boulter v. Brooke, 19 L. J.190, C. P.)
Where the attorney of a person, not a party to the action, brought a book into court, in obedience to a subpoena duces tecum, but refused to produce it, on the ground of his client's privilege, and the client being present as a witness under a common subpoena, also objected to its production. It was held that secondary evidence might be given of the contents of the book, although the client had not been served with a subpoena duces tecum: (Newton v. Chaplin, 19 L. J. 37, C. P.) It was laid down, per Maule, J., in this case, that where an attorney holds a document for a client, he cannot be compelled to produce it by a person who has an equal interest in it with his client.
To support a claim for payment of 4d., a wey for all coals gotten within a manor and seignory, and exported to sea, a book was produced from the custody of the plaintiff, purporting to be a survey taken in the year 1650, after the manor and seignory had been granted to Oliver Cromwell by the authority of Parliament, and purporting to be taken by virtue of a commission to certain persons named in the survey, given by the Right Honourable Oliver Cromwell, Lord General of the Parliament Forces. After specifying certain rents, it stated, "that the jury present," &c., inter alia, 4d. due unto the Lord for every wey of coals that is transported out of the lordship. No commission was proved, nor was it signed by the jury. It was held that this survey was inadmissible, either as a public document, or as evidence of reputation: (Duke of Beaufort v. Smith, 19 L. J. 97, Ex.) In this case, also, it was determined that certain varia
tions in old entries of accounts as to a manorial customary payment, extending over three centuries, and uniform in amount, were no objection to the validity of the claim. In a scire facias under the 7 Geo. 4, c. 46, in order to prove that the defendant was a shareholder in the company at the time of the issuing of a writ, a return made to the Stamp Office under that statute some months previous having been shown, it was held that a similar return at the corresponding period of the following year, but subsequent to the issuing of the writ, was receivable in evidence: (Bosanquet v. Shortridge, 14 Jur. 71, Ex.) In an action of trover by the assignees of a bankrupt to recover goods alleged to have been transferred by way of fraudulent preference, a circular, written by the solicitor of the bankrupt, upon a statement made to him by the bankrupt of his affairs, taken by the bankrupt and communicated to some of his friends, but not put into circulation until the transfer of all the goods has been completed, is admissible, upon the part of the plaintiffs, as some evidence that the bankrupt contemplated bankruptcy at the time of the transfer of the goods: (Whitehouse and others, assignees, v. Schneider and others, 16 L. T. 364, Q. B.)
In an action against the acceptor on a bill of exchange, drawn by L. J., endorsed by him after maturity to H. L. F., and by him to the London and Dublin Banking Company, of which the plaintiff was public officer, the plaintiff, in order to prove consideration between L. J. and H. L. F., gave in evidence a document in the handwriting of the former, dated during the currency of the bill, in which he stated that he held the bill for collection, and that H. L. F. had an interest in it to the amount of 700l., and also the nisi prius record in an action by H. L. F. against J. L., in England. It was held by Monaghan, C. J., that both documents were properly received in evidence: (Heenan v. Clements, 1 Ir. Law Rep. 45; 3 Ir. Jur. 158, C. B.)
The date of a memorandum is primâ facie its true date. A memorandum set forth that certain scrip certificates were deposited by A. with B., as collateral security for payment of A's acceptance. It was held evidence of a deposit of the scrip certificates, on the terms that any moneys arising from them which should come to the hands of B., or any person to whom B. should indorse the bill and deliver the certificates, should be applied in discharge of the bill: (Malpas v. Clements, 15 L. T. 343.)
An attested document was produced, but the attesting witness was absent. In consequence of a wish to see it expressed by the jury, it was handed to them by the opposing counsel, and read by them. It was held that it was thus made evidence: (Cobham v. Ball, 16 L. T. 245.)
(To be continued.)
NOTICE OF NEW BOOKS FOR THE USE OF COUNTY COURTS.
The Fourth Edition of the Law and Practice of the County Courts. By EDWD. W. Cox and MORGAN LLOYD, Esqrs., Barristers-at-Law. London: Crockford. pp. 700.
THE New Rules of Practice, the number of Cases lately decided, and some additions made by the statute law to the Jurisdiction of the County Courts, have combined, opportunely with the exhaustion of the former edition of this work, to enable the authors to produce a new one in which they might make many improvements besides those comprised in the recent changes. Preserving the arrangement which had been much approved, they have recast the various chapters, so as to avoid the repetitions of sections of the acts of Parliament. They have intro
duced some new chapters required by the recent additions to the jurisdiction. They have framed the Book on Practice in accordance with the new rules and orders, so that the work is a complete manual of the law as it is, and of the practice as now settled. The important powers given to the Courts by the new Act for the Arrest of Absconding Debtors has been treated with the attention it deserves, and the Book on Prohibition, on which there have been so many cases of late, has been enlarged so as to contain all the law, as determined by the numerous decisions of the last two years. The comprehensive and practical plan of this work will be best shown by the following outline of it.
It is divided into eleven Books.
Book I. describes the constitution of The Courts. Book II. gives, in five chapters, all the law that regulates the Officers, viz. :-1. The Judge; 2. The Treasurer; 3. The Clerk; 4. The High Bailiff; and the 5th is devoted to the rights, and duties, and powers of the officers generally.
Book III. contains the Law of the Sheriff's Court of London.
Book IV. which is one of great importance and interest, is got up with particular care and extensive reference to the cases decided. It is devoted to the Jurisdiction of the County Courts, which is treated of 1st, as regards Locality; 2nd, as to Subject matter; 3rd, as to Parties; 4th, as to Proceedings; 5th, as to Officers; 6th, as to The Profession; 7th, as to The Public; 8th, as to Concurrent Jurisdiction with the Superior Courts.
Book V. treats of APPEAL, in the various forms of, 1st, Mandamus; 2nd, Prohibition; 3rd, Certiorari; 4th, Suggestion; 5th, Appeal, as provided by the new statute.
Book VI. is wholly devoted to THE PRACTICE as regulated by the New Rules and the decisions of the various Courts. It is appropriately arranged under the following divisions, each occupying a distinct chapter:1. The Plaint; 2. The Summons; 3. Proceedings between the service of summons and hearing; 4. The Hearing; 5. New Trial, and Setting aside Proceedings; 6. Evidence, all the principal rules of which are given; 7. Execution; 8. Interpleader; 9. Arbitration; 10. Summons on Judgment; 11. Records; and 12. Actions by or against Administrators.
Book VII. treats of REPLEVIN.
Book VIII. treats of-1. Recovery of Tenements; 2. Proceedings by and against infants; 3. Abatement; 4. Application in the nature of fi. fa.; 5. Notices, Holidays, and Forms; 6. Confession of Debt; 7. Consent Cases; 8. Friendly Societies; 9. Proceedings under 12 & 13 Vict. c. 108; 10. Insolvency; 11. Forma Pauperis.
thanks, as we understand they have received the sup port, of the Profession. But they have done a great deal more. They have availed themselves of the oppor tunity to do another service to the lawyers, every one of whom has groaned under the load of a volume of statutes when he has had occasion to carry them to a court. This inconvenience has also been remedied, and here, instead of a huge quarto, the entire of the practical statutes of the session, no less than fifty-one in number, have been printed in a small volume, which can be carried to court in the pocket! and yet in a clear, neat, and legible type, as befits a law book. Nor is this all. Introductory and explanatory notes are added, and where the new statute refers to and embodies a portion of a former one, as is often done, that one so embodied is given in a note, so as to save the trouble of another reference. Lastly, a copious index gives ready access to the contents of this invaluable volume, which only requires to be seen to be possessed by every practitioner. In the County Courts it will be especially useful, for it is so easily carried about. The work commenced last year, and we are informed that it is intended to bring out in the like convenient form the previous statutes, going backwards year by year, and omitting, besides those that do not concern the English lawyer, all such as are repealed, and to give in notes all the cases decided upon them. It suffices to name such a work to insure attention to it.
SOLICITORS AND THE COUNTY COURTS.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE COUNTY COURTS CHRONICLE.
SIR, A letter appeared in a late number of your contemporary, the Law Times, calling upon the attorneys to unite and employ their interest in opposition to the County Courts.
With great deference to the author of this letter, I beg to point out that any attempt of the kind will, under existing circumstances, prove an utter failure, and that it will be of no avail to obstruct the County Courts, while it may (and in all probability will) be most injurious to the interests as well as to the character of the profession.
All this will appear self-evident when we descend from vague generalities to plain practical considerations; and unless we look closely to common-place practical details, we cannot form a judgment of the wisdom or folly of any plan.
I beg to ask, therefore, in the first place, what the writer alluded plate an attempt to induce Parliament to take away or to limit the to means by opposition to the County Courts? Does he contem
Book IX. is devoted to the Proceedings for Penalties Jurisdiction already given to those courts? Would he try to cut
Book X. treats of FEES and COSTS, of which tables are given.
Book XI. contains the Jurisdiction under the new Act for the Arrest of Absconding Debtors.
An Appendix gives verbatim all the Rules and Orders and all the Statutes now regulating the County Courts. The great pains bestowed upon this new edition will be best shown by the fact that the mere Table of Cases cited in it occupies no less than ten closely printed pages
The Practical Statutes of 1851, with Introduction, Notes, and a Copious Index. By WILLIAM PATERSON, Esq., Barrister-at-Law. London: Law Times Office. 7s. 6d. A HAPPY thought was this of disencumbering the new laws of the session of all their ponderous, costly and worthless lumber, omitting the Scotch, the Irish, and the Colonial Statutes, and thus presenting to the English Lawyer the whole of the new statute law which he can ever require to refer to, in a compact form, and consequently at a lessened price. If nothing more had been done than this, the Editors would have deserved the
down the 50% jurisdiction to its original limit of 201; or, would he attempt to obtain the entire abolition of the system? It must be all but superfluous for me to observe that any project of the kind (if it can be entertained by any sane man) will inevitably be attended with disappointment and defeat. A few members may possibly be influenced by solicitors or others to vote for wild schemes of this kind, but it is perfectly idle to suppose that the immense majority of about two to one, by which the nority. Moreover, it must be borne in mind that the influence extension to 50%. was carried, can be thus turned into a miof government to which the minority in the division chiefly owed its existence, would be against any tampering with the jurisdiction now it has been established, for our government, however slow to move onward, would be adverse to a backward movement against an established law, approved in practice by the country, and would dread the condemnation of public opinion even more than an adverse
vote of the House of Commons.
So palpable are these considerations, that it is mere waste of time to discuss them further. I will assume, therefore, that the measures for the improvement and extension of the County Courts. writer in question means simply to recommend opposition to future
Now, placing this interpretation on his recommendation, I can conceive nothing more fallacious than the grounds on which it proceeds, for I think it quite certain that the great majority of the profession, especially country solicitors, have everything to gain,