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ways public feeling towards lawyers in Parliament has been ameliorated. But the political aspect of the profession is altering in every way. Judges have lately been appointed who have not even had so much as a seat in Parliament; lawyers in the House have been promoted after making themselves in only the very smallest degree obnoxious to the Government--indeed, before doing so at all; and when in place they have been willing to reform matters economically for their successors. It is all very strange. The gaining and the holding of political legal posts has become a respectable but a dull ambition.-Pall Mall Gazette.
Upon the preceding article the Law Times remarks:-"There is as bitter a piece of satire upon the leaders of the legal Profession in the Pall Mall Gazette of Tuesday last as we desire to see. The article in which it occurs is entitled 'Lawyers in Parliament,' and adopts the cue given by us as to the utter inefficiency of the lawyers at present in Parliament from an oratorical point of view. This candid critic tells us that there is not a practising lawyer in the House possessing the qualifications of a statesman, or even the power of expressing an opinion which would have the slightest weight with the country. The law officers let the great debates go by without opening their mouths, and our contemporary considers that the only mode of improving the condition of things would be by converting Serjeant Dease and Dr. Ball into Englishmen ! In the House of Lords it is conceded that Lord Cairns has made himself a high position; but of Lord Hatherley and Lord Selborne it is remarked that they are so 'admirably moral' that it is felt they ought to have been archbishops. This is very smart; but the string is in the tail of the article. The legal profession, whilst becoming dull, is admitted to have improved its position in public opinion. Lord Chancellors have proposed economies by giving smaller salaries to inferior Judges. The Attorney-General has magnanimously agreed to an arrangement depriving his successors of fees which he has had the pain of putting in his own pocket. These and such like abnegations' have won public approval. Truly, this is positively cruel. We should add that the writer considers legal promotion in the present day a respectable but dull ambition. And the worst of it is that every word of the criticism is just."
Appointment.-JOHN FORBES, Esq., Commissary-Clerk of Banffshire, has been appointed Sheriff-Clerk of that County in room of G. R. Forbes, Esq.
Box Days.-Thursday, 10th April, and Thursday, 1st May. Lord Mure will on Wednesday, 16th April, and Lord Mackenzie on Wednesday, 7th May next, sit in the Court at 11 o'clock; and rolls will be taken up on the preceding Mondays, in terms of the Court of Session Act 1868, and relative Act of Sederunt.
Bill-Chamber Rotation of Judges.-Monday, 21st March to Saturday, 5th April, Lord Ormidale; Monday, 7th April to Saturday, 19th April, Lord Mure; Monday, 21st April to Saturday, 3d May, Lord Gifford; Monday, 5th May to Saturday, 10th May, Lord Mackenzie.
Spring Circuits, 1873.-The following are the arrangements for the approaching spring circuits:-South. Lords Justice-Clerk and Cowan. Dumfries-Tuesday, 8th April; Ayr-Thursday, 10th April; Jedburgh-Tuesday, 15th April. Alexander Asher, Esq., Advocate
Depute; William Hamilton Bell, Clerk.-North. Lords Deas and Jerviswoode. Dundee-Tuesday, 8th April; Perth-Tuesday, 15th April; Inverness-Friday, 18th April; Aberdeen-Tuesday, 22d April. Henry H. Lancaster, Esq., Advocate-Depute; Alexander Ingram, Clerk. West. Lords Ardmillan and Neaves. StirlingMonday, 14th April, at 11 o'clock; Inveraray-Thursday, 17th April; Glasgow-Monday, 21st April, at 12 o'clock noon. Andrew Rutherfurd, Esq., Advocate-Depute; Æneas Macbean, Clerk.
Erratum.-Page 91, supra, line 43. For "Ad Macænatem," read "Ad Mæcenatem."
JOSEPH GRANT, Esq., W.S. (1815), died at Portobello, February 24, in his 81st year.
ALEXANDER JAMES STEWART, Esq., W.S. (1842), died at Esk Green, Musselburgh, March 8.
SIR,-In a recent number of your Journal, you kindly permitted me to occupy a page in stating a scheme of judiciary reform, which would bring, in all, or nearly all cases, justice to every man's door, either in the way of recovering a debt, or being subjected to penal treatment on account of ignoring the distinction between meum and tuum, but with a right of appeal, in cases of importance from the provincial judges to a higher court sitting in the Scottish metropolis. In a still more recent number, I have perused some interesting discussions upon qualifications, which are or should be possessed by the gentlemen (by and bye, we may have also to say the ladies), who assist litigants to plead their causes in court. Upon that question I do not at present propose to enter. But assuming a system of courts of the first instance, established throughout the country, of universal, or nearly universal jurisdiction, and these courts equipped with competent judges, and fairly furnished with plaideurs, wigged or unwigged, breeched or petticoated, another question arises, How is judicial business before these courts to be conducted?
And here let me say, at the outset, that I attach no very great importance to forms of process. A good judge will contrive to administer substantial justice in spite of a bad form of process, and
the best of forms will not enable an incompetent judge to rid himself of his incompetency. Indeed with the necessary substitution of one word for another, I am quite disposed to apply to this subject a well-known couplet of Pope :
For forms of procedure let fools contest;
For the purpose of preserving a record of what is brought before the judge for his decision, it seems indispensable that a suit, whether civil or criminal, should always be initiated by a written or printed document. Whether that document be in the form of a writ bearing to proceed from the judge, or of one addressed to him, is immaterial. Perhaps the existing practice of making a pecuniary demand in the form of a summons, and bringing most other actions in the shape of a petition or complaint, is as good as any other. But let the structure of the writ be natural. Everybody is not able to solve the logical puzzle of deducing a conclusion, before the premises from which it is to be deduced have been stated. I would therefore go back to the practice which formerly prevailed, of stating the circumstances out of which the pursuer's demand arises, before stating the demand itself. Of course the narrative should be succinct as well as distinct. Once so stated, I am revolutionist enough to think, that not merely in cases of small value, but in very many cases where the amount at stake is considerable, and particularly in mercantile cases, the simple forms of the Small Debt Court might be advantageously adopted, just because they are simple. I believe that the permission now given by the Sheriff Court Act of 1852 to have cases of larger pecuniary value than £12 tried of consent of parties in that simple form is almost never taken advantage of. Well, give the judge power so to try any case, whether the parties consent or not, which may appear to him from the explanations of parties or their agents, when they first come before him, fit to be adjudicated upon in this way. And let him in every case where a right of appeal belongs to the parties, or where he may consider an appeal ought to be allowed, write or cause to be written a note of their pleas, and of the evidence led before him. This will, no doubt, cause some work to be done by the judge which may be called drudgery. But I am supposing the judge competent to do it; if he cannot, let him try another trade. I know judges who with their own hand write down proofs as fully as was ever done under the old system of taking such by commission. I have heard of others who could not read, much less understand, what they had written. While simplicity however is advocated, it need not be attended with undue haste. If the judge can make up his mind with satisfaction to himself at once, after hearing parties viva voce, with or without proof, let him decide at once; if not, let him take time for consideration; but in every appealable case let his judgment be reduced into writing.
In other cases, and more especially when the demand is not of a pecuniary character, written pleadings from both sides may be necessary or advisable. Whether a simple answer by the defender to the pursuer's original summons or petition, or the more elaborate step of a condescendence of particulars and answers thereto may suffice, or be required, let the judge again determine. After a pretty lengthened experience, I am satisfied, that if clients would put themselves to the trouble of affording to their agent's full and accurate information at first, and if judges and agents would thereafter take the necessary pains, a satisfactory record might, except in a few cases of unusual complexity, always be made up by a single paper from each side. But if litigants will be careless about putting their agents in possession of a knowledge of all material facts, if agents will not be at the trouble of digesting these facts, when they have got them,-and if judges, while pretending to have heard imaginary statements or explanations from the parties or their agents, and while gravely minuting imaginary meetings with them, for adjusting records, &c., have been really allowing the parties to cobble up things as they liked, in court or out of court, and are mainly anxious to devote as little time as they decently can to the performance of their proper duties, and as much as they can to something else, whether divinity or dancing, God help all attempts at judicial reform.
La voila! my page, I fear, is more than exhausted.—I am, &c. J. C.
March 6th, 1873.
Notes of English, American, and Colonial Cases.
BENEFIT BUILDING SOCIETY-Breach of Trust by Directors-Suit to Recover Moneys of the Society Improperly Deposited with a Finance Company.-The manager of a benefit building society, established under 6 & 7 Will. IV. c. 32, deposited, in pursuance of a resolution passed by the directors, but contrary to the Act and the rules of the society, money of the society with a finance company of which he was also manager. The company gave a cheque to the manager for the repayment of the money to the building society, but he did not pay over the money to the society. Held, on bill filed by the trustees of the society (rev. decision of the Master of the Rolls), that the money was trust money improperly deposited with the finance company, that the giving the cheque to the manager was no discharge to the company, nor repayment to the building society, and that, therefore, the trust money being still in the hands of the finance company, a suit would lie in this Court on behalf of the real owners to recover it, and that, without making the directors of the building society a party to it.-Hardy v. Metropolitan Land and Finance Company, 41 L. J. Ch. 257.
COMPANY-Scripholder-Right of Directors to Register as Shareholders.—Plt. applied for and received an allotment of scrip certificates to bearer under a prospectus, which stated that on registration of the scrip, of which due notice
would be given, the certificates would be divided into five shares of £10 each. He never applied to have his scrip registered. Held, aff. decision of the Master of the Rolls, that he could not be registered as a shareholder without his consent.-MacIlwraith v. Dublin Trunk Connecting Railway Company, 41 L. J. Ch.
TRUST AND TRUSTEE.-Unauthorised Investments-Discretion as to Time of Conversion-Shares in Unlimited Company-Liability for Loss.-Testator, by will dated in August 1862, bequeathed his shares in a public company, and the rest of his estate to his trustees upon trust, to convert, "immediately after his decease, or so soon thereafter as they might see fit to do so." Part of the estate consisted of thirty-six shares in the Birmingham Bank, an unlimited company. At testator's death the shares were at a premium, and considered a safe investment. Soon after testator's death the bank issued new shares, offering them to the original shareholders at par. Nine were offered to the trustees in respect of the testator's shares, and being at a premium were purchased by them, though the trust for investment did not authorise investment in shares. The old and new shares were held together by the trustees until July 1866, when the bank broke. Held, that the trustees should not have purchased the new shares, and should have sold the old shares in reasonable time after the testator's death; that reasonable time, in such case, if no cause is shown for delay, is a year after testator's death; and that the trustees must replace, not only the amount of the calls made upon all the forty-six shares, and the purchase-money of the shares purchased, but also the loss to testator's estate in respect of the shares having become valueless.-Sculthorpe v. Tipper, 41 L. J. Ch. 266.
SALE-Cargo "expected to arrive"-Particular Voyage Contemplated by Parties -The agents of defts. in Chili having purchased a quantity of nitrate of soda, and chartered the Precursor to convey it to England, defts. contracted to sell to plt. "600 tons, more or less, being an entire parcel of nitrate of soda, expected to arrive at port of call per Precursor. Should any circumstance or accident prevent the shipment of the nitrate, or should the vessel be lost, the contract to be void." At the date of the sale the greater part of the nitrate of soda intended for shipment had been destroyed by an earthquake. The charter-party was subsequently cancelled, and notice of this was in due course forwarded to plt. The agents of defts. afterwards purchased a like quantity of nitrate of soda on account of defts., and obtained a transfer of a second charter-party made between the vendors and the owners of the Precursor for the conveyance of the second parcel of nitrate of soda to England. Upon the arrival of the cargo in this country, plt. laid claim to it under his contract. Held, aff. decision of Q. B., 39 Law J. Q.B. 210, that the contract related only to the nitrate of soda which was then expected to be carried by the particular voyage, and that upon this particular voyage being rendered impossible, the liability of defts. was terminated, and plt. had no claim, and the cargo subsequently purchased.—Smith v. Myers (Exch. Ch.,) 41 L. J. Q.B. 91.
PRINCIPAL AND AGENT-Broker-Usage of Trade.--Defendant, a Liverpool merchant, employed plts., sworn brokers of London, to buy for him a certain quantity of tallow in the London tallow market; plts., having other orders, bought in their own name a quantity sufficient to include these orders also, exchanging with the vendors notes for the larger quantity (not specific) but sending deft. a sold-note, as brokers, for the smaller quantity (not specific); plts. afterwards balanced and settled various transactions (including this) which they had with the same vendors, and when the time for delivery to deft. came, bought the requisite quantity of tallow and tendered it to deft., who refused to accept because plts. had made no binding contract between him and the said vendors for the smaller quantity, and plts, having thereby incurred loss, brought their action on the ground that they were justified in acting as they did by the custom (unknown to deft.) of the London tallow market for brokers, when they receive an order, to contract in their own names, either for the amount ordered