« EelmineJätka »
Shipping-Seaman-Wages-Outbreak of War-War Risks-
The plaintiffs were engaged as seamen on a British ship on a commercial voyage out and home " from Tilbury to Port Arthur, Texas. While at the latter port news arrived of the outbreak of war between Germany and England. The ship's crew were also made aware of the presence in the vicinity of a German cruiser called the K. The plaintiffs thereupon refused to proceed to sea and complete the voyage, on account of the extra risk due to the outbreak of war, unless they received extra remuneration. The master, being unable otherwise to obtain their services, signed an agreement to pay them an extra £12 each to take the ship home. The owners of the ship, on its arrival in England, refusing to pay, the plaintiffs brought this action to recover these extra wages. For the plaintiffs it was contended that, war risks not being contemplated when they undertook the voyage, the liability to capture was a new risk which entitled the plaintiffs to refuse to proceed to sea unless they received extra remuneration. It was contended for the defendants that, unless the risk amounted to a risk to life, seamen could not claim any sum beyond the wages specified in the articles, and the master had no authority to make such a bargain on behalf of the owners of the ship. By sect. 113 of the Merchant Shipping Act 1894 the master of a ship shall enter into an agreement with every seaman whom he carries to sea as part of his crew; and by sect. 114 the agreement shall be signed by the master and seamen, and shall contain (inter alia) “ the amount of wages which each seaman is to receive."
Held, that the risks of war not being contemplated by the parties when they undertook a commercial voyage, and the risk of capture being a risk which might reasonably be anticipated after the outbreak of war, the plaintiffs were discharged from their contract, and were justified in refusing to proceed to sea unless they received extra remuneration; the master was therefore entitled to make this bargain, which was binding on the owners.
[Liston and others v. Owners of Steamship Carpathian. K. B. Div.: Coleridge, J. Feb. 10.-Counsel: Ivor Bowen, K.C. and S. Duncan; A. Neilson. Solicitors: Humphreys, Phillips, and Co.; Botterell and Roche.]
Slander-Allegation of Immorality against a SchoolmasterActionable apart from special Damage-Defamation in Relation to Trade or Profession.
The plaintiff was a certificated teacher and head master of Llidiardau School, Rhoshirwaen, Pwllheli, Carnarvonshire, subject to a term's notice or immediate notice upon good cause shown. The defendants were husband and wife. The female defendant said that the plaintiff had been guilty of immoral conduct with E. R. (a married woman employed by the school cleaner). The defendants denied publication and pleaded that the words were not actionable apart from special damage inasmuch as they d d not touch the plaintiff in relation to his office. The trial took place at Carnarvon, and the jury answered the following questions: (1) Were words spoken by the defendants of the plaintiff importing moral misconduct between plaintiff and E. R.?— Answer, yes. (2) Were they spoken of him in the way of his calling-i.e., in such a way as to imperil the retention of his office-Answer, yes. (3) Did they impute that he was unfit to hold his office?-Answer, yes. £10 damages. It was contended for the plaintiff that such a suggestion against a schoolmaster must necessarily affect him in relation to his office. No reference in the slander itself need be made to the office of a slandered person, nor need either the publisher or the hearer of the slander in fact know of such office: (Dodd v. Robinson, 1648, Al., p. 63; Best v. Loit, 1661, 1 Roll. Abr. 59; Read v. Hudson, 1701, 1 Raym. (Ld.) 610; Stanton v. Smith, 2 Raym. 1480; Whittington v. Gladwin, 1825, 5 B & C. 180; 2 C. & P. 146; Lumby v. Allday, 1830, 1 Cr. & J. 301 Galway v. Marshall, 9 Ex. 297; Jones v. Littler, 1841, 7 M. & W. 423; Dauncey v. Holliday, 84 L. T. Rep. 649; (1901) 2 K. B. 441). For the defendants it was argued that the speaker of the slander must connect the person defamed with the office held: (Best v. Loit, 1661, 1 Roll. Abr. 59; Ayre v. Craven, 1834, 2 A & E. 2; Doyley v. Roberts, 1837, 3 Bing. N. C. 835; A. B. v. C. D, 1904, 7 Fraser, p. 22; Hopwood v. Thorne, 1849, 8 C. B. 293; Alexander v. Jenkins, 66 L. T. Rep. 391; (1892) 1 Q. B. 797).
Held, in certain cases it is not necessary for the person elandered to establish that the speaker imputed to him that he was guilty of some misconduct in the course of discharging the duty of his office. An action may lie although the speaker and the hearer were not aware that the person defamed held an office of profit or pursued a calling in relation to which the publication of such words would necessarily tend to damage
him. Each case must depend upon its circumstances. The meaning of the expression "spoken in relation to his calling was that if the plaintiff could not prove special damage, he must prove that the words were spoken of him in such a way and with such consequences, having regard to the nature of his calling or office, that they would necessarily affect him in the following of that calling or the retention of that office. Judg. ment for the plaintiff.
[Jones v. Jones and Wife. K. B. Div.: Lush, J. Feb. 16.Counsel: Montgomery, K.C. and Morris; Artemus Jones, Solicitors: Baker and Nairne; Rhys Roberts, for Lloyd-George and George.]
PROBATE, DIVORCE, AND ADMIRALTY DIVISION.
Probate-Practice-Motion by Creditor for Grant of Administra-
Motion by a creditor, E. L. W., for letters of administration under sect. 73 of the Court of Probate Act 1857 to the estate of J. S., who died on the 28th Oct. 1914. From the case on motion it appeared that J. S. died a bachelor, without parent and intestate, leaving his brother L. S. and his sister L. N. his next of kin. By an unattested testamentary document signed by the deceased and dated the 16th Oct. 1914 he named the applicant and another executors, and all his effects, real and personal, were bequeathed to his sister L. N. and his nephew S. N. The said L. S., L. N., and S. N. were alien enemies resident in Germany. The assets in England amounted in value to about £118 15s. 2d. ; in addition there were certain shares and stocks of uncertain value in the hands of London stockbrokers, who also had the sum of £733 14s. 10d. which was subject to contingent liabilities. The applicant, E. L. W., who was a naturalised British subject, had paid the deceased's funeral expenses, amounting to £14 19s. 6d. The Treasury Solicitor had consented to a grant going to the applicant, provided that no money was paid away without the direction of the registrar, in accordance with the order in Re Konigs (W. N. Jan. 9, 1915). [Bargrave Deane, J. referred to the Trading with the Enemy Amendment Act 1914 and expressed the view that the grant ought to be taken by the Public Trustee.] Counsel for applicant intimated that the Public Trustee had taken the view that the administration should not be assumed by him unless the domicil of the deceased was English, and that did not appear to have been established.
Bargrave Deane, J. (after consultation with Sir S. T. Evans, P.) said that the learned President and he were agreed that the Public Trustee was the proper person to take the grant of administration.
[In the Estate of Jacob Schiff (deceased). P. Div.: Bargrave Deane, J. Feb. 8.-Counsel: Grazebrook. Solicitors: M. Abrahams, Sons, and Co.]
On the 24th April 1914 R. A. K. presented a petition for dissolution of marriage, alleging that her husband, G. S. K., had been guilty of desertion and adultery. By his answer dated the 22nd June 1914 the respondent denied the desertion and adultery and alleged that from March 1913 to March 1914 the petitioner had lived and cohabited with R B, and only prayed that the petition should be dismissed. In her reply the petitioner denied the counter-charge of adultery. On the 10th Feb. 1915 the case came before the court, when counsel for the respondent intimated that he was not in a position to put his client in the witness-box, and did not propose to proceed with the counter-charge. The petitioner in the course of her evidence stated that she was married in 1901 and deserted by the respondent in July 1906. From the latter date he had not supported her and her two children, save for a few sums of money at odd times. In 1909, while on tour, she became acquainted with R. B., who was also in the theatrical profession. She told him her troubles, and he invited her to live with him. At first she refused, but in Sept. 1909, being without means, she joined him and remained with him until she learnt from a firm of solicitors that she could bring divorce proceedings as her husband would have to pay the costs, and then she gave up her association with R B. Counsel on her behalf, having called evidence proving the respondent's adultery, asked the court to exercise in her favour the discretion given by sect. 31 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1857.
Feb. 15.-Bargrave Deane, J. granted a decree nisi with costs against the respondent, but said that he would not exercise his discretion in a petitioner's favour in future unless (1) it was clearly admitted in the petition that adultery had been committed, and (2), it was prayed that discretion should be exercised on the petitioner's behalf.
[King v. King. P. Div.: Bargrave Deane, J. Feb. 10 and 15. -Counsel: Barnard, K.C. and Willock; Le Bas. Solicitors: Powell, Burt, and Lamaison; Law and Worssam.]
Manual of the Principles of Roman Law. By R. D. MELVILLE, K.C. Edinburgh: W. Green and Co.
PROFESSOR MELVILLE explains the object and scope of his new work in his preface as in no sense a rival to existing books on Roman law, but as seeking to present the results of their [the authors'] critical erudition in a form and in terms free from technicalities, in a manner that does not involve as a pre-requisite a knowledge of the Latin language." He deals only with that part of the law relating specially to persons, property, and obligations. The book is more especially prepared for Egyptian law students, which accounts for the frequent references to the French Civil Code and to French authorities.
Messrs. Ralph Neville and W. A. Robertson have brought out a fifteenth volume of Railway and Canal Traffic Cases (Sweet and Maxwell Limited). It contains twenty-five new cases, beginning with Weaver and Co. Limited v. Great Western Railway Company, decided on the 6th Dec. 1911, and coming down to the case of Postmaster-General v. Corporation of Darlington, decided on the 8th July 1914. This series is essential to all who have to deal with railway and canal traffic law.
Inland Revenue Affidavits, by Mr. J. O. Voysey (Stevens and Haynes), gives instructions as to how to prepare and deliver them for the payment of estate duty before obtaining a grant of probate or letters of administration in England. The points have been set out simply and precisely, and practitioners and others will find this a very useful guide in their work.
1914 Workmen's Compensation and Insurance Reports, published by the Reports and Digest Syndicate Limited, is edited by Mr. Gilbert Stone, who supplies an annotated digest. It contains all the cases in the House of Lords, the Courts of Appeal of England and Ireland, and the Court of Session, Scotland, and selected cases in the High Court of Justice. The volume is clearly printed and well got up.
Clauses and Precedents in Electricity, Gas, and Water Legislation. By JACQUES ABADY. Walter King. As a guide to the progress of legislation with regard to these subjects during the last five years Mr. Abady's book is a useful production. It is methodically arranged, and has a full index. The author has carefully examined all the private Acts and Provisional Orders passed in the sessions 1910 to 1914 relating to any one or more of these three public services, and municipal Acts as well as Acts promoted by companies have come under his purview.
A book which has created very great interest at the present crisis is The German War Book, translated by Professor J. H. Morgan and published by Mr. Murray. It is a literal translation of Kriegsbuch im Landkriege issued by the German General Staff for the instruction of German officers. In an introduction Professor Morgan discusses the writings of German jurists in connection with diplomacy, politics, and academic teaching.
The second series of a complete yearly record of all judicial decisions affecting the brewing and licensed trades has been issued by Messrs. Butterworth and Co and the Brewing Trade Review with the title Licensing Law Reports 1914. "A Barrister-at-Law is responsible for the notes.
A third edition of Mr. Albert Crew's Procedure at Meetings comes from Messrs. Jordan and Sons Limited. The author has thoroughly revised the text and has been able to include the chief leading cases to date. As some of these lay down fresh principles the new edition is welcome. An addition is the chapter by Mr. George Goodes on the Art of Public Speaking.
Mr. Henry W. Disney has brought out a fourth edition of his useful and concise book on The Law of Carriage by Railway (Stevens and Sons Limited). There is not much change in the law on the subject to be noted since the third edition appeared, but a few recent cases have been added, and the whole book carefully revised.
In the thirty-third edition of the well-known Handbook on Joint Stock Companies, by Mr. Gore-Browne, K.C. and Mr. William Jordan (Jordan and Sons Limited), an interesting. new feature is the chapter on the effect of the war on commercial engagements generally, and in particular in regard to corporations. Cases affecting the law since the appearance of the last edition have been duly noted down to decisions reported in the August Law Reports.
The Law and Practice of the Estate Duty, just published by Messrs. Waterlow and Sons Limited, is a fifth edition of Mr. Alfred W. Soward's invaluable book. Since the last edition is fourteen years old, and the legislation of the present year of particular importance, it is well that the author has taken this opportunity of rewriting and enlarging his original work.
Mr. Sylvain Mayer, K.C., has prepared a sixth edition of his useful work on the Law of Agricultural Holdings (Waterlow and Sons Limited), comprising the Agricultural Holdings Acts 1908, 1913, and 1914. The numerous decisions under the 1908 Act have been incorporated. There are two introductory chapters, one devoted to the principles of the Agricultural Holdings Acts, and the other to the procedure for the recovery of compensation. Precedents and forms for agreements, leases, &c., will be found in the appendix.
We have received from Walter Southwood and Co. Limited The World in Alliance, by Mr. Frank Noel Keen, in which are put forward some utopian ideas with regard to a world peace.
Colombia's grievance against the United States is set forth by Mr. Norman Thomson in a juridical study of the Panama question under the title Colombia and the United States (N. Thomson and Co), in which he draws a parallel between the case of Colombia and that of Belgium against Germany,
That invaluable little book of reference, Dod's Parliamentary Companion, is to hand for 1915 (Whittaker and Co.). This is its ninety-first issue, bringing its information quite up to date.
We have received Parts 3 and 4 of vol. 11 of Messrs. Stevens and Haynes' Criminal Appeal Cases, containing reports of cases heard on Nov. 30 and Dec. 7, 14, 18, 1914, and on Jan. 18, 1915. The reports are edited by Mr. Herman Cohen.
The Quarterly Noter-up (Stevens and Haynes), compiled by Mr. J. M. Easton, can now be had for the last quarter of 1914. In The Afrikander Rebellion (George Allen and Unwin Limited) Mr. J. K. O'Connor draws a clear picture of the various points of view obtaining in the mixed communities of South Africa, and shows the inevitability of the late rebellion.
The January number of the Journal of the Society of Comparative Legislation, New Series 32 (John Murray) contains brief sketches of Sir Charles Tupper (with portrait), Baron de Villiers of Wynberg, and Mr. Arthur Cohen, K.C. There are articles on South African Native Land Laws, and on Trading with the Enemy, by G. G. Phillimore.
Chalmers and Hough on the Bankruptcy and Deeds of Arrangement Acts. Seventh Edition. Waterlow and Sons Limited, London-wall. Price 31s. 6d. net.
Mews' Annual Digest of English Case Law 1914. Sweet and Maxwell Limited, 3, Chancery-lane; Stevens and Sons Limited, 119 and 120, Chancery-lane. Price 15s.
East Africa Protectorate Law Reports. Vol. 4, 1911-12. Standard Printing and Publish ng Works, Nairobi and Mombasa.
Criminal Appeal Cases. Vol. 11, Part 4. Stevens and Haynes, Bell-yard, Temple Bar. Price 23. net.
WARREN v. DEVON COUNTY COUNCIL AND FOTHERGILL
In the Newton Abbot and Torquay County Court, on the
His HONOUR.-This was an action brought to recover damages by the plaintiff, the wife of an hotel proprietor at North Tawton, against the Devon County Council and the contractors, by reason of their alleged neg igence in and about the alteration and tarring of the road between Newton Abbot and Teignmouth, whereby the plaintiff's pony was thrown down and the plaintiff was violently thrown out of her pony cart and injured. The negligence alleged was that such tar was not properly spread on the surface of the road, and that not sufficient sand or other suitable material was used with the tar, so as to make a proper surface safe for users of the highway, and that the surface was rendered dangerous and impassable. The trial occupied three days, and a considerable number of witnesses were called on both sides. It was proved that the road between Newton Abbot and Teignmouth was more or less a hilly road of some miles in length. That in June and early in July the defendants' contractors, supervised by officers of the defendant county council, were laying down tar on such road. That, in accordance with their usual custom, they had tarred one half of the road from Newton Abbot to a point beyond Warren Hill, the place where the accident happened, and had then returned, and, starting again from Newton Abbot, had tarred and completed the other half of the road by the 1st July 1914. That during the period required for the tarring of such other portion the traffic was kept as much as possible off the first completed portion. There was a conflict of evidence as to whether or not the tarring was performed in a proper manner. The road board have issued printed general directions and a specification as to tar treatment of roads. It was urged before me that par. 13 of such specification had not been complied with, and that insufficient and improper chippings had been used for gritting after the tar was spread, and, further, that the tar had been thrown over the road carelessly and in too large quantities. I am of opinion upon the whole of the evidence that, although in one small technical matter-namely, the size of some of the chippings used-there was a departure from the general directions and specification, the work was substantially carried out in accordance with such general directions and specifications, and I do not find negligence as regards and up to the point of completion of the work actually done on the part of the defendants. The accident happened on the 3rd July 1914 whilst the plaintiff was driving down Warren Hill. It was proved that the plaintiff's pony was slipping about on the road before proceeding down Warren Hili, and that whilst proceeding down the hill the pony slipped and fell down, and that thereupon the plain iff was thrown on her head against a bank and sustained considerable injury. That she was laid up for seven w eks and is still lame, and to some extent suffering from her injuries. A large body of evidence was given by independent people of different classes, who in using the road with horse and motor traffic had found it slippery and dangerous. On the other hand, a large body of expert evidence was given that the tarring was well done, and that in many parts of England there are roads tarred in the same manner and left in the same condition as the road in question. It was admitted by officials of the defendant county Council that some weeks after the accident, in consequence of complaints of members of the public as to the slipperiness of the road, sand or gravel had been thrown from time to time over the surface on certain hilly parts of the road. I am of opinion that on the 3rd July 1914 the surface of Warren Hill and other parts of the road in question was in a slippery and dangerous condition for the use of the public for horse and vehicul r traffic, and further, that such slippery and dangerous condition might ard would have been avoided if the defendants bad performed the operation of sprinkling sufficient loose sand or gravel on the surface after the tar had sufficiently dried and before the public were invited to use such road, and, further, that it was negligent on the part of the defendants not to have performed such The question of law operation in completion of their work. which I have now to consider is whether, on the above finding of fact, the defendants are or are not liable to the plaintiff. It is clear, I think, that no action of this nature will lie at common law against a road authority or their contractors for what is known as non feasance. The plaintiff, in order to found a cause of action, must prove that the act complained of amounts to misfeasance. Was the omission to lay loose sand or gravel on the surface after the tar had sufficiently dried before the public were invited to use the road misfeasance? Having
looked into the authorities, I have come to the conclusion that when a road authority alters a highway, having omitted to perform a necessary operation to make the work done safe for use by the public, and therefore invites the public to use such road whilst in a dangerous condition, if injury is occasioned to an individual by reason of such alteration and omission the breach of duty on the part of the authority is misfeasance and not merely non-feasance: (see Bull v. Shoreditch Corporation, 90 L. T. Rep. 210; and Dawson v. Bingley Urban District Council, 104 L. T. Rep. 659; (1911) 2 K. B. 149; also McClelland v. Manchester Corporation, 105 L. T. Rep. 707: (1912) 1 K. B. 118). I give judgment for the plaintiff for £50 by consent of the plaintiff only against the county council.
SITTINGS OF THE COURTS.
Alston, Saturday, at 12
FOR THE WEEK ENDING SATURDAY, FEB. 27.
Bath, Thursday (By at 11), at 10
Blackburn, Monday, at 9.30
Bournemouth,* Tuesday and Wed-
Bow, Monday, Tuesday, Wednes-
Bradford (Yorks), Tuesday, at 10;
Brentford, Friday (J.S.), at 10
Bristol, Monday, Tuesday. Wed-
Burnley, Friday (R. By), at 10.30
Chesterfield, Monday (if neces-
Chippenham, Tuesday, at 10.15
Colchester, Wednesday and Thurs-
Darwen, Thursday, at 10
Derby, Tuesday (County Courts
Dereham, Monday, at 11
Keighley, Wednesday, at 10
Leicester. Tuesday, Wednesday,
Liverpool, Monday (By at 11),
Lutterworth, Monday, at 9.30
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, at 10.30
Melton Mowbray, Friday, at 10
Newmarket, Thursday, at 11
North Shields, Thursday, at 10
Ormskirk, Tuesday, at 10
Redhill, Wednesday, at 10
(By at 2), and Friday, at 10
Sittingbourne, Friday, at 10
Southampton, Wednesday (R. By),
Stockton-on-Tees, Tuesday (By at 11) and Thursday (C.S.), at 9.30 Stowmarket, Friday
Sunderland, Thursday (R. By) Swansea, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday
Swindon, Wednesday (By at 11),
Taunton, Tuesday, at 10
Wellington (Somerset). Morday,
Westbury, Monday, at 11
Whitchurch, Thursday, at 10
Williton, Thursday, at 11
*Other sittings are specially fixed if necessary.
PART 2 of the National Insurance Act 1911, which deals with the subject-matter of unemployment insurance, has to be read in the light of certain statutory conditions the fulfilment of which is essential for benefit. The list of insured trades is to be found in the sixth schedule, and it will be found to comprise a number of those industries which are specially vital to a country at war. Under the present exceptional state of affairs, large numbers of persons engaged in these industries are carrying on their vocations outside the United Kingdom, and it has become necessary, in justice to them, to obtain some statutory recognition of the fact. Mr. Robertson's Bill meets the need by proposing certain changes in the National Insurance Act 1911, Part 2. It is now suggested that where a workman during the continuance of the present war and a period of one year thereafter is or has been employed outside the United Kingdom in an insured trade within Part 2 on work connected with or arising out of the war, the contributions payable if the workman had been employed in the United Kingdom are to be deemed to have been properly paid where they have been paid by agreement between the workman and his employer. The workman is accordingly under such circumstances to be able to feel himself to be a person employed in an insured trade. The sixth schedule, setting out the list of trades, is not entirely free from ambiguity, because there are many occupations in regard to which opinions may differ as to whether they fall inside or outside of the border line. When these trades are carried on abroad with a new environment and under special war conditions, it is fair to assume that there will be still greater possibilities of these border-line employments. The provisions of sect. 107 (2) will be of considerable benefit here, for, when questions arise as to a trade being or not being an insured trade, regard is to be had to the nature of the work in which the workman is engaged rather than to the business of the employer. Lcoking to the great importance of aircraft at the present time, it would be interesting to learn whether a workman engaged in repairing aircraft is engaged in the insured trade of construction of vehicles" within the sixth schedule.
Naval Medical Compassionate Fund.
THE Government Bill on this subject is in its preamble able to remind us of some curious facts about the work covered by our heading It appears that in 1817 a society was started to relieve the widows of naval medical officers. An Order in Council provided that if any bequests or donations were made in the society's favour, they were to be reserved as a compassionate fund, whilst the interest upon them was to be distributed among the orphans of deceased members. Each member of the society was called upon on his promotion or appointment to a permanent civil situation to contribute to the fund a week's pay. The society was wound-up, but, notwithstanding this, the compassionate fund has gone on upon a voluntary as against a compulsory basis under the terms of an Act entitled the Naval Medical Supplemental Fund Society Winding-up Act 1861. For some reason this statute made no provision for the future
management of the fund, but it has been kept alive by a body consisting of the Secretary to the Admiralty, the Medical Director-General of the Navy, and certain medical naval officers. The fund itself consists of £10,600 Consols. The Government Bill upon these facts proposes to regularise them, and for this purpose an Order in Council is to provide for new trustees of the fund and generally for its management and for the determination This measure, while of the persons who are to receive benefits. one rendered necessary by the war, will not cease to have operation at its close.
Transfer of Ships.
MR. RUNCIMAN is seeking power to restrict the transfer of British ships to persons not qualified to own them. For this purpose he has introduced a Bill whereby a transfer of a British ship registered in the United Kingdom, or a share therein, to a person not qualified to own a British ship is to have no effect unless approved by the Board of Trade, and any person who makes or purports to make such a transfer is to be guilty of a misdemeanour. This will apply to British ships registered at foreign ports of registry and to British ships registered in British possessions (except those set out in a schedule) just as it applies to our ships registered in the United Kingdom. The qualifications for ownership of a British ship are set out in sect. 1 of the Merchant Shipping Act 1894. By virtue of this section a British ship, with certain qualifications, must be wholly owned by (a) natural-born subjects, (b) naturalised persons, (c) persons made denizens by letters of denization, and (d) bodies corporate established under and subject to the laws of some part of the British dominions with a principal place of business in those dominicns.
The probate and divorce causes without juries will be taken in Court I. on Tuesday next, and will be continued until Wednesday, the 10th prox. (Saturdays and Mondays excepted).
Mr. Justice Coleridge and Mr. Justice Bailhache will leave London on Monday next for Newcastle on the North-Eastern Circuit, and will open the commission on the following day. They will not return to London until the business at Leeds is finished, the commission day for such town being fixed for Thursday, the 11th March.
Mr. Justice Lush and Mr. Justice Atkin will leave London on Wednesday next for Chester, on the second part of the North and South Wales Circuits, and will open the commission on the following day. They will not return to London until the business at Cardiff is finished, the commission day for such town being fixed for Tuesday, the 2nd prox.
The first March Session at the Central Criminal Court will commence on Tue day, the 2nd prox., at the Old Bailey, at 10.30. The second session for the same month will commence on Tuesday, the 23rd prox., also at 10.30.
The second sittings at the Mayor's Court will commence on Monday next at eleven o'clock.
Mr. Walter Edward Holt, of Marine Parade, Great Yarmouth, at one time a member of the firm of Holt and Taylor, solicitors, who died in January last, left an estate of the gross value of £18,094.
A meeting of the Union Society of London was held at the Lecture Room, King's Bench-walk, on Wednesday, the president, Mr. Harry Geen, in the chair. Mr. Willson moved: "That the Emergency Laws fully meet the commercial adjustments necessitated by the war.' The debate was continued by Messis. Morden, Stevens, Coram, and Baker. The motion was e rried.
On the 24th inst. 100 years will have elapsed since the publication of Guy Mannering, the second in chronological order of the Waverley novels, and although the celebration of the event comes primarily within the scope of journals exclusively devoted to literary subjects, it is nevertheless not out of place to call attention to the fact in these columns, considering that Scott, in writing the novel in question, drew largely on his experiences as a lawyer, and, indeed, in the person of Paul Pleydell, sketched a masterly portrait of a Scots advocate of a past age. Alike in his legal acumen, in his half playful pedantry, and his love of "high jinks," Counsellor Pleydell is one of Scott's best drawn characters. The Profession, too, it is worth remembering, is his debtor for the high ideal he maintained and expressed of the
lawyer's intellectual equipment, for, speaking of his library filled with the best editions of our great authors and an admirable collection of the classics Pleydell said: "These are my tools of trade. A lawyer without history or literature is a mechanic, a mere working mason; if he possesses some knowledge of these, he may venture to call himself an architect." So far as regards externals, Pleydell was modelled on a very dignified member of the Scots Bar, Adam Rolland, whose nephew, also bearing the same name, was one of Scott's colleagues at the clerks' table of the Court of Session. How the descriptions of legal matters and personalities in the novel were appreciated by those who, living near the times described, were able to appreciate their accuracy may be gauged from the fact that Lord Hermand of the Scots Bench was, like everyone else, taken captive by the novel, and, not content with quoting it continually in private, he insisted on one occasion, notwithstanding the remonstrances of his brethren, on reading aloud a long passage for their edification. During this curious scene Scott was seated in his official capacity under the Bench, no doubt slightly embarrassed by this extraordinary tribute to his genius.
PARLIAMENTARY PRACTICE AND LAW.
A QUESTION addressed by Mr. Cautley to the Prime Minister, respecting the opening of letters passing through the Post Office and the authority therefor, will direct attention to the fact that the right and duty, if occasion requires, of detaining and opening letters in the Post Office rests in Great Britain upon the Home Secretary, and in Ireland upon the Lord-Lieutenant. This power, which extends to telegraphic communication, is ocasionally, but not frequently, used: (7 Will. 4 & 1 Vict. c. 36, extended to telegrams by 32 & 33 Vict. c. 73). In 1844, Secret Committees were appointed by both Houses of Parliament to investigate the law in regard to the opening of letters and the mode in which it had been exercised. No amendment of the law was recommended, and the Secretary of State and the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland retained their accustomed authority. It was proved that since the commencement of the nineteenth century the power of opening letters had been rarely exercised, and, except in periods of unusual disturbance, in about the same annual numbers. The public and private correspondence of the country, both foreign and domestic, practically enjoyed complete security. In the time of the Long Parliament foreign mails were searched, and Cromwell's Postage Act expressly authorised the opening of letters in order to discover and prevent dangerous and wicked designs against the peace and welfare of the Commonwealth. Charles II. had interdicted by proclamation the opening of any letters except by warrant from the Secretary of State. By an Act of the 9th Anne the Secretary of State first received statutory power to issue warrants for the opening of letters, and this authority has been continued by several later statutes for the regulation of the Post Office. In 1783 a similar power had been intrusted to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland. 'No one," writes Sir Erskine May, "can doubt that the power of opening letters will, if used at all, be reserved for extreme occasions when the safety of the State demands the utmost vigilance of its guardians.”
Secret Service Fund.
THE debate in the House of Commons in Committee of Supply on the Secret Service Fund, amounting to £50,000 will recall the fact that by the Civil List Act of Lord Rockingham in 1782 restraints were imposed for the first time upon the issue of secret service money. The sum of £50,000 voted for the year does not include the whole amount at the disposal of Government for secret service For the distinction has been uniformly maintained that, while it is proper to come to Parliament to make a general grant for such purposes, it is right that Government should have at its disposal a fixed amount for secret service which is independent of an annual vote. Accordingly the Civil List Act which is passed upon the accession of the Sovereign to the throne sets apart the sum of £10,000 per annum, which is payable out of the Consolidated Fund, for Home Secret Service, while a sum of £300 is paid to the Permanent
Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs out of another vote for services in distributing the Foreign Office share of the Secret Service Fund. The annual Vote in Supply is intended to supplement the deficiency of the grant payable out of the Consolidated Fund. The Secretary of State and others who may draw upon the Secret Service Fund are bound by oath not to use any part of it for the purposes which do not legitimately appertain to those several departments. The Civil List Act of 1782 was the first statute which obliged the administrators of secret service money to render any account of the expenditure. Nevertheless, the Audit Department is not and never was entitled to go into the particulars of the expenditure or into questions of specific application where secret service money is concerned. The annual grant is apportioned by the Treasury amongst the principal departments of State. But such expenditure is chiefly incurred by the Foreign Office. The balance not required remains in the Treasury and is surrendered to the Exchequer at the end of the year, and considerable sums have thus been surrendered from time to time. Although the expenditure out of the Secret Service Fund is not subject to detailed audit, the names of all persons receiving secret service money, with the sums paid to them, must be entered in a book in order to be produced in either House of Parliament if required. On the 21st July 1870, Mr. Gladstone, speaking as Prime Minister in the House of Commons, thus defended the practice by which expenditure out of the fund is not subjected to a detailed audit: "The principle on which Parliament had always proceeded was this: that, if it were necessary to allow something in the nature of secret service money, the best mode of dealing with it rested on these two conditions-first of all to confine the knowledge of it to the smallest possible number of persons, and, having thus concentrated responsibility, to trust to their honour and discretion."
Attendance of Members.
In the report in the lay Press of the all-night sitting of the United States Senate, in the struggle by the followers of the Administration to pass the Ship Purchase Bill despite the resistance of the Opposition, it is stated that several absent senators, under the provisions of the American Constitution Bill, art. 1, sect. 5, were ordered to be arrested and brought to the Chamber. The observation is then made that rules for the enforcement of the attendance of absent members of either House of Parliament are unknown to British Parliamentary procedure. In this country, so far from there being no rules to enforce Parliamentary attendance, every member of Parliament is under a constitutional obligation to attend the session of the House to which he belongs. The penalty on a member of the House of Commons for nonattendance was a fine and forfeiture of wages in the event of going away before the end of the session without a licence from the Speaker, and, although the penalty of loss of wages is no longer applicable, the legislative duty of the member remains upon the statute book. (5 Ric. 2, c. 4; 6 Hen. 8, c. 16) The practice of asking for leave of absence cannot be said to have wholly fallen into disuse, for as lately as May 1900 a member asked and obtained a week's leave. But attention was called to the fact that many members habitually absented themselves for more than a week, and absence is now a matter which concerns the Whips and the constituencies more than the House of Commons. There seems no doubt, however, that non-attendance without leave of absence might be treated as a contempt of the House, and a refusal to attend a committee has in comparatively recent times, as in the case of Mr. William Smith O'Brien in 1847, been so treated, and the offending member placed in the custody of the Serjeant-at-Arms. Another disused method of enforcing attendance in both Houses is a call of the House, dis obedience to which, without excuse, might lead to commitment and such sentence as the House chose to inflict. the House of Lords a method formerly in use for obtaining a larger attendance than usual was to order the Lords to be sum moned, upon which a notice is sent to each Lord who is in town to acquaint him "that all the Lords are summoned to attend the House" on a particular day. No notice is taken of the absence of the Lords who do not appear, but the name of every Lord who is present during the sitting of the House is taken down each