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P. Ramanatha Iyer, B.A., B.L., owing to the quick sale of the first edition. The cases are included down to the end of Jan. 1911, and the book is in all respects well up to date. The general arrangement is clear and systematic, and the copious index refers both to pages and cases.
Watts on the National Insurance Bill. Stevens and Sons Limited, 119 and 120, Chancery-lane. Price 39. net.
"Universal" Mortgage and Property Register and Reminder. John Heywood Limited, Manchester.
Property Owners' Register, Record, and Reminder. John Heywood Limited, Manchester.
Mews' Digest of English Case Law. Quarterly Issue, July. Stevens and Sons Limited, 119 and 120, Chancery-lane; Sweet and Maxwell Limited, 3, Chancery-lane. Price 58.
Low's Handbook to the Charities of London 1911. Charles H. Sell, 108, Fleet-street, E.C. Price 18.
Cubitt on Building in London. Constable and Co. Limited. 10, Orange-street, Leicester-square, W.C. Price 319. 6d. net.
THE present political crisis is of exceptional interest to the student of constitutional development and to the peruser of legal history and biography, to whom it furnishes a store of analogies and parallelisms In the debates on the Parliament Bill, no writer has been more frequently quoted than Mr. Bage hot, whose great work, The English Constitution, was published so far back as 1865, and whose death took place in 1877, more than a generation before the present burning questions had become actual. Mr. Asquith in his momentous letter to Mr. Balfour, which was published on the 22nd inst., sketching the policy on which the Government had determined, echoes, albeit unconsciously, the following exposition by Mr. Bagehot of the remedy in the event of an irreconcilable difference between the Houses of Lords and Commons : There ought to be in every Constitution an available authority somewhere. The sovereign power must be come-at-able. And the English have made it so. The House of Lords at the passing of the Reform Act of 1832 was unwilling to concur with the Lower Chamber. But it did concur. The Crown has the authority to create new peers, and the King of the day had promised the Ministry of the day to create them. The House of Lords did not like the precedent and they passed the Bill. The power was not used, but its existence was as useful as its energy. Just as the knowledge that his men can strike makes a master yield in order that they may not strike, so the knowledge that their House would be swamped at the will of the King-at the will of the people -made the Lords yield to the people" (Bagebot's English Constitution, pp. 98-99).
THE attitude of the King in this time of fierce political excitement is in itself an unconscious, though significant, proof of the development of constitutional morality since 1832. Mr. Asquith's announcement in an open letter to the Leader of Opposition in the House of Commons, and his transmission of a copy of that letter to the Leader of Opposition in the House of Lords, that His Majesty has been pleased to signify that he will consider it his duty to accept and act on the advice of his Ministers to exercise his prerogative to secure the passing into law of the Parliament Bill, is in sharp contrast with the distinct personal action of William IV. in 1832. In that year William IV., having at length agreed to create a sufficient number of peers to carry the Reform Bill, yet anxious to avoid so extreme a measure, addressed a circular letter, without the knowledge of his Ministers, dissuading Opposition peers from proceeding to extremities. "This interference of the King," writes Sir Erskine May, "with the independent deliberations of the House of Lords was in truth an act no less unconstitutional than the creation of peers -the one being an irregular interference of the Crown, the other an extreme exercise of an undoubted prerogative. But it was resorted to, not to extend the authority of the Crown or to Overcome Parliament, but to restore harmonious action to those powers of the State which had been brought into dangerous opposition and conflict": (May's Constitutional History of England, i., pp. 144-145). The strictly impersonal attitude of King George V, in the exercise of his prerogative on the advice of his Ministers responsible to the House of Commons and through the House of Commons to the people constitutes a landmark in the development of Cabinet Government.
LORD LANSDOWNE and Mr. Balfour have in support of their policy of acceptance of the Parliament Bill the great precedent laid down by the Duke of Wellington in analogous circumstances in 1832, on which, years afterwards, in a letter addressed to Lord Derby in 1846 in the crisis of the Corn Law struggle, when it was a question whether the House of Lords should resist or yield, he thus commented: "Upon finding the difficulties in which the late King William was involved by a promise made to create peers-the number, I believe, indefinite-I determined myself and I prevailed upon others, the number very large, to be absent from the House on the discussion of the last stages of the Reform Bill, after the nego tiations had failed for the formation of a new Administration. This course gave at the time great dissatisfaction to the party, notwithstanding that I believe it saved the House of Lords at the time and the Constitution of the country."
LORD HALSBURY's threatened uncompromising resistance to the passing into law of the Parliament Bill will recall instances in the careers of ex-Lord Chancellors who have become leaders of irreconcilable Oppositions. Lord Eldon as an ex-Lord Chancellor resisted Catholic Emancipation to the point of seriously urging George IV., in two prolonged private audiences, to withhold the assent of the Crown to the Bill, He fiercely contested at every stage the Reform Bill, denouncing the proposed creation of new peers as unconstitutional, and only withdrew his opposition when its futility was made apparent. Lord Brougham, after the re-establishment of the Melbourne Administration in 1839, virtually led the Opposition in the House of Lords and succeeded in carrying five propositions in the House of Lords censuring the Irish policy of the Government. Lord Lyndhurst, in 1856, as an ex-Lord Chancellor succeeded in defeating the Government scheme of life peerages in a speech which Lord Campbell declared was "the most wonderful he had ever heard. It would have been admirable for a man of thirty-five-for a man of eighty-five it was miraculous."
IT is somewhat remarkable that in Mr. Balfour'a strictures in his speech on the 24th inst. on the contemplated creation of peers he confined his illustration, by way of precedent of the impropriety of such a step, to the creation of twelve peers in 1711. There are, however, three instances of creations of peers in greater numbers than on that occasion, and, of these, while two belong to the political history of Ireland, one, strange to say, which seems to have been overlooked, belongs to the political history of England, and took place in the Reform period. In Ireland, in 1776, a wholesale peerage creation was thus characterised by Mr. Lecky: "The simultaneous creation of twelve peers in order to secure a majority was justly regarded as one of the worst acts of the Tory Ministry of Anne, but now it was far surpassed. Eighteen Irish peers were created in a single day, and seven barons and five viscounts were at the same time raised a step in the peerage. The terms of the bargain were well known to be an engagement to support the Government by their votes in the House of Lords by their substitutes and votes in the House of Commons: (History of England In the Eighteenth Century, iv., p. 441). In 1799-1800, for Union services in Ireland, no less than twenty-eight Irish peerages were created, six Irish peers obtained English peerages on account of Irish services, and twenty Irish peers obtained a higher rank in the peerage: (History of England in the Eighteenth Century, viii., pp. 397-398). In this country there was a large creation of peers during the Reform crisis, to which the following reference is made by Sir Erskine May: "Already before the second reading [of the Reform Bill of 1831, which was rejected in the House of Lords], no less than sixteen new peers had been created in order to correct in some measure the notorious disproportion between the two parties in the House of Lords, but a majority was still known to be adverse to the Bill. A further creation of peers in order to ensure the success of the measure was then in contemplation, but the large number that would be required for that purpose, the extreme harshness of such a course, and the hope, not ill-founded, that many of the peers should yield to the spirit of the times, discouraged Ministers from yet advising this last resource of power" (May's Constitutional History of England, i., p. 309).
THE VOWS which some mer.bers of the House of Lords are making, never to enter that assembly again after it has been deprived of its present powers, will recall the fact that a similar vow was made by an eminent judicial personage in the Reform crisis in 1832, and was kept both in letter and spirit. Charles Abbot, who, having been a puisne judge first of the Common Pleas and then of the King's Bench, was made Lord Chief Justice in 1818 and was created a peer as Baron Tenterden in 1827, in April 1832 opposed the Reform Bill in the
last speech he ever delivered in Parliament. In eɔncluding his speech he said: "This measure, my Lords, leaves nothing untouched in the of existing state the election franchise. It goes to vest all the functions of Government in the other House of Parliament, and, if it were to pass, there would be nothing left for this House or for the Crown but to obey the [mandate of the Commons. Never, never, my Lords, shall I enter the doors of this Houre after it has become the phantom of its departed greatness." Lord Tenterden was as good as his word. After the Reform Bill had received the Royal Assent, Lord Campbell tells us, he never more entered the Chamber of the House of Lords.
In the House of Lords, on the 20th inst., the Rights of Way Bill was read a third time.
In the House of Commons, Mr. John asked the Secretary for Foreign Affairs whether he was in any way cognisant of the reported negotiations for a treaty of absolute arbitration between the United States of America and France; and whether negotiations of a similar character were proceeding between this country and France.-Sir E. Grey: I cannot make statements about negotiations between other Powers to which we are not a party. The answer to the last part of the question is in the negative.
Mr. Churchill, in reply to Mr. Peto, stated that in view of the satisfactory reduction in the number of commitments to prison in the south and west of England he hoped that it might become possible to close, for a time at any rate, one or more of the smaller prisons. Mr. Boyton asked the Home Secretary whether he would consider the desirability of bringing the navigation of an aeroplane over the Henley Regatta course during the progress of the regatta within the purview of sect. 1 of the Aerial Navigation Act; and whether he would take action under sect. 2 to prevent in future any aircraft from navigating the Henley course after it had been cleared for racing by the Thames Conservancy.-Mr. Dudley Ward: If the matter is brought to the notice of my right hon. friend by the proper authorities before the next regatta he will consider whether or not an order should be made under sect. 1 of the Act.
Mr. Morrell asked leave to move the adjournment of the House to call attention to the case of Miss Malecka, a British subject, who had been imprisoned for more than fifteen weeks in a gaol at Warsaw; and to the failure of His Majesty's Government to take effective steps to obtain from the Russian Government any particulars of the oharge against her, or, failing that, an order for her release. The Speaker said that the motion was premature. The Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs had on the previous day stated that the British Ambassador at St. Petersburg had been instructed to ask particulars of the charge against this lady, and, failing receiving them, to ask for an order from the Russian Government for her release.-Mr. Morrell said that the British Ambassador had already made several requests for particulars, the lady's health was suffering, and he submitted that the case had become urgent.-The Speaker: I think it would be a false step for the House to discuss this matter while the Government has instructed the Ambassador to make application to the Russian Government, and pending a reply anything more discourteous to the Russian Government than for the House to discuss the subject I cannot conceive.-Mr. Wedgwood asked whether it was not a matter of urgent public importance that a British subject, and a woman, too, should be kept in a Russian prison without any charge having been formulated against her.-The Speaker: It is of no use going back on the old ground.-The matter then dropped.
In the House of Commons, on the 21st inst., the Salford Hundred Court of Record Bill was read a second time and on the motion of Mr. J. Pease referred to a Select Committee.
On the motion for the second reading of the Expiring Laws Continuance Bill, Sir F. Banbury asked for an assurance that the committee stage would be taken at an early hour, so that there might be full opportunity for discussion. Mr. Gulland said he was sure the Prime Minister would be quite ready to make an arrangement of that kind. -The Bill was read a second time and referred to a committee of the whole House.
Mr. Montagu, the Under-Secretary for India, in a short explanation of the Indian High Courts Bill said that it had become necessary to take steps to relieve the congestion of legal business in India, where the delay of justice sometimes meant a denial of justice. The time had come for raising the maximum number of judges in the Calcutta High Court, and it might become necessary in the future to increase also the maximum number of judges in the other High Courte. Provision was made for the establishment by Letters Patent of new courts of the game class, as it was undesirable that the Government of India should have to wait, before coping with circumstances that might arise, until fresh legislation could be passed in England. It would not be wise to compel the Government of India to establish chief courts when considerations of prestige and dignity pointed to the establishment of High Courts as the preferable course. But, as the Under-Secretary said afterwards, it was not intended to create such courts immediately. Power was also given by the Bill to the Governor-General in Council to appoint temporary judges in order that arrears might be cleared off.-The Bill having been read a second time, a resolution was passed in committee authorising in certain cases tha payment out of the revenues of India of gratuities to the widows or other representatives of persons who have been on the estab.ishment of the Secretary of State in Council.
In the House of Commons, on Monday, Mr. Austen Chamberlain asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he had made inquiry into the facts of the increment value duty case at Richmond, Yorkshire, and whether he could make a statement on the subject.-Mr. Hobhouse, who replied, said: Notice of appeal against the assessment to increment value duty has been given; and pending the result of such appeal, my right hon. friend is unable to make any statement on the matter.
Mr. Pretyman asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many estates were now awaiting valuation for probate, and how many had been waiting for more than twelve months.-Mr. Hobhouse: I am not aware of the number of estates awaiting valuation for probate. In estates in which probate has been granted a valuation of the realty is made for the purposes of death duty claims thereon, and investigations which fall to be made in the course of such valuation must necessarily take time. I understand that the number of cases awaiting valuation is somewhat above the normal; but now that the valuation department is better equipped and in working order, it is hoped that the valuations will be made expeditiously -Mr. Pretyman: Is it not possible to give a specific answer? If I put this question down again will the hon. gentleman eay how many estates are now awaiting valuation and how many have been waiting for twelve months?-Mr. Hobhouse: I will endeavour to obtain the information for the hon. gentleman.
Mr. McKinnon Wood, replying to Sir William Byles, said there need be no public anxiety as to the negotiations for an Anglo-American Arbitration Treaty. The discussion of points rather of form than of eubstance has taken some time, but I believe that the two Governments are now practically agreed as to the terme. I cannot say anything as to negotiations between the United States and other Powers, of which I am not informed.
In the House of Lords, on Tuesday, on the report of amendments to the County Courts Bill, the Earl of Halsbury moved to omit the first clause of the Bill, which gives County Courts unlimited jurisdiction to hear any action subject to the right of removal to the Supreme Court on the application of the defendant. He contended that the addition to the work of County Courts of all classes of cases would vastly add to the delay in litigation which already occurred under that system and would cause postponement of those small cases for the speedy decision of which the County Courts were set up. The Bill would entirely destroy the real purpose for which those courts were instituted, and, by permitting appeals on questions of fact as well as of law in cases in which over £50 was involved, would tend to ncrease litigation.-Lord Gorell said the Bill had received the support of the Law Society and of all the branches of that organisation throughout the country.-Lord Robson objected to the principles of the Bill, saying that the High Court now got through its business with expedition, while the County Courts were already congested.— Lord Mersey contended that County Courts were originally instituted and, in his opinion, were still intended for cheap, satisfactory, and speed y disposal of poor men's cases.-Lord Alverstone said the proper place for important cases to be heard was the High Court, and no case had been made for sending King's Bench actions for trial in the County Court.The Lord Chancellor said all the lawyers, except Lord Gorell, were, as usual, against law reform. Not many years ago the same dreadful forecasts were made in regard to the Criminal Appeal Bill, which had turned out a great success. It was because the Bill meant cheap justice that the commercial community was on its side. So were the solicitors, and the only people against it were Bar counsel. Courts were not congested. The average work of a County Court judge was 153 sittings a year, and none worked for more than 170 days. The opposition to the Bill was of an interested professional character.The Marquess of Lansdowne said whilst it was generally conceded that the Bill was a good one, and there was a considerable amount of concurrence as to the object with which the first clause had been framedto cheapen litigation in the interests of poorer suitors-the layman found himself in a difficulty by the diametrically opposed opinions of high legal authorities as to whether the clause would have that effect. It was conceivable that the Royal Commission on Divorce and Matrimonial Causes might be in favour of throwing new and additional work on the County Courts by extending their jurisdiction cases of divorce. Might it not be desirable to allow the whole question of extending the powers of those courts to stand over until the commission reported? If, however, the amendment were pressed he felt that, in view of the division of authority, he would not be justified in voting for a proposal which would impose new duties upon these already overburdened tribunals.-The amendment was defeated on & division by thirty-seven to twenty-one.-Minor amendments having been disposed of, the Bill was reported.
Viscount Haldane proposed the second reading of the Official Secrets Bill, which is intended to re-enact the Official Secrets Act of 1889, with amendments. He said that the subject had been under consideration for a long time by the Defence Committee in consultation with the naval and military authorities. Its purpose was to strengthen the law in regard to official secrets and espionage, and it applied to our own countrymen as well as to strangers. The main change which the Bill made was a change in procedure. Under the Act of 1889 it was necessary to prove the purpose of any person obtaining wrongfully official information. Now the onus of explaining the purpose was laid upon the person suspected. Not many months ago there was a diligent stranger at the fortifications at Dover who explained his presence by saying that he wanted to hear the singing of the birds. In another case at Lough Swilly a man Was found sketching the fortifications, but proof against
b'm after his explanations was impossible. The places barred to the public under the present Act were too few, because during the last twenty years other places had grown into importance. The Bill simplified the powers of detention, and as to espionage the powers were strengthened. He did not say there was much espionage in this country, but it was a great temptation to anyone with expert know. Jdge to use such information as at present he could pick up.Viscount Midleton agreed that there need be no apprehension for f eling that the Bill had been drawn too severely. Only a few days a go an officer of high rank informed him that he had sent two young officers to a fortress to take sketches of the guns, and they returned with the disposition of every gun in the place. He congratulated I ord Haldane on having taken the subject up and utilised his legal knowledge to fill up a gap which existed in the law. He knew from cases he would not mention that the Bill was most urgently needed in the interests of the country.-Lord Alverstone also welcomed the measure, stating that more than once the authorities had found it d fficult to institute prosecutions because of gaps in the existing law. -The Bill was read a second time.
On the motion of Lord Southwark, the Intestate Husband's Estate (Sootland) Bill was read a third time and passed.
In the House of Commons, in committee on the vote for the Inland Revenue, which had been put down in order that the administration of the land clauses of the Finance Act of 1910 might be discussed, Mr. Pretyman called attention to the manner in which valuations for the purposes of the increment land tax were made and to the hardships which had resulted. The valuations, he affirmed, were not being carried out fairly and reasonably, and to prove his case he gave several instances of questionable procedure. After restating the circumstances of the valuation of a small house at Richmond, in Yorkshire, which he had set out fally in a letter which appeared in the Times on the 15th July, and after citing other caɛee, he complained that the system of valuation devised by the Land Department of the Inland Revenue made it almost impossible for owners to aiderstand how matters stood. He protested energetically against the limitation of the period within which an appeal could be lodged against a provisional valuation tɔ sixty days. This was wholly insufficient. That anjustice should not be done was all the more necessary, because it was the poor man who chiefly suffered under the new taxation.-The Solicitor-General, dealing with the question whether there was a right of appeal against a provisional valuation of a site on an occasion, to use the technical phraseology, admitted that the language of the Act was open to question, but the intention was to give a proprietor a right of appeal before the referee before he was fixed with duty, and he was of opinion that the Act gave him the right.-Mr. Hobhouse submitted that difficulties and misunderstandings always arose when a new and complicated Act was brought into operation. But he thought the complaints that had been made that day were exaggerated. Replying to Mr. Wedgwood and other extreme land taxers on his side of the House, who had pressed for an acceleration of the valuation of the land of the country, he said that in the course of the present year the staff of valuers had been increased by 187, and that 360 additional clerks had been appointed. This would enable the Government to keep the promise that the valuation would be completed in five years from the date when the Finance Act came into operation. His department, he assured Mr. Prety man, had no wish to exact from the taxpayer a halfpenny more than the State was entitled to receive. The instructions to the valuers showed that this was the case, and he would lay a copy of these instructions on the table of the House.
Mr. MacCallum Scott asked the Under-Secretary for India whether, in view of the abuses which had been shown to exist under the present law in connection with confessions extorted by the police from suspected persons in India, he could give an assurance that the sections of the Criminal Procedure Code which allowed the police to obtain confessions from prisoners detained in police custody, and then had them recorded before a magistrate for the purpose of being used against the prisoner at his trial, would be repealed or amended at the next session of the Viceroy's Legislative Council.— Mr. Montagu: The Secretary of State will inquire of the Government of India when effect is likely to be given to the changes indicated as being under consideration in my reply to my hon. friend's question of the 29th June. I may mention that in the meantime the various administrative orders governing the recording of confessions in the different provinces have been collated by the Government of India, who are about to issue instructions to local Governments where necessary to supplement their orders with new rules providing greater safeguards against abuse.
Captain Faber asked the Prime Minister if he would state whether, with a view to ascertaining the views of women on their desire to have the Parliamentary vote, he would cause the Referendum to be used amongst women only with that object Mr. Asquith: The course suggested by the hon. member would require legislation which I am not prepare to propose.
In the House of Lords, on Wednesday, Lord Muskerry called attention to the disabilities under which officers and others in the merchant service laboured in respect to detention ashore for the purpose of giving evidence at Board of Trade inquiries into shipping casualties and at police-court and aseize trials dealing with criminal offences in British merchant vessels. He also complained of the hardship on seamen when so detained of being summoned for jury service. He urged that these grievances might be met if it were made lawful for evidence to be taken on deposition or by commission, and that a short Act should be passed for the purpose.-Lord Herschell said
that the mitigation of any hardships suffered by such a body of men must have everybody's sympathy. He explained that depositions could be taken in certain cases, and every effort was made to prevent the detention of witnesses, at any rate whose evidence was not absɔlutely essential. It should always be remembered that these inquiries undoubtedly contributed in a remarkable degree to the interests of seafaring men generally. A great deal of information had been obtained from them which had added greatly to the safety of navigation. Therefore in their desire to prevent hardship on individuals they must be careful not to do anything that would prejudice the general safety. The question of jury service concerned the Home Office. They had received very few complaints on that score, but they quite realised the hardship. The whole question of jury service was engaging the attention of the Home Secretary, who had already promised an inquiry, and the case of seamen would no doubt be considered when that inquiry was entered upon. He could only say. generally that both the Board of Trade and the Home Office were very anxious to take into consideration any cases of special hardship, and to do all that was possible to mitigate them.-Lord Ellenborough maintained that jury service was an exceedingly unfair and unjust burden to put on seafaring men.
In the House of Commons, Mr. Ashley, on behalf of Mr. Pretyman, asked the Secretary to the Treasury how many estates were now awaiting valuation for probate, and how many had been waiting for more than twelve months.-Mr. Hobhouse: The number of death duty cases with the valuation branch is now 18,880, of which 582 have been with that branch more than a year.
The financial resolution relating to the amendment of the Indian High Courts Act 1861 passed through committee.
In the House of Lords, on Thursday, the County Courts Bill was read a third time.
Mr. Churchill, on Monday, informed Mr. Chancellor that the question of the splashing of mud by motor omnibuses was engaging the attention of the Commissioner of Police, and the reason he had not made a regulation insisting on the use of some form of mudguard which would prevent this nuisance was that, in spite of inquiry, inspection, and actual trials, no mud-guard had been found which did not entail serious disadvantages and dangers. He could not ask the commissioner to enforce the use of special mud-guards till a suitable type was invented. If the road surfaces were improved it would effect considerable abatement of the nuisance, and this was a matter in the hands of the local authorities.
The following question addressed to the Attorney General and his reply thereto on the 18th inst. will be perused with interest by members of the Legal Profession :-Mr. Touche asked the AttorneyGeneral whether he is aware that the rules of the Supreme Court, which require that, in an action brought by debenture-holders in the Chancery Division of the High Court of Justice to enforce their Security, registered debentures must be produced in chambers by the holder personally or by a solicitor, cause expense and inconvenience, and might usefully be dispensed with, having regard to the provisions of the Companies (Consolidation) Act 1908, sect. 100; and will he approach the proper authorities to suggest that this rule be altered, and that the register of debenture-holders, required by the above-mentioned Act to be kept, be accepted as primâ facie evidence of the persons entitled to participate in the benefit of the judgment, thereby avoiding the expense at present caused to the investing public in this respect ?-Sir Rufus Isaacs: The proper authority to deal with this matter is the Rule Committee of the Supreme Court, and I will bring it to their attention for their consideration, with a view to their determining whether the suggestion of the hon. member can be accepted.
"Lex" writes as follows to the Times of the 21st inst. "May I ask for space to make a few comments on the speeches made in the House of Lords in committee on the County Courts Bill on the 12th July? The objections taken as a whole are but a repetition of those raised on the second reading. To deal generally with them: Lord Robson mentions a case of a court where a barrister had to wait from eleven o'clock to three o'clock while 200 judgment summonses were disposed of. He works this out as 'nearly one a minute,' and says that he could not help thinking that a little more time might have been given to those judgment summonses.' If Lord Robson had inquired he would have ascertained that a large proportion of judgment summonses are disposed of by the judgment debtor having filed or otherwise given his consent to pay by instalments. These filed consents are all arranged by the registrar's clerk beforehand and the verbal consents are stated by witnesses in the witness-box. In either case the matter is disposed of in a few seconds, leaving of course more time for the cases in which the debtor's means have to be proved. The arguments against the Bill were mainly directed to show that all the delay consequent upon cases being tried in the County Court arises from what I may call the inherent vice' of the County Court system. The truth is that in all cases in which counsel are engaged, the delay in very great part arises by reason of counsel's other engagements, and is not in any way due to the inability of the court or the judge to hear them. The judges are only too willing to afford every facility they can, or to give special days for hearing in addition to the regular fixed days. Lord Alverstone urged the same objections as Lord Robson, and fell into another fallacy. He stated that the sittings were arranged "months beforehand," which neces sitated special cases being eandwiched in amongst the ordinary work. It is true that the days of the stttings are fixed months beforehand, but the lists of the cases to be heard on those days are not arranged
until the hearing day nearly approaches. With regard to the 'poor man' desiring his case to be heard by the judge rather than the registrar, the answer is that in the very large majority of cases under £5 the liability is admitted, the only question being one of amount. That question goes to the registrar as a matter of course in any event. The first and great objection to the increase of work seems to be that the judges have not time to do it. Considered only as a question of the amount of work which the judges would perform in the course of the year, I do not think that they would object to, say, twenty or even thirty days' more work in the year than they perform at present, but this of course would carry with it a substantial increase in salary. But they are entitled to a good increase as the matter stands to-day, apart altogether from the present Bill. There always has been and is now a certain proportion of the Profession' which puts forward strenuous objection to any advancement in the status of the County Courts. Such objection is based too much in the interest of the Profession and too little in that of the public."
"That a redistribution of Seats is absolutely necessary before the House of Commons can be representative of the Electors is evident if the following facts are kept in mind, viz. : One half of the 670 members of the House of Commons, viz, 335, now represent 5 414,357 electors; the other 335 represent only 2,489,418 electors. The average of the one half is 16,162 per member; the average of the other half only 7431 per member. One half of the total electorate of 7,904,465 send 458 members into Parliament, the other half only 212. As stated in the resolution quoted, Mr. Asquith has declared that our present electoral system is an inadequate and untrustworthy exponent of the real opinion of the People,' and that he regarded it as a duty and a binding obligation on the Government to submit a really effective scheme of reform. Not long since Lord Haldane said: The progress of democracy is simply the process of fashioning the instrument of government of the State to the more adequate power cf giving expression to the general desire. No Government and no Minister has the right to speak for the larger interpretation of the will of the nation.' These weighty words of the Prime Minister and of the Minister for War appear to your Petitioners to show conclusively that the present House of Commons is not sufficiently representative of the Electors to justify the Government in advising the Crown to create Peers for the purpose of making this unrepresentative House of Commons independent of the other branch of the Legislature. So fundamental an alteration of our Constitution as a vital change in the relationship of the two Houses of Parliament can only be made constitutionally in one of two ways, viz.: (1) By the consent of both Houses, or (2) By the clearly declared will of the Electors. The refore Your Petitioners Pray your Honourable House to accept the Amendments made by the House of Lords in the Parliament Bill (as a temporary measure)-which Amendments provide with regard to Bills not adopted by both Houses-That a joint Committee, instead of the Speaker alone, shall decide whether a Bill is, or is not, a Money Bill; and That any Bill which (a) Would affect the existence of the Crown or the Protestant succession; or (b) Would establish a National Parliament in any part of the United Kingdom; or (c) In the opinion of the Joint Committee, raises an issue of great gravity upon which the judgment of the country has not been sufficiently ascertained-Shall not receive the Royal Assent until it has been approved by the Electors. Or failing the acceptance of these Amendments, your Petitioners pray that your Honourable House will add to the Bill a Referendum Clause so that differences between the two Houses may be settled by the direct vote of the Electors.”
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IN countries in which the principles of penology have made any progress, or are favourably considered, all forms of imprisonment are on their trial. Shall we favour the system of the rigorous seclusion of convicts ? Shall we prefer to this the association of prisoners under careful supervision? Shall we pronounce for a scheme like that of the Elmira Reformatory, a very strict institution, but not a prison of the ordinary sort. Strict seclusion or segregation, abandoned in England, is the method enforced at the well-known prison of Louvain, in Belgium. Here prisoners may be confined for life, and as the authorities in Belgium are not generous in the matter of release, it is usual to find there prisoners who have been deprived of their liberty for fifteen, twenty, twenty-five years, and even longer. A brief account of Louvain is given by M. Henri Joly in his latest volume, Problèmes de Science Criminelle. After an interval of eighteen years M. Joly recently paid a second visit to this prison, and saw and spoke, with prisoners whom he had interviewed on the first occasion, and who were still occupying the same cells. Out of 557 recluses, 161 were serving life sentences. No prisoner in Louvain, it seems, is ever for a moment in contact with another prisoner; the system of separation is absolute. It is not, however, solitary confinement in the rigid sense of the term. Each convict, says M. Joly, is in communication five or six times a day with certain of the prison officers, who can be on kindly and even in some degree familiar terms with their charges. The governor, it may be gathered is able to exercise a greater personal influence over them than would be possible in an English convict prison. The duties of the doctor are not confined to the sick in the infirmary; he must pay regular visits d'hygiène et de moralité. The work-masters are constantly to and fro. There are three chaplains, concerning whom we are told that the situation in Louvain obliges them to be confidants more than mere preachers. "In short," says M. Joly, "I satisfied myself that these prisoners contrive to endure easily enough fifteen or twenty years-sometimes more than this-of an existence strictly cellular." Some of the older prisoners, he adds, display a kind of childish cɔntentment (une sorte d'apaisement enfantin), but he insists that this is neither imbecility nor madness. It is perhaps scarcely surprising that in the course of years many prisoners grow accustomed to their cells. Some who, at the end of ten years, had the choice of transfer to an ordinary prison, declined it; others who elected for the change were glad to return to Louvain. After ten years of such confinement as this the mind of the prisoner can scarcely be quite normal. He has habituated himself to a life that is almost in the highest degree unnatural; silence and the shades have become hie element; he shuns his own kind. M. Joly conversed with several of the inmates of Louvain; he found them resigned, and some
of them intelligent and even cheerful. These facts also may be accepted. An extended and severe captivity would tame most of us, and there are savage murderers in Louvain who have been reduced to the utmost docility. The question is, whether any community among us has earned the right to punish in this manner even the worst, most intractable, and most dangerous of its criminale. Lombroso, who did not hesitate to recommend perpetual banishment to penal colonies for recidivists with whom all customary devices have failed, was, we believe, thoroughly opposed to lifelong cellular captivity. By whatever means the rigours of such captivity is softened, it is cruel; nor must we lose sight of its great cost to the community.
We turn from M. Joly's account of Louvain to an article in the Chronicle last week, describing the experiments of Mr. Oswald West (the democratic governor of the State of Oregon) with the convicts of the Salem Penitentiary. Mr. West, who took up his duties last January, "conceived the idea of putting the convicts on their honour to work outside the prison without guarde." Something of the kind has been tried before in America. The sense of justice and honour is, to be sure, not very highly developed in criminals, but in how many prisons has its development been seriously attempted? Obermayer, at Detroit, constituted some 400 prisoners judges of each other's conduct, and found that some who had the blackest recorde proved themselves the best superintendents and teachers. Governor West gces farther than Obermayer:
There are now [says the correspondent of the Chronicle] 144 convicts, who are free to come and go, so far as physical restraint is concerned, and who are working quite unguarded at different places within a radius of five miles of the penitentiary. Only one man has abused the privilege, and he is now confined in prison, the rest of the convicts having sent him to Coventry.
Recently Mr. West telephoned to the prison superintendent to send to his office at the State Capitol a convict serving a term of fifteen
years. Tell him," said the governor, "to take the street car and come here, and don't send anyone with him." The order was obeyed, and the prisoner duly presented himself. To put prisoners to work beyond the prison walls in the livery of convicts would be, of course, to attract to them an unenviable amount of attention. They would probably rather work within the prison walls and under guard. These Salem men, it seems, wear ordinary clothes, and are thus not distinguishable from free labourers. They "work in brickyards, on making good roads, and doing farm work, and in every case but that of the one man already mentioned honourably keep their word. The governor is crediting them with a certain amount of their work, and at the end of his term every convict will have money to start afresh with.
Salem, in a word, is at present more rationally administered than Louvain.
DIVORCE AND THE CHURCH.
SIR LEWIS DIBDIN, Dean of the Arches, lectured on "The Law and Practice of the Church of England as to Divorce " on Monday, says the Times, at Oxford in connection with the series of "Lectures to Clergy" annually given at one or other of the Universities. He said that he did not intend to deal with the issues before the Divorce Commission, of which he was a member. On the other hand, the pending of the commission's report made it important for Churchmen, and especially for clergymen, to consider certain questions of historical fact-viz., What before, at, and after the Reformation was the law of the Church of England as to the indissolubility of marriage; what was the basis upon which that law rested; and how far the practice of the law was consistent with its theory ? Expressions like the "law of the Church " were So constantly on our lips that we were apt to assume they must have a real meaning without stopping to ask ourselves what it was. The Royal Commission's reference had to do with Christians and non-Christians alike, and its point of view must be that of the State itself. Nevertheless, the Church was deeply concerned in the whole matter, and having regard to the offices he held it seemed to him that the same reason which made it natural that he should be expected to serve on the commission made it natural that he should put such information as he possessed as to the Church law on the subject at the disposal of his fellow-Churchmen. Sir Lewis pointed out that up to the Reformation the Church Courts administering canon law treated marriage as indissoluble, and that the Reformation made no difference in this respect.
He combated the statement made by the Divorce Commission of 1853 that the "Reformatio Legum," which allowed divorce for adultery or desertion, though admittedly never formally adopted, was acted upon in practice for the latter half of the sixteenth century. He stated that after inquiry he had been unable to find any single case where divorce a vinculo for post-nuptial offences had been granted by the Ecclesiastical Courte, and that the testimony of legal writers, and of common law judges like Sir Edward Coke, was directly hostile to this contention. But while no one in the sixteenth century doubted that Church law upheld the indissolubility of marriage, opinion was very much divided ag to whether "the law of God" did not allow divorce for adultery. He cited Bishop Andrewes and Bix other divines against this view, and Bishop Cosin and nine other writers in favour of it. After stating the history of the development of private divorce Acts, of which it was said there were about 200 prior to the General Divorce Act of 1857, Sir Lewis Dibdin declared that that Act made no attempt to alter the law of the Church of England. The State withdrew from the Church's jurisdiction one department of law which until then the Church, with the sanction of the State, had administered, in order that the State might deal with it in its own way. Discussing the Canons of 1603, the lecturer said they were important, not because they provide for divorce a vinculo-the notion that they do so arose from a mere misunderstanding of the terma used but because they are altogether silent about it. He submitted that the result of the evidence he had adduced was to establish that the law of the Church of England from before the Reformation till the present time was that the tie of marriage wus indissoluble except by the death of cne of the parties, and that, while this was the theory, the practice must be held, in the light of the overwhelming evidence we possess, to have been consistent with the theory until 1857, when the Divorce Act put an end to ecclesiastical action in the matter.
Sir Lewis added that he was conscious that the special subject of his lecture left untouched many momentous questions connected with it. Behind the letter and the practice of Church law and behind the legislative apparatus for the manufacture of Church law there loomed greater matters still. By what right did the Christian Church dictate to its members as to marriage and the dissolution of marriage? Was it a function of the Church of Christ to define the nature and to legislate on the incidents of the social relations of Christians; and if so, was this power exercisable by the clergy alone or by clergy and laity jointly? Or was it simply a habit begun in the infancy of Christian institutions when paganism made interference inevitable, and preserved ever since in a spirit of conservatism? Or was it an
essential part of the Church's general oversight of morale, of seeing that the lives of Christians accord with "the laws of God"? If the last, did the consistency, which had been traced in Church law, maintain in the region of the recognition, age after age, of what were" the laws of God," and of the meaning to be put on them? Did, for example, the best-informed intelligence in the Church of England of to-day accept the same text of the New Testament and apply to it the same canons of interpretation as the Churchmen and Convocations of the sixteenth century took for granted, when they required ot their ecclesiastical laws that they should" stand with God's laws"? These were matters outside the province of a lawyer, which were calling somewhat imperatively for a fuller consideration than they had hitherto received.
CRIMINAL LAW AND THE JURISDICTION OF MAGISTRATES.
BOROUGH QUARTER SESSIONS.
Great Yarmouth, Monday, July 31, 10.30 | Rotherham, Tuesday. Aug. 1, at 10.30
IT was hardly to be expected that there should be no sequel to the recent case in respect of armorial bearings in which the London County Council failed to convince a magistrate that a veterinary surgeon's use of the arms of the Veterinary College rendered him liable to licence duty. It is now decided to appeal against this decision on the ground that it will have an effect adverse to revenue to the tune of some £12,000 per annum. It will be remembered that so far the law has regarded armorial bearings as a family matter. If on appeal a different view should prevail, there will be some surprising results. Liability for licence duty may be challenged in respect of all sorts of user of armorial bearings. The legatee of halfa-dozen spoons bearing a crest not his own, the man who begins a letter at his club and completes it at home, the barrister who commences a note in court on the official paper and completes it in his chambers, and possibly the tourist who buys a postcard with civic arms and dispatches the same to his family or who gives his child a penny pot with these arms, may all alike be exposed to attack by the alert collector. Such a user of arms would scarcely be expected to justify the imposition of duty, whatever may be thought of the opportunity afforded by those whose " family pride must be denied" unless for the display of the hereditary crest they are willing to pay the appointed price.
MR. JUSTICE GRANTHAM had before him at the Leeds Assizes a case of a somewhat interesting character which illustrates some of the perils of the roads, and it further indicates that it is possible, under certain circumstances, to bring home to local bodies their responsibilities. The facts showed that a motor cyclist, to whose cycle a side car was attached, was riding through Castleford. Passing down a street therein insufficiently lighted, he encountered a heap of refuse deposited in the road by scavengers. The evidence showed that he was travelling very slowly at the time, but, despite this, severe injury was occasioned to a hand and knee. The jury came to the conclusion that the cyclist had taken all reasonable precautions, and awarded him the substantial sum of £130. This result should be brought to the attention of all local bodies having jurisdiction over the roads. A greal deal of reform has been effected during the last few years, but much yet remains to do to secure that highways should be EO treated to make them suitable mainly and chiefly for traffic of the class most likely to use them. Whether we like it
or not, the average speed of road users has been augmented of late, and warnings unnecessary years ago under circumstances differing widely from those of to-day can be dispensed with no longer. We have not observed any special attention having been called to the eflect this increase of average speed should have on the whole policy of local bodies, and on its influence on the question whether they have shown themselves to be negligent. The case, however, should remind these bodies that no obstructions should be placed in any road without the same being adequately lighted and guarded, and more especially where tramlines and other impedimenta all tend to make the traffic more congested and confused.
Two more cases reported of late in the Press draw further attention to the petty annoyances to which motorists are exposed. At Peterefield, a small town on the road to Portsmouth, the police have been summoning drivers on the ground that their side lights were a few inches inside the extreme limits of their cars. Nearly all modern vehicles nowadays find it necessary to fix their lamps slightly within the extreme outside line, and regard has to be paid in practice to the