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COURT PAPERS.-House of LordsSession 1912: No. 2 Supreme Court of Judicature: Michaelmas Sittings 1912-Circuits of JudgesAutumu Assizes 1912-Rota of Registrars-Court of Appeal and High Court of Justice Sittings Paper; Court of Appeal, Chancery Division, and King's Bench Division Cause Lists; and Probate, Divorce, and Admiralty Cause Lists High Court of Justice: King's Bench Division; Rota of Judges; Michaelmas Sittings 1912 550 561 THE GAZETTES............................................ 562 ... 201 BIRTHS, MARRIAGES, AND DEATHS

The Law and the Lawyers.

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Vol. 133.-No. 3627.

of the cases in that list were set down as long ago as the beginning of April last, while in 1910 the business commenced with cases set down in the preceding May, though in October 1911 some of those entered in March had not been heard. The following are the figures for the last six years at the beginning of the legal year :

1907. 1908. 1909.

1910.

1911. 1912.

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In 1910 the special and common jury lists dated back to the preceding March, but this year they commence with cases set down in April. Both Civil Paper and nonjury list are in a considerably better position, but the fact that jury actions set down six months ago are not yet heard points strongly to the serious nature of the delay.

Divorce and Admiralty Causes.

A LARGE increase must be recorded in this division, the total causes being 622 as against 508 in 1911, and 528 in 1910. There are no less than ninety-six defended and 339 undefended divorce causes for hearing, while, in addition, twenty-seven special jury and thirty-nine common jury cases are for hearing. Admiralty actions for trial number 110, and there are eleven appeals to the Divisional Court.

The Case of Mr. Wilks.

WE are not in the least suprised that the Revenue authorities have authorised the release of Mr. Wilks, who has been imprisoned for failure to pay his wife's income tax. With the parties to the particular case in question we have little sympathy, inasmuch as we are not satisfied of the inability to pay; but it draws attention to the fact that instances of considerable hardship might arise, and imprisonment might be inflicted. The case, however, is useful in so far as it shows the fatuous nature of the contention that, owing to the lack of the franchise, women are placed by the law in a disadvantageous position. The Times tersely sums the matter up in the following paragraph :

Mr. Wilks' case is also worth noting because it illustrates the anomalies of the law of husband and wife, most of them very much to the disadvantage of the former. From one extreme the law has gone to another. The husband is liable for the wrongs committed by his wife, though he has no power to prevent her from committing them. She for many kinds of contracts is his agent, and can bind him practically to almost any amount. He may be compelled to find her in funds wherewith to carry on proceedings in the Divorce Court. Liabilities founded upon the identity of husband and wife are continued when, by reason of the Married Women's Property Acts, it no longer exists. Of these anomalies we rarely hear, though, as anyone conversant with proceedings in courts of law is aware, they lead to cases quite as hard as that of Mr. Wilks. Somehow, then, is kept well in the background the fact that, in a Parliament elected by men,

laws placing them in a position of inferiority and disadvanta e are passed.

And these examples could be easily multiplied.

Motor Licences.

A SOMEWHAT extraordinary contention was raised by the London County Council before Mr. HOPKINS last week where a defendant was summoned by them for keeping a motor cycle without a licence. The defendant having taken out a motor-car licence, parted with his motor-car and acquired a motor cycle, and it was argued that a fresh licence for the cycle was necessary, reliance apparently being placed upon Part 2 of sched. 5 of the Finance (1909-10) Act 1910. The defendant consented to an order, considering £1 cheaper than the costs of a case which was asked for on behalf of the council. If, however, their contention is a right one, an immediate amendment of the schedule is necessary, for that a second licence should be necessary is both ridiculous and unjust.

THE MAINTENANCE OF SEA BARRIERS. Ir would seem almost unnatural for an Englishman to evince no interest for anything relating to the foreshore. To those who are actually resident in its vicinity such questions become of necessity of more than a passing interest, and most by experience know the uncompromising force of a mighty, troubled sea, or the quiet, irresistible insidiousness of a high spring tide.

The established ancient doctrine is that it is the duty of the Crown to protect the realm from incursions of the sea by maintaining barriers, or by raising artificial barriers. Still, as there does not seem to be any practical remedy available to a subject should the Crown happen to disregard this liability, we are free to conclude that it is a duty of imperfect obligation.

However, in 6 Geo. 2 it was made felony, without the benefit of clergy, maliciously to cut down any sea bank whereby lands might be overflowed or damaged; and in more recent times Mr. Justice Fry, in one of his masterly and distinguished judgments, and the Court of Appeal both maintained that no subject may destroy a natural barrier against the sea; and that if the destruction of such a barrier cause injury to an adjacent landowner, the latter is entitled to an injunction against the destruction: (Attorney-General v. Tomline, 42 L. T. Rep. 880; 14 Ch. Div. 58; see also Crossman v. Bristol and South Wales Union Railway, 11 W. R. 981).

The leading case turns upon the removal and sale for profit of shingle from the foreshore, an act which, in ordinary circumstances, would, by the owner, be proper and legitimate, and it serves to remind a reader how hazardous it is to reglect the principles of the law. The facts of the case were these: N. O. was the owner of land adjoining the foreshore at Felixstowe Ferry in Suffolk. One low-lying side of it was protected from the sea by a bank of shingle, which, although it was shifted from time to time by the action of the sea, formed a natural barrier. For many years O. F., the lord of the manor, and, as such, the owner of the foreshore, had removed the shingle, and sold it to shipmasters and others for ballast, and he continued so to do until N. O. alleged that at the time the action was brought, a corner of his land was, in consequence of the continual removal of the shingle, in imminent danger of being flooded, and, further, that if the removal of the shingle were continued, the whole natural barrier would be destroyed, and, as a result, his land and buildings would be washed away by the inroad of the sea. ea. It is satisfactory to know that an injunction restraining O. F. from removing furthe shingle with such consequences could be granted: (AttorneyGeneral v. Tomline, ubi sup.).

But, that being so, the questions will be asked, Would (). Fle bound to keep up this bank of shingle in case it was work or scoured, away by the sea? And, Must he have exercised ordinary care to keep the sea out?

The answer to these interesting questions will be fund in an earlier case which arose from a breach of a sea wi

in Essex by an extraordinary high tide, and, on reference, the facts in this case will also be found to be typical of what may occur any day at the seaside. A. and B. were occupier and owner of adjacent pieces of land fronting a creek. A sea wall, which ran in front of their and other property, was a necessary protection against the high tides for each piece of land; and when the wall wore down and a tide rose to the top of it, it was the habit for each owner to "top" that part of the wall in front of his property by the addition of suitable material. B., however, neglected to so "top" the part of the wall in front of his land, and, in consequence, one day the water flowed over the wall on to his land, and so on to A.'s land, doing, as may be readily understood, considerable damage. But both the Queen's Bench Division and the Court of Appeal could find no redress for A.: (Hudson v. Tabor, 36 L. T. Rep. 492; 2 Q. B, Div. 290).

For, when the facts are more closely examined, it will appear that there is no tort by A., howsoever unneighbourly his conduct in not maintaining the barrier as his neighbours did may have been. Apart from prescription, the common law casts no liability on a frontager, as such, to maintain the barrier. That, as we have already remarked, is a public duty of imperfect obligation incumbent on the Crown. Then the mere repair of a man's fence for his own benefit, however often done and for however long a period of time, will not per se impose upon him a duty to continue such repair for his neighbour's benefit if and whenever he ceases to care to do it for his own. Again the mere facts that each frontager had always maintained the wall in front of his piece of land, and that no owner had ever thought it necessary to erect a barrier to protect his land from any water which might come from his neighbour's land, are insufficient evidence of a prescriptive liability to maintain the wall for a neighbour's protection. We must, therefore, reach the conclusion that while a person in the position of O. F. or B. is under no obligation whatever to keep the sea out, he may not do any act which will let the sea in.

We commend these two cases as suitable for serious perusal and analysis by every student of the law, because they illustrate, in an attractive setting, problems in the law of torts which, for the purposes of everyday practice, it is of importance to clearly apprehend and thoroughly grasp. The task set Sir Edward Fry was a difficult one excellently done.

There is another old doctrine which should be borne in mindviz., that the encroachment of the sea is a common enemy against which a landowner may reasonably safeguard his property without having respect for the effect thereof on neighbouring lands: (Rex v. Commissioners of Pagham, 8 B. & C. 355). Let us consider a practical effect of this doctrine. If a man sustain any damage by the act of another, two things must concur to entitle him to a remedy-damage to himself and a wrong committed by another. As has been already recalled, that he has sustained damage is not of itself sufficient. Should then the owner of land situated adjoining the foreshore protect his property from the incursions of the sea by constructing any necessary barrier-e.g., a groyne or sea wall-and should this act cause the sea to afterwards flow with greater violence against and damage the land of an adjoining owner, the latter's counsel would be in this difficulty-that, while he could prove damage to his client, he would, on the principle just stated, fail to prove a concurrent wrong committed by the defendant. The result, therefore, is that the right each landowner on the sea coast has is to reasonably protect his land, and not to be protected by his neighbour unless he can establish a right to the contrary by prescription. That the rule is an exceptional one limited as we have mentioned, is clear from the fact that the proposition that it applied also to the case of land adjacent to a tidal river has been disallowed: (Attorney-General v. Earl of Lonsdale, 20 L. T. Rep. 64; L. Rep. 7 Eq. 377).

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COMMENTS ON CASES.

Similarity of Companies' Names.

In cases where there has been a barefaced imitation of the trading name of an existing individual, firm, or company-and likewise in "passing-off" cases-the object of the artifice of the rival trader is so grossly palpable as sometimes to render difficult of comprehension the reluctance of the courts to grant relief to the complaining parties. Their proneness to refuse to interpose may doubtless be actuated, and properly enough, by a dislike to permit an unfair monopoly to be acquired by the parties claiming relief. Nevertheless, the consequence of this apparent repugnance to interfere is that imitation is not discountenanced to such an extent as effectually to check its being attempted. And companies in particular are constantly finding themselves under the necessity of taking proceedings to obtain an injunction to restrain a new company from carrying on business under a name similar to that of the plaintiffs. In an article which appeared in these columns a short while ago (see 131 L. T. Jour. 50), dealing with the similarity of the names of companies, we discussed the modern authorities relating to that subject, pointing out that, if such similarity is not detected by the registrar of companies, or is leniently regarded, and a name is thus allowed to pass as unobjectionable, then, after registration thereof, the matter depends on common law rights. But it is far more satisfactory that the registrar should vigilantly and stringently exercise the power conferred upon him by sect. 8, sub-sect. 1, of the Companies (Consolidation) Act 1908 (8.Edw. 7, c. 69)—a re-enactment of the provisions contained in sect. 20 of the Companies Act 1862 (25 & 26 Vict. c. 89)-and ever decline to register a company" by a name identical with that by which a company in existence is already registered, or so nearly resembling the same as to be calculated to deceive." The decision of the Divisional Court, consisting of Lord Alverstone, C.J. and Justices Pickford and Avory, in the recent case of Rex v. Registrar of Companies; Ex parte Paul and others (107 L. T. Rep. 62) should do much to strengthen the hands of the registrar in this respect. As appears from our report, the registrar in that case refused to register a company under the name of "Water Softening Materials Company (Sofnol) Limited" upon the ground that the name so resembled that of an existing registered company called "Water Softeners Limited" as to be calculated to deceive. In supporting the conclusion arrived at by the registrar, the learned Lord Chief Justice and Mr. Justice Pickford were content to hold that, as the court was unable to find as a fact that the proposed name of the new company was not calculated to deceive, they could not say that the registrar was wrong in his refusal. Mr. Justice Avory went further, adopting

a somewhat broader ground for his decision. His Lordship gave it as his opinion that the registrar in granting or refusing registration was not performing a merely ministerial duty, but had a certain discretion under the statute; and, having exercised his discretion in a certain way, the court would not by mandamus interfere with such exercise. Whichever may be the right view of the matter, the result remains equally for the benefit of existing companies threatened with the business opposition of a newly established competitive concern. An existing company, as was said by Lord Watson in the well-known case of North Cheshire and Manchester Brewery Company Limited v. Manchester Brewery Company Limited (79 L. T. Rep. 645, at p. 647 ; (1899) A. C. 83, at p. 87), "are exposed to every possible inconvenience which can arise to their trade from the fact of a rival company starting afresh in the same trade in the same locality, and under substantially the same name with themselves." Let the registrar, by his refusal to register, frustrate in limine any such machinations.

"Unreasonable Delay" in Seeking Divorce.

THE decisions in the two cases turning upon the provisions of sect. 31 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1857 (20 & 21 Vict.. c. 85), which appeared in a recent issue of our reports, form useful additions to earlier authorities upon the language of that important sec' on. In the first-namely, Pears v. Pears (107 L. T. Rep. unreasonable 26)—the meaning of the phrase in the section Celay in presenting cr prosecuting such petition" required cor

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