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John Smith of Whiteacre, would have to enter into an examination of all the titles of the adjoining owners, in order to satisfy himself that he had all the real owners before him. All that for the objects we have in view is unnecessary. It is disregarded in the practical dealings with land, and is a thing nobody asks for. I cannot present this view better than it was presented by the late Mr. Waley to the Royal Commission of 1868: "The relinquishment of the practice of determining the boundary of registered lands

kind, because it was a system under which the fullest possible opportunity of considering it and person registering had the power to place on the making any alterations that might appear to me register, not the deeds themselves, but a state- to be necessary. I thanked him in private, and ment of what he conceived to be the effect of the now I thank him in public. (Hear, hear.) I particular deed. In the House of Commons I regard what he did as not only courteous to took the liberty of objecting to that system on two myself personally, but useful to the public, grounds. The first was the ground I have just because under no other circumstances would it stated; the second was that the Bill provided have been in my power, within a week after the that in the registration of the estate the bounda- commencement of the session, to place before your ries of the estate should be settled irrevocably by lordships the Bill which I have now the honour of a judicial decision, the probable consequence of submitting for your consideration. (Hear.) My which would be disputes as to boundaries among lords, I will now explain what it is I propose to do. . will leave the registered owner subject to all the adjacent owners. However the Bill passed It will not be necessary for me to go through all the possible claims of his neighbours, so that into law, and a registry office, with a registrar and the provisions of this measure, but there are an indefeasible title will mean a title beyond staff, was established in London with a view of questions which will naturally occur to the minds question by any except adjoining owners. Το carring the measure into effect. A certain of some of your lordships, and will also occur to this I think that there is no practical objection. number of proprietors brought in their proper- the public out of doors, and these questions it may The possible rights of adjoining owners may be ties for registration in the office, but the number be convenient for me to anticipate and answer. classed with rights of way and other rights, the was so small, as compared with the aggregate of One question that will be asked is this: What is liability to which is practically consistent with proprietors of land in this country, that the Act the kind of title you are going to register; is the title, indefeasible ownership." Well, then, the next was generally regarded as a failure. I now ask once registered, to be thenceforth indefeasible? question which will be asked is this-What do your Lordships to come on with me to the year My lords, under this bill I propose that there you propose to have a registry of? My lords, I 1868. At that time I filled the office which I may be a registry of three kinds of title-viz., a propose to register fee simple estates, leaseholds have now again the honour to hold, and I was title absolute or indefeasible; a title limited-that of a certain length, and charges where mortgages unwilling that the subject of the transfer of is to say, a title certified to be good from a are on the estate. Then comes the question-Is land should be allowed to remain in its present particular date, but not beyond it; and a simple the registry to be compulsory or is it to be volunposition. Accordingly a Royal Commission title of the proprietor in possession and asserting tary? I propose that for three years there shall was appointed to inquire into the working himself to be owner. We should then have a title be no compulsion in any form. I myself am very of the Act of 1862. That commission was com- certified to be absolute, a title certified for a sanguine that it will be found that if this measure posed of men well qualified for the duties they had limited date, a title not certified. I know it has should have your lordships' approval, and beto discharge in connection with it. Besides been proposed that what is called "a good holding come law, a great deal of business will have been several of the law lords, it included several emi- title" should be allowed to be certified by regis- transacted under it, and a great quantity of land nent barristers, conveyancers, and solicitors. I tration as indefeasible. I am not able to make will have been registered before the expiration of may venture to commend the report of that com- that proposition. "A good holding title" is not three years. I say so for this reason: This is a mission to any of your lordships who may not an uncommon phrase, but it is not a legal phrase; subject on which the public mind has been have read it, as a very interesting piece of reading, it has no legal precision, and cannot be defined in maturing for fifteen years; the attention of and one which throws real light upon the present legal terms. Quite the contrary, because it must the profession has been directed to it, and state of the law. It enters into the history of be remembered that what may be in the opinion the attention of the public has been directed what was done in 1862, and states that, in the of one conveyancer "a good holding title" may to it, and I think that almost without ex. opinion of the commissioners, the Act of that year be in the mind of another conveyancer a title ception there has been an opinion universally had proved a failure. It then states what, in the surrounded with difficulty and doubt, and expressed in favour of a registry of title such as I minds of the commissioners, had been the causes for that reason a title which he would not have described it. A registry of land such as I of its failure. I think the most conspicuous of allow his client to accept. There can be no have described it brings up land as far as can be those are the causes which I have already stated-doubt that in the dealings with land such to the average of ships and stock. It is that the its mode of dealing with boundaries, and its want a title is very often accepted, but it is always public ask for, and the public desire to have. of simplicity in placing what I may call the title one which the purchaser accepts at his own Moreover, we have the advantage derived from of deeds on the register. The commissioners risk, and if loss results from it the loss is his. the experience of the failure of the Act of 1862. assigned some other causes of failure also, and It would be a very different thing to allow by We know the causes which led to the failure of they recommended that another system should be law a registry of such a title as that, with the that legislation and we are able in these proposals adopted that there should be a recurrence view to a legal certificate that it was indefeasible. to avoid them. I am therefore sanguine enough to the principle on which the Bills of 1859 But I propose to do that which I think will do to hope that without any compulsion we shall had been framed. Five of the commissioners full justice to those who wish to deal with good have a very large amount of business transacted recommended a literal reproduction of the Bills of holding titles. I propose that if persons come in the registration of title within the course of 1859, the other commissioners recommended that before the registrar with a title which is market- three years. I know it has been stated, and the principle of those Bills should be adhered to. able and good, but in which, by reason of some stated very strongly sometimes, that the solicitors I now pass from the report of 1868 to the last incident, there is a theoretical imperfection, the will oppose a measure of this kind and prevent it session, when my noble and learned friend who registrar is to be at liberty to state that incident from succeeding. I do not think so. I have had then occupied the Woolsack (Lord Selborne) to the court, and if the court is satisfied that it some experience of solicitors; and without adbrought in a Bill which was mainly founded on may be waived and disregarded, it is to be at verting to what is obvious, that even in a matter the report of the commissioners, and which liberty to act on that opinion and certify the of self-interest whatever improves the law and adopted, I venture to think, the true principle title as indefeasible. I propose to go further. gives greater facilities for dealing with land must of the registry of the title to land. There were No title is now considered by the Court of Chan- bea benefit, and not an evil to the Profession-withtwo differences between the Bill of my noble cery as marketable which has not its root sixty out adverting to that consideration, I speak from friend and the Bill of 1859. My noble and learned years back. I propose that, under this Bill, the my own experience of solicitors when I say of the friend proposed to take the office of the Land registrar may accept titles having their root only great mass of them that I believe there is not in Registry in London, created by the Act of 1862, forty years back, providing there be nothing to the kingdom a body of men more intelligent, more as the registry to which titles were to be brought; lead him to suspect that there are imperfections liberal in their views, more desirous of improve whereas the bill of 1859 provided for the establish- in the earlier period of the title. I also propose ment in the law, and more anxious to avail ment of a Landed Estates Court similar to that that he shall be at liberty to receive as facts themselves of such improvement when made. which exists in Ireland. He also proposed that recitals of deeds twenty years old. The next (Hear.) But that does not depend upon my tesafter a time there should be a compulsory registra- question is What are you to do about timony, because if your lordships refer to the tion of land, whereas the Bill of 1859 had left the boundaries? I have stated that an objection evidence given before the Royal Commission, you registration entirely voluntary. Your lordships to the Bill of 1862 was that it required the boun- will find a great deal of testimony on this point; will recollect that in the last session you were daries to be settled. I propose that the boun- and the commissioners say that there is evidence very much engaged in the consideration of daries should not be settled. I propose that the to show that after the passing of the Act of 1862 the Judicature Bill, which occupied a very registrar should describe the boundaries in the there was the greatest anxiety among the most considerable time. It was obvious when my noble best way he can, but that he should not be eminent solicitors to take advantage of that and learned friend first introduced his Bill on the charged with the duty of deciding questions of enactment, and that they did not abandon it subject of land there would be much difficulty in boundary as between adjoining owners, and I until experience had shown them that it was unconsidering them before a select committee, and make that proposition on this principle: It was satisfactory and more expensive than the old yet it was obvious that the provisions required to shown before the Royal Commissioners of 1868 system. Your lordships will find it was no oppo be minutely inquired into. Under those circum- that in practice boundaries never create any sition of the solicitors that caused the failure of stances, I recommend my noble and learned friend difficulty in the buying and selling of property; the Act of 1862; and therefore, unless I much not to proceed with the scheme, but to refer it to that questions of boundary were managed quite deceive myself as to the advantages of this measome distinguished conveyancer in the interval easily on the spot, and never came before counsel. sure, I do not think it is one which will have to between the two sessions, that it might have the In the next place, my objection to a settlement of encounter the opposition of the Profession. I benefit of his revision. My noble and learned boundaries by the registrar is this-that it would propose, then, my lords, that for three years friend adopted that suggestion, and placed his bring forward disputes and lead to litigation. On after the passing of the Act there shall be Land Titles and Transfer Bill before Mr. Hall, many estates there have been unsettled questions nothing in the shape of compulsion. But I pronow Vice-Chancellor Sir Charles Hall, who was of boundary for hundreds of years, but they have pose that after that time, whenever a sale of then practising at the Bar. I must pause to say been allowed to remain in abeyance and never have land is made, there shall be an obligation that I think, if my noble and learned friend had caused any difference among the owners of ad- to register the title. If such registration be applied to the profession at large as to the person joining estates. But if the duty of settling not effected the purchaser shall only obtain best qualified to deal with a matter of this kind the boundaries devolved on the registrar an equitable title. A legal title he shall not in a manner safe and satisfactory, there would that satisfactory state of things might be obtain till he registers. That mild kind of comhave been an unanimity of opinion that he could put an end to, because if those questions were pulsion will not be put in operation till we have not have made a more judicious selection; and I raised for decision, the parties on either had three years' experience of the working of the further think that it is of the greatest possible side might be unwilling to concede. I am of registration system. (Hear, hear.) Well, then, advantage that the matter has been considered opinion, therefore, that this settlement of boun- the question will be asked, Who is to register the by a person so experienced in the law of real daries would be a means of creating unnecessary title? I take the office which already exists-the property as Sir Charles Hall. (Hear, hear.) I difficulties. (Hear, hear.) But there is a still office of the land registrar. I own-it may be, must also pause to say another word with regard further reason against it. It would be impos- perhaps, a partiality for my own offspring-that to my noble and learned friend. A short time sible for the registrar to decide as between ad- I should have been better pleased to have estab before the change of Government, but when that joining owners unless he had all those owners lished in this country a Landed Estates Court, change was said to be intended, my noble and before him; but when John Smith comes before after the fashion of the Irish Landed Estates learned friend communicated to me that it might him to register his title to Whiteacre, how is the Court; but there is the difficulty of having an possibly be my duty to introduce a measure on registrar to know the boundaries of all the owners office which has been already created and which I this subject, and he handed over to me the papers of property on both sides of Whiteacre? The wish to utilise. In addition to that consideration connected with his measure, that I might have the registrar, if he were to settle the boundaries of there is the fact of the passing of the Judicature

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Act of last year, the principle of which is to congregate all the principal Courts of the kingdom. It would be somewhat at variance with the provisions of that Act to establish a fresh court outside; but I am not without hope that if this measure turns out successful we may have at some future period, a conveyancing judge whose court would form a part of the Supreme Court under the Judicature Act, and be charged with the duty of registering titles. But I take the Land Office as it stands, and the registrar at the head of that office will be the registrar under this new Bill. He will act under the Supreme Court of Judicature, or under whatever judge of that court to whom the duty may be assigned of dealing with any questions which may be referred to the court under the measure which I am about to introduce. I must say a word on a point respecting which a question will be asked. Are you going to have local registries ? or is the London Registry Office to do the work of the whole kingdom? That appears to me to be a question of some difficulty. It is one on which there is a great deal to be said on both sides. It sounds very plausible to say that, on the same principle which makes us hold that justice should be brought home to every man's door, dealings with property should be brought as close as possible to the property dealt with, and that, especially in the case of small properties, it is very desirable that there should be a local office for doing the business on the spot. But, on the other hand, you must bear in mind what is to be said on the other side. Could anyone go further than to suggest that there should be a registry in every county of England. But take the case of a large county, 60 or 80 or 100 miles long, and have but one office in each county. The consequence will be that persons will often have to go to as great a distance to the registry in their own County as they would to come to the one in London, and perhaps the communications, as to locomotion, will be more difficult. In addition to that, you must bear in mind that while the local registries are in operation a very large amount of dealings with property will be going on in London. Dealings of this kind will always go on to a very large extent, because of the greater facilities for them that are to be found in the metropolis. The consequence will be that persons from London will have to go down and make examinations at the local registries. What I propose to do is to proceed tentatively. I propose that the London Registry should have within its own office district divisions. Should it be found that for any district of the country the transaction of business is so large as to afford a good prospect that a registry established in that district would be self-supporting, there will be a power vested in the proper authority to order the establishment of a local registry in that part of the country. I believe that arrangement will meet the wants of the case. My lords, I have two other Bills to introduce to your lordships' notice, which are connected with this subject, but are of a more limited scope than the one to which I have been referring. One of them deals with the question of the limitation of claims and actions regarding real property. By it I propose an alteration of the Act 3 & 4 Will. 4, which at present regulates the limitations in respect of suits relating to real property. There are various provisions in that Act by which these limitations as to the bringing of suits in respect of real property extend to twenty years, while in some cases the period is ten years. It has been for some time felt as a crying evil that these periods should be so long. They are felt to be unnecessarily long; but it is very hard to say what should be the periods of limitation. I propose to shorten the period of twenty years in the Act of Will. 4 to twelve years, and the period of ten years to six. The limita tion in respect of succession claims, which stands at forty years, I propose should not go beyond thirty at the utmost. The third of the Bils relates to vendors and purchasers, and by it I propose that there should be a change in some parts of the laws, which at present are felt to be in a very unsatisfactory state. I propose that if there be no stipulation to the contrary, forty years' title should be sufficient to show, and that the purchaser shall not be entitled to attested copies of the deeds, except at his own expense. There are other provisions in this Bill as to the rights of vendors and purchasers in respect of leaseholds, and as to those of executors and administrators after payment of mortgages. Both the latter Bills are independent of the Registry Bill, though, of course connected with the transfer of land. I commend all three measures to your lordships' attention, and I will venture to hope that they may find favour with your lordships and become the law of the land. I do so in view of the interests concerned, and because I believe that by passing them your lordships will respond to an expression of hope contained in her Majesty's gracious speech. The present system has long been a disgrace to our law, and I would ask your lordships to abolish and remove it. (Cheers.) The noble and learned

Lord concluded by laying all these Bill on the table of their Lordships' House.--Lord SELBORNE.My Lords, I am glad that the conduct of these measures should have fallen into the hands of my noble and learned friend, because, if any man in this country has given long and close attention to these subjects, and thoroughly understands them, it is my noble and learned friend. In one sense they are peculiarly his own, because it was his fortune in 1859 to be the first to lay on the table of the other House of Parliament well-developed measures applicable to dealings with these subjects. I was thankful to my noble and learned friend last session for the approval he then expressed of the leading principles of my Bills, and also for the suggestions he then made; and I am glad to hear the approbation he has so kindly expressed of the choice I made of the gentleman who discharged the very important duty of revising the Bills which I then introduced. I believe the opinion my noble and learned friend has expressed on that point will be generally endorsed by all acquainted with the matter. No man could have been better fitted to discharge that duty than Sir Charles Hall, and I am sure my noble and learned friend will admit that the duty_could not have been more admirably fulfilled. I am glad to avail myself of this opportunity to thank the learned Vice-Chancellor for the assistance he has rendered in respect to this subject. (Hear, hear.) This is not the time, nor, indeed, is it necessary, to go into the points which my noble and learned friend was quite right to explain, and on which there is some variance between the Transfer Bill of my noble and learned friend and that which I laid upon the table of your lordships' house last year. In the Bill of last year there were three points which I thought cardinal ones. The first was that of facility for the registration of all possessory titles, as well as for those which might be established. The second was power to relax the strictness of the present requirements for a marketable title when the title has been accepted for a period of time. The third was the introduction of compulsory registration after a reasonable lapse of time from the passing of the Act. On all points I am happy to think that, as between my Bills and those of my noble and learned friend, there is not anything that deserves to be called a substantial difference. (Hear.) It may be that in the mode in which I proposed to relax the strictness of the requirements for a marketable title I erred on the side of too much laxity. My noble and learned friend proposes to define more exactly the principle on which relaxations will be allowed; and I am willing to consider whether this may not be a better way of accomplishing the object in view. I am sure, at all events, that the proposals of my noble and learned friend will be a very valuable improvement. With respect to compulsion, the difference between my noble and learned friend and myself, is the difference of a single year, and I think I may pass that over. Upon the subject of local registration I quite concur in the view expressed by my noble and learned friend. There can, I think be no doubt that as the measure works it will be found that increased local facilities will become necessary, and will require to be afforded; but my present impression is that it is a safe principle not only in its application to local registries under this measure, but also to all other matters where it is important to afford reasonable local facilities, to measure the reasonableness by the cost, and where the amount of business will probably be sufficient to pay its own expenses, in such case a very strong claim may be established for local facilities. On the other hand, if the amount of business is so trifling that the establishing of local registries might tend to throw a great charge upon the public at large, then I think the burden of proof would lie very strongly upon those who would advocate their establishment. I am glad also to find that my noble and learned friend has adopted the principle of the provision of the Bill of last session with respect to limitation, although he has adopted the periods of twelve years and six instead of ten and five, which I proposed last year. I quite concur with my noble and learned friend in the reasons which he has given for making a change in the direction he has pointed out. There are, at all events, some reasons in favour of the limitations my noble and learned friend proposes, and the proposal substantially accomplishes the main object I had in view. The third Bill, which is quite new, and belongs altogether to my noble and learned friend, depends very much upon matters of detail. So far as I understand its provisions, it aims at accomplishing a desirable object, and I have no doubt that it will give rise to little difference of opinion in your lordships' House. I am happy to think that we now have a real opportunity of taking a very great step-I hope a final and adequate step towards an object of the greatest possible importance to the public; one which will relieve our commercial and business transactions from obsolete encumbrances, difficulties, delays, and ex.

penses, which, I venture to say, are both a very great annual pecuniary loss to the country at large and a disgrace to our present system of jurisprudence. (Hear, hear.) Lord HATHERLEY was happy to think, from the manner in which the Bills had been introduced and received, that the time had at length arrived for which many who had grown grey in the Profession had ardently longed, in which some improved system of conveyancing would be established, and some intelligible means of placing title on record afforded. The extreme importance of this step, both as regards the increased value of property to those who held it, and to those who might desire to raise money upon it, could not be exaggerated. An enormous advantage would also arise to those who desired to acquire small parcels of land, but who, owing to the present state of the law, were absolutely precluded from doing so, except through the medium of joint-stock companies formed for the purpose of purchasing large estates with a view of selling them again in small lots. He would only mention one instance of the great expense of acquiring small portions of land. A certain company purchased a cottage and a couple of acres of land on which it stood, and the cost of the conveyance exceeded the purchasemoney-amounting to about £130. From the second Bill mentioned by his noble and learned friend, whereby the time for making claims was further limited, a material advantage would be derived by all owners of property, and it would besides tend to promote the success of the larger measure. Up to the present time it was found most difficult to create a feeling in favour of the registration of title, owing to the long period of years which should elapse before the benefit to be derived from it could be completely felt. Few people care for an advantage the full effects of which could not be enjoyed until a period of sixty years had elapsed. He remembered one case in which the assignees of a bankrupt disposed of property which had been enjoyed for fifty-eight years, and in which case the purchaser lost his money. The property in question was derived from a person who had made a will believing himself to be owner in fee simple. The property, however, as it turned out, was held for three lives, and the last of the lives dropped within two years of the purchase from the assignees. The length of time to which he had referred had, beyond doubt, operated as an immense obstacle in the way of a general registration of title. The details of the Bill would be carefully considered in committee, but meanwhile he heartily concurred with his noble and learned friend below him in wishing them all possible success.-Lord ROMILLY, who was indistinctly heard, was understood to anticipate the best possible consequences from the operation of the Bills, and to suggest that they should be referred to a select committee. The Bills were then respectively read a first time.

Friday, March 27.

ATTORNEY AND SOLICITORS' BILL. On the motion of Lord CHELMSFORD, this Bill was read a second time.

HOUSE OF COMMONS.
Thursday, March 26.

ILLEGAL PRACTICES IN THE CHURCH.

Mr. HOLT gave notice that on Tuesday the 31st, he will move for leave to introduce a Bill to provide remedies against the introduction or the continuance of practices which are contrary to law in churches of the Established Church.

BENEFIT BUILDING SOIETIES. Mr. GOURLEY asked the Home Secretary

whether he intended this session to introduce a Bill to amend and codify the laws regulating benefit building societies, and if so, whether such Bill would be independent of or comprise a part of that intended to be introduced for the regula tion of friendly societies. Mr. CROSS said that since that question had been put upon the paper notice had been given by the hon. member for Finsbury that he would introduce a Bill on Monday next on that subject. The Government, as the House were aware, had undertaken to deal with friendly societies this year, and until their Bill was in a more mature state than it was at present it was impossible for him to give a definite answer whether they would themselves take in hand the question of building societies this session. But if they did it would be independent of the measure they would bring in with respect to friendly societies.

GAS COMPANIES.

Mr. GOLDNEY asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he would lay upon the table of the House a copy of the opinion of the law officers of the Crown, to the effect that the Board of Trade Commissioners, in settling the price of gas to be paid by the public, are precluded from inquiring into the mode in which the gas com

panies have raised or expended their capitalSir C. ADDERLEY.-There is no such opinion of the law officers as the question implies. There is an opinion given by Sir J. Karslake, Sir R. Baggallay, and Mr. Round on a question referred to them as to the powers of the Commissioners appointed by the Board of Trade on the application of the Imperial Gas Company in 1869 to revise the scale of illuminating powers. I am about to present papers giving the minutes of the proceedings of the Commissioners for 1873 and 1874 as soon as they are concluded, which will include the opinion referred to.

WEIGHTS AND MEASURES.

Mr. GOLDNEY asked the President of the Board of Trade if he intended introducing a Bill this session, making provision for the adjustment and verification of weights and measures by persous other than the police, in accordance with the suggestions in the Standard Commissioners' Report-Lord J. MANNERS was understood to say that the report was under the consideration of the Government, but that they had no intention of introducing a Bill on the subject this

session.

MIDDLESEX SESSIONS BILL.

Sir H. SELWIN-IBBETSON, in moving the second reading of this Bill, stated that in acccordance with the 7 & 8 Vict. c. 71, under which the Assistant Judge was appointed, a salary was paid to him out of the Consolidated Fund of £1200 a year. He was allowed, besides performing his duties as a Judge, to practise as a barrister, and by the 14 & 15 Vict. c. 55, a second chairman was allowed to be appointed, with the view of facilitating the transaction of the business. That second chairman was also allowed to practise as a barrister; but under the 22 & 23 Vict. c. 4, a fresh arrangement was made, the county agreeing to pay a sum of £300 in addition to the £1200 paid out of the Consolidated Fund, the Assistant Judge being required to give up practice. Upon the resignation of Sir W. Bodkin a short time since, it again became necessary to deal with the question, and the present Bill would give effect to an arrangement between the county and the Treasury for the joint payment of a salary of £1500 a year, the Treasury agreeing to pay the five guineas a day for a deputy whenever the Assistant Judge became incapacitated by illness or other reasonable cause from attending to the discharge of his duties. The arrangement was one which had been carefully considered, and which would, he believed, be advantageous to the county. The Bill was read a second time.

BILLS OF SALE ACT AMENDMENT BILL.

Mr. LOPES, on leave being given, introduced a Bill to amend the Act of 1854 relating to bills of

sale, and the measure was read a first time.

THE COMMITTAL OF MR. WHALLEY.

Mr. DISRAELI moved the appointment of a Select Committee on Privilege to inquire into and report with regard to the recent committal of Mr. Whalley by the Court of Queen's Bench.

An amendment had been put on the paper by the hon. member for Peterborough with the object of adding the Attorney-General and Mr. Roebuck to the Committee, and, there being no objection felt to this alteration, the motion was now submitted with the addition of those two names. Mr. WHITBREAD, without opposing the motion, pointed out that the course which was being pursued raised an entirely new question and might lead in the future to great inconvenience. It was desirable that Government should take into consideration the propriety of proposing at the beginning of every session the appoint ment of a carefully-selected Committee of Privileges, which would be able to deal promptly with any case that might arise. Matters of privilege, involving party considerations, might at any time demand their attention, and it would be extremely inconvenient and unsatisfactory in such a case for the Government to name a special committee to deal with it. The best time to appoint the committee was when there was no question of privilege immediately before them. (Hear, hear.) The resolution was agreed to, the members of the Committee being-Mr. Disraeli, Mr. Goschen, the Attorney-General, the SolicitorGeneral, Mr. Knatchbull-Hugessen, Mr. Walpole, Mr. Whitbread, Mr. Cave, Sir. C. Forster, Sir S. Fitzgerald, Sir H. James, Viscount Holmesdale, Sir E. Colebrooke, Sir G. Montgomery, Mr. Massey, Viscount Crichton, and Mr. Roebuck. The Committee will have power to send for persons, papers, and records, and five will be a

quorum.

ACTION AGAINST MR. PLIMSOLL.

On the motion of Mr. C. LEWIS, it was agreed "That the proper officer of this House have leave to attend the forthcoming Liverpool Assizes as a witness for the defendant in an action in the Court of Queen's Bench, Houghton and others v. Plimsoll, and to produce any documents in his custody which he may be lawfully required to produce."

INNKEEPERS' LIABILITIES. Leave was given to Mr. WHEELHOUSE to bring in a Bill to abolish certain liabilities now attaching to innkeepers, and the mevsure was read a first time.

Friday, March 27.

NEW COURTS OF JUSTICE,

Mr. GREGORY asked the First Commissioner of Works whether he would lay on the table a copy of the contract for these courts.Lord H. LENNOX regretted that he could not accede to that request. The production of a particular contract such as the hon. gentleman specified would be injurious to the public service and unjust to the contractors.

COUNTY CONSTABLES (SCOTLAND).

State for the Home Department whether he Sir W. ANSTRUTHER asked the Secretary of would reconsider the amended rules and regula tions for the government of county constables, issued from the Home Office by the late Secretary of State for that Department, which related to the employment of constables on other than police duties, and cancel the same, so as to enable the the execution of the Public Health (Scotland) Act, police to aid the authorities and officers acting in and regulations. Mr. CROSS said the Governas they did prior to the issuing of the said rules ment were considering that matter, and he was at present in communication with the Lord Advocate about it.

THE BALLOT ACT.

Sir C. DILKE rose to call attention to the defeets in this Act, and to move for a Select Committee to investigate its working, with power to suggest amendments. He disclaimed any idea of bringing the subject forward as a result of the last election, it being generally agreed that hon. members opposite, who had been returned in a large majority, did truly represent the opinion of the constituencies. The question which he was about to submit to the consideration of the House had been anticipated two years ago, when it was repeatedly stated by hon. gentlemen that after the Act had been tried at one General Election, it would be necessary that it should undergo revision. Now, if that was the opinion of many hon. members at the time of the passing of the Act, any one who had watched its working at the late election could hardly deny that inquiry wa necessary. This was shown by the statements of questions referred to counsel for opinion, by men who had conducted elections, by the varions letters in the papers on various points, and notably by a remarkable correspondence in the Times, in which gentlemen whose authority on the subject the meaning of some important clauses in the would not be questioned took opposite views as to Act. He might add, since he had put the notice on the books, he had received a very large number of letters on the subject from almost every constituency in England. The particular blots to which he wished to call attention were, first, the doubts as to what voting papers should be admitted and what rejected by reason of some informality. The second was a small discrepancy between the number of papers found in each box and the number returned by the presiding officer, who was responsible. That point was one of more importance than might appear at first sight, because the smallest discrepancy of that kind admitted of the perpetration of what was well known as "the Tasmanian dodge." The third blot was the defective stamping of the voting papers. Thousands of papers had been admitted and counted which, besides the regular official mark, contained also another, which, though it might not vitiate the vote, yet might become the means of tracing how the elector had voted. A mark very little more than might have been produced by a thumbnail was made in many cases on the voting paper, and that was owing, perhaps, to the different rules which prevailed in different places as to the mode of stamping. Another proper subject of inquiry was as to the mode of numbering the votes. These were the principal matters to which he wished to direct attention; but then there were also two or three smaller points which affected the returning officer, the most important of which were as to the time allowed him in preparing for an election, and as to the returning officer's expenses as af. fected by the Act. There were two other matters which also might be inquired into, the one relating to the evidence we had that votes had become extensively known, partly through the provisions respecting the illiterate voter, and partly through the transparency of the paper made use of at the elections, the other relating to the nomination of candidates. With regard to the whole subject, he was told it was not the intention of the Government to grant a committee at this moment, on the ground that we ought to wait for the report of the election judges. He regretted that decision, because hardly any of the points he had raised would come before the judges, and it was by no means to be assumed

that they would not affect elections in future. Some of those points, and notably the mode of stamping, were matters which might be more fitly investigated by a select committee than by the judges of the land. Bringing such matters before a judge was a costly and slow proceeding. If the House did not take up the subject now, next session it would probably be cast aside, the last general election would be more or less out of mind, controversy in the newspapers would have ceased and these things would be forgotten before a new election would occur. The first point to which he had referred would seem to have arisen from a singular inconsistency in the Act itself. It would appear that the Act was loosely drawn, and therefore there was a necessity for revision. The Act said that the papers should be marked on both sides with the official mark, and that the voter should siding officer the official mark on the back. It then place it in the box after having shown to the presaid that any paper which was otherwise so marked that the votes could be identified should be rejected. That showing of the ballot-paper to the presiding officer was the only means we had of checking "the Tasmanian dodge." But he was prepared to prove by reference to different in doing the duty imposed upon them by the Act, places that a vast number of presiding officers, able, such as writing on the back of each paper did things for which they were properly punishthe number of the voter on the register. That had occurred in dozens, nay, hundreds of constituencies. In doing so those persons clearly placed on the voting-paper a number by which the voter could be identified. But those papers were counted, though the Act said they should not be. They were counted, after argument by competent men, because it was said that those who were to count the papers should not look at the backs, and if they did not they could not know that the papers were thus marked. He had received a letter from the editor of a paperin the North of England stating that, by order of the Sheriff of the county, the presiding officer gave to each voter a voting-paper with his own registered number upon it. in that way all the voter could be identified. That was a point which ought to be investigated by a Select Committee, and which, in London alone, affected hundreds. The second point to which he wished to direct attention was as to the effect on an election of the discrepancy between the number of papers in the box and the number returned by the opening of 53 or 54 boxes, and in every one of presiding officer. He was present himself at the them there was a slight discrepancy. The abstraction of one official voting paper by an elector who took it outside the polling booth instead of putting bribery, because the official stamp might be it into the box furnished an easy method of imitated, or the abstracted paper might be filled up under the eye of a briber outside, who, by the help of an agent outside, would be able to ascertain almost with certainty how a man voted, while each elector so bribed could bring out an unused official voting paper. This Tasmanian dodge showed the importance of preventing any voting paper from being carried away from the booth. Yet in the five elections at which he had been present he had been the means of stopping voters, who, he believed, were quite innocently carrying away their voting papers. At certain times of the day, when the crowding was considerable, the voting papers might be abstracted easily unless the presiding officer was much sharper than some he had seen. Many of the ballotboxes, when opened, were found to contain polling eards or other unofficial documents, and the risk thus disclosed of possible abstraction with a view to imitate the official stamp was a point which had far better be raised in this House than before an election judge. It was no answer to say that there was no proof of fraud at the recent election. In every constituency there were plenty of scoundrels who did not then know the working of the Act or the possibility of plotting with a view to counteract it, as they would at another election. He thought he had shown that if fraud had not occurred at the last election, it might occur at a future election; and therefore the House should provide against any such a contingency. Another matter required investigation-the counting of the votes. This was a point of much importance as affecting the returns. In the great majority of places there were seven or eight presiding officers, with a clerk to each, but only one agent to watch the whole process of counting. That being so, you could only trust to the honesty of the clerks. In his opinion the House should lay down rules for the guidance of the presiding officer in counting the votes. Again, insufficient time was now allowed the returning officers to prepare for the election. In large boroughs three days between the nomination and the polling day were quite inadequate to enable the returning officer to make the necessary arrangements, and he had no right to assume that there would be a contest before the actual nomination. In one case a returning officer said

he had within three days to arrange for 70 polling places, with 300 secret compartments, and appoint 70 competent presiding officers, with 70 clerks. In the competition which existed at an election time for clerks possessing the smallest preten. sions to sobriety, it was very difficult to obtain the requisite staff within the limited period allowed for the purpose. Another point worthy of investigation was the question of the expenses of the returning officer. There seemed to be no regular scale of charges. Cases had occurred in which returning officers had charged no fee at all. There were other cases in which they had charged 50, 100, or even 200 guineas. The largest fees were not always charged in the largest boroughs, and he had even heard of cases in which candidates whose return had not been contested were charged 100 guineas for the returning officers' fees, and 50 or 60 guineas for their expenses. Another point bore upon the means afforded of ascertaining how voters had voted by means of the illiterate voter clause. On this point he had received an interest ing letter from the mayor of a small borough in the West of England, who said it was astonishing to find nearly all the electors in a small country parish voting as illiterates. There was reason to fear that this provision in the Ballot Act had been made use of to ascertain how the electors had voted, and this impression was strengthened by the fact that in the large boroughs, where it was not an object to ascertain how a man voted, there was hardly any illiterates. In one of the largest wards in Chelsea two persons only availed themselves of the provision as to illiterate voters, many illiterate persons preferring to vote by the light of nature rather than by the hand of the returning officer. Again, the transparency of the voting paper enabled an agent to see for whom the voter had polled. A country returning officer had written to him to the effect that, without at all wishing to see how voters had given their votes, he could not help seeing, owing to the transparency of the material, in consequence of which any bystander could read through the folded paper. That, too, was a matter which deserved investigation. The most important question, however, was, what was the mark by which a voter could be identified? The Act stated that all voting papers should be rejected which did not bear a particular mark, and the question was, What constituted such a mark ? When the Bill was in the course of passing through the House different views were expressed on the subject by different members. Some hon. members took the strict view of the provisions of the Bill, as did many other authorities of great weight-namely, that only the mark given in the schedule should be made by the voter, and that any other must lead to the rejection of the vote. The right hon. gen. tleman the member for Bradford, who had charge of the Bill took a different view, and after a great deal of debating upon the point, the Bill passed into law without any authoritative definition being given as to what was meant by the words of the clause in question. For his part, he believed that all the elaborate provisions of the Act to secure non-identification of the voter could be readily evaded if any other mark were allowed but that which was to be found in the schedule. In small boroughs it was impossible to prevent the identification of voters. By puncturing the paper with a pencil, by the mark of a dirty thumb, by tearing off a small piece of the corner, and in various other ways a dishonest or unscrupulous agent could easily ascertain how particular persons had voted. If it were found on inquiry, as he thought it would be, that these elaborate provisious of the Act were useless for the purpose for which they were intended, surely they ought to be discarded or amended? They had been read two different ways at the late election, and that fact alone was sufficient to justify the interference of the House. In the borough of Chelsea hundreds of voting papers were put aside for further consideration under the name of "duffers." Finally they came to the conclusion what should be done with those papers, and, as it did not interfere with the result of the election, he might mention that he had a considerable majority of the "duffers,' while his hon. colleague opposite had a large majority of what were called the "hopeless duffers." (A laugh.) The decision that was arrived at in Chelsea was to count all the papers which were so marked as to give a clear indication of the intention of the voter. A different principle was, however, adopted in other metropolitan boroughs and in various other constituencies, and the consequence was that thousands of voters were virtually disfranchised. The town clerk of Swansea informed him that he actually advised the mayor-who was the returning officer-one way, when his opinion was the other. He was of opinion that any mark which clearly showed how the voter desired to vote was a good mark; but counsel whom he consulted thought differently, and consequently many votes were rejected because they were not marked with a Maltese cross. This part of the subject was of special importance

to the conclusion that it was for the interest of all members, whether in existence or in posse, that the defects in it should be removed. What might be the determination of the House on the subject, of the Ballot when its term of eight years had expired it was impossible to prejudge; but it is clear that those who had opposed it for so long might be proud that they had at length accepted it, whilst those who had urged its adoption for so many years had found that it had brought destruction of the party which had carried it into law. ("Hear," and a laugh.) Thus that which

in small boroughs, to which the Act was
specially intended to apply, because in such
boroughs it was chiefly needed. For all those diffi-
culties there was but one cure-namely, inquiry
by a committee and amending legislation by Par-
liament. If, however, he pressed his motion, he
feared it would be rejected, and probably by an
agreement between him and the concurrent action
of the two front benches. His hon. friend, the
member for Whitehaven, who had lately fallen
from his high estate (a laugh), and who used, in
criticising such an agreement, to say that both
front benches must be wrong, would doubtless was to have caused the entire destruction of the
now, if he went to a division, go into the lobby Conservative party had had exactly the opposite
with the members for Bradford and Taunton. The effect, and it was remarkable that, under the Ballot,
opinion was, he understood, entertained that no where the Conservative party were strong be-
action should be taken, at all events, until the fore they were stronger now, and that where
reports of the election judges were received. He the Liberal party were strong before they now
earnestly hoped, however, that the subject would found their strength diminished. He made these
not be lost sight of. It was one which concerned remarks not for the purpose of rousing party
them all. The right hon. gentleman the member feeling, but to point out that the question might
for Bradford had just cause to be proud of the Bill. be considered without regard to its bearing
When it became law it was as good an Act as, under on either party, and merely with the view of
the circumstances, could well have been passed. making the mechanical operation of voting safe
Experience, however, had disclosed its defects, and, for both the candidates and their constituents.
that being so, he thought the House would agree (Hear, hear.) One word as to returning officers'
with him that the Act was deserving of revision expenses. (Hear, hear.) Anything more un-
at the hands of a select committee. (Hear, hear.) satisfactory than the present system for honest
-Mr. C. LEWIS had no doubt that the House returning officers and for the unfortunate candi-
were desirous that the Ballot Act should be made dates he could not conceive. The honest returning
as perfect as possible in their own interests and in officer in a large constituency was obliged to
the interests of the constituencies of the country work night and day without receiving the
generally. It was very desirable that the loss of smallest remuneration for his labour unless it
votes should be prevented, and accurracy in took the form of an honorarium from the winning
counting votes should be secured. It was only or perhaps all the candidates. Thus the re-
necessary for him to remind the House that not turning officer for Marylebone had had to work
fewer than twelve members of the House had for a week and a half, night and day, at the last
been returned by majorities of ten and under, general election, during which time he was unable
and that twenty-four members had obtained ma- to attend to his business, and all returning officers
jorities of twenty or under. These facts were were obliged to work in a similar manner if they
sufficient to show that precision and accuracy wished to escape the odium which had fallen upon
were of the utmost importance, and that the the returning officer of another of the great
power of the returning officer for good or bad metropolitan boroughs. It was most unsatisfac-
reasons to reject voting papers which had some tory when the returning officer had to put
peculiarity in them-without decision or autho- down a fee for himself, and it was equally un-
rity to guide him-was a subject which deserved satisfactory when he had to accept that as
consideration. (Hear, hear.) In reference to a gift which he ought to receive as the legiti
the loss of votes, he might say that at the late mate reward of his labour. In other cases he
election for Coleraine, out of a total of 1100 votes, heard that monstrons charges had been made
no fewer than 190 were rejected by the returning in small boroughs, and in one instance where the
officer. The returning officer, in fact, possessed candidate, who was called a Conservative working
enormous powers, and much depended not only man's candidate had refused to pay the returning
on his honesty and integrity, but upon his intelli- officer the sum of £50, the returning officer had
gence and his accurate reading of the provisions refused to allow him to be nominated, and the
of the Act. This was a point on which both noble lord who was the other candidate, was re-
sides of the House and both large and small turned as unopposed, the consequence being that
constituencies were equally interested, and it was a petition had been presented on behalf of the re-
highly expedient, in order to secure the purity of jected candidate. There were, he believed,
our electoral system, that steps should be taken numbers of cases of that character which were a
to obtain uniformity of procedure at elections. scandal and a discredit to the law. Another thing
Under the present mode of taking the ballot he
there was every inducement held out to dishonest
returning officers to act improperly. Thus in a
county constituency which should be nameless, an
hon. friend of his who had been elected by a
small majority of fifty-three or fifty four in 1868
was returned by a large majority in 1874. At the
recent election one of the friends of the candidate
who was present at the counting of the votes had
a suspicion that one of the clerks who was entering
the number of votes in a book was manipulating
the counting-that was to say, he was omitting a
batch of thirty votes in favour of the candidate in
question. On being challenged with the offence
the clerk expressed great indignation at his
honour being so assailed, but on the votes being
compared with the book in which he was entering
the number of voters, it was found that not one
but two batches of thirty votes in favour of the
particular candidate had been omitted. It might
be said that that was a fault on the part of a certain
clerk and not of the system, but when it was
recollected how various were the modes of counting
the votes, some of them being of the loosest cha-
racter, and how impossible it was in very large
constituencies that the candidates could exercise
proper supervision over the counting, it appeared
to him that at the proper time-which he was not
prepared to say the present was-the House should
give the question its minute and impartial inves-
tigation. (Hear, hear.) His own constituency
being a small one, every vote had been counted
under the supervision of the candidates them-
selves; but in large constituencies such scenes
had been witnessed as seven or eight sets of
persons being engaged in the same room in
counting the votes, the names of the candidates
and the votes given on each ballot-paper being
shouted out in such a way as must almost
inevitably lead to confusion and mistakes. A
trifling mistake in the numbers of the votes
given for a particular candidate might be
of the gravest importance, because in many of
our largest constituencies members had been re-
turned by merely the nominal majorities cf 50,
100, or 200. Having had personal experience twice
of a contested election under the ballot, he had
taken some little trouble to inquire into the
working of the present system, and he had come

complained of was that the first set of candidates should be compelled to pay for the ballot boxes, which would suffice for their own constituencies for the next twenty or thirty years. In some instances candidates had merely hired the boxes, but the hire was probably more expen sive than the purchase of them would have been. He thought that the facts which had been made public, coupled with the individual experience of hon. members, would induce the Government to take the question up, and take steps to put an end to the present slovenly and inaccurate mode of counting the votes, and he was satisfied that any measure that might be proposed would receive the careful attention of the select committee of that House to which it might be referred. (Hear, hear.)Mr. GREGORY said that whenever a committee was appointed it would be necessary to consider the question of the expenses of returning officers, who could not proceed for their recovery against the nominated candidates, but only against those who went to the poll. The question of the expenses charged by returning officers for themselves was also deserving of attention. Mr. FORSTER said that he considered the difficulties would continue until the constituencies themselves bore the necessary expenses of elections.-The discussion then terminated.

Tuesday, March 31.

THE COMMITMENT OF MR. WHALLEY.

Mr. WALPOLE brought up the report of the Select Committee on Privilege, to which had been referred the letter of the Lord Chief Justice to the Speaker informing the House of the commitment of Mr. Whalley, one of its members, for contempt of court. The committee had had before it two orders made by the Court of Queen's Bench in the case of the Queen against Castro. By the first of these orders Mr. G. H.Whalley, then and now one of the members for Peterborough, was ordered to appear in court to answer for his contempt, in writing and printing a letter in the Daily News on the 21st Jan. last. By the second he was adjudged to have been guilty of such contempt, and thereupon ordered to pay a fine of £250, and to be imprisoned in Holloway Gaol until it was paid. The orders with the affidavits and exhibits on which they were

founded were printed in the appendix to the Committee's report. The committee had afforded to Mr. Whalley an opportunity of making such observations on the matter referred to them as he desired to offer, and he had put in a written statement, parts of which appeared to the Committee to be irrelevant to the specific objects of their inquiry, but they had not thought it expedient to omit any of the observations which that gentleman had deemed it essential to place before them. The Committee, in conclusion, having considered the matters referred to them, did not think they were such as to demand the further attention of the House; and they desired also to express their opinion that the Lord Chief Justice had fulfilled his duty in informing the House that one of its members had been committed by the Court of Queen's Bench. (Hear, hear.)

SOLICITORS' JOURNAL.

interests by increasing the number of transactions in real property." We think we can take upon ourselves to say that his Lordship rightly understands the feelings of our branch of the profession in reference to this important measure. As to how far it will answer the expectations of its promoters, it would at present be unwise to venture & prediction, except that it, in conjunction with the two other measures introduced by his Lordship at the same time, will work a complete change in the whole system of conveyancing throughout the country. Some of the redeeming features in the measure to which we first refer are, that the registry is, in the first instance, at all events, to be in London only, as to which we feel sure that it will so continue, for a distribution of registries throughout the country would be almost sure to lead to expenses not contemplated by the measure in question. Again, the measure will not be compulsory for the first three years, but we are afraid the sanguine hope of his Lordship, that within this period a great deal of business will be done by virtue of the Act, will prove THE Attorneys and Solicitors Bill 1874, which illusory; another recommendation is that even has already been read a second time in the House after the expiration of three years, if land was of Lords, proposes to amend the 10th section of not registered, the sale of it is not to be void, but the Attorneys Act of 1860, by excepting from its the purchaser is to obtain only an equitable title, operation articled clerks who are engaged in and not a legal one until he does register. We employment (otherwise than under their articles) fear any attempt to make the existing office of with the written consent of their principals, toge- land registry in Middlesex capable of meeting ther with the sanction of one of the Judges of the the requirements of the Act are likely to prove Superior Courts, and on certain other conditions. abortive, and we regret that the measure in quesThis Bill also requires that previous notice, toge- tion does not provide for the establishment of ther with copies of affidavits, &c., shall be given a Landed Estates Court. One of the most im. to the registrar of attorneys before any applica-portant questions not touched upon by his tion shall be made to strike an attorney off the Lordship is, who is to have the right to search roll, and contains other important provisions on the registry, and above all who is to have the this subject. In another column we produce the right to act in the matter of registrations. It substance of this measure. will be remembered that in a similar measure of the late Government the expression "agent" often appeared in relation to registration, &c. Solicitors will require a distinct understanding upon this important point. Already the Profession, which is heavily taxed, is beset on all sides by invaders, who indulge in their depredations to almost any extent, while no effort has been made to arrest their progress. The Bar of England is strongly represented in both Houses of Parliament, and unless such members of it show by their sympathy and support that solicitors belong to one and the same profession as themselves, the present Lord Chancellor, not less than any of his predecessors, must appeal in vain to our branch of the Profession to support any measure which so immediately affects their interests as does the Land Transfer and Titles Bill. The second Bill introduced by his Lordship dealt with the limitation of suits, the general tendency of the Bill being to shorten such period in all cases. The third Bill to amend the law of vendors and purchasers is of great importance to solicitors, and we feel sure that this measure, not less than the other two, will receive the most careful, and indeed laboured, consideration of the council of the Incorporated Law Society. We confess it seems to us that the reasonable construction that the Land Transfer and Title Bill, if it becomes law in its present shape, points to the conclusion that many of the provisions last introduced by his Lordship will be rendered nugatory. The general tendency of the measure, however, seems to be to relieve vendors and throw considerable burdens on purchasers, and in this sense it is opposed to the policy embodied in the more important measure first before referred to. The council of the Incorporated Law Society must feel that a great responsibility devolves upon them in having to represent our branch of the Profession in considering these three measures, the more so as any recommendations of theirs are certain to receive the most careful attention of the Government.

THE resolution moved at an adjourned special general meeting of the Incorporated Law Society, held on the 11th June last, by Mr. Charles Ford, and seconded by Mr. Rose, to the effect that a general meeting of the members of the society should be held periodically, say every month, with certain exceptions, for the discussion of all matters affecting the interests of the Profession, though negatived without a division, would, we certainly think, be very desirable, for, besides giving to every member an opportunity of ventilating his ideas upon all subjects of interest to solicitors, it would clearly operate as discounting the chances of new societies coming into existence, which, however desirable and necessary

their formation and establishment may be, yet tend to diminish the influence of the chief society. Let the policy of the council of that society be diametrically opposite to the policy which animates the benchers of the Inns of Court; let solicitors have every opportunity of discussing all questions affecting the Profession, and let us have a thorough system of representation and organisation. It is astonishing that while Universities and many professions are practically represented in the House of Commons, a powerful but disorganised body like solicitors enjoy no such privilege; but we hope the time is not far distant when steps will be taken to accomplish so desirable an object. There are questions innumerable which solicitors would be glad of an opportunity of considering; and if there is no other way open to them, we think it should be by general support of the Legal Practitioners' Society, the subscription to which is nominal, it being understood that general meetings should be constantly held, all resolutions come to at such meetings to be forwarded to the council of the Incorporated Law Society for their consideration, and, in case of no action being taken in the matter, the new society reserving to itself the alternative of taking independent steps.

THE Chambers of Commerce, by reason of their recent deliberations (a portion of the report of which has already appeared in our columns), may well set all lawyers by the ears. The following matters were brought to the notice of the commercial men so assembled: Bankruptcy Law Amendment, Public Prosecutors, Patent Law, Tribunals of Commerce, Unjust Operation of the Debtors' Act 1869, Married Women's Property Act, and other legal subjects. It is a matter for much congratulation that the commercial world is found so ready to deliberate on the subject of all statutory legislation, accomplished or contemplated.

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WE have received a report of the proceedings of the annual general meeting of the Incorporated Leeds Law Society. The meeting was held as long since as the 20th Feb. last, and from the report of the committee for the year 1873, which is of some length, we gather that the number of the members of the society has increased, that the funds of the society are in a satisfactory state; and the report included a consideration of the questions submitted to the society by the Judicature Commissioners; also the subject of the Supreme Court of Judicature Act; the subject of professional remuneration; the amalgamation of the Incorporated Law Society and the Metropolitan and Provincial Law Association (since accomplished); registration of mortgages of tenants' fixtures; the Inns of Court and School of Law Bill, prepared by Lord Selborne; the subject of a Bill to amend the law relating to attorneys and solicitors, the principal object being to modify the 10th section of the Attorneys' Act 1860, by enabling articled clerks to hold offices or engage in employments other than the employ. ment of clerks, provided before entering on the office they obtain the consent of the solicitor to whom they are bound and the sanction of one of

the judges thereto. We are sorry we have never before been afforded the opportunity, as we might have months ago, of bringing this important subject to the notice of the Profession. It is, however, due to the council of the Incorporated Law Society to say that it is a measure prepared by them. We observe that the meeting was held at the offices of Mr. Thomas Marshall, M.A., solicitor, of Leeds, and registrar of the County Court there, and seeing that he is the honorary secretary and treasurer, we suppose we are not far from wrong in assuming that the greater burden of the work of the society falls upon his shoulders; and it is not surprising to observe from the report that he has again been elected to the office of honorary secretary. Mr. Marshall is one of the newly-elected members of the council of the Incorporated Law Society, in connection with which he promises to render valuable services to the Profession.

IN the midst of a louder complaint than has for some time past been made upon the subject of the encroachments of accountants, and agents of all kinds, who talk about their clients and the long vacation, &c., &c., comes to us a letter from a country solicitor, pointing out that large numbers of solicitors, to use his phrase, "work in with accountants," and that but for this practice, which largely obtains, accountants could never have got the hold they have on certain kinds of work which one would rather expect to find in solicitors' offices. We are afraid there is too much truth in the assertions of our correspondent to be reflected upon with anything like satisfaction; and such being the case, it is clear that solicitors have, in a measure, themselves to blame, by tempting others to step out of the groove of their regular calling.

An agree.

A CASE has recently come to our knowledge in which a firm of accountants undertook, on behalf of a debtor, to arrange with his creditors by payment of 10s. in the pound, and to prepare the necessary documents for that purpose. ment was prepared, which was signed by credi respective debts in discharge. One creditor who tors agreeing to take half the amount of their had signed it afterwards proceeded to recover the full amount by an action at law, when it was found that the agreement was not stamped, was not under seal, and was more than two months old in point of date. The accountants' client pays the penalty, of course, but ought not the public to be afforded some kind of protection against this kind of evil by a paternal Government?

NEXT week being Easter week the instruction for articled clerks at the Law Institution is confined to one lecture on equity, which will be delivered on Friday, the 10th April, between the hours of six and seven o'clock, being the first of the equity series for this year. Lecturer and reader Mr. C. W. Chute.

COMPLAINT having recently been made in our columns that some solicitors in certain parts of the country, as well as in London, are so forgetful of the duties they owe to our Profession, as to allow their names to be used by unqualified persons, thus practically enabling the latter to act as attorneys, we reproduce below the 32nd section of 6 & 7 Vict. c. 73. We hope no time will be lost in measures being taken to bring such cases under the notice of the Incorporated Law Society. It should however be observed that it is open to any society or individual to apply to the court as provided by this section. "And be it enacted, that if any attorney or solicitor shall wilfully and knowingly act as agent in any action or suit in any court of law or equity, or matter in bankruptcy, for any person not duly qualified to act as an attorney or solicitor as aforesaid, or permit or suffer his name to be any ways made use of in any such action, suit, or matter upon the account or for the profit of any unqualified person, or send any process to such unqualified person, or do any other act, thereby to enable such unqualified person to appear, act, or practise in any respect as an attorney or solicitor in any suit at law or in equity, knowing such person not to be duly qualified as aforesaid, and complaint shall be made thereof in a summary way to any of the said Superior Courts wherein such attorney or solicitor has been admitted, and proof made thereof upon oath to the satisfaction of the court that such attorney or solicitor hath wilfully and knowingly offended therein as aforesaid, then and in such case every such attorney or solicitor offending shall and may be struck off the roll, and for ever after disabled from practising as an attorney or solicitor: and in that case, and upon such complaint and proof made as aforesaid, it shall and may be lawful to and for the said court to commit such unqualified person so acting or practising as aforesaid to the prison of the said court, without bail or mainprize, for any term not exceeding one year."

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