« EelmineJätka »
Public Record Repository.
transactions and the progress of the general re-
"When instructions were settled for the first block of the general repository according to the plans given and explained in the estimates presented to the House of Commons (Sessional Paper, House of Commons, 1850, No. 571, viii), proposed to be erected in the year 1850-51, it was calculated that the same would contain all the records then in the custody of the Master of the Rolls, save and except the Admiralty records deposited in the White Tower. For these no space was reserved. deposit, the White Tower is reasonably safe, and as As a place of access to them is not frequently required, it was considered that a clerk, whom it was and is proposed to retain in the present Record Office in the Tower, would be sufficient to look after the same, and transact any business arising out of other records which it might be thought expedient to retain either in the White Tower or the Wakefield Tower. it was thought probable that in calculations, however For carefully made, errors could scarcely be avoided when applied to so large a mass as the public records; and it was afterwards found that there might scarcely be sufficient room in the general repository for the records then in the custody of the Master of the Rolls, and the accruing records of the classes which it might be expedient to receive.
Under this arrangement the White Tower would have been a provisional repository until the second block of the building No. 2, and the progress of the general repository, and the deposit of the records therein, would have been regularly effected. But these schemes were frustrated through the measures adopted pursuant to the application made by the storekeepers of your Majesty's Ordnance, praying that the records should be removed from the White Tower, as is stated in the sixteenth report (1. § 9.), and the tower given up to the Board of Ordnance. The Master of the Rolls declined compliance with such request. But further repeated and urgent requests having been made to him by the Board of Ordnance, his Honour, though much regretting the labour and expense which would be incurred and sustained by this department in consequence of the removal of the documents from the Tower, assented to the proposal, provided accommodation could be found for the documents in the vicinity of the general repository, the whole of that repository having been appropriated for the reception of other records already in his custody; and inasmuch as he was informed that the block of houses situated between Chancery Lane and the Rolls Yard, at the disposal of the Board of Works, would be convenient for the deposit not only of the Admiralty records, but also of the War Office documents, it was suggested by his Honour, 22nd March 1855 (Sixteenth Report, Appendix, No. 1 6), that such houses should be assigned to the record department. The Board of Works assented to this proposal, and gave possession of the said houses, Nos. 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 15, 16, 17, and 20, Chancery Lane, to the officers of the record department, in or about November 1855, save and except No. 12, of which possession cannot be obtained till 5th January 1857. obtained, the Board of Works commenced fitting up As soon as possession was the houses for the reception of the documents, and in proportion as the fittings up have advanced, the removal of the said documents has been commenced, and is now in progress.
Admiralty documents from the Tower, communica-
sulting from the before-mentioned circumstances
or receptacle was filled from loft to cellar with docu-
"Various communications took place, and his
Compulsory References and Compromises.
the arrangement for giving up to the use of this department the houses in Chancery Lane, before mentioned, was made. The needful fittings are in progress, and the removals are proceeding as beforementioned, but a very large proportion of the time of the Deputy Keeper and the other officers of this establishment, who are concerned in the direction and management of the business, as well as those who are practically employed in removals, has been abstracted from the time needed for the regular official proceedings, and all the labours of removal will have to be performed over again when the contemplated addition shall be made to the general repository and accommodation therein afforded for the documents now in the houses in Chancery Lane."
COMPULSORY REFERENCES AND
AUTHORITY OF JUDGES, COUNSEL, AND ATTORNEYS. THE attention of the profession has been several times called to the instances in which the judges or the counsel have exercised the power, which it was assumed belong to them, of inducing or compelling the compromise of an action, or its reference to a barrister, when it appeared that the discussion of the facts in open Court would be painful, or more frequently when several complicated issues were to be tried, or details of account entered into, which would inconveniently occupy the time of the Court. It was supposed that when a brief was delivered to counsel, and the case was before the Court, the client and his attorney had no further control over it, and that the Court, or the counsel in the cause might deal with it as in their discretion they deemed fit.
In the time of Lord Chief Justice Ellenborough, he would have been a bold suitor or attorney who ventured to dissent from the intimation given by his lordship, that the case in hand should be referred to one of the merchant special jurors who usually attended at Guildhall, or to some learned counsel whom the great chief deigned to patronize. There were sometimes 500 causes in the Nisi Prius list, and the learning, energy, talent, and skill, with which they were tried or "disposed" of was marvellous. Perhaps, the necessity that existed of preventing an increasing accumulation of remanents, in some degree justified the power which was exercised to keep them in due bounds. But now that the cause lists are by no means overburthened, the usual course of law may properly be taken, though occasionally tardy and troublesome.
Some cases have occurred very recently, which appear to be entirely at variance with the doctrine of forensic power over the rights and interests of suitors and the attorneys by whom they are expressly represented on the record before the Court. These cases have attracted the attention of the press. In one of them it appears the suitor was clearly wrong, because there was no dissent expressed to the course taken by counsel, until a long subsequent
period when the arrangement which had been made, was to be carried into effect; but in the other case the refusal of the client was expressly declared, and the Court held that such refusal must prevail, and that the Court has no power to effect a compromise against the consent of the party. It appeared in the result that the clients refusal was most injudicious.
In a leading article, treating of this important question, a writer in the Daily News of the 21st June, observes that—
"There is no point which seems to give rise to so much misapprehension, and yet which is so simple in itself, as the power which the judge who tries a cause or the counsel or attorney of a suitor has to bind the client. Some nervous persons seem to think that the suitor is at the complete mercy of his attorney or his counsel-that he has no sooner put his cause into their hands than he has utterly surrendered his own will. Thenceforward the poor man becomes a nonentity. Happily this is an exaggeration. And it is curious enough that twe cases have lately occurred in our courts the one in the Court of Common Pleas, under the name of 66 Swinfen v. Swinfen," "the other was tried before Lord Campbell †-which perfectly illustrate the subject.
"In the first case it was alleged that Sir Frederic Thesiger and the Attorney-General had compromised a case at Stafford, by which the defendant had been deprived of an estate worth £50,000. The defendant having refused to carry the arrangement of the two counsel into effect, an attachment was moved for. Part of the argument on behalf of the recalcitrant defendant consisted of an affidavit, in which it was declared that neither her counsel nor her attorney had any authority to enter into the compromise. This affidavit, however, it should be observed, had been sworn long after the time at which the defendant knew that the compromise had been entered into-for that had been during the last assizes at Stafford-and, indeed, only some few hours before the case came on to be heard in the Common Pleas at Westminster. The Court-very properly, as we think-refused to listen to any such affidavit. In
the first place, it appeared that not one of the counsel who had been employed at Stafford was employed in London, for the very good reason alleged by the Attorney-General, that these gentlemen could not have been induced to support the statements in the affidavit, which however they, and they alone, could know to be false.
'Nothing, of course, could be a grosser dereliction of duty, as the Attorney-General observed, than that a counsel should presume to make a compromise in opposition to the wishes both of attorney and client. An imputation so gross was not to be presumed, and after a lapse of so long a time the Court considered that it was bound by what had taken place, and that it would not have been justified in re-opening the matter. If, as Mr. Justice Cresswell observed, the client does not approve of what his counsel or his attorney is doing, he may withdraw his brief, and employ other persons. But certainly a man ought not to be permitted to deny the authority of his agents for the first time when the compromise to which those agents have agreed is about to be enforced. It is obvious that it would never do to
* See the L. O. Report, p. 152 ante
+ Stephenson v. Palmer, Daily News June 20.
Compulsory References and Compromises.-Incorporated Law Society.
permit a client to question every single act of his counsel, or his attorney. These agents must have some discretion. They must be allowed some scope. Before they consent to a compromise, it is their duty -as it certainly is their practice to consult the client. And unquestionably, if any counsel or any attorney ventured to compromise a suit against the express wishes of his client, there would be ample reason for disbarring the counsel, and for striking the attorney off the rolls. The matter, of course, would be very different if the counsel or the attorney assented to an agreement with an imperfect knowledge of the facts; indeed, the Attorney-General himself laid the rule down, that the client was only bound where the counsel was at the time apprised of all the facts necessary to enable him to form a judgment, but he would be relieved from any agreement if consent had been given by counsel in ignorance of some material circumstance. In this case, however, the Attorney-General asserted that the affidavit on which the imputation was made was a tissue of falsehood."
The second case was as follows, and shows very clearly that a client may refuse a compromise, even where, if she had properly understood her own case, she would at once have agreed to it :
"A certain Miss Palmer, somewhat advanced in years, had given into custody a man named Stephenon, and his wife, for having stolen some of the proPerty of Miss Palmer's mother. An arrangement having been suggested in court, Mr. Barber, the solicitor of Miss Palmer, in vain endeavoured to persuade the elderly spinster to arrange the matter. Her counsel, Mr. E. James, then tried his powerful arts of persuasion, but with no better success. Even my Lord Campbell failed in the same attempt. She declared that, without her mother's consent, she could do nothing. The old lady was then produced -very aged but very active, and extremely deaf. She was immediately raised to the Bench. His Lordship with thunderous eloquence advocated the compromise which had been suggested; but the old lady was fixed as adamant. She would go on with the suit. The action did go on; and it turned out that, in the opinion of the jury, the property which Miss Palmer claimed really belonged to Mr. and Mrs. Stephenson, and the consequence was that Mr. and Mrs. Stephenson had a verdict for £10, and Miss Palmer, the obedient daughter, and Mrs. Palmer, the obstinate old mother, were obliged to pay all the costs. But lamentable as is the result to the two ladies, it is clear that they have most successfully vindicated the right of a client to do as he pleases to reject the advice of judge, counsel, and attorney. Here, however, it will be observed that the clients objected on the spot. They did not le bye as they did in the former case. They did not first of all permit the case to be closed-the assizes to be concluded-and the whole matter to remain quiet for months, and only call in question the conduct of their counsel when a demand was made to carry the compromise into effect."
The writer then proceeds to guard himself against a possible misconstruction of these observations. He
"It is vain to deny that in many cases, and especially during the assizes, judges are far too eager to compel suitors to a compromise-to drive them before arbitrators. It is said indeed that many cases brought before a jury are not fit subjects for
such a tribunal. Such an objection ought to be made and decided upon at an earlier stage of the proceedings. But in any case the judge ought not to delegate his functions to an arbitrator. If a barrister travelling the circuit is fit to make an award, much more is the judge himself fitted to perform the same office. Why should the unfortunate suitor be compelled to pay the fees, not only of his attorney and his counsel, but also the fees of an arbitrator? The duty of the judge of assize, in cases not fit to be submitted to a jury, is himself to sit as arbitrator. True, it might occupy a considerable time. But these judicial officers are amply remunerated. In some instances, indeed, we know that a judge has sat as arbitrator, and has drawn up the award; but we suspect that, if the time consumed in hearing the case and in drawing up the award were known, there would be ample reason found for the notorious fact that there is scarcely one instance known in which a judge has sat as an arbitrator. This duty ought, as it seems to us, to be imposed upon the judges of assize at the will of the suitors. For thus they become judges of fact as well as law, and instead of being restricted to giving one single sort of judgment, sounding, as the lawyers say, in damages, they are enabled by means of an award to do complete justice between the parties. Such a reform is so obvious that the wonder is it has been so long delayed."
INCORPORATED LAW SOCIETY.
ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING.
THE Annual General Meeting of the members of the Incorporated Law Society was held in the hall of the society in Chancery-lane, on Tuesday the 24th inst., for the election of the President and Vice-President of the society, and of ten members of the Council, in lieu of the members who went out of office in rotation.
The chair was taken by Keith Barnes, Esq., the President.
The following gentlemen were re-elected members of the council:
William Strickland Cookson, Esq.
Edward Leigh Pemberton, Esq.
Edward Archer Wilde, Esq.
Edward White, Esq. was elected President,
The Annual Report of the Council of the proceedings of the past year was then read by the Secretary. It comprised
1. A statement of the Parliamentary measures for the alteration of the law, which, more or less, affected
the interests of the general body of attorneys and solicitors.
2. The efforts made to place upon a proper footing the fees of solicitors for business in the Court of Chancery.
3. The proposed new courts and offices-changes in the practice questions of professional usage-encroachments on the rights of solicitors, and cases of mal-practice.
4. Legal education and examination of articled clerks.
until restored to health, or able to resume their employ. Each member received one guinea weekly during his illness. The expenditure for the year on this account has been £137 15s. 4d., and the total expenditure on account of illness, since the year 1832, £3,487 11s. 10d.
The second branch of the society's expenditure out of the same fund consists of a weekly allowance varying from 10s. to 14s., granted for life to all members who are entirely disabled by some permanent affliction from following their employment. This allowance is granted irrespective of age, and without the risk or expense of an election. The
5. The general affairs and present position of the only requirement necessary is, that the member's society.*
The President adverted to some of the prominent topics in the report, which more immediately applied to the business of the day :-such as the fees of solicitors the proposed law university-the intended south, wing of the society's hall the prosperous -state of the funds of the society-and the large increase in the number of members.
It was then resolved unanimously-" That the Report of the Council be received, approved, and entered on the Minutes; and that such parts of it as the council think fit be printed and circulated amongst the members."
The auditor's Report of the accounts of the society was next read, and it was resolved unanimously"That the Auditor's Report be approved and signed by the President."
The cordial thanks of the meeting were then presented to the President, Vice-President and Council, for their great and continued attention to the interests of the society, and their exertions for the benefit of the profession in general.
UNITED LAW CLERKS' SOCIETY. The twenty-fourth Annual Report of the Committee of Management, read at the Anniversary Dinner at the Freemason's Tavern, 17th June, 1856, Mr. ROUNDELL PALMER, Q.C., M.P., in the chair.
THE United Law Clerks' Society was established in 1832, for the purpose of affording to its members pecuniary assistance in the events of illness, or inability through age or other infirmity to earn the means of subsistence, and on the death of a member or member's wife. To accomplish this a fund was formed by the monthly contributions of the members and the donations of the profession, and which was called "The General Benefit Fund," to distinguish it from a benevolent fund formed at the same time, and in the same way, for assisting law clerks, whether members or not, their widows and families, in temporary distress, with gifts of money to the extent of £5.
This benevolent fund was called "The
The first branch of the society's expenditure out of the general fund arises from relief afforded to its members when disabled by illness from following their employ. During the past year eighteen members have received this relief. Four of these members are still in receipt of it; three cases terminated in death, and the remaining eleven members received it
We shall be able to lay before our readers this valuable report, or extracts therefrom, at an early period.
permanent disability be established to the satisfacanniversary there were seven members in receipt of tion of the society's medical officer. At the last
this allowance. Since then a new claim has been made by a member aged sixty-three, who, after fifty years service in the profession, the last thirty-eight of which were spent in one office, found himself past labour. This claim was immediately allowed. It is the only existing one where disability arises from old age. There are six which result from loss of intellect, and one from loss of sight. Of these eight members three receive yearly in weekly payments. £31 4s. each, and the other five £36 8s. The total yearly payments to these superannuated members amount to £275 12s., or the yearly interest of £9,000.
The third and last branch of the society's expenditure out of the general fund consists of an allowance of £50 made to the family of a member on his decease, and of half that sum on the death of a member's wife, should he survive her. There have been four deaths amongst the members during the year, and to the family of each a sum of £50 has been paid. Four deaths have also occurred amongst the members' wives. Each of these members received the sum of £25. The payments to members and their families on account of death alone has now reached the sum of £5,277 10s.
By death, removal, and other causes, the society has lost several annual subscribers; but the committee report with pleasure that, since the last anniversary, a considerable increase has taken place in the number of members, whose contributions, during the year, have amounted to £1,322 16s. 6d.
The committee have always kept in view that the greatest burthen which the society will have to bear will arise from claims upon the Superannuation Fund. The society has been established twenty-four years, and many of its earlier members will, in all probability, at no distant period, be claiming that benefit for which they have contributed so many years. The yearly amount paid to a superannuated member is not large, but it requires the interest of more than £1,000 to meet each claim. To make provision against this, the committee are using every exertion to form a capital sufficient to provide for all contingencies, and effectually guarantee the payment of all superannuation claims whenever they may arise. On the 2nd of April, 1855, the capital of the society amounted to £18,089 19s. 5d. The receipts for the year, on account of the general fund, have amounted to £2,319 11s. 7d., and the amount expended in affording relief in sickness, on superannuation and death, including necessary disbursements, has been £1010 2s. 11d., leaving a balance of £1,309 8s. 8d., which has been added to the society's investments. These investments are all made with the commissioners for the reduction of the National Debt. On the 20th of May, 1855,
Selections from Correspondence.-Professional Lists.
they amounted to £18,168 19s. 2d., and on the 20th May, in this year, to £19,728 8s. 5d.
The committee have received thirty-eight applications for relief out of the casual fund. On careful investigation thirty-four of these were found to be from deserving but distressed persons, and they were relieved as far as the funds permitted. The remaining cases were from undeserving persons to whom assistance could not be granted. The committee cannot here particularise the circumstances of the applicants, but they may state that, of the thirty-four relieved, twenty-three were from persons who had never contributed to the fund. Eleven were from the widows of law clerks, some advanced in years, others were, with very slender means, creditably bringing up their families. The committee have power, out of the same fund, to grant assistance to members, by way of loan, repayable to suit the borrower's circumstances, and free from any kind of charge. Assistance of this nature has been afforded to several members who would not take it by way of gift. In meeting these gifts and loans a sum of £351 Os. Od., has been expended, making the total relief granted out of this fund, since the year 1832, £5,575 16s. The casual fund is without any capital. The constant demands upon it render any investment impracticable. In April, 1855, the cash in hand amounted to £43 10s. 5d., during the year £351 19s. 9d. has been received, and £351 8s. Od. expended, leaving a balance in hand on the 7th April, 1856, £44 2s. 2d. The committee hope this report of their proceedings will prove satisfactory to the donors and members. Every claim made has been promptly satisfied, and some addition made to the invested capital. Since the foundation of the society in 1832, it has been the means of affording pecuniary assistance in time of affliction to its members and their families, and to law clerks generally and their widows, to an amount exceeding £14,000. This sum principally arose from the contributions of the members, but it was partly the result of the liberality of the profession, for whose kind sympathy and support the committee take this opportunity of tendering their sincere and grateful thanks. They hope that so long as the society continues fairly and zealously to carry out the benevolent object for which it was established; it will receive a continuance of that support without which many of its benefits must be considerably curtailed, and its general means of usefulness greatly diminished.
HARRY G. ROGERS, Secretary. Freemason's Tavern, London, 17th June, 1856.
stance has come within my knowledge. A clergyman, A., borrowed £20 of a loan office, and gave a note or bill for the amount, for which an enormous discount was paid. Another clergyman, B., indorsed the bill by way of security. A. died. B. is sued, and having his goods seized under an execution for debt and costs is obliged to pay upwards of £30, the plaintiff's attorney insisting on an immediate sale by the sheriff unless they are paid;—and this, notwithstanding the unfortunate surety was confined to his house by a severe and alarming illness.
Lord Campbell, in summing up the evidence on the 16th June inst. in the cause of Truelock v. The Householders and General Life Assurance Company, one of the so-called indisputable offices states with great truth that these modern life assurance companies held out great temptations, and brought about the most lamentable consequences. Verdict for the plaintiff £14,000.
On the 18th also his lordship in a similar case against the Prince of Wales Life and Education Assurance Company, to recover on a policy for £7,000, said the company appeared objectionable in respect of the inducements which they held out for the insurance; that the practices which he condemned led to the most mischievous consequences, and he was afraid that some companies were ready to take any risk in order to obtain the premiums Verdict for plaintiff regardless of the consequences. for £7,000.
One of the jurymen said the practise of the modern insurance offices was most prejudicial, and cut at the root of making provision for helpless families. In this observation Lord Campbell said he most heartily concurred.
In one case fourteen years was added to the life of the assured, or rather the premiums were taken as if he had been fourteen years older. A similar grasping conduct was manifested in the other case. A SUFFERER.
Appointed under the Fines and Recoveries' Act, with dates
Bird, George Adam, Kidderminster, in and for the county of Worcester. May 27.
Jackson, Richard, Chorley, in and for the county of Lancaster.-June 13.
Pickford, Charles. Cornelius, Forbes, Congleton, in and for the county of Chester.-June 20.
Woodburne, Thomas, Ulverston, in and for the county of Lancaster.-June 10.
To Administer Oaths in Chancery. Appointed under the 16 & 17 Vict. c. 78, with date when Gazetted.
King, Thomas, the younger, Brighton.-May 27.
DISSOLUTIONS OF PROFESSIONAL PARTNERSHIPS. From 27th May to 20th June, 1856, both inclusive, with dates when Gazetted.
Brace, George; and George Nathaniel Colt, 24, Surreystreet, Strand, attorneys and solicitors.-May 27.
Hill, Henry Rivington, and Herbert Williams Reeves, 23, Throgmorton-street, city, attorneys and solicitors.- May 27. Jones, Francis William Reeve, and Samuel Betteley. 38, New Bridge-street, Blackfriars, attorneys and solicitors.— May 30.