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Minister of Justice, as by a recent letter to the secretary he has expressed his intention of doing, at the earliest opportunity, after the re-assembling of Parliament.
"Judicial Statistics. One of the earliest, as well as one of the most important, results which would probably follow the creation of a department of justice, would be the collection, in a proper form, and at regular intervals, of the judicial statistics of all our courts. A report was presented on this subject during the last session, and the president of the society introduced a bill into the House of Lords to carry out the object; that bill will, no doubt, be again brought before the Legislature, and the council think it very advisable that the committee, who have already reported, should continue their labours, and work out, as far as possible, all the details of the subject.
"Public Prosecutor. The long-debated question of appointing a public prosecutor would also receive its solution by the establishment of a minister of justice. Some recent events have demonstrated most forcibly the advantage that would arise from the employment of such an officer, and it is hardly possible that the Legislature can long avoid dealing with the subject. Many different modes of practically attaining the object sought, have been brought before the public; of which not the least feasible would seem to be that of employing local officers, who would be charged with the preparation of the case previous to its being brought into court, without interfering with the independent employment of the bar.
"Legal Education.-There is another subject, closely connected with the efficient administration of the bar, on which Mr. Napier has addressed the secretary. It will be remembered that some years since this society felt bound to make a public protest against the neglect of legal education in the Inns of Court, and the absence of any test of competency for those called to the bar.
In consequence of this remonstrance, Mr. Napier brought the subject before the House of Commons, and moved an address to the Crown for a royal commission, to inquire into the institution and management of the Inns of Court. A commission was shortly afterwards issued, naming a Vice-Chancellor, a common law judge, the Attorney and Solicitor Generals, and other learned and eminent persons, to make the necessary inquiries, and to report thereupon. The labours of these commissioners were brought to a close more than a twelvemonth since by the publication of a very able and impartial report, signed by the commission unanimously. It recommended the establishment of a law university, composed of the four Inns of Court, and sketched out a plan for that purpose; and it also recommended that no person should in future be called to the bar till he had given a proof of his competency by passing a proper examination. Early in the past session the society referred this report to a special committee, with instructions to take any steps that might appear advisable to ensure the adoption of the recommendations contained in it; but the committee, after due deliberation, considered it most advisable to wait for any steps which the benchers of the Inns might see fit to take in the matter. the majority of the commissioners occupied the position of benchers, being, moreover, not the least distinguished of their body, the expectation that some measures would be taken in due course of time by these learned persons to carry out the recommendations of their colleagues, was no doubt a natural one. appears, however, to have been unfounded, as no
made in the government
alteration has been
seem to have arrived when this society, with whom
"Criminal Law.-The subject of criminal law, or,
Law Amendment Society.
first place, every effort should be made, by proper means of prevention, to cut off the future supply of criminals. This may be done in some measure by a general improvement of our law, by abolishing as far as possible artificial offences-those statutory crimes which are not mala in se-and by doing away with the restrictions on combination of capital, which tend to keep the labouring classes poor. But the prevention of crime can only be accomplished, to any great extent, by the establishment of a system of national education, more especially of industrial education, by which the quick faculties of those who now supply the ranks of our criminal classes may be turned to useful purposes, and they may be at once taught the means of obtaining an honest livelihood, and the rights attaching to individual property. The subject of general education is not, indeed, within the purview of this society, but the council would direct attention to the admirable results which have followed from the enactment of Mr. Dunlop's act in Scotland, and would ask for the opinion of the society, whether a somewhat similar measure might not be introduced into this part of the kingdom? By Mr. Dunlop's act vagrant and destitute children may be sent by a magistrate to the Trading Industrial Schools, now established in all the principal towns of Scotland, and an order be made on their parents or the locality for the amount of their maintenance. When it is considered that this class of children are the raw material out of which our criminal population is chiefly manufactured, it is evident that any legislation which would diminish their number would tend in a very great degree to diminish the amount of crime. In the second place, a means of reformation should be universally provided for those young offenders (though it may be hoped comparatively few in number) who would always remain to be dealt with. This portion of the subject may be safely left in the hands of the National Reformatory Union, which has already done so much, and will no doubt go on unceasingly to the full accomplishment of its work. The only suggestion which the council would offer on this head of the subject is, that it might not be disadvantageous to consolidate the various acts relating to reformatories into a single statute. The preparation of such a bill, if decided on by the Criminal Law Committee, might be very aptly undertaken in conjunction with the Committee of the National Reformatory Union, if they would lend their valuable aid for that purpose.
"In the third place, it is necessary to deal after a more regular and systematic plan than bas yet been attempted, with our adult criminals. The council trust that the society, in any deliberation which it may hold on this topic, will not forget the broad line which it is necessary to draw between casual and habitual offenders. With respect to the former, it may become a question whether it would not tend to the diminution of their numbers, and to the more satisfactory administration of the law, if a system of fines were substituted for imprisonment in many of the more trivial cases which are now visited with the latter punishment. With regard to the latter, it is not going too far to say that the uselessness, if not the absolute mischief, of short imprisonments is beginning to be universally recognised; and that the public mind is rapidly becoming ripe for such a change in our criminal law as will at once send the proved habitual offender (whatever the exact offence of which he is ultimately convicted may be) to a very long term of imprisonment, which shall be
capable of being shortened by his own steps towards real reformation.
"The council would express their hope that the whole of this range of important subjects, including that of capital punishment, on which three valuable papers have already been read, may be taken up by the Criminal Law Committee, and that the society may receive from them during the ensuing session some reports upon them.
"Criminal Breaches of Trust.-Connected with this subject is that of criminal breaches of trust, which it will, it is hoped, be pushed on the attention of the Legislature. A committee of the society put forward during the last session a plan which was thought calculated to afford a satisfactory solution of the question; but the society will no doubt be happy to give its support to any measure which may seem likely to put some check on the fraudulent transactions now carried on well-nigh with impunity.
"Consolidation of the Statute Law.-The council cannot doubt that the important subject of the consolidation of our statute book will meet with the earnest attention it deserves at the hands of the society. A certain amount of work is no doubt being done, and a number of consolidating bills will probably be brought before Parliament in its next session; but the society will feel that this is not the whole of the work to be done, nor indeed its first and most necessary portion. It is only by a proper previous expurgation of the statute book that the work of consolidation can ever be taken up with any hopes of speedy success; and it is to be hoped that the plan of operations put forward last session by the society will be vigorously pressed on the Government with a view to its immediate adoption. The plan of appointing an officer merely to revise bills as they pass through Parliament, which has been mooted of late (however valuable for the one particular object to which it is directed), cannot be considered as in any way adequate to meet the requirements of the case. What is wanted is a properly constituted board, headed by a responsible and active head, who would devote their whole time to the work, and grapple with the numerous difficulties which beset the first steps towards what ought always to be kept in view as the ultimate object-the arrangement of the whole body of our laws in one compendious code.
"Ecclesiastical courts.-The council on the subject of the Ecclesiastical Courts would only express their hope that another effort will be made during the ensuing session of Parliament to remedy the evils which have so long been complained of, but which so long have remained unredressed.
"Married women's property.-A bill has been prepared during the recess by one of our members to carry out the view of the society in reference to the question of the property of married women; this bill will receive the earnest attention of the council, and they trust that some solution of this important but difficult subject will be shortly arrived at.
"Commercial law.-On the subject of commercial law the council have but few remarks to offer. recent enactment of that excellent measure, the Joint Stock Companies Act, has greatly facilitated the combination of capital, and has simplified our law on that head in a very satisfactory way. The bill which was introduced last session by the Government to abolish the consequences of the judgment in "Waugh and Carver," did not pass through Parliament, and individual traders are thus left at a
Law of Costs-Business of the Courts.
Transfer of Land.-Not less essential to the prosperity of the community than the facile combination of capital is the cheap and easy transfer o landed property. The royal commission appointed to inquire into that important subject have not yet reported; but it is generally understood that they have fixed on a scheme which may be embodied in a legislative measure; and whenever the details of this plan are made public, they will doubtless receive the most earnest attention of the society.
"Law Reporting.-In regard to matters of less wide import, the council are able to state that a report on the subject of law reporting will shortly be made to the society by the committee appointed some time since for that purpose. The discussion on it will probably be taken at an early day.
"Lex Loci.-A report will also shortly appear on an interesting subject; that of the necessity of a lex loci for British India. A number of able men, peculiarly well qualified to give an opinion on this topic, are considering it in the committee appointed at the end of last session; and though the council will not anticipate their decision, it is believed that they will report in favour-at any rate in a great degree of the recommendations of the minority of the late Indian Commission.
"The council would, in conclusion, state that as there never was a time when the society was more flourishing and more influential, so it now peculiarly rests on the members generally to maintain its reputation and extend its strength by giving to its operations their united and vigorous support. It may be a matter for consideration whether a closer union, at least at certain periods, with those who are prosecuting action and inquiry on other branches of that great science of social economics of which law amendment forms one of the most valuable parts, might not conduce to a larger appreciation of our views by the bulk of the nation, and a more rapid accomplishment of the objects at which we aim. Such a connexion we have already formed in some degree with the National Reformatory Union, and the happy results of that step would seem to point to the pursuance of a similar course with other kindred societies. In any such union it would of course be essential to keep our own Government independent, and our own views distinct."
LAW OF COSTS.
peared that this neglect had occurred in consequence of the illness of one of the plaintiff's solicitors, and through the omission of the managing clerk. On the hearing of the motion for an injunction on January 31, a printed copy of the will was provided for the use of the court, and supplied to the defendant's solicitors, and also to counsel.
The Master of the Rolls said: "I have been considering the case, and I think if it is a mere slip, the plaintiff ought, on payment of the costs, to be allowed to amend it. If I did not allow this, the only consequence would be this: that the plaintiff would put the same bill on the file to-morrow, renew the motion for an injunction the day after, and re-swear all the affidavits. What struck me was this: the bill was really printed, and copies were in court at the time the motion was heard. The only question is, whether the general order of the court is imperative on me, so that I cannot order the bill to be filed nunc pro tunc."
An order was accordingly made that the written bill should be restored to the file, and that a printed copy should be received and filed as of February 2, and that the plaintiff should pay to the defendants their costs of the application, but no costs of the suit to be taxed and paid.
Ferrand v. Corporation of Bradford, 21 Beav. 422.
WHERE PRINTED BILL NOT FILED PURSUANT TO UNDERTAKING.
A WRITTEN Copy of a bill was filed on January 19, 1856, upon an undertaking to file a printed copy within the fourteen days limited by the 15 & 16 Vict. c. 86, s. 6. The fourteen days expired on Feb. 2, and no printed copy having been filed, the Clerk of Records and Writs took the written copy off the file under Order 3 of August, 7, 1852. It ap
Notes of the Week-Recent Decisions in the Superior Courts.
NOTES OF THE WEEK.
Mr. Serjeant Wells has been appointed Recorder of Bedford, in the room of T. B. Burcham, Esq., appointed one of the metropolitan police magistrates. Mr. Wells was called to the bar by the Honourable Society of the Middle Temple on 29th January, 1841, and went the Norfolk Circuit.
Mr. Jonathan Melrose has been appointed Sheriff Clerk of Berwickshire.
Sir Wm. Westbrooke Burton, puisne judge of the Supreme Court at Madras is, we understand, about to retire. Sir Wm. Burton commenced his career in the royal navy, but at the conclusion of the war in 1815, entered himself as a student at the Temple, and was called to the bar. He was subsequently appointed a judge at the Cape of Good Hope, and thence transferred to Madras. The retiring pension is £1,200 a year, and the salary of the puisne judgeship £5,000 a year.
Mr. J. B. Winterbotham has been appointed Town Clerk of Tewkesbury.
Mr. Charles William Moore has been appointed Commissioner, Mr. W. C. Green, Treasurer, and Mr. Samuel Philpot Brookes, Clerk to the Local Board of Health of Tewkesbury.
Mr. Herbert Jackson has been appointed to a Clerkship in the Registrar's Office in Chancery. J. G. S. Smith, Esq., Judge of the Lincolnshire
County Court has been appointed to the Commission of the Peace for the City of Lincoln.
The Queen has been pleased to appoint Benjamin Chilley Campbell Pine, Esq., barrister-at-law, to be Governor and Commander-in-Chief in and over her Majesty's forts and settlements and their dependencies, on the gold coast.-From the London Gazette of 4th November.
Mr. Francis Cobb and Mr. William Price Moore were, on the 5th inst., admitted proctors of the High Court of Admiralty and Arches Court.
IRISH COURT OF APPEAL IN CHANCERY.
The new Court of Appeal will not sit until Hilary Term next, the act not coming into operation until January 1, 1857. The court will hear all appeals from the Master of the Rolls, and the Encumbered Estates Court, and will be composed of the Chancellor, the Lords Justices of Appeal, and any of the Common Law Judges whom the Lord Chancellor may call upon to sit with them.
It is expected that there will be a winter assize for general gaol delivery after Michaelmas Term.
The appeals from the decisions of the Vice-Chancellor Stuart will be heard by the Lord Chancellor.
RECENT DECISIONS IN THE SUPERIOR COURTS.
Master of the Rolls.
Bank of Australasia v. Prince. Nov. 4, 1856.
BILL OF EXCHANGE FORGED SIGNATUREACTION AT LAW INJUNCTION.
An injunction was granted to restrain an action at law by the indorsee of a bill of exchange against
payers, where the party, a married woman, to whom the bill was payable, stated her signature thereto to be a forgery, and the payers were directed to hold the money until it was determined who was the proper person to receive payment. THIS was a motion to restrain the defendant from further proceeding with an action at law to recover the amount of a bill on the plaintiffs for £196. appeared that the defendant had obtained the bill, which was in favour of a Mrs. Dawson, to be discounted for Mr. Dawson, by adding his own indorsement. The plaintiffs required proof of the signature of Mrs. Dawson before payment, and on her declaring that the signature on the bill purporting to be her's was forged, the plaintiffs refused to pay the amount without being protected.
Speed in support; Follett, Simpson, and Cotton for the other parties.
The Master of the Rolls granted the motion-the plaintiffs to retain the money until the proper party to receive the same was ascertained.
Lovett v. Lovett. Nov. 4, 1856.
WILL SUIT TO ESTABLISH-ISSUE DEVISAVIT VEL
In a suit to establish a will as against parties
claiming under a prior will and the heir-at-law: Held, that an issue devisavit vel non would be directed at the instance of such claimants where they questioned the later will on the ground of undue influence and that it was made while the testatrix was incompetent.
THIS was a motion for a decree to establish the will of the testatrix, Mrs. Lovett, as against the Rev. Robert Lovett and his son, who claimed under a prior will, and also as against the heir-at-law. It appeared that probate of the later will had been obtained, although opposed by the defendants on the ground of undue influence and that it was obtained when the testatrix was incompetent.
Rolt and G. Lake Russell for the plaintiff; Willcock, Prendergast, Horsey, and Field for other parties in the same interest in support; James and Jessel for the defendants asked for an issue devisavit vel non; Hetherington for the heir-at-law.
The Vice-Chancellor said that although on the authority of Boyse v. Rossborough 1 Kay and J. 125, the bill was maintainable, it would be going too far to establish this will without giving the parties claiming under the previous one an opportunity of trying their right at law, and an issue was accordingly directed.
Court of Queen's Beuch. Thomas v. Stutterheim. Nov. 3, 1856. COMMON LAW PROCEDURE ACT, 1854-COMMISSION TO EXAMINE WITNESS-PRACTICE.
Held, that the application for the issue of a commission to examine a witness at the point of death,
Recent Decisions in the Superior Courts-Analytical Digest of Cases.
and whose evidence was necessary to the defendant's case, under the 17 & 18 Vict. c. 125, s. 46, should be by summons at chambers, and not by motion in couri.
THIS was a motion for the issue of a commission to examine Lieutenant-Colonel Poër, who was very dangerously ill, and whose evidence was necessary for the defendant's case.
By the 17 & 18 Vict. c. 125, s. 46, it is enacted that "Upon the hearing of any motion or summons it shall be lawful for the court or judge, at their or his discretion, and upon such terms as they or he shall think reasonable, from time to time to order such documents as they or he may think fit to be produced, and such witnesses as they or he may think necessary to appear, and be examined vivá voce either before such court or judge, or before the master, and upon hearing such evidence, or reading the report of such master, to make such rule or order as may be just."
Needham in support.
The Court said that the application should be by summons before a judge at chambers, and refused the motion accordingly.
In re John Williams Knipe. Nov. 4, 1856. ATTORNEY-STRIKING OFF ROLL-SHAM ACTIONREFERENCE TO MASTER.
A rule nisi to strike an attorney off the rolls for bringing a sham action for a fraudulent purpose, and seizing an insolvent's effects, under a pretended judgment in such action, was referred to the Master to report on, with liberty to call for further affidavits, or to examine witnesses vivâ
THIS was a rule nisi to strike Mr. John Williams Knipe, an attorney practising at Worcester, off the rolls, for bringing a sham action at the suit of one Houghton Perkins against William Beck, for a fraudulent purpose, and seizing the latter's effects, under a pretended judgment obtained in that action, and also carrying off part of those effects himself. Gray shewed cause against the rule, which was supported by Keating.
H. J. Hodgson for the Incorporated Law Society. "Mr. Gray, it was Lord Campbell, C. J., said: our duty to give you a full opportunity to explain the circumstances of the case, and if we had thought you had done so, we should have pleasure in discharging the rule. We give no judgment, but you now having fully argued it, we think that there is reason for referring it to the Master."
The matter was accordingly referred to the Master to report thereon, with liberty to call for further affidavits, or to examine witnesses vivâ voce.
Queen's Bench Practice Court.
ARTICLED CLERK-STAMPING ARTICLES AFTER SIX
Circumstances under which the Court directed the
Ir appeared that the applicant, Mr. Francis Norton, was articled in August, 1844, to his father, a practising attorney in the city of London, but that owing to pecuniary pressure his articles were not stamped within the six months, and in December, 1853, the applicant's father died, without having ever stamped the articles. In April, 1854, the applicant memorialised the Lords of the Treasury for leave to stamp the articles, but while it was under consideration Mr. Henry Braddon, of 6, Gray's-inn-place, consented to take him as his articled clerk, and on May 10, 1854, the articles were executed on unstamped paper. The Lords of the Treasury afterwards declined to interfere, and the applicant paid the stamp duty of £80, with £10 penalty. By an act passed last session (19 & 20 Vict. c. 81) the Lords of the Treasury are empowered to direct the stamp duty to be affixed to articles not stamped within the time limited, and they had accordingly ordered the old articles to be stamped npon payment of the higher duty of £120, together with a penalty of £20, deducting the £80 paid on the subsequent articles.
This motion was now made that the service of Mr. Norton should be reckoned to commence and be computed from the date of the execution of the original articles, and to discharge him from his articles to Mr. Braddon, who had consented to cancel the same.
M. Chambers in support.
The Court granted the application.
The 19 & 20 Vict. c. 81. s. 3, is as follows:-" Whereas, by the 7 Geo. 4. c. 44, it is enacted that it shall not be lawful for the Commissioners of Stamps or any of their officers to stamp, under any pretence whatever, after the expiration of six months from the date thereof, any vellum, parchment, or paper upon which shall be engrossed, printed, or written any articles of clerkship, contract, indenture, or other instrument which any person shall become bound to serve as a clerk or apprentice, in order to his admission as a solicitor, attorney, proctor, writer to the signet, agent, or procurator in any of the courts of law or equity, or the High Court of Admiralty, or any ecclesiastical court, or the Court of Session, Justiciary, Exchequer, Commission of Teinds, or the Commissary Court, or any inferior court in Great Britain: Be it enacted, that it shall be lawful for the Commissioners of Inland Revenue, notwithstanding the said last-mentioned act, in any case where they shall be directed so to do by the Commissioners of her Majesty's Treasury, to stamp any such instruments as last mentioned, upon payment of the duty chargeable thereon at the date thereof, and of such further sum as hereinafter specified by way of penalty, and in lieu of all other penalties-that is to say, as to any instrument bearing date and executed before August 5, 1853, the sum of £20," &c.