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Law Fire Insurance Society.-- Rivalry of the Superior and Inferior Courts. · 105 any former year, allowing for the increased ex- Westminster used to constitute a monopoly in tent of business transacted; your Directors former days, and would only sell at monopoly hope that this circumstance may have arisen prices. Then it was that the County Courts from the caution used by them in their selec- were established, and these would soon have tion of risks, but, considering that the office driven the old firms to the Bankruptcy Court, has only had an experience of eight years, they had not they in turn modified their 'scale of dare not trust too confidently to the past as an charges in order to keep their connexion toindex to the future.

gether. This has been done so effectually that An epitome is then given of the Balance many good customers who had abandoned the Sheet, showing the position of the affairs of Westminster establishment are now returning the Society, on the 31st December, 1853. to it with a kind of penitent feeling, because, And the Report thus concludes:

they say, they can get better justice at the old At the Annual General Meeting of the shop, and at a cheaper rate. Who knows to Shareholders, held in the year 1851, your Di- I what length the generous strife may go? rectors declared (in addition to the interest | Time was when two rival hairdressers carried upon the paid up capital of the Society, after on their business in adjacent shops somewhere the usual rate of 4 per cent.) a bonus of 2s. in the borough. Each of them in turn reduced per share, amounting to 5,0001.; a similar his fee for tonsure by a penny sterling, until sum was also appropriated as a bonus to the there was nothing left for reduction to act Shareholders in the year 1853, in addition to upon. Still the eager tradesman whose turn it such ordinary interest; and your directors was to take a decision did not hesitate for a have the satisfaction of setting apart the same moment,-he placed a bill in his window inamount as a bonus for the present year. forming the world that mankind might come

Your Directors therefore declare an interest to his shop and have their hair cut for nothing. for the year ending at this meeting of 2s. upon The next day his antagonist trumped even this each share, being 4 per cent. upon the paid-up card, by offering to cut the hair of any cuscapital of the Society, and also, in addition to tomer who might honour his premises gratis, such interest, a Bonus of 2s. upon each and to give him a glass of gin into the bargain.' share.

May we not hope to see the day when the This interest and bonus will be payable at the lawyers will adjudicate upon our little differoffices of the Society, on Monday the 10th day ences without the disagreeable necessity of of July next, and on any subsequent day (ex- making payment in any form, and perhaps cept Friday), between the hours of 11 and 3 with the further inducement that both plaintiff o'clock.

and defendant will be required to discuss a Your Directors have, in conclusion, the cool magnum of claret with the Court and pleasing duty of repeating their acknowledg- counsel engaged on either side ? ments for the great exertions made by the “ To show that our hypothesis is not of a Shareholders generally to extend the business, merely jocular character, we would call attenand promote the interests of the Society, and tion to the condition of the law business of the they congratulate them on the present state country as it has stood before and since the and prospects of the Society : your Directors establishment of the County Courts, according believe the Society to have been more success- to the figures quoted by Lord Brougham in the ful than any other similar institution in so House of Lords. For some years before the early a period of its existence, and they confi- establishment of the County Courts about dently anticipate that the continued efforts of 120,000 suits were brought annually in the Suthe Shareholders will gradually place it among perior Courts. Since the County Courts have the leading Fire Insurance Companies of the been established these numbers have been reMetropolis.

duced to 80,000 annually, or by about one-third.

Here comes the curious point. A short time back RIVALRY OF THE SUPERIOR AND portion of the establishment expenses of the

an arrangement was made by which a great INFERIOR COURTS.

Superior Courts was thrown upon the Conso

lidated Fund, leaving only 50,000l. per annum The Times has been amusing its readers to be borne in the shape of fees, whereas the with a description of the supposed rivalry be- fees or law taxes levied upon the suitors in the tween the “old shops” of Justiceat Westminster County Courts during the years 1852-53 Hall, and the new shops, in the form of County amounted to more than 261,000l. yearly. BeCourts, scattered over all parts of the kingdom. fore these changes the business of the County The Editor says,

Courts had been increasing so vastly that in “ It is a very fortunate thing for the country 1852 there were 32,000 more suits brought in that the lawyers have at last been reduced to the County Courts than in 1851, whereas in the condition of ordinary dealers in other com- 1853, after the fees at Westminster had been modities. There are two rival systems at work lowered, the increase in the County Courts on -the one being that of the Superior, the other that year over 1852 only amounted to 10,0001. of the County Courts, and the practitioners in Let Lord Brougham's figures go quantum either case are endeavouring 'to supply the valeant. The fact that the County Court busipublic with justice of a marketable quality at ness had so rapidly increased in preceding the lowest possible figure. The great firms at years, may serve in some measure to explain 106 Rivalry of Superior and Inferior Courts.— Taxes on the Administration of Justice. why at a given time the ratio of increase began bring another into hot water can walk down to to show signs of falling off; still, substantially, the office, set the machine in motion for himthe fact is, that there has been a certain ten- self, tell his own story, waste the time of the dency to return to Westminster, and that this Court, and put an antagonist to the greatest tendency must in some considerable measure inconvenience, however iniquitous or absurd be referred to a reform in the scale of charges his cause of action may be. If the County there. Lord Brougham, however, should not Court Judges are to be thrown thus to the lose sight of the important fact that at West- mercy of the public they will become the mere minster the business, exclusive of Court fees, scapegoats of civilization. They will be daily is conducted on a far more expensive scale. In called upon to decide questions as to the age that arena the best legal gladiators are to be of Madame Vestris, or how njany steps there found, and he who would win bis cause must are to the top of the Monument, just as the secure the service of one or other among them, custom is of certain among our weekly conand pay accordingly. We would now call at- temporaries. Whatever, then, may be the tention to a very few figures, which will show ultimate decision as to any question of promore precisely the exact condition of the ques- portion, it would be at least but reasonable to tion as to the fees exacted in County Courts, take some security that a machine which may without comparison with any other tribunal. be in some measure worked at the public erThese fees-presuming the figures to be true- pense should not be wantonly set in motion are certainly excessive. There is good ground for any frivolous or unjust purpose. Still, if for raising the question, with the view of giving any of the instances quoted by Lord Broughan increased facilities to suitors in the County are correctly stated, and if they be fair, speciCourts. We must remain completely at vari- mens of taxation in County Courts, a man ance with Lord Brougham on many points, but must be prejudiced indeed who would deny, or on this he will meet with the hearty concur- even for any length of time postpone a remedy. rence of the public.

The Lord Chancellor, whose duty it was to an“In the course of the two years 1852-53 swer Lord Brougham, while repudiating the there were brought in the County Courts universal application of Bentham's principle, 479,000 suits annually for sums amounting to seems to have admitted that there were raall but 1,500,0001,, of which 859,000l. was re- tional grounds for inquiry. This inquiry will covered either by judgments or sums paid into be made. At the same time, it is obvious that Court, in addition to sums paid merely upon the present moment is most unfortunately service of the plaint. During these two years chosen for urging any proposition which has the fees levied upon the suitors amounted to for its tendency an increase of the public more than 261,000l. yearly—that is, to 17} per burdens. Whatever our opinions upon this cent. upon the sums sued for, or to 30% per case may be, we must postpone legislation cent. upon the sums recorded by judgments or upon it until quieter times. Such is one of paid into Court. The produce of these fees is the penalties to be paid for war. It would no doubt employed with perfect propriety in scarcely be fair to conclude these remarks the payment of the Judges and officers of the without admitting freely that Lord Brougham Courts, the expenses of Court-houses, &c. is fairly entitled to claim for himself the credit There is not, that we are aware of, any argu- of having promoted by all means in his power, ment upon this point. The question simply is and at all times, useful reforms in the law, and whether or no all the sum should be taken out in the method of its administration.” of the pockets of the suitors, or whether it should be more or less thrown upon the general taxation of the country? Lord Brougham, TAXES ON THE ADMINISTRATION following the lead of Bentham, is all for re

OF JUSTICE. gulating the principle that the losing suitor should pay costs. In all cases, according to THE LORD CHANCELLOR'S SPEECH. his view, the machine which is to give the oracle should be set in motion at the public

We deem it important to record in these expense, inasmuch as it is to every man's columns the remarks of the Lord Chancellor interest that justice should be attainable at the in the debate of the 16th May, introduced by cheapest rate, and in the speediest manner. Lord Brougham, and which we noticed in our We would venture to suggest that the present last two Numbers. is not a case for the discussion or application of any great principle. It is clear enough that The Lord Chancellor agreed with his noble it is politic, as well as just, to throw so much and learned friend in thinking that it was the expense upon the losing party as shall at least first duty of every State to supply the means deter suitors from bringing or defending suits for the administration of justice, and that, as a frivolously or vexatiously: The very system general proposition, those means should be of the County Courts, and the class of cases furnished, in the first instance at least, by the upon which they are called upon to adjudicate, country at large, and not by the suitors. 'If he render such a protection matter of absolute ne did not concur with his noble and learned cessity. There is no defence interposed be friend in thinking that it would be expedient tween the Court and the suitor, and so little of at the present moment to pass the resolutions technical form, that any man who wishes to he had laid upon the table, it was, in the first Taxes on the Administration of Justice.

107 place, because this seemed a period peculiarly Courts amounted to about 50,0001. a year. He inopportune for any change which would make (the Lord Chancellor) thought they exceeded a great addition to the burdens of the country; that sum, but their amount was certainly and because, secondly, he thought that abstract very small in comparison with the fees levied resolutions of this kind, upon which their lord- in the County Courts. The amount of fees in ships were not prepared to act immediately, in the Court of Chancery was, however, very were in the highest degree inexpedient. As he considerable, the fees levied in that Court had before said, he concurred generally with during the last year having been nearly his noble and learned friend in the view he 100,0001., a sum which would probably be took as to the mode in which the funds for the exceeded during the present year. This subadministration of justice ought to be supplied, ject had escaped the attention of her Majesty's but there were many considerations which, in Government. But they had deemed it proper dealing with this question, could not be kept to wait for the report of the County Courts? out of sight. The persons upon whom the Commissioners, and they had also considered cost of administering justice ought eventually that the matter ought not to be dealt with to fall were those whose misconduct in violat- solely with reference to the County Courts. ing the rights of others had led to the neces- It was their opinion that the whole subject sity of litigation.

should be investigated, and that a proper proIn the first instance, it was unquestionably portion of fees, so far as it could be ascertained, the duty of the Legislature to provide Courts should be cast upon the different Courts. In of Justice; but he considered that, upon the the Court of Chancery, as he had stated, fees strictest principle of right, the suitor who had were levied to the amount of nearly 100,0001. been in the wrong, and whose wrong bad a year. He knew it might be said that those caused the necessity of litigation, should be fees were levied in a Court for rich suitors, bound to contribute-in the nature of a fine-while the County Court fees were imposed to the maintenance of the Court to which his upon poor suitors, but that argument, he coninjustice had rendered it necessary to appeal. sidered, was not at all founded on justice. The He could not, therefore, object, even in theory, suitors whose wrong had occasioned the necesto such a portion of the fees levied upon suitors sity of litigation were the persons who, in his as was levied upon the wrong-doing suitors opinion, ought fairly to be called upon to conagainst whom decisions were given. It seemed tribute to the maintenance of the Courts. Now, to him consistent with every principle of right, in 99 cases out of 100—be might almost say and with the ordinary notions and feelings of in 999 cases out of 1,000-occurring in the mankind, that such persons should be bound County Courts, the necessity of the suit was to contribute to the maintenance of the Courts occasioned merely by the wrong of one or the to which they had recourse. To such an ex- other party. It might be that a customer tent was this principle carried in France, that wrongfully withheld from an honest tradesman every criminal was mulcted in the costs of the the bill he owed, or that a person wrongfully suit against him, which were made part of the claimed that to which he was not entitled. It sentence. The State should supply the tri- was, therefore, consistent with the strictest bunal; but it was fitting that the suitor-either principle of right that a very large portion of the defendant, who had wrongfully withheld the cost of maintaining Courts for the deterthat to which the plaintiff was entitled, or the mination of these claims should be borne by plaintiff who had wrongfully demanded that to the party whose wrongful act occasioned the which he had no just claim--should be requir-suits. He knew this could not be done in all ed to contribute to the maintenance of the cases, because they might have to deal with injudicial system. His noble and learned friend solvent parties. had mentioned the fact that, at the present In the Court of Chancery, however, in 99 moment an inquiry into this subject was being cases out of 100, the suits arose from the unprosecuted by a commission, from whom a certainty of the law. The questions of law that report might very soon be expected.

had to be decided in the Court of Chancery He thought it would probably appear that were very difficult, and he thought, therefore, the system of fees at present existing in the it was right that the Legislature, whose fault it County Courts was a system not only very was that the law was not clear, should contriobjectionable in its extent, but also with re- bute largely to the maintenance of that Court, gard to the mode in which the fees were levied He did not think that the 100,0001. contributed --the system having a tendency to saddle with by fees in the Court of Chancery should be fees those parties who were in the right instead compared with the 260,0001. a year levied by of those who were in the wrong. This was un- fees in the County Courts, without taking into doubtedly a gubject that required great consi- consideration the difference between the classes deration, and certainly a grievance existed that of cases decided by these Courts. ought to be redressed. It must not be sup- The exact state of the case with regard to fees posed, however, that complete justice could be in the County Courts would doubtless be asdone in this matter by merely directing their certained when the Commission presented its attention to the County Courts. Fees to a report, and it was the intention of her Majesty's very large amount were levied also in the Government, when that report was before them, other Courts. His noble and learned friend to look into the whole subject, and to endeahad said that the fees levied in the Superior deavour to devise some plan under which the

BUSINESS.

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- 108 Statistics of the County Courts. Result of Trinity Term Examination. State might contribute its proportion, and the 8. The total amount of moneys received to the suitors their fair proportion, to the maintenance credit of the suitors, was · £603,346 of such Courts. He agreed with his noble and And the amount paid out 602,098 learned friend, that if any inequality with re. gard to fees existed, it was most unjust that 9. The number of causes tried with the assistsuch inequality should exist in the case of the

ance of a jury, is 863, in 444 of which the County Courts, for he entirely concurred in the

party requiring a jury obtained a verdict. eulogium which the noble and learned lord had 10. The number of executions issued by the passed upon those Courts, and in the belief clerk of the Court against the goods of dethat the benefit they had conferred upon the fendants, is 63,286. community could not be exaggerated. The proceedings of the County Courts had been 11, 12. The number of judgment summonses

issued was 47,704, of which 24,589 were the means of suggesting, and would, he hoped, continue to be the means of suggesting im

heard by the Court. provements in the Superior Courts, and he 13. The number of warrants of commitment trusted that the two systems might mutually

issued by the clerk of the Court was 12,399, act and re-act upon each other.

under which 5,416 persons were actually

taken to prison. STATISTICS OF THE COUNTY The number of appeals entered under the 13 COURTS.

& 14 Vict c. 61, from 1st January to 31st De

cember, 1853, both inclusive, was 25, and 11 ANALYSIS OF PARLIAMENTARY RETURN OF were pending on 1st January, 1853; of which

12 were confirmed, 7 were reversed, 10 were From 1st January to 31st December, 1853.

dropped, and the other 7 remain undecided. Number of plaints entered :

The number of plaints entered by consent of Above 201., and not exceeding 501.

parties under the 13 & 14 Vict. c, 61, s. 17,

9,270 from 1st January to 31st December, 1853, both Not exceeding 201.

475,676

inclusive, was 34, of which 23 were tried.

The total amount received by the treasurers 484,946

on account of the general fund for the same 2. Number of plaints tried, or in which judg- period, was

£39,402 ment was entered :

And the payments

41,020 Above 201., and not exceeding 50l. 5,276 Not exceeding 201.

249,458

RESULT OF THE TRINITY TERM 254,734

EXAMINATION. 3. The number of days that the 60 Courts have sat, is 8,615.

This Examination took place as usual, on 4. The total amount of moneys for which plaints Tuesday last, the 6th June. The Master, Sir were entered, is

• £1,410,958' F. Dwarris, addressed the Candidates on the 5. The total amount of moneys for which judg. nature of their professional duties, remarking

ment has been obtained, exclusive of costs, that the services of the lawyer were indispensis

£707,551 And the amount of such costs, in

able in every step of a man's life :-in his concluding expenses of witnesses,

tract on entering a profession; the settlement counsel, and attorneys, is 174,083

on his marriage ; his purchase of or leasing a

house; in forming a partnerslip ; in making

£881,634 6. The amount of moneys paid into Court, in his will. He called their attention to the dig

satisfaction of debts sued for, without pro- nity of the Profession on which they were en

ceeding to judgment, is . £107,854 tering, which would confer honour on all whose 7. The total of the Judges' Fund and officers' conduct was marked by integrity and a dilifees, is

£216,277 Which consists of Judges'

gent discharge of their duties. After much

£ fees

79,615

kind advice and encouragement, he concluded Clerks' fees, including those

by admonishing them not hastily to bring up in cash book and in exe

their answers to the questions, but to consider cution book

79,615 Bailiffs' feesincluding

well the points they involved. those on executions

Several of the Candidates, who, having

57,047 General fund

37,241 lodged their testimonials, were entitled to

attend, were absent. The number was only Gross total amount of fees received £253,518 87, one of whom withdrew during the Exami

This would make an average for each Court nation, 11 were postponed, and 75 passed. of 143 days, or 24 weeks, in the course of the year.

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LAW APPOINTMENTS.

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Notes of the Week. - Superior Courts: Lord Chancellor.- Rolls.

109 NOTES OF THE WEEK.

The Queen has been pleased to appoint QUEEN'S BENCH SITTINGS.

William G. B. Shepstone, Esq., to be Civil This Court will, on Monday, the 19th day of division of Queenstown, Cape of Good Hope.

Commissioner and Resident Magistrate for the June inst., and five following days, hold sittings, and will at such sittings proceed

in dis- - From the London Gazette of 6th June.

Mr. James Eldridge, Solicitor, has been posing of the cases then remaining in the Special , Crown, and New Trial Papers, and will pointed Town Clerk of Newport, Isle of Wight,

in the room of Mr. John Henry Hearn, realso, on Friday, the 30th day of June instant,

signed. hold a sitting, and will at such sitting only give

ADMISSION OF SOLICITORS. judgment in cases previously argued.

The Master of the Rolls bas appointed

Thursday, the 15th of June instant, at the EXCHEQUER OF PLEAS SITTINGS.

Rolls Court, Chancery Lane, at four in the This Court will, on the 16th, 17th, and also afternoon, for swearing Solicitors. on the 21st and seven following days of June Every person desirous of being sworn inst. (Sundays excepted), hold sittings, and on the above day must leave his Common Law will at such sittings proceed in disposing of Admission or his Certificate of Practice for the business then pending in the New Trial and the current year at the Secretary's Office, Special Papers.

Rolls Yard, Chancery Lane, on or before
Wednesday, the 14th inst.

RECENT DECISIONS IN THE SUPERIOR COURTS,

ORDER FOR CANCELLING LETTERS PATENT.

-DRAWING UP.-PRACTICE.

HUSBAND AND

TLEMENT OF

WIFE.-EQUITY TO SET-
REVERSIONARY INTEREST

Lord Chancellor.

Follett applied for the direction of the Regina v. Eastern Archipelago Company. Court on the officer refusing to file the affiJune 3, 1954.

davit.

Taylor for the suitors' fund.

The Lord Chancellor said, that he had alHeld, that the order for the cancelling of Justice Turner concurred, and Lord Justice

ready expressed an opinion, in which Lord letters patent of incorporation consequent Bruce, although not exactly concurring, exupon judgment for the Crown on a sci. fa. pressed no distinct dissent, that the taking is to be drawn up by the Clerk to the Pelty affidavits was not confined to the respective Bag, and not by the Registrar.

places of business in the limited sense contend. This was an application for the direction of ed for, but meant within the distance of 10 the Court in reference to whether the order miles. The affidavits taken in the manner in consequent on the decision in the Exchequer question must be received. Chamber on the sci. fa. to repeal the letters patent of incorporation of the above company, for the cancelling thereof, was to be drawn up

Master of the Rolls. by the Clerk to the Petty Bag or by the Re

Francis v. Brooking. June 3, 1854. gistrar.

J. V. Prior in support.

The Lord Chancellor said, that the order should be drawn up by the Clerk of the Petty WHERE HUSBAND INSOLVENT. Bag.

The wife of an insolvent was entitled to a re

versionary interest in 4701. to her separate Hill v. Tollett. June 3, 1854.

use, which the assignees sold for 35l.: Upon CHANCERY OATHS' ACT.-POWER OF COM- its falling in, an order was made for its

MISSIONERS AS TO PLACE OF ADMINI- payment into Court, and the dividends to STERING OATH.

be paid to the wife for life to her separate The oath to an affidavit in Chancery was administered by a Commissioner under the

It appeared in this suit that the husband of 16 & 17 Vict. c. 78, at the Accountant- the plaintiff had become insolvent, and that his General's Office, and which was neither the assignees had sold the reversionary interest in a place of residence or business of the depo- sum of 4501. to which she was entitled in her nent nor of the Commissioner : Held, that own right, to the defendant for 35l. The prothe affidavit must be filed.

perty had now fallen into possession, and the In this case it appeared that Mr. Keith plaintiff now asked for a settlement of the Barnes, one of the London Commissioners for whole fund. It appeared she had three children administering Oaths in Chancery under the 16 who were nearly altogether dependent on her. & 17 Vict. c. 78, had taken the affidavit in the Follett and Nichols for the plaintiff; R. Accountant-General's Office of the Court, and Palmer and Karslake for the defendant. the question now raised was whether it could The Master of the Rolls said, that the reverbe received.

sion must be paid into Court and be invested,

use.

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