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In many of the court districts the crowds that attended and still attend the court are so great that the court rooms will not accommodate them and it is next to impossible properly to mete out justice in every instance. The result has been that the orderly administration of justice has suffered severely and all kinds of litigation in that court have suffered by unavoidable delays. Jury trials have been demanded by the hundreds, in many instances solely for the purpose of delay. The calendars of the court are greatly congested. Relief should be provided by the Legislature. There is need of more justices and more court rooms. There is an urgent need of additions to the clerical force either by transfer from other departments of the city government or by the temporary appointment of additional clerks and court attendants.

Second: Prior to the enactment of the “emergency” laws, it had been the policy of the State to encourage the settlement of disputes out of court,—to discourage litigation. As evidence of this, we may note the enactment of the General Arbitration Law.7

In fact, throughout the nation and the world there seems to exist the desire to lend encouragement to the settlement of disputes in a peaceful manner and without resort to force. The call of the President of the United States to the leading nations of the world to meet in conference in Washington in the near future to discuss disarmament is perhaps the most recent evidence of this world wide desire for the amicable settlement of disputes.


approval, and consequently did not become laws. In respect to additional clerks to meet the emergency, the city administration, although appealed to, failed or was unable to afford relief.

7 Laws of 1920, Chap. 275, constituting Cha 72 of the Consolidated Laws.

It has been said:

“A court trial is a more civilized way of settling disputes than the duel or the battlefield. But in its last analysis it is still a fight. Plaintiff and defendant are pitted against each other for every point that can be gained.

“People who fight are apt to get hurt, either in war or in court. If they expect to get exact justice in either way, they are apt to be disappointed. The best they can hope for is a decision, based in one case on the strength of their arms, in the other on the strength of their case.'8

The “emergency” laws seem to be regarded by landlords and tenants alike as an invitation to resort to the courts to fight out the question-What is a reasonable rent?

In anticipation of the fight in the court many landlords ask more than they expect their tenants to pay for renewals of leases about to expire; and, on the other hand, tenants refuse to pay sums which they themselves might otherwise regard as reasonable or which they have theretofore agreed to pay. There is, accordingly, bred and encouraged a spirit of antagonism between tenants and landlords which probably will long survive the present "emergency" laws, unless they are continued for many years past their present designated time of life,- November 1, 1922.9

Litigants seldom leave court satisfied. Often both sides are

8 Lauer's “Municipal Court Practice,” page 73.

9 In a circular issued recently (See New York City newspapers of July 17, 1921) by Mr. Stuart Browne, President of the United Real Estate Owners Association, to its members, the following advice is given:- "In increasing rents or suing for increased rent or rental value in holdover cases, always ask more than you expect and you have something to trade with. Remember, the court subconsciously favors the tenant. The Court must satisfy the tenant, and the landlord given all he asks for, the tenant calls him a landlord's judge; if the landlord gets less than he asks for, the tenant is satisfied.”

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disgruntled, the one who loses being doubly sore. And so it is with landlords and tenants under the present “emergency” laws. They are “pitted against each other for every point that can be gained” and “people who fight are apt to get hurt, either in war or in court." These court fights mean the employment of lawyers who must be paid by the tenants when employed by the tenants; and the tenants pay the landlords' expenses in employing lawyers to conduct their court proceedings, for the courts have held legal expenses to be a proper item for consideration in the expenses of the maintenance of the property.

In whatever light the litigation be regarded, it is most unfortunate that this should have been the only method of solving the trouble if indeed it be a solution at all. Abraham Lincoln's advice, “Discourage litigation. Persuade your neighbors to compromise whenever you can. Point out to them how the nominal winner is often a real loserin fees, expenses and waste of time,” is overlooked, if not wholly forgotten. It would seem as though with a little additional consideration and thought by the Legislature, some more satisfactory method might have been devised for the adjustment of differences between tenants and their landlords. 11

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10 See Schwartz v. Deutsch, 187 N. Y. Supp. 521 (App. Term, Supreme Ct., 1st Dept.)

11 In New London, Conn., a committee was organized by local manufacturers and the Central Labor Union, of 24 members, representing all important interests. Sub-committees were organized. Tenants were invited to present their grievances on specially provided blanks to the secretary of the "Committee of Twenty-four.” Both landlord and tenant were summoned to appear before a sub-committee and present such relevant facts as they might desire. The committee acted by persuasion on landlord or tenant, as the case might be. “Its appeal was primarily to the sense of fairness, to patriotism, and to civic pride. It had the backing, however, of the blic conscience and public opinion-forces which few dare to defy. As a last

It is still not too late to attempt to overcome this deficiency. New cases are commenced each day in numbers which show little if any diminution and the volume of litigation undisposed of and not capable of disposition under existing conditions grows apace. It is possible that some properly constituted arbitration boards with a compulsory arbitration system, at least compulsory before suit,-might offer a solution. It is certainly worth an effort to bring about a spirit of good feeling and good fellowship between tenants and landlords, or, in any event, at least a better feeling than now exists. That certainly does not appear so difficult of accomplishment.

As evidence of the possibilities of an arbitration system for the settlement of these disputes we quote from a paper stating conditions as they existed in Old Japan:-12

"Instead of there being an ignorance of the laws and hence of individual rights, there was probably no country in the world where the mass of the people, down to the smallest farmer in the possession of a few square yards of land, were more familiar with their rights and duties than in Japan. In fact it will be seen that in a vast majority of cases the people themselves by means of a system of arbitration which they were encouraged to employ instead of appealing to the established courts, were the executors of their own rights."

Perhaps it is not too much to hope that under such a system we might reach the condition described by the same observer as existing in Old Japan:-13 recourse, it published all the facts of the case, though without comment, in the local press.

See article by Edward L. Schaub, in Journal of Political Economy, vol. 28, p. 27, No. 1.

Notes on Land Tenure and Local Institutions in Old Japan," edited from Posthumous Papers of Dr. D. B. Simons by John H. Wigmore. Vol. XIX of “Transactions of The Asiatic Society of Japan," p. 50.

13 Same paper, page 85.


"The landlord occupied a position more like that of a patriarch; his tenants were his children, and he their guardian. Kindness, generosity, forbearance and all the parental virtues were expected in the conduct of the landlord toward his tenants. In cases of sickness or distress, the latter immediately sought their landlord and he never turned a deaf ear.”

The courts have frequently decided that a purchaser of real estate should and would not be compelled to take title to real estate where there was any question which might involve the establishment through a litigation of a good and marketable title. The courts have said that they would not compel a man to purchase a law suit.14 Apparently, under existing laws, litigation is not nearly so much to be feared and avoided as in the days of the past.

We should have a place to settle disagreements between tenants and landlords and not merely a place to fight out the disagreements. The settlement of the disagreement will bring about a friendly understanding, a thing almost impossible at the end of a contested law suit.

We desire to give expression in this place to one further thought, 15— that the continued abuse of landlords tends unfortunately to discredit those who own or have an interest in the ownership of houses. “Rent hogs," "profiteers,

gougers” and other epithets are used by tenants and in many instances in the public press to designate landlords in general, irrespective of whether the terms are rightfully and properly applicable. In the City of New York the Com

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14 Dyker Meadow L. & Imp. Co.o. Cook, 159 N. Y., 6, 15; Simon v. Vanderveer, 155 N. Y. 377; Russell v. Wales, 100 N. Y. Supp. 785–7; Fleming v. Burnham, 100 N. Y. 1, 9, 10; Anderson v. Steinway & Sons, 178 App. Div. 507, 516, aff'd 221 N. Y. 639; Cerf v. Diener, 210 N. Y. 156, 161.

16 Prompted to some extent by a letter written in New Orleans by J. S. Otis and printed in the N. Y. Sun of July 22, 1921.

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