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Law Magazine, 319
Le Quesne's Constitutional History of Jersey,
Russell on arbitrators, 381, 447
Principles of Equity, 147, 404
Williams on Unsoundness of Mind, 463
THE BENCH AND THE BAR.
Inns of Court and Chancery, 101, 121, 151, 161,
Circuits of the Judges, 74, 286
Dissolution of partnerships, 67, 170, 248, 327,
The Legal Observer,
'Still attorneyed at your service."-Shakespeare
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 3, 1855.
FURTHER PROJECTED LAW RE
THE Commencement of a New Volume and New Legal Year, affords an opportunity of directing the attention of our readers to the further amendments and improvements which it may be expected will be discussed and considered, if not carried into effect, in the ensuing year, either by the power of Parliament; the Rules and Orders of the Superior Courts; or the self-government of the Profession itself.
diminished. This proposition was main tained for the sake of the suitors themselves, in order that respectable, able, and wealthy men might be induced to continue in or enter the Profession.
In these circumstances we cannot entertain any doubt of the Judges being inclined to settle such a scale of costs as will recompense the solicitors for their skill, labour, and responsibility. Several witnesses have been already examined before Lord Justice Turner and Vice-Chancellor Wood, assisted by a Chancery and a Common Law Taxing First and foremost we would notice a Master. We understood that some additional subject,-equally interesting to the suitor evidence would be adduced on the details of and the practitioner,-namely, Chancery practice for the purpose of further showing Costs. Notwithstanding some desponding the injury which has been sustained by the anticipation that the Commissioners to solicitors. It may, however, be that suffiwhom the Lord Chancellor has referred the memorial of the Incorporated Law Society, will not recommend much improvement in favour of the solicitors, we are inclined to think that very important amendments will be made in the general rules of taxation and in the amount of fixed or specific fees. It has been established beyond all doubt, that the remuneration for conducting Chancery proceedings at the present time, compared with the emoluments a few years ago, has diminished 30 or 40 per cent. ; whilst the personal labour and responsibility of
the solicitor has increased.
cient information has already been collected and that the Commissioners are enabled to report to the Lord Chancellor the result of their inquiries and investigation, and enable his lordship and the other Judges to arrive at a satisfactory conclusion.
We trust that before the result shall appear in the form of actual Orders of Court, the representatives of the solicitors will be enabled to examine the intended orders, and, if necessary, to offer their suggestions thereon. The Houses of Parliament, before passing any measure, even of small importance, print the Bill and allow of peNow, it was again and again admitted by titions from those who will be affected by the Chancery and Real Property Commis- it, and of ample discussions during its ususioners, and by those distinguished re-ally slow progress through its various stages formers, Lords Brougham and Langdale, in both Houses. We conceive, therefore, and other eminent persons, that the former that it cannot derogate from the dignity of remuneration of solicitors was not too great, the Judicial Bench to afford an opportunity and that in any changes which might be to the solicitors to consider the items of effected for the good of the public, the re- which the new scale may be composed, and muneration of the solicitor should not be the discretionary powers which it is unVOL. LI. No. 1,443.
Further Projected Law Reforms.
derstood will be conferred on the Taxing tended alteration, in accordance with the Officers. Commissioners' Report, of the Law of Besides this all-important question of Divorce, for the purpose of transferring the costs, the Chancery Commissioners are, as jurisdiction of dissolving the marriage tie we understand, pledged to make a report on from Parliament to a judicial tribunal, the rules and practice of taking Evidence. where the less wealthy may have relief as It appears that the recent alteration of exa- well as the rich. mining witnesses vivá voce, instead of writ- The subject of "Church Discipline," it ten interrogatories, has been productive, in may be presumed, will be continued, though many cases, of a large increase both of ex- in an improved form of proceeding, in the pense and delay. The attendance on these Ecclesiastical Courts ;-wherein certain digexaminations by counsel and solicitors; the nitaries of the Church, assisted by some insufficient authority of the examiners to eminent lawyer as assessor, should preside. control the extent of the examination; and This reform would then resemble the disthe insufficient number of the examiners, cipline of the Bar and the Attorneys. For have occasioned results that were altogether as complaints against members of the Bar, unexpected, and which demand a speedy with a view to their being disbarred, are remedy. brought before the Benchers of the Inn of
The means of improving the position of Court by whom they were called to the Bar; the Attorneys,—of extending their influ--and as the attorneys are amenable to the ence, and further securing their respecta- Judges of the several Courts by whom they bility, will no doubt be well considered were admitted to practise, so it seems just by the several societies in town and and expedient that the Bishops by whom country. It has been strangely inquired by the Clergy were ordained should sit in judgsome official personages whether, if the ment when any complaint is brought against attorneys and solicitors were as highly them.
The very important subject of the Regis
educated as the members of the Bar are or ought to be, it would not follow that they tration of Titles may, perhaps, be brought would be entitled to a higher measure of remuneration than they now receive. Undoubtedly this opens a topic for due consideration. Skill, learning, and experience are entitled to proportionate reward.
But if we look at the clerical and medical professions, although the humblest members of them are generally as well-grounded as the highest in classical and mathematical attainments, they are certainly not equally rewarded for their educational eminence. Nor need it be apprehended that the practitioners in the second branch of the Profession who may chance to be ripe scholars as well as good lawyers, will ex necessitate be entitled to claim larger fees than those who are less gifted or possess few attainments beyond the essential knowledge of their Profession.
The consideration of the projected changes in the testamentary jurisdiction of the Ecclesiastical Courts, will of course be resumed in the next Session of Parliament. In all probability the able Committee of the London Proctors will be prepared with a scheme for the reform of those Courts. Whether it will be acceptable to the pubiic, or to Parliament, or to the practitioners in the Queen's Courts, remains to be seen. If the Ecclesiastical Courts are to be abolished, ample compensation ought to be granted.
Connected with these Courts is the in
before Parliament, but we think it can scarcely be decided in the next Session. The Report of the Commissioners will probably be presented early in the Sessionbut of this we have no certain informationand a Bill may be prepared, which, considering the conflicting opinions on any form of registration, and particularly a metropolitan registration, will necessarily be of slow progress. It may find its way into a Select Committee of one or other of the Houses of Parliament, but we cannot anticipate that the measure will be carried in a single Session.
Amongst other matters yet "looming in the distance," we may notice the changes contemplated in the Law of Merchants, which have been indicated in the recent Report of the Commissioners, already submitted to our readers. It will have been observed that in several respects the Commissioners are in favour of an assimilation of the English and Irish Law to that of Scotland, but in the majority of instances the English system is preferred, though on some occasions it may be expedient to alter the Law on both sides of the Tweed. These suggested alterations will not, we conceive, materially affect the practical lawyer, farther than the extent of inconvenience, to which he may be subjected by the necessity of studying the change, not only as it may have been intended, but as it may more
Further Projected Law Reforms.—Bills of Exchange and Promissory Notes' Act.
or less effectually be incorporated in the our brethren that are either immediately Statutes. pressing, or will shortly become so. The report of the County Court Com-Other subjects of professional interest will missioners, which has been some time be- be noticed hereafter; and we invite the confore the Profession, does not exhaust the tinuance of those suggestions and commusubject; but we are not aware, at present, nications which have so essentially aided whether such parts of the last report as ap- our past labours, and will render more pear to comprise the settled opinions of the effective our future exertions. Commissioners will be carried into early effect, or whether the proposed amendments will be deferred until the improvement which is contemplated can be rendered complete and permanent. One great question has yet to be settled before these Small Debt Courts can be considered as finally and By the 1st section of the 18 & 19 Vict. firmly established,-namely, whether the c. 69, actions on bills of exchange may be poor suitors are to continue paying fees for by writ of summons in the form contained the Judges' salaries, now in many instances in Schedule A., and indorsed as therein increased to 1,5007. a-year, and amounting mentioned.
in the whole to about 80,000l. annually,
BILLS OF EXCHANGE AND PRO-
The form in the Schedule leaves the exclusive of the salaries of the County Court number of days blank within which proclerks, treasurers, bailiffs, building fund, ceedings may be stayed on payment of &c. These new Small Debt Courts, in fact, principal and interest, and does not include involve an expense little short of that of the costs of the writ. But the Common the whole of the Superior Courts of Law and Equity.
Law Procedure Act, 1852, is incorporated in this Act by the 7th section, and the 8th section of the Procedure Act comprises the costs, and fixes four days as the time within which payment may be made.
We are watching with a strong feeling of interest for the appearance of the Report of the Commissioners on the Inns of Court and Chancery, which we shall promptly Under the new Act, judgment cannot be bring to the notice of the Profession. The signed till the expiration of twelve days. large revenues of these ancient societies are, It appears to be doubtful whether the or might be applicable to the improvement plaintiff is entitled at the expiration of four of both branches of the Profession; and we understand that the benchers or other ruling bodies both of the Inns of Court and Chancery have honourably signified their willingness to aid the Commissioners in the objects of their inquiry.
days to procure an affidavit of the service of the writ and prepare his judgment, in order to avoid the loss of several days in procuring an affidavit from the country.
The 5th section of the Act entitles the holder of a bill to recover the expenses inThe Bill relating to Settled Estates, curred in noting the same for non-payment enabling the Court of Chancery to authorise" or otherwise." But the form in the Schethe leasing, settling, or exchanging of lands, dule does not include the expense of noting which at present from defects in wills or or otherwise. settlements, can only be effected by private By the 6th section, the holder of a bill Bills in Parliament at great expense and may issue one writ against all the parties to delay, will, no doubt, be re-introduced. It such bill, and such writ shall be the comwas postponed last Session on account of an mencement of an action against the parties opposition raised to prevent the power of therein named respectively, and subsequent inclosing Hampstead Heath. proceedings against them shall be as if separate writs of summons had been issued. In these cases, however, no special indorsement is provided by the Act, and the parties will not be apprised of the costs to which each is respectively liable.
We expect, also, that attempts will be made to amend the Limited Liability Act, and to pass the Bill for amending the Law of Partnership.
The Consolidation of the Statutes will again be pressed forward, and perhaps some of the specimen or model Bills may be introduced for the purpose of " ventilation," though their arrival at maturity cannot yet be predicted.
We believe that the attorneys are desirous of discharging their duty to their Clients and the Court in carrying the Act into practical effect; and we understand it has been suggested that these doubts might Such are some of the matters concerning be removed by a General Rule of Court
Metropolitan and Provincial Law Association.
under the authority of the 223rd section of though he need hardly say that the one or two
the Common Law Procedure Act, 1852, and thereby avoid the expense of numerous motions to the Court as the points may severally arise in practice.
METROPOLITAN AND PROVINCIAL
points to which the attention of the Legislature was directed had been watched very carefully by the Society. A good many Bills had been brought in and withdrawn after going through a variety of stages.
There was one Bill in particular to which he would refer, because he knew that some members felt a great interest in it, and regarded it as of considerable importance to the Profession. He referred to a Bill which enabled parties to We have received a full report of the sell or grant leases of settled estates, but in meetings of this Association, held at Bir- which no provision was made enabling the mingham on the 22nd and 23rd ult. In money to be invested in Consols, nor for pubour last Number we gave a concise notice lic notice to be given of applications to the of the nature of the proceedings, and shall Court of Chancery under the Act. Attention now endeavour to find space for the several was called to this defect, and after some comspeeches which were made and the papers proceeding from the Society were adopted. munications and interviews, the suggestions read at these meetings. It will be conve- The Bill, however, ultimately did not pass; and nient to arrange the materials thus brought he only mentioned the circumstance as showing to the consideration of the Profession under the several heads to which they relate. We propose, therefore, 1st, to notice all that was said or written on the state and prospects of the Profession of Attorneys and Solicitors; 2nd, to record the several remarks or suggestions for the amendment or improvement of the Law and the Practice of the Profession.
that in many instances the exertions of the Society were productive of good, without any public testimony being borne to the fact.
Then there was the Bill for the Registration of Judgments, a measure of the greatest importance in conveyancing matters generally, but of Durham and Lancaster, because of the nemore especially of importance to the counties cessity existing that in order to affect lands in those counties, judgments must be registered Under the first head will be comprised with the officers of the Courts situated within 1. The speech of Mr. Holme Bower, of them, and applying indirectly also to YorkChancery Lane, the Chairman of the Asso-shire, owing to the recent decision that they ciation;-2. The paper of Mr. Strickland must be registered with the registrars of the Cookson, of Lincoln's Inn, on the means of elevating and improving the Profession ;3. The paper of Mr. Bulmer, of Leeds, on the state of the Profession;-and 4. The paper of Mr. Shaen, the Secretary of the Association, on the organization of the Profession as it ought to be, and as it is.
In reporting the address of the Chairman, it will be convenient to give the whole of his remarks, whether bearing on the immediate interests of the Profession, or the Parliamentary measures of the last Session. We proceed then to give
THE CHAIRMAN'S ADDRESS. Mr. Bower observed, that as the proceedings generally of the Society were stated in the report which issued in April, it had usually been regarded as the duty of whoever might preside to review what had passed in Parliament since the previous meeting of the Association, and to narrate what had been done from time to time in the way of watching the progress of the legal measures introduced. In the course of the past twelve months little had been done in the way of alterations in the law as regards proceedings in Equity, nor was there much to note as regarded proceedings at Common Law,
different ridings in that county; so that in all cases London judgments would require a double registry. This requirement was quite new, being introduced for the first time in the Act brought forward last Session, and of course would occupy the serious attention of the Society.
Another matter which had engaged much of their attention, as being of the utmost importance to the whole of the Profession, was that most important alteration was brought about of costs. They would recollect that in 1852 a by the Common Law Procedure Act, which changed altogether the course of proceeding for the recovery of debts at Common Law, and was followed in 1854 by another Act which added to its powers very materially. Under those Acts the Judges at Common Law have fixed the scales of costs, having first called several solicitors to their assistance. He believed that against the scale of costs, as now applied, there was not much to be said, but he regretted that as regarded another measure introduced, the Legislature did not adopt a similar course, and act upon the advice of those qualified to advise them.
He referred to the Bill passed during the last Session, giving an altogether new mode of procedure upon bills of exchange. It was a most slovenly Act. To prove this he need only mention that under it a plaintiff is entitled to sign judgment before the time for the defendant to appear has expired. Other provisions