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respects as if it had been pronounced by the Sheriff or Sheriff-Substitute in the first instance. The judgment of the Court of Session or the Lord Ordinary is final. The same right of appeal, and under the same limitations, is allowed by $ 13 against a judgment pronounced by the Sheriff on appeal from the Sheriff-Substitute.
Sec. 14 provides for printing the papers when the cause is brought to the Court of Session by appeal. .Sec. 15 directs the Sheriff-Clerk to keep a book of causes, and is in similar terms to sec. 17 of the Act of 1837. Sec. 16 incorporates sec. 20 of the said Act as to poindings and sales. Sec. 17 excludes every form of review except as provided in the Act; and sec. 18 establishes a table of fees. It is, however, mere mockery to allow procurators to appear in actions brought under the Act, if that permission is neutralized by cutting down these fees to the illusory sums specified here. We do not wonder that the Glasgow procurators have been goaded into petitioning against an Act which would limit the remuneration of educated professional men to something less than the earnings of cabmen. The largest fee to be allowed for the whole conduct of any cause under the Act, including “the whole sums exigible, whether as between party and party or between client and agent, for taking instructions to prosecute or defend the action, instructing officers to cite parties or witnesses, or to arrest on the dependence, revising summonses, and citations, and executions, precognoscing witnesses, attending proofs and debates, writing and signing appeals, correspondence, and generally doing everything requisite for commencing and carrying on the action or the defence, until final judgment or decree in the Sheriff-Court,” cannot in any case exceed £2 sterling ! This requires no comment.
The Bill, as a whole, is susceptible of very material improvements in committee, some of which we have indicated ; and if it receives them it may satisfy the urgent demand of the commercial classes for what is called cheap law. We do not agree with those who sneer at cheap law, and imagine that all law must be of bad quality unless paid for by exorbitant fees. Neither do we believe that the law administered in the Small Debt Courts deserves all the abuse it gets. It is not on this ground that this Bill seems most questionable, but rather because it introduces a new form of process into the local courts of Scotland. There are already two methods of procedure in the Ordinary Court, another in the Small Debt Court, and now we are to have a fourth, a sort of hybrid between the other species. It is not perhaps fair to write against a Bill which has no friends in Parliament to speak for it; but we confess that we entertain an opinion—perhaps an Utopian one—that the reform of Sheriff Court process ought to be based on the principle of uniformity of procedure. We do not see why the ordinary Summons should not be adapted to every kind of action-cases under £25 being disposed of as small debt cases are now, with an appeal on points of law in the form of a case stated; and cases above that value being decided upon a minute of defence, in the present form, except where the Sheriff thought fit to order condescendences. The present Bill may be a step towards such an improved state of things, but if it were to retard it, we should consider that a strong reason why it should not pass. If it is to pass it should certainly provide for an appeal on questions of law by a case stated, even where parties have not required a note of evidence to be taken. Without such a provision the measure will, we believe, do more harm than good.
The Chair of Conveyancing in Glasgow.— Within the past month we have learned of the retirement of Professor Kirkwood from this Chair, and of the appointment of his successor. In a letter addressed on 4th March to the Dean and Council of the Faculty of Procurators in Glasgow, who are patrons of the Chair, and to the members of the University Council, Mr Kirkwood stated, that his health would no longer permit of his continuing his connection with the University, and at the same time devoting the necessary time and attention to his business, which he considered his first professional duty. At a meeting of the Dean and Council held on the 15th ult, Mr James Roberton of the firm of Towers Clark, Roberton, and Ross, was called to the vacant Professorship.
When a chair of conveyancing was established six years ago in Glasgow University, Mr Kirkwood was at once called to fill it by the unanimous voice of the profession in Glasgow. From his long and well-deserved reputation as a conveyancer, and the zeal and energy which he manifested in everything he undertook, his name had always been mentioned in connection with this chair when its foundation was but in prospect. The manner in which he performed the laborious duties of the office, proved how justly his professional brethren had estimated his capacity. During the short period of his professorship he completed an admirable series of lectures, distinguished especially by the clear and able manner in which the first principles of conveyancing were illustrated and applied to everyday practice, without the mind of the student being confused and perplexed by a too minute notice of trivial business forms and details. We cannot but regret the early retirement of Mr Kirkwood from a post which he was so well qualified to fill, as well as the cause which led to his taking such a step. But we must congratulate the legal Faculty in Glasgow that they have been able to select from their own number so worthy a successor. Himself an enthusiast in his profession, Mr Roberton will, we are assured, do all that can be done to interest his students in the very important, but to the young lawyer, somewhat dry subject on which he has to lecture.
Appointments.—Solicitor-General Gordon, as we stated last month, has been appointed Lord Advocate in room of Mr Patton, now Lord Justice-Clerk ; and Mr John Millar, as we also anticipated, has succeeded him as Solicitor-General. Mr Millar came to the Bar in 1842. In consequence of his promotion, Mr Roger Montgomerie (1852) has become an Advocate-Depute, and Mr Robert Lee (1853) has
been appointed successor to Mr Montgomerie as Advocate-Depute for the Sheriff Courts. The following gentlemen have been nominated as honorary Advocates-Depute, and have duly taken the oaths-viz, G. H. Pattison, J. P. Wilson, Charles Scott, John M. Duncan, John Marshall, Wm. Watson, Wm. E. Gloag, John Skelton, John Burnet, David Boyle Hope, Wm. Lamond, Robert Johnstone, John H. A. Macdonald, and Alex. Blair, Esquires.
The English Law of Prescription.—The recent case of Bryant v. Foote in the Court of Queen's Bench has drawn attention to the singularity of the English law of prescription, which, except as altered for certain kinds of rights by modern statutes, fixes the period of legal memory at the beginning of the reign of Richard I. (1189), so that every prescriptive claim is at cominon law deemed indefeasible if existing previous to that date; and, on the other hand, is at once at an end if shown to have had its commencement since that period. The strong language in which Lord Chief Justice Cockburn characterized this rule, and the serious effect which the judgment in this case must have on many patrimonial rights, have necessarily excited apprehensions, and may seem to forebode some change of the law. We give elsewhere at some length the judgment of the Lord Chief Justice, believing that our readers will be interested in the lucid exposition which it gives of the course of judicial legislation on this subject in the sister country.
ATTORNEYS' Certificate Tax.- The Law Times says, in reference to the bill brought in by Mr Denman to reduce this license to 5s. annually, “Mr Disraeli appears to be as impervious as was Mr Gladstone to argument and persuasion for the abolition of this unjust imposition. The claim of the solicitors for relief rests upon the fact that they are subjected to a special tax without receiving some special advantage as an equivalent for it. Barristers, doctors, architects, are exempt from this tax; and so also are three-fourths of the trades. To this case, what is the answer ? That there are several callings subjected to a similar tax, that it would be unfair to relieve one without also relieving the others, and that the revenue could not afford to sacrifice the entire of its income from licences. But surely the greatness of a wrong does not justify its continuance. The obvious reply is, tax all equally, or relieve those who are specially burdened. If the licensing system is good, make it universal; if bad, abolish it.' Mr Denman is entitled to the gratitude of the profession for his persistent efforts to relieve us from this burden. Let him persevere in spite of disappointment. The profession should strengthen Mr Denman's hands by each one of us personally urging the members for his town or county to support the bill.”
PROTECTION TO WIFE's PROPERTY.—The Irish Law 'imes calls attention to a case in the Irish Court of Probate, from which it would seem that an English order for the protection of the earnings of a wife deserted in England, does not protect earnings made in Ireland (and for the same reason in Scotland) if she goes to that country after obtaining such an order. This arises from the limitation of the order to property in England she may have acquired or may acquire by her own lawful industry,” in 21 & 22 Vict., c. 108, sec. 6. The corresponding Irish and Scotch Acts (28 & 29 Vict., c. 40, and 24 & 25 Vict., c. 86) do not contain any such limitation, and neither did the earlier English statute 20 & 21 Vict., c. 85. sec. 21. It thus appears that there has been an oversight in a matter of considerable importance to married women, which, says our cotemporary, "it behoves the Legislature promptly to remedy.'
LIMITED LIABILITY Acts.The following members of the House of Commons have been nominated the Select Committee on the Limited Liability Acts :- Mr Watkin, Mr Goschen, Lord F. Cavendish, Mr G. G. Glyn, Mr Breit, Lord R. Montagu, Mr S. Cave, Mr Hubbard, Mr Graves, the Solicitor-General, Mr Lowe, Mr Finlay, Mr Alderman Salomons, Sir G. Montgomery, and Mr Vance. The Law Times, in commenting on the past working of the Law of Limited Liability, with reference to this Committee, expresses an opinion that it requires to be somewhat restrained in its operation. It points out that the joint-stock principle is adapted only for enterprises too extensive to be undertaken by individuals, and that the present law makes no sufficient provision for information to creditors of the state of affairs. “With limited liability credit is given to the business, and not to the individual shareholders ; yet does not the Act enable the creditors to ascertain what is the state of the business. It compels the publication of an annual balance-sheet for the information of the shareholders, but it does not give to the public or to creditors ac. cess to information that is of more importance to them than to the shareholders. We believe, therefore, that the inquiry will show the necessity for two provisions which have been repeatedly urged here : 1st, To permit limited liability only to companies whose subscribed capital amounts to a certain sum-say L.20,000, 2d, To allow the printed annual balance of the company sent to the shareholders to be inspected by any person at the company's office, as is the register of shareholders. A further question will be mooted, which will require somewhat more consideration-vit., whether the French plan should not be adopted, which, while limiting the liability of the shareholders leaves the directors, who have the power to regulate expendi. ture, with unlimited liability.”
THE ENGLISH BANKRUPTCY Bill.-The Attorney General has introduced a bill, of which we have not yet seen a copy, but which, he stated in the House of Commons, adopts unreservedly the principle recommended by the Select Committee of 1864-5, that “ creditors should be allowed to appoint trustees of their own choosing and pay. ing, and that the estate should be handed over to them, with suitable precautions." That is to say, it adopts the principle now practised in Scotland. The favour with which this principle is already viewed by the mercantile classes in England is proved by the bankruptcy statistics for the year ending October last, which show the gross produce realised from bankrupts' estates, and of the gross value of estates and effects administered and sums paid under deeds of arrangement. The amount in bankruptcy for the year in question was L.730,361, that is, L.464,271 realised by creditors' assignees, and 'L.266,090 by official assignees; the amount under deeds was L.9,475, 100, being under deeds of assignment L.3,619,800, of composition (paid) L.2,862,800, and of inspectorship L.2,992,500. “It is abundantly clear,” says the Law Times, "that the official assignees' occupation's gone. Parliament, if it adopts the Scotch system, will be merely confirming what the mercantile public has already done by its own choice. Not one thirtieth part of the whole finance of insolvency has been left in the hands of the officers of the court. Perhaps little more will now be required than some safeguards against fraud in deeds.” The Attorney-General proposes in another bill to abolish imprisonment for debt, except in cases of fraud, and to extend the Small Debts Act to sums of L.50 instead of L.20. The business of the Court of Bankruptcy will be materially diminished, Sir John Rolt tells us, by the new law placing bankrupt estates in the hands of the creditors or their assignees; or rather, as these statistics show, it is already very much diminished. Indeed, he says, “ the business will be reduced to the adjudication, determining whether a man has become insolvent in the meaning of the bankruptcy law, the examination of the bankrupt, the proof of disputed debts, and the question of discharge.” These matters he proposes to commit to the County Courts, with some apparatus for central work in London, and an appeal to the existing Court of Appeal in Chancery.
APPOINTMENTS-ENGLAND.--Edward Wallace Goodlake, Esq., barrister, of the Oxford Circuit, to be Police Magistrate at Hong-Kong. Henry Stewart Cunningham, Esq., barrister, of the Home Circuit, to be Advocate and Legal Adviser to the Government of the Punjab.
APPOINTMENTS-IRELAND.—Mr Brewster has been appointed Lord Chancellor, vice Blackburne resigned ; Mr Justice Christian, Lord Justice of Appeal ; Mr Morris, M.P., Justice of Common Pleas; Mr Chatterton, M.P., Attorney-General; and Mr Warren, Solicitor-General.
COMPENSATION for RailwAY INJURIES.—The Times of March 18 contains reports of two actions against the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company for injuries received in railway accidents, both tried at Manchester Spring Assizes, in one of which the plaintiff, a cage manufacturer, obtained a verdict for L.600, and in the other an ironfounder at Staleybridge was awarded L.1500 by the jury. Both seem to have been cases of “railway spine.”
SPRING VACATION ARRANGEMENTS-1867.
Box DAYS-Thursday, 18th April, and Thursday, 2d May.
BILL CHAMBER ROTATION OF JUDGES.
Thursday, 21st March, to Saturday, 30th March-Lord KINLOCH.
SPRING CIRCUITS, 1867.
The LORD JUSTICE-CLERK and Lord DEAS.
Dundee Friday, 5th April. Perth-Monday, 8th April. AberdeenFriday, 12th April. Inverness-Monday, 15th April. James Adam, Esq., Advocate Depute; Mr R. L. Stuart, Clerk.
Lord CowAN and Lord JERVISWOODE.
Ayr-Tuesday, 9th April. Dumfries-Friday, 12th April. JedburghTuesday, 16th April. Roger Montgomerie, Esq., Advocate-Depute; Mr W. Hamilton Bell, Clerk.
Lord ARDMILLAN and Lord NEAVES.
Stirling-Thursday, 11th April. Inverary-Wednesday, 17th April. Glasgow-Wednesday, 24th April-at twelve. R. B. Blackburn, Esq., Advocate- Depute; Mr Æneas Macbean, Clerk.
THE May number of the Journal of Jurisprudence will contain an article reviewing the numerous cases involving points in the Law of Joint-Stock Companies, which have occurred, chiefly in the English Courts, during the past year.
VOL. XI. NO. CXXIV.-APRIL 1867.