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The Legal observer,
SATURDAY, MARCH 21, 1840.
“ Quod magis ad nos
THE LORD CHANCELLOR'S BILL from permitting the transfer of stock. The FOR CHANCERY REFORM.
stocks and funds in the name of the Accountant General of the Court of Exchequer
are to be transferred into the name of the We have at last before us the Lord Chan- Accountant General of the Court of Chancellor's Bill for facilitating the Administra- cery. And the proceedings in the Court of tion of Justice in the Equity Courts, and Exchequer as a Court of Equity are to be we need hardly say that a more important delivered by the officers of that Court to measure has never been introduced into such persons as the Master of the Rolls by Parliament; and we shall, without further warrant, counter-signed by the Lord Chanpreface, endeavour to give an account of its cellor, shall direct, and shall be deemed provisions. These affect-1. The Judicial records of the Court of Chancery. The Committee of the Privy Council. II. The following officers of the Court of Exchequer Court of Exchequer. III. The Judges of are to be abolished. The Accountant Gethe Court of Chancery; and, JV. The neral of the Court of Exchequer, Clerk to Officers of the Court of Chancery.
the Masters on the Equity Side of the same 1. The Master of the Rolls for the time Court, Clerk to the Accountant General, being is to be appointed Vice President of Clerk of Reports, and Examiner. This the Privy Council, if a member, and in his Court and its officers being thus displaced, absence, another member of the Privy Coun- prepares us for the third great alteration. cil is to be appointed temporary Vice Pre. III. Two additional Judges are to be apsident; and the Judges, not being mem- pointed to assist in the discharge of the bers of the Judicial Committee, are to judicial functions of the Lord Chancellor, assist the Committee in the discharge of each of such additional judges to be called their judicial duties, and the ordinary duties Vice Chancellor, each of whom shall have of the Judges attending the Judicial Com- full power to hear and determine all matters mittee are to be performed by other Judges depending in the Court of Chancery, either during their absence.
as a Court of Law or of Equity, or which II. The jurisdiction of the Court of Ex- shall have been submitted to the jurisdicchequer, as a Court of Equity, is to be abo- tion of the Court by the special authority lished and transferred to the Court of Chan- of any act of parliament, as the Lord cery, and suits and proceedings transferred Chancellor shall direct, the decrees of to the Court of Chancery are to be carried each such Vice Chanceller shall be deemed on according to the practice of that Court; to be the decrees of the Court of Chancery; but the Court of Chancery shall have power but no such Vice Chancellor, shall have to direct suits to be carried on according to power to discharge the orders of any other the practice of the Court of Exchequer, if it Vice Chancellor, not being his predecessor shall so think fit. The necessary powers in office. Each of such Vice Chancellors is and jurisdiction are given for carrying out to sit in the absence of the Lord Chancellor, this important change. Power is expressly or in a separate Court. The New Vice given to the Court of Chancery in a sum- Chancellors are to raik after the Chief mary way to restrain the Bank of England Baron of the Exchequer, and as between VOL. XIX.-X0, 580,
The Lord Chancellor's Bill for Chancery Reform.
themselves, according to seniority of appoint- | the Masters' offices, the Six Clerks' offices, ment to their respective offices. Each and many other matters. It is directed against Vice Chancellor is to have a secretary, one of the great evils attending the present usher, and trainbearer, and the secretaries, administration of equity, the immense arrear registrars, and other officers appointed to of causes, and other matters now waiting for attend the Lord Chancellor, are to attend hearing, which, it will probably be admitted, the Vice Chancellors, as circumstances shall is the greatest grievance of all, and for this require. The Lord Chancellor, with the purpose, under all the circumstances of the concurrence of the Master of the Rolls, case, we gladly accept it. The abolition of and Vice Chancellors, or any two of them, the Equity Exchequer, and the establishare empowered to make orders, and with ment of one uniform system of Equity practhe concurrence of the Master of the Rollstice, will be on the whole, we are satisfied, to direct causes pending before the Master a great improvement; and the services of of the Rolls, to be heard by any Vice four Equity Judges in separate Courts, deChancellor. The salaries of the Vice Chan- voted to the regular dispatch of original cellor and his officers, are to be paid out of business, acting in concert, and assisted by the interest and dividends arising from an adequate staff of officers, must- as it the Suitors' Fund. Each Vice Chancellor appears to us—be sufficient to dispose of the 50001. per annum, to his secretary 3001. present arrear, and to keep it down for the per annum, to his usher 2001., and to his future. This, therefore, is an important betrainbearer 1001. ; after fifteen year's service, ginning, and will be an immense gain to the or being afflicted by some permanent infir- suitor; but when we look beyond this stage mity, any Vice Chancellor may retire with of the business, and consider the appeals a pension of 3,5001.
from these Courts, we do not see our way IV. The additional Judges will render a so clearly. Can the Lord Chancellor, in corresponding addition of officers to the addition to his other business, hear appeals Court of Chancery necessary.
For this from four Courts? or is it intended under purpose, the principal officers of the Equity, the proposed act, to form an appeal Court, in Exchequer are transferred to the Court of which the other Judges shall sit? By s. 19, Chancery. Richard Richards, Esq., the no Vice Chancellor is to have power to dispresent Accountant General, is to be crea- charge the orders of any other Vice Chanted a Master in Chancery, with a salary of cellor, or any decree, &c. by any Lord 2,5001, a year, and on his death or resig- Chancellor, “ unless authorized by the Lord nation, a new master is to be appointed. Chancellor so to do.” We do not know Mr. Buckland, the present clerk to the whether this points at a Court of appeal to Master and Accountant General of the be formed of more than one of the new Court of Exchequer, is to be appointed chief Judges. By s. 27, all decrees, &c. of any clerk to Mr. Richards, at a salary of 1,0001. Vice Chancellor shall be subject to be reper annum, and Mr. Fenner, the present versed, discharged, or altered by the Lord clerk of the reports, is to be appointed ju- Chancellor. Why should not three of the nior clerk to Mr. Richards, at a salary of inferior Judges have the power of reversing 150l. per annum. The number of regis- the decree or order of the fourth? We ventrars is to be increased from six to ten : the ture to throw this out for consideration, four additional registrars are to be taken from We would also suggest that the new Judges the present Sworn Clerks of the Court of should have some more distinguishable name Exchequer, and full provision is made for than Vice Chancellor. It appears to us to the filling up vacancies, and for the regula- lead to some confusion, even in the present tion of their salaries, for which we must re- bill, and—as we think-will be inconvenient. fer to the bill. To such of the officers of Why should not all the Vice Chancellors be the Court of Exchequer as are not placed called Judges in Equity ? by the present measure, compensation is to We shall now conclude these hasty rebe awarded.
marks. We hail this bill as an important This is a brief outline of the new plan; beginning of the great work of Chancery and, as a step in the great cause of Chancery Reform, and we will gladly lend our humble reform, we give it our respectful approval. aid, and we invite that of our professional It cannot be considered as a final settle- brethren, to render it as complete as possiment of the question, nor is it intended- as ble. Let us not, however, relax in our exwe apprehend—as a remedy for the whole ertions. It may be convenient to proceed of the grievance. It leaves untouched the by steps, and divide the work into several appellate jurisdiction of the House of Lords, bills. Here then we have bill No. I. But
The Lord Chancellor's Bill for Chancery Reform.
we earnestly exhort Mr. Spence, Mr. Field, four ineinbers of the said committee; and that and all others, to pursue their useful labours no report or recommendation should be made in the other branches of the subject. Let to his Majesty unless a majority of the memfull information be obtained — let returns be hearing should concur in such report or re
bers of such Judicial Committee present at the pressed for—and while we are gaining an commendation : And whereas it is expedient efficient judicial power for making decrees to alter and amend so much of the said recited and orders, let us see that they are acted on act as is herein-before recited; be it therefore with no unnecessary delay or expense to the enacted, that from and after the passing of this suitor. Let us also endeavour to obtain a act no matter shall be heard, nor shall any or. competent Court of Appeal, not only from der, report, or recommendation be made, by the decrees of the inferior Judges of the Court in pursuance of the said recited act, unless in
the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, of Chancery, but from the superior Judges the
presence of at least four members of the said -in fact, the reformation of the appellate cominittee, one of whom shall be the Vice jurisdiction of the House of Lords. The President for the time being of her Majesty's subject of Chancery Reform now divides Privy Council, or the person appointed under itself into three branches :-1. The inferior this act to execute that office; and that no original Courts, or the disposing of the pre-lher Majesty unless a majority of the members
report or recommendation shall be made to sent arrear, and the obtaining a hearing of of the said committee present at the hearing original business.
II. The officers of the shall concur in such report or recommendaCourts of Chancery, and the mode of work- tion: Provided always, that it shall be lawful ing orders and decrees when obtained. for her Majesty, from time to time, by her III. The appellate jurisdiction, or mode of sign manual, revocable at pleasure, to direct reversing orders and decrees when obtained. that any matter may be heard, and any order,
We now proceed to lay before our readers report, or recomendation may be inade, by the Lord Chancellor's plan for providing for members of the said committee, of whom the
the said comunittee, in the presence of three the first of these grievances, to which we Vice President for the tiine being of the Privy need not invite their attention.
Council, or the person appointed under this
act to execute that office, shall be one; and The bill is intituled “ An Act for facilitating made by such three members of the said com
that order, report, or recoinmendation the Administration of Justice," and recites that the administration of justice by her inittee in pursuance of such direction, or by a Majesty in council would be greatly facilitated majority of them, shall be deemed to be an by the appointment of a judge to preside in order, report, or recommendation made by the the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council : said committee within the intent and meaning
of the said recited act. it is therefore proposed to be enaeted1. That the Master of the Rolls for the time
4.-And whereas it may be expedient that being (if a member of her Majesty's Privy
some or one of the Judges of her Majesty's Council) shall in the absence of the Lord Superior Courts of Common Law at WestPresident for the time being of her Majesty's minster, not being members of the said comPrivy Council, preside in the Judicial Commit- mittee, should attend meetings of the said tee of the Privy Council, with the style and title committee, for the purpose of assisting the of Vice President of her Majesty's Prívy Council. said committee in the discharge of their judi2. That it shall be lawful for her Majesty, such judge' or judges, attending any meeting
cial duties ; be it therefore enacted, that any from time to time, by her sign manual, revocable at pleasure, to appoint any other per- or meetings of the said committee at the reson, being a member of the said judicial quest of the Lord President or Vice President, committee, to execute the office of Vice Presi- or other person discharging the duties of Vice dent of the Privy Council whenever the Master the said comunittee, and shall advise with the
President, shall be an assistant or assistants to of the Rolls shall, by sickness or attention to his other duties, he prevented from personally matters which shall be then and there'sub
members of the said coinmittee concerning the attending the said judicial committee. fourth year of the reign of bis late. Majesty of any judge or judges at meetings of the 3. And whereas by an act passed in the mitted to their consideration.
5. That during the time of the attendance King William the fourth, intituled “An Act for the better administration of Justice in His said committee (whether such judge or judges Majesty's Privy Council,” it was amongst shall be a member or members of the said other things) enacted, that no matter should judicial committee, or not), the ordinary
duties of such judge or judges shall be perbe heard, nor should any order, report, or recommendation be made, by the said Judicial formed by the other judges of the Court or Committee, in pursuance of the said act now Courts to which such judge or judges shall in recital, unless in the presence of at least belong respectively, in regard to the business
of such Court or Courts respectively, and by a Mr. Spence has just published a Supple- such of the judges of the said Superior Courts ment to his valuable addresses, to which we as shall not so attend, including the chiefs of beg to call attention.
the same Courts, in regard to the other duties
The Lord Chancellor's Bill for Chancery Reform.
of the judge or judges so attrnding; and it said Court of Chancery, upon the application shall be the duty of such other julges to make, of any party interested, by mnotion or petition, and they are hereby required to make, fit and in a sain mary way, to restrain the Governais proper arrangeinents for the performance of and Company of the Bank of England, or any such duties accordingly.
other public company, whether incorporatelor 6. And whereas the busitiess on the plea side not, from permitting the transfer of any stock of her Majesty's Court of Exchequer at West in the public funds, or any stock or shares in minster has of late yesrs greatly increaser!, and any public company which may be standing in a transfer to the Court of Chancery of the juris the name or names of any person or persons diction of the said Court of Exchequer as a or body politic or corporate, in the books of Court of Equity would relieve the judges of the the Governor and Coinpany of the Bank of said Court of Exchequer, and would otherwise England, or in the books of any such public tend to promote the public advantage; be it company, or from paying any dividend or therefore further enacted, that on the day dividends due or to become due thereon ; and of all the power, authority, and jurisdiction crery order of the said Court of Chancery of her Majesty's Court of Excheqner at West- upon such motion or petition as aforesaid shall minster as a Court of Equity, and all the power, specify the amount of the stock or the parauthority, and jurisdiction which shall have ticular shares to be affected therely, and the been conferred on or committed to the said name or names of the person or persons, body Court of Exchequer by or under the special politic or corporate, in which the same shall authority of any act or acts of parliainent, be standing : Provided always, that the said (other than such power, authority, and juris. Court of Chancery shall have full power, diction as shall then be possessed by or be in- upon the application of any party interested, cident to the said Court of Exchequer as a to discharge or vary such order, and to award Court of Law or as a Court of Revenue.) shall such costs upon such application as to the said be and the same are hereby transferred and Court shall seem fit. given to her Majesty's High Court of Chancery, 9. Stocks, &c. in the name of the Account. to all intents and purposes, in as full and ample ant General of the Court of Exchequer, to a manner as the same miglit have been exer- be transferred into the name of Accountant cised by the said Court of Exchepuer if this General of the Court of Chancery; applicable act had not passed; and the same power, au- to such purposes as the saine were respectively thority, and jurisdiction shall, so far as respects applicabile to. Officers of Bank of England, the exercise thereof by the said Court of Ex. &c. directed to make the transfer. chequer, cease and determine: provided al- 10. Accountant General of Court of Exways, that this act shall not abridge, lessen, or chequr to make up accounts with Accountant in anywise affect the power, authority, or juris- General of Court of Chancery. dictiun of or incident to the said Court of Ex
ul. Property vested in Accountant General chequer as a Court of Law or as a Court of of the Court of Chancery by this act to go to Revenne.
his siiccessors in office. 7. That all suits and matters which on the 12. Certain funds transferred to the Ac. said day of shall be depending in the countant General of Court of Chancery, to the said Court of Exchequer as a Court of Equity, account, “ Account of monies placed out,” &c. or under such act or acts of parliainent as afore- 13. Certain other funds transferred to Jc. said, shall be and the same are hereby trans-countant General of Court of Chancery, to an ferred, with all the proceedings therein, to the account, “Account of securities purchased said Court of Chancery, there to be carried on with surplus interest," &c. and prosecuted and dealt with and decided ac
14. Money by any act &c. directed to be cording to the practice of that Court; and that paid into the bank to the credit of Accountant all writs whith shall have been then issued in General of Exchequer to be so paid to the the same suits and inatters, or any of them, re-credit of Accountant General of Court of turnable in the said Court of Exchequer, shall Chancery. Stocks, &c. transferrable in the be and the same are hereby made returnable name of Accountant General of Exchequer to in the said Court of Chancery; provided al- become trauferrable into the name of AccountHays, that in case it shall appear to the Court ant General of Court of Chancery. of Chancery to be just and expedient that any 15. That on the said day of suit or suits, matter or matters, so transferred the offices of Accountant General of the Court to the said Court of Chancery, should be wholly of Exchequer, Master on the Equity side of or partially carried on according to or regu: the Court of Exchequer, Clerk to ihe Masters lated by the present practice of the Court of on the Equity side of the same Court, Clerk to Exchequer, or that any question or questions the Accountant General, Clerk of the Reports arising in the same suit or suits, inatter or mat- of the Court of Exchequer, and Examiner of ters, should be decided with reference to the the Court of Exchequer, shall be and the same present practice of the said Court of Exche. are hereby abolished. quer, it shall be lawful for the said Court of 16. That all the bills, answers, decrees, and Chancery to make such order or orders in re proceedings of the Court of Exchequer as lation ihereto as to the said Court of Chancery à Court of Equity, and under such acts of parshall seein inect.
liament as aforesaid, shall, on the said 8. And be it enacted, that on and after the day of or as soon after as conveniently
it shall be lawful for the inay be, be delivered by the screral officers of
The Lord Chancellor's Bill for Chancery Reform.
the said Court of Exchequer now having the Chancellor : Provided always, that such Vice custody of the same to such person or persons Chancellor shall have no power or authority to as shall be appointed ly the Master of the discharge, reverse, or alter any decree, order, Rolls to receive and take charge of the same act, matter, or thing made or done by any by warraut under his hand, approved of and other Vice Chancellor to be appointed under countersigned by the Lord Chancellor; and this act. not being a predecessor in office of that from and after such delivery the saine such Vice Chancellor, or any decree, order, bills, answers, decrees, and other proceedings act, matter, or thing made of done by any shall be deemed records of the Court of Chin. Lord Chancellor, unless authorized by the Lord cery in the custody of the Master of the Rolls, Chancellor so to do, nor any power or anthosubject to the provisions of an aet passed in rity to discharge, reverse, or alter any decree, the second year of the reign of her present order, uct, matter, or thing made or done by Majesty, intituled "an Act for keeping safely the Master of the Rolls or the Vice Chanthe Public Records."
cellor for the tiine being, appointed in pur17. And whereas the duties of the Master suance of an act passed in the fifty-third year of the Rolls as Vice President of the Privy of the reign of His Majesty King George the Council will prevent his devoting so much Third, intituled “ An Act to fucilitate the Ad. of his time as heretofore to the hearing of ministration of Justice,” or any order, act, causes in Chancery: and whereas the business matter, or thing made or done by the Court of of the Court of Chancery has of late years Review in bankruptcy. greatly increased, and reason of the transfer 20. That each or either of the Vice Chanto the Court of Chancery of the equitable ju. cellors to be appointed in pursuance of this risdiction of the Court of Exchequer, further act shall sit for the Lord Chancellor, whenever duties will devolve on the Court of Chancery, he shall require him so to do, and shall also, and it is therefore expedient, for the better at such other times as the Lord Chancellor administration of justice in the said Court of shall direct, sit in a separate Court, whether Chancery, that two additional judges should the Lord Chancellor, or the Master of the be appointed to assist in the discharge of the Rolls or the Vice Chancellor appointed in purjudicial functions of the Lord Chancellor : be suance of the said act, shall be sitting or not, it therefore further enacted, that it shall be for which purpose the Lord Chancellor shall lawful for her Majesty to nominate and ap: make such orders as to bim shall appear to be point, by letters patent under the Great Seal proper and convenient from time to time as of the United Kingdom, two fit persons to be occasion shall require. additional judges assistant to the Lord Chan. 21. That every person holding or who shall cellor in the discharge of the judicial functions have held the office of Vice Chancellor under of his office, each of such additional judges to this act shall, if a meinber of her Majesty's be called Vice Chancellor.
Privy Council, be a member of the Judicial 18. That from tiine to time, when and as Comınittee of the Privy Council. any vacancy shall occur in the said office of 22. That the Vice Chancellors to be apVice Chancellor, by the death, resignation, or pointed in pursuance of this act shall, during removal from office of any Vice Chancellor the continuance in office of the present Vice for the time being, it shall be lawful for her Chancellor, respectively have rank and preceMajesty, by letters patent under the Great Seal dence next to the Lord Chief Baron of her of the United Kingdom, to appoint a tit person Majesty's Courts of Exchequer at Westminto supply such a vacancy.
ster; and that the Vice Chancellor to be ap19. That each such Vice Chancellor shall pointed in pursuance of the said act of the have full power to hear and determine all fifty-third year of the Reign of King George the causes, matters, and things which are ur shall third, and the Vice Chancellors to be appointed be at any time depending in the Court of in pursuance of this act, shall after the death Chancery in Eugland, either as a Court of of the present Vice Chancellor, or his resigna. Law or as a Court of Equity, or incident to tion or removal from his office respectively, uny ministerial office of the said Court, or have rank and precedence next to the Lord which have been or shall be submitted to the Chief Baron of the Court of Exchequer at jurisiliction of the said Court or of the Lord Westminster, and as between themselves shall Chancellor by the special authority of any act bave rank and precedence according to senio. of parliament, as the Lord Chancellor shall rity of appointment to their respective oflices. froin time to time direct; and all decrees, 23. That it shall be lawful for her Majesty, orders, and acts of such Vice Chancellor so in and by such letters patent as aforesaid, anil in inade or done shall be deeined and taken to and by any other letters patent under the Great be respectively, as the nature of the case shall Seal of the United Kingdorn, to direct that require, decrees, orders, and acts of the said each such Vice Chancellor to be appointed in Court of Chancery, or of such incident juris- pursuance of this act shall have a secretary, diction as aforesaid, or under such special usher, and trainbearer, to be from time io authority as aforesaid, and shall have force and tiine appointed and removed by such Vice validity and be executed accordingly, subject Chancellor at his pleasure; and that the senevertheless in every case to be reversed, dis- cretaries, registrars, and other officers apcharged, or altered by the Lord Chancellor; pointed to attend the Lord Chancellor shall and no such decree or oriler shall be enrolled attend such Vice Chancellor when sitting for until the same shall be signed by the Lord the Lord Chancellor, and also when siiting in