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Registrars of the Court of Chancery.


out to the solicitor on his applying for it, and | clerks do not ordinarily attend in Court, they he then leaves it with the entering clerk to be are obliged to trust to the note taken by the "entered" in the books of the Court. When registrars, which is often very short, and to this is done, and not before, the order is com- the indorsements on the counsel's brief, which plete. It is then delivered out to the solicitor are also of a very concise nature. The minutes on his applying for it. drawn up by the clerks are ordinarily issued without previous communication with the registrar, though the order cannot be passed without the registrar himself perusing and settling its terms. Both the registrars and their clerks seem to consider their respective duties in relation to drawing up minutes as defined by custom and the practice of the office, and it has not been the practice for the clerks to draw the minutes of any decretal order, though they are often merely of a formal nature, nor, on the other hand, has it been the practice for the registrars themselves, except in rare instances, to draw minutes of orders on petitions or motions though of a special nature. The time of the clerks attached to the registrars is greatly occupied with delivering out papers to solicitors and answering their questions, and with matters of a purely formal nature.

It is obvious that these several steps must necessarily occupy some considerable time; and we are informed that the shortest time in which an order can be drawn up when these steps are taken is ten days. In many cases a much longer time is occupied. It is, however, to be observed that in cases of orders for injunctions or other urgent matters, the order is often drawn up, passed, and entered at once without passing through these several stages. Orders made exparte are generally drawn up at the office without a settlement of the draft, and without notice to the opposite party, and consequently more speedily than those to which reference has been made. Orders of a simple nature made at chambers are also completed without much delay.

It often happens that differences arise between the parties on a settlement of the minutes, sometimes as to what the order really made by the Court was, but more frequently upon the details necessary to work out the principle of the order pronounced by the Court. Parties often are apparently agreed upon the terms of an order until they see its effect when drawn up in detail, and a discussion on the minutes then ensues. Again, a cause or matter is often disposed of in Court without the attention of the Judge being drawn to points which are afterwards found to be material. From these and other causes the registrar sometimes finds himself unable to settle the terms of the order without an application to the Court being made by the parties or some of them for its directions.

The orders pronounced by the Court in suits formally instituted are either orders made on the hearing of the cause, when the question between the parties is decided or put in a train for further investigation, or orders made in interlocutory proceedings, on petition or motion according to the nature of the case. Large numbers of orders are also made, generally on petition, under a jurisdiction conferred on the Court by Statute without any suit being actually pending. This jurisdiction has been greatly extended of late, and now forms one of the most important portions of the business of the Court.

Delays in drawing up Orders.-Having thus stated generally the constitution and practice of the registrars' office, we proceed to notice more particularly the causes of the delays which occur in drawing up the orders of the Court.

One of these causes we perceive to be want of precision in ascertaining the order of the Court made in the particular case. It might be thought that as the registrar is present in Court when the judgment is pronounced, little or no difficulty would exist in ascertaining accurately the order made, and this is doubtless the case when the registrar has been present not only when judgment was pronounced, but. during the whole argument, where the case has been fully opened, and where every point has been brought under the consideration of the Judge and decided by him. But it very frequently happens that the registrar present during the argument is not the same registrar who hears the judgment; and in that event he can be but imperfectly acquainted with the facts of the case, and the bearing of the judgment upon them. It is very common for a cause to be commenced on one day, finished on another, and for judgment to be given on a third day, a different registrar being present on each day. Not unfrequently the argument of a cause lasts more than two days, and on each of the days occupied a different registrar may be present. In such cases the judgment is often reserved, when a registrar who has heard no portion of the case argued may be the registrar whose province it is to draw up the order. Indeed, on examining the different cause papers of the various Courts, we find that scarcely a day passes in which a part-heard cause or matter is not in the paper of one or more of the Courts, and on some days a part-heard cause may be found in the paper of each of the Courts.

A practice has prevailed in the registrars' office for many years, of dividing the duty of preparing the drafts of the minutes of orders in such a manner as that the minutes of orders made on the hearing of the cause, whether originally or after preliminary investigation, and usually called decretal orders, are drawn up by the registrars themselves, while the minutes of orders on petitions or motions are drawn up by the clerks to the registrars. If, however, an order of the latter description is of a very It would seem to be a remedy for this evil complicated nature, the registrar himself some- that registrars should be attached permanently times prepares the minutes. As the registrar's to each Court; but this would not relieve the


Registrars of the Court of Chancery.

difficulty, because it is essential that the regis-greater degree in cases which are not contested trars should attend at the office as well as in in Court, when so much only of the case is Court, and if two registrars were attached to opened to the Judge as to satisfy him that the each Court, each registrar attending the Court parties are entitled to the order asked, the deon alternate days, there would still be a large tails being left to be worked out by the parties number of cases in which the same registrar or by the registrar. In these cases, when the would not be present during the hearing of the order is not one of the most ordinaay nature cause and when judgment was pronounced the minutes are generally prepared by counsel, The plan of attaching two registrars to each and are often settled by the counsel of the difCourt was tried some years since, and failed, ferent parties in conference. When so settled principally from the unequal number of orders there is generally little or no difficulty. It is, made in the different Courts; so that while the however, the duty of the registrar to frame the registrars attached to some of the Courts were order, and he cannot require the assistance of unable to accomplish their work, others of them counsel. had little to do out of Court. It must be observed that cases in the Appellate Courts are fewer in number and occupy a larger proportion of time in argument than those in the other Courts. They also furnish much less business for the registrar, because many of the orders appealed from are simply affirmed, others are varied, and there are few appeals in which orders are made, throwing much trouble on the registrars.

We have considered whether the difficulty might not be obviated by attaching registrars to the Courts for a limited period, but we have been unable to devise any plan for the purpose which we think likely to be successful.

On the whole, we have arrived at the conclusion that it would not be expedient to make any alteration in the existing system of attendance by rotation, as prescribed by the Order of 10th July, 1850.

Minutes of Orders on Petitions and Motions.— It has been already explained that the minutes of orders on petitions and motions are prepared by the registrars' clerks from the registrar's notes and the briefs of counsel, while the minutes of decretal orders are prepared by the registrars themselves. The registrar's clerks not being generally in the habit of attending Court, and not possessing the experience of the registrars, ought not, as we conceive, to be solely intrusted with the duty of preparing the minutes of all orders, on petitions or motions. Many of these orders, on petitions particularly, are of a very complicated and difficult nature, comprising the cases in which a summary jurisdiction has been conferred on the Court by various Acts of Parliament, e.g., the Act giving the Court power to appoint new trustees in a summary way, and to vest the trust property in new trustees or otherwise as may be reThere are, moreover, other difficulties in the quisite: the Trustees Relief Act, authorising way of ascertaining with precision the order of trustees to pay trust funds into Court, and authe Court besides the one to which we have thorising the Court to distribute those funds adverted. It often happens that a portion only on petition without bill filed; the various of the case is opened to the Court, the parties Railway Acts and other Acts authorising pubbeing agreed, or supposing themselves agreed, lic works; besides all private Acts conferring on the rest of the case. The decision of the a summary jurisdiction on the Court. The Court upon the points in dispute has frequently minutes prepared by the clerks are delivered an important bearing on the other points of the out without their having previously been subcase, and other questions then arise not pre-mitted to the registrars, and in many cases viously anticipated, and upon which the Court much delay and expense have arisen from the has pronounced no opinion. Even in contested cases this not unfrequently occurs. The judgment of the Court decides the points argued, but consequences follow from the decision which have to be worked out in detail in the order, and upon these details differences constantly arise.

Again, each counsel indorses on his brief a note of the decision according to his own interpretation of it. These indorsements sometimes vary from the registrar's note and from each other. Each party then contends for the interpretation put on the decision by his own counsel, and delay and expense arise from attempts to reconcile these conflicting notes. The registrar's note ought to prevail; but as the counsel are better acquainted with the case than the registrar, the registrars are naturally apt to distrust the accuracy of their own notes, and endeavour to ascertain the actual order from comparing all the notes made at the


These difficulties are experienced in a still

imperfect nature of such minutes. The solicitor having obtained the minutes, and finding them imperfect, generally consults counsel upon them; and as each solicitor probably does the same, much time is consumed in obtaining the counsel's alterations, in collecting the minutes as altered by counsel, and subsequently arranging the terms of the order. The minutes prepared by the registrars themselves are also sometimes imperfect, giving rise to similar applications to counsel, and consequent alterations and discussion.

It is further to be observed that the imperfect state of the minutes furnishes an excuse for delay by parties to whom the order is adverse, and who may wish to postpone the execution of the order, and to throw obstacles in the way of its being drawn up.

Settling Minutes of Orders.-The minutes of every order on which any question arises are settled with the registrar at the registrars office; and the practice is for the solicitor having the carriage of the order to give notice to

Production of Briefs of Counsel.-Furthermore, before the order can be passed, the briefs of the counsel appearing before the Court in the case must be produced, to satisfy the registrar of their having appeared, and where parties are numerous and the solicitors hostile or negligent, great difficulty and delay occur in the production of the briefs.

Registrars of the Court of Chancery.-Review: Scott on Costs in the Superior Courts. 29 the opposite solicitors to attend the registrar |trar should be furnished by the solicitor with for that purpose at a time fixed by the notice, a list of the documents to be entered. generally on the first day after the notice is Again, a very large proportion of the orders given at which the particular registrar is ex- consists of orders to be acted on by the Acpected to be at the office. The time of the day countant-General, and before such orders can fixed for this purpose is generally at some be drawn up the certificate of the Accountanttime between 12 and 2 o'clock: and as many General, shewing the exact amount and partiminutes have to be settled, and many orders culars of the fund in Court, must be produced. have to be passed at the same time, the registrar is generally, more particularly during the busy season of the year, overwhelmed with these attendances; his room is crowded with solicitors pressing for attention, and much confusion arises, especially when, as often happens, two registrars are sitting in the same room, each pressed by solicitors. It is practically impossible usefully to discuss the terms of a complicated order under such circumstances. But this is not the only difficulty, for if all the solicitors do not attend, the registrar generally declines to settle the minutes, and another appointment must be made. When the second appointment is made, some or one of the solicitors may still be absent, and fresh delay arises. The registrar is naturally unwilling to settle the minutes unless all parties are present, on account of the inconvenience and expense attending the correction of an order when drawn up, if any material error should be discovered in it. The appointments at the registrar's office are not considered peremptory, and they generally take place at the busiest part of the day; and as six Courts of Equity are sitting at the same time, and as business is transacted at the same time, in the chambers of four Equity Judges and of six Taxing Masters, besides the Masters' offices and the Examiner's office, it is extremely probable that solicitors in extensive practice will be engaged elsewhere at the time fixed.

It sometimes, too, happens that a registrar is compelled to be in Court or at the Accountant-General's office when he is expected at the registrars' office, and in that event the appointment to settle the minutes necessarily fails.

It sometimes happens that the registrar discovers that some material party has not been served with proper notice of the proceeding, in which case the order cannot be drawn up without the production of a brief for the party omitted to be served, or the matter being brought again to the attention of the Court.

Again, it sometimes happens that in the opinion of the registrar the order may have been pronounced by the Court without all the circumstances of the case having been sufficiently drawn to its attention, or may from inadvertence be contrary to the established practice of the Court, and in these cases the registrar deems it to be his duty not to draw up the order without the matter being brought under the Judge's notice.

The points to which we have adverted seem to us to indicate the principal causes of the delay in drawing up the orders of the Court. In some cases, however, the complicated nature of the order renders it necessary to bestow much time and attention on the details, and in these cases delays are often unavoidable.


Costs in the Superior Courts of Common Law and in Conveyancing, also in Bankruptcy, Insolvency, Proceedings in the Crown Office, and on Crown side on Circuit and at Sessions; together with Costs of Interlocutory Rules and Orders under the Common Law Procedure Acts, 1852 and 1854, and Bills of Exchange Act, 1855. By JOHN SCOTT, Esq., Barris ter-at-Law and Reporter of the Court of Common Pleas. London: Stevens & Norton. 1856. Pp. 588.

Evidence referred to.-It is further to be observed, that every order contains a reference to the evidence on which it is made, and particularly notices the documentary evidence, generally specifying the nature of the document and its date, if any, or if the document be referred to as an exhibit, then either specially noticing the mark on the exhibit or identifying the exhibit generally by reference to the affidavit or deposition produced. When a cause is regularly heard at length, and all the evidence produced and read in Court, the registrar sitting in Court takes down a note of each document as it is handed in; but as it often happens that the evidence is not read at length, in some cases those portions only being read which are material to the points disputed before the Court, and in other cases no portion being openly read in Court, the registrar has not the opportunity of taking down notes of any degree of importance, than half-a-dozen the documents. In order, therefore, to the evidence being properly entered in the order when drawn up, it is necessary that the regis

IT has often been remarked that practitioners are generally embarrassed in their choice of law books by the number of treatises published on the same subject. No sooner does an Act of Parliament pass, of

members of the Bar rapidly "rush into print" in the shape of editions of the Act, with notes on the previous state of the law,


Review: Scott on Costs in the Superior Courts.


"That the task might have fallen into the hands of one better qualified, the compiler was however, entered upon the work, he has spared well aware when he undertook it. Having, no pains to make it complete and practically useful,-freely availing himself of the aid of friends, whose kindness he would gladly acknowledge. miscellaneous

"The costs on posteas,'

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bills, costs in bankruptcy,' &c., are all taken from bills which have actually passed through

and with comments on the alterations ef- Statutes regulating the practice at Common fected, or intended to be effected, by the mew enactments. We cannot much complain of this super-abundance of learned annotation. The authors or their publishers are the chief sufferers if the book be unsuccessful, though it is no small tax on the practitioner who purchases and peruses several copies, with varying versions, of the same Statute. It must be admitted, also, that a barrister is well entitled to bring his name before the Profession as the able editor of a complicated Act of Parliament. It generally happens that many parts of every Act require analysis and explanation in order to be thoroughly understood. We presume that this class of ambitious writers is too numerous, to expect any common agreement amongst them, to divide the exposition of the labours of the Session, and appropriate to one or two of their fraternity the task of annotating each Statute, and thus relieve the Profession of the conflict of authorities.

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Mr. Scott, the very learned and accurate Reporter of the Cases decided in the Court of Common Pleas, has at length been induced to undertake the task, not only of giving the rules of taxation, the fees of office, and the forms of affidavits in support of what are called "increased costs, beyond the formal allowance of 40s., but has compiled a series of bills of costs applicable to all kinds of proceedings at Common Law, in Bankruptcy, Insolvency, Criminal Law, and Conveyancing. Mr. Scott observes in his Preface that

"Several years having elapsed, and numerous changes having taken place in the law affecting costs, since the publication of the latest work on the subject,' it has been thought desirable to offer to the Profession a new work embracing all the allowances which are now usually made on taxation in the Superior Courts in the course of the various proceedings as well under the general law as under the recent

1 We learn that a work has just been announced by Mr. Dax, the son, we presume, of the late Master of the Exchequer.

the ordeal of the Master's office.

"The costs of proceedings in the Crown office are in like manner selections from taxed bills, which the kindness and courtesy of Mr. Jones, the very excellent and experienced Master, placed at the compiler's disposal-with the exception of a few pages which he has, with the permission of his friend Mr. Corner of the that gentleman's valuable Treatise on the PracCrown office, extracted from the Appendix to tice on the Crown Side of the Court of Queen's Bench.

"To the country practitioner more especially the pages devoted to 'conveyancing costs' will, it is hoped, prove acceptable. These bills have been selected with care, as embracing nearly all the subjects upon which information is desirable; and with the 'general charges,' will veyancing clerk to frame an unexceptionablereadily enable even the least experienced conbill."

We think Mr. Scott has bestowed his accustomed care and pains-taking in the composition of this valuable work, which must be essential to every practitioner and his clerks who are engaged in the several branches of law to which it relates.

The following is a concise statement of the Contents of the volume :—

"Part the First.-1. Table of fees in the Superior Courts of Common Law, M. 1852; 2. Associates' fees on circuit, under 15 & 16 Vict. c. 73; 3. Sheriffs' fees and addenda; 4.

Fees of ushers, tipstaffs, &c.; 5. View; 6.
Queen's prison,

"Part the Second.-1. Directions to the Tax

ing Masters, H. 1853. General allowance for plaintiffs and defendants; 2. Indorsement of writ of summons.

"Part the Third. - Plaintiff's costs on posteas. 1. Higher scale; 2. Lower scale; 3. Miscellaneous.

"Part the Fourth.-Defendant's costs on posteas. 1. Higher scale; 2. Lower scale; 3..


"Part the Fifth.-Costs in error.

"Part the Sixth.-Bankruptcy. Under general orders made in pursuance of the 17 & 18 Vict. c. 106. Bills of costs.

"Part the Seventh.-Insolvency. "Part the Eighth.-Conveyancing. "Part the Ninth.-Common and general charges.

Appellate Jurisdiction.-Legal Education.


"Part the Tenth. Of obtaining letters- were the rule and the practice that in all such patent. appeals a sufficient number of qualified Peers should attend and act as Judges.

"Part the Eleventh.-Parliamentary costs. "Part the Twelfth.-Criminal proceedings. 1. Crown office; 2. Prosecutor's costs at the assizes; 3. Prosecutor's costs at sessions. "Part the Thirteenth.- Queen's Remembrancer's office.

"Appendix.-1. Affidavits of increase; 2. Certificates. List of fees in the Insolvent Court."




At a Special General Meeting of the Society of Solicitors before the Supreme Courts of Scotland, held within their Hall, in the Parliament House, on the 22nd of April, 1856. The subject of the Appellate Jurisdiction of the House of Lords being at present under the consideration of a Committee of their Lordships' most Honourable House, and alterations thereon having been suggested from various quarters, the Society of Solicitors before the Supreme Courts of Scotland desire respectfully to state the opinions indicated in the following resolutions, to which, after full consideration, the Society unanimously agreed

1. That the Society would deprecate any change tending to dissever the Appellate Jurisdiction of the House of Lords in Scotch Appeal Cases from the other functions of their Lordships' most Honourable House, believing that no other tribunal could be constituted which would command equal weight and confidence with the public, or equal professional and judicial abilities and eminence.

5. But the Society would strongly deprecate any change in the Appellate Tribunal, whereby a Scotch Lawyer, whether Judge or Barrister was to be appointed to assist the House only in Scotch Appeals, as assessor, or under any other name, Such an official would, in the opinion of the Society, tend to prevent that searching inquiry into the principles of the Law of Scotland which, in presence of English Law Lords is now elicited by the contrast between these principles and those of the Law of England; and, with the great majority of the public, the presence of such an official would destroy the confidence in this, the highest and he practically was the sole Judge, reviewing, ultimate tribunal, by its being supposed that and perhaps reversing, decisions, sometimes of the whole 13 Judges of the Supreme Court of Scotland, and at all times of, at least, the majority of the four Judges of one of the two divisions of that Court. The Society do not see how the country can have security that this one official would be a better Judge, or be possessed of higher attainments, than the Judges in the Supreme Court, and, while they have constant or daily experience and connection with the Law of Scotland, he would have only Scotch Appeal business to attend to, and if selected from the Bar, his fitness for the Judicial Bench would not previously have been ascertained.

(Signed) I. BAILEY, Preses.


To the Editor of the Legal Observer.


2. That the dissatisfaction which has sometimes been felt with the House of Lords as a SIR,-Among the many reformations and Court of Appeal in Scotch cases, has been improvements which characterise the present caused, not by the circumstance that those age, none yet have been made affecting the Peers who took part in the decision were constitution of the legal body in the comEnglish, and not Scotch, lawyers, but gene-munity. To be an attorney and solicitor, a rally from the want of systematic attendance of, and assistance by, a greater number of Law Peers at the hearing of each cause.

3. That an arrangement by which the attendance of a sufficient number of Law Peers, not less than four, possessed, if possible of continuous, and not merely of occasional, judicial experience, at the hearing of each cause, would be a real improvement on the tribunal as a Court of Appeal.

4. That the Society would not deem it objectionable if an arrangement were made whereby a Scotch Judge, whose high judicial qualifications and eminent fitness have been established by experience, was elevated to the Peerage, in order that he may take part in the House of Lords as a Judge in all appeals to that high tribunal, as a British and Irish Court, as well those from English and Irish, as those from the Scotch Courts, provided it

peculiar qualification is required;-a qualification long established and strictly insisted upon; and which "secure in its existence lies," unhurt amid free trade, the extension of the franchise, and even law reform. Yet it may, nevertheless, be asked, is it immortal? Is the present system never to cease, never to be reformed, or is it incapable of improvement? I humbly submit that it is not immaculate, but that some slight alterations might be introduced with advantage, both to the Profession and to the Public.

Under the present system a clerk has to serve five years under articles, which calls for an outlay in the first instance, that effectually prevents the generality of the employed from ever attaining the position of the employer. Now, would it not be equally beneficial to the Public and the Profession to increase the mental qualifications necessary to become a solicitor,

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