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Memoir of Mr. G. A. A'Beckett.-Recent Decisions: Lord Chancellor.

the union with Ireland) was 562; this number was passed in 1846; of these 402 were local and personal, forty-three private, 117 of public interest. In 1841, only thirteen were passed (the lowest number) of which two were private. In three instances only, the annual number was under a hundred. The average number of the first ten years of the present century was 132 public acts. In the ten years ending 1850, the average number of acts of public interest was 112. In 1851, the number of acts was 106; and in 1852 (up to the close of the session in July) there were 88 public



In Lewes's "Life of Goethe" (p. 167) we have the following account of German "delays in Chancery," which seem to come up to, if they do not surpass those in the celebrated cause of Jarndyce v. Jarndyce: "In Wetzlar there were two buildings interesting above all others, the Imperial Court of Justice and the Teutsche Haus. The Imperial Court was a court of appeal for the whole empire, a sort of German Chancery. Imagine a German Chancery? In no country known to us does Chancery move with railway speed, and in Germany even the railways are slow. Such a chaotic accumulation of business as this Wetzlar Kammer-Gericht presented was perhaps never seen before. Twenty thousand❘ cases lay undecided on Goethe's arrival, and there were but seventeen lawyers to dispose of them. About sixty was the utmost they could get through in a year, and every year brought more than double that number to swell the heap. Some cases had lingered through a century and a half, and still remained far from a decision. This was not a place to impress the sincere and eminently practical mind of Goethe with a high idea of jurisprudence.


It is with great regret that we announce the death of Mr. Gilbert Abbott A'Beckett, long favourably known to the public as an author and contributor to several literary works, and more recently as a police magistrate.

Mr. G. A. A'Beckett was the youngest son of Mr. A'Beckett, so long known as the Reform solicitor, and of high influence in the contested elections of Westminister. The eldest son is Sir Wm. A'Beckett, whose merits as the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Victoria, Australia, have frequently been acknowledged by the press, by the government, the colonists, and in Parliament. Mr. G. A'Beckett married in early life, the eldest daughter of the late Mr. Glossop, The first work of Mr. A'Beckett (at the age of 20) was Figaro in London for which his humour and sarcasm obtained a large and highly remunerative popularity. Mr. A'Beckett then embarked in several literary speculations, which afterwards failed.

Following the advice of his elder friends, Mr. A'Beckett entered himself at the bar, and refraining for some time from literary exertions, applied himself studiously to the cultivation of the profession he had chosen. He was called to the bar by the Hon. Society of Gray's Inn, on the 27th January 1841.

From this legal retirement, the appearance of Punch first tempted him to issue "A Comic History of England," a work at once shrewd and humorous, sensible, and useful. For the next few years, Mr. A'Beckett was a regular contributor of leading articles to the Times, and of many amusing morceaux to Punch.

He also contributed to

this periodical. His appointment as a police magistrate was made at the latter end of the year 1849, shortly after the death of Mr. John Cottingham. Mr. Secker was then sitting at the Southwark Police Court and he changed with Mr. A'Beckett, who at that time was doing duty at Greenwich and Woolwich. He has continued to fill his office at the Southwark Poiice-court with admirahle acuteness, humanity, and impartiality— another proof, if more be required, that literary talent does not necessarily incapacitate the possessor for administrative functions.

He died at Boulogne on August 30th last.


Lord Chancellor.

Wilks v. Groom. Aug. 3, 1856.


The trustees under a will of property in trust for sale renounced, and the plaintiff obtained letters of administration with the will annexed, and the

estates were sold under a decree in a suit: Held, affirming the decision of Vice-Chancellor Kindersley, that an order was proper appointing a person to convey under the 13 & 14 Vict. c. 60, s. 20, and not to appoint new trustees under sections 32 & 33.

THIS was a petition, by way of appeal, from ViceChancellor Kindersley, who had made an order for the appointment, under the 13 & 14 Vict. c. 60, s. 20, of a person to convey certain estates which were

Recent Decisions: Lord Chancellor : Lords Justices; Master of the Rolls.

devised to two trustees in trust for sale, and who had also been appointed executors, where they had renounced, and administration with the will annexed been granted to the plaintiff. The estates had been sold in the suit under a decree, but one of the purchasers objected to the title on the ground that trustees should have been appointed in the stead of the disclaiming trustees, under ss. 32, 33, and a vesting order have been made.

By s. 20 it is enacted that "in every case where the Lord Chancellor intrusted as aforesaid, or the Court of Chancery, shall, under the provisions of this act, be enabled to make an order having the effect of a conveyance or assignment of any lands, or having the effect of a release or disposition of the contingent right of any person or persons born or unborn, it shall also be lawful for the Lord Chancellor intrusted as aforesaid, or the Court of Chancery (as the case may be), should it be deemed more convenient, to make an order appointing a person to convey or assign such lands, or release or dispose of such contingent right; and the conveyance or assignment, or release or disposition, of the person so appointed, shall, when in conformity with the terms of the order by which he is appointed, have the same effect in conveying or assigning the lands, or releasing or disposing of the contingent right, as the order of the Lord Chancellor intrusted as aforesaid, or the Court of Chancery would, in the particular case, have had under the provisions of this act."

And by s. 32, that "whenever it shall be expedient to appoint a new trustee or new trustees, and it shall be found inexpedient, difficult, or impracticable so to do without the assistance of the Court of Chancery, it shall be lawful for the said Court of Chancery to make an order appointing a new trustee or trustees either in substitution for or in addition to any existing trustee or trustees." And by s. 33, that "the person or persons who, upon the making of such order as last aforesaid, shall be trustee or trustees, shall have all the same rights and powers as if he or they had been appointed by decree in a suit duly instituted."

Wickens, for the purchaser, in support; Baily and G. W. Collins, for the plaintiff, contrà.

The Lord Chancellor said that the order of the


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A testator devised an estate to trustees in trust to sell and divide the proceeds among his three children, and another estate in trust for his wife for life, and after her death the proceeds of its sale among his children. One of the children, after the sale of the first estate, but before division, was convicted of felony: Held, that the Crown was entitled to his interest in both properties. Ir appeared that the testator by his will devised certain lands to trustees upon trust to sell the same immediately after his death, and to divide the proceeds equally among his three children. He also gave other lands in trust for his wife for life, and directed that after her death the same should be sold and the proceeds also divided among his children. It appeared that, after the first-mentioned lands had been sold, but before the division of the proceeds, one of his children was convicted of felony. The testator's widow was still alive.

The question was now raised whether the Crown was entitled to the interest of the son in both devises. Prendergast for the son; Wickens for the Crown, The Master of the Rolls said, that as the son was entitled to immediate payment of the proceeds under the first devise, and had a vested interest under the

Vice-Chancellor was right, and dismissed the peti- second, at the time of his conviction, the Crown was tion with costs.

Lords Justices.



Leek v. Cordeaux and another. August 4, 1856. Held, affirming the decision of Vice-Chancellor Stuart, that the representatives of a tenant in common were entitled to claim for the occupation by the other tenant in common of an estate devised to them by testator in undivided moities, and might file a bill to obtain an account of such claim.

THIS was an appeal from the decision of the ViceChancellor Stuart varying the certificate of his chief clerk, who had disallowed the claim of the representatives of a tenant in common in respect of the occupation by the other tenant in common of the estate, devised to them by a testator in undivided moities, until it was sold as directed by the will after the death of the tenant for life.

By the 4 Anne, c. 16, s. 27, it is enacted that "actions of account shall and may be brought and maintained" "by one joint tenant and tenant in

entitled to both.

Vice-Chancellor Stuart.

Boycott v. Newman. June 30, 1856.


A sum of money directed to be raised out of the testator's real and personal estate was left to the grandchildren of his cousin living at the death of the testator's wife: Held, that the costs of raising the fund were payable out of the general estate, and of the inquiries as to the parties entitled out of the particular fund.

THIS was a petition by the three surviving grandchildren of one Richard Beet, the cousin of the testator in this suit, which was instituted to carry the trusts of his will into execution, and among such of whom as should be alive at the death of the testator's widow, the life-annuitant, he had bequeathed a sum of £3,000, to be raised out of his real and personal estate. Inquiries had been directed, and the three petitioners found to be entitled, and the £3,000 had been ordered to be raised by sale or


Analytical Digest of Cases: Scotch Appeals to the House of Lords.

The matter now came on upon the
question of costs.

The Vice-Chancellor said that the costs of raising the £3,000 would come out of the general estate, but

of the inquiries out of the particular fund.

Bird for the grandchildren; Wigram and C. Hall for the plaintiffs; C. Griffith Smith and Edward Fry for the defendants.



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The corporation so constituted, though owing its existence to the exertions of the promoters, is not bound to fulfil their contracts.

The promoters are not agents by anticipation of the corporation.

Anterior engagements can only bind the corporation when incorporated in their act, or when deliberately adopted by them.

3. Right of shareholders to object.—The policy of railway legislation is to prevent surprises on the shareholders, who are, consequently, entitled to look to their act, and disregard everything else.

4. Agreements before Parliamentary Committees. -Parties contesting before a Parliamentary Committee come to an agreement to the effect that certain stipulations shall be deemed to be as binding and obligatory as if they were made the subject of express enactment in the bill; which is consequently allowed to pass without them. The agreement in such a case, though sanctioned by the committee and binding on the parties, will not bind the future company created by the act.

Lord Cottenham's decisions. The doctrines of Lord Cottenham in Edwards v. The Grand Junction Railway Co., Stanley v. The Chester and Birkenhead Railway Co., and Lord Petre v. The Eastern Co's. Railway Co., criticised and questioned.

The Court of session having pronounced a decree against the Caledonian and Dumbartonshire Railway Co., decreeing them to perform an agreement entered into by the committee of management on behalf of the projected company before their act was obtained, and the agreement being one of which the act did not authorise the execution: Held, that performance of the agreement was ultra vires, and that the decree, consequently must be reversed. Caledonian and Dumbartonshire Junction Railway Co., v. Magistrates of Hellenburgh, 2 Macq. 391. And see Poor Law Act; Railways Clauses (Scotland) Act.


8 & 9 Vic. c. 33-Equalization of charges, 5 Vic. c. 29.-Circumstances in which it was held (Lord St. Leonards dissenting), that uniformity of charge by a railway company was not compellable.

Whether money overpaid in case of an overcharge by a railway company can be recovered back ;-on this question the Law Peers differ.

Junction Railway Company (2 Rail. Ca. 124) decided by Lord Cottenham, pronounced by Lord St. Leonards not "very clear or altogether satisfactory."

The Lord Chancellor and Lord St. Leonards (the only Law Peers present) being divided in opinion the decision below affirmed; and an application by the appellants' counsel (relying on the precedent of Johnstone v. Beattie, 10 Cla. and Finn. 83) refused. Remark by the Solicitor-General. Finnie v. Glasgow and South Western Railway Company, 2 Macq. 177.

2. Verdict, ultrà vives-Acquiescence-Under the Railways and Lands Clauses Consolidation Acts, where the sheriff and jury in awarding damages go beyond their authority, the power of setting matters right is not excluded.

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Construction" Nearest relations"—Half blood.— Circumstances in which it was held (affirming the decision of the court of session) that a testator, in using the phrase "nearest relations," meant to include children of his sister by the half blood.

Attorney-General v. The Birmingham and Derby Scott v. Scott, 2 Macq. 281.

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DIS- believe that many have been subjected to great mortification on finding that the examiners did not feel themselves justified in certifying the "fitness and capacity" of the candidate to act as an attorney and solicitor in the three essential branches of common law, equity, and conveyancing. And such must necessarily be the case if the candidate cannot answer with tolerable accuracy a majority of the fifteen questions in those departments.


THE Long Vacation having commenced, and two months only remaining before the next Examination, it may be of service to some of our younger readers to remind them of the alteration which will take place in the next and future Terms in the examination of candidates for admission on the roll of attorneys and solicitors.

In order to encourage a careful study of the law, the examiners will select the names of three candidates in each term, being under the age of twenty-six, who, in passing their examination, shall appear to have deserved honorary distinction, with a view to the Council of the Incorporated Law Society presenting to such candidates a Prize of Books, or such other testimonial as may be deemed a suitable reward.

Whilst calling the attention of the articled clerks to this regulation, we venture also to remind the attorneys themselves of the propriety of ascertaining, from time to time, the progress which their articled clerks are making as well in the study as the practice of the law. It need scarcely be urged that it is not sufficient for a successful examination that the clerk should be zealous, active, and intelligent in the common routine of business. A young man of energetic habits, with good natural ability, may gain credit for promptitude and attention in practical matters, and be justly esteemed as a valuable assistant in the office, and yet may fail to pass the examination.

We have heard of instances of clerks to whom a considerable share of professional business has been entrusted-for instance, in common law or bankruptcy, and who have been unable to answer a sufficient number of the questions in conveyancing and equity. Devoted, much to their credit, to the department confided to them, and gaining a reputation for ability in that department, they have supposed that an ordinary or superficial amount of knowledge in other branches would enable them to pass the ordeal. We VOL. LII. No. 1,488.

We proceed, therefore, to notice this further step which has been taken by the Incorporated Law Society for the improvement of their branch of the profession.

Although no distinction has hitherto marked the difference between those who have just passed and those who have excelled, many of the candidates have wisely answered the questions to the best of their ability, and the examiners, we understand, have often regretted that they could not award some testimonial of the superior attainments which had been evinced. On one occasion, however, the master who had presided at the examination could not refrain from noticing the candidate on his coming up to be sworn in court (in the presence of his fellow students), and commending him for the merit of his examination. No doubt, also, the names of others who have shown more than ordinary knowledge have been occasionally mentioned by individual examiners, though there could be no official notice of merit. The subject of awarding some appropriate reward for superior diligence and ability has been long under the consideration both of the masters who preside and the other examiners selected from the Council of the Incorporated Law Society; and the course of proceeding which it is intended to adopt seems to be very judiciously arranged; and if we correctly understand the mode of carrying the new regulation into effect, it is well devised for the purpose of testing the candidate's legal knowledge in a manner which we think cannot be deemed too stringent or


The importance of the new measure may be estimated when we consider the large number of professional clerks who have to undergo this ordeal of the examination. There are probably upwards of 2,000 serving under articles at the same time. This supposes only one-fifth of the attorneys in England and



Legal Examination Distinctions.

Wales to have articled clerks in their offices at any given period, though many of them (even where there are several partners) have their full complement of two clerks. If all who are articled were examined and admitted, the number would far exceed the actual admissions on the roll; but a considerable proportion never complete the term of service: some pass into other professions; not a few go to the colonies; others retire from ill health; and some remain as clerks. Others are examined, but postpone their admission, or, if admitted, do not take out their certificates until they have a prospect of establishing themselves in business or of joining a partnership. From these and other causes a large per centage must be deducted from the gross number who commence the career of an articled clerk.

There are various classes of persons comprehended in the general body of articled clerks-1. Those who, being the sons of wealthy parents, pay a liberal premium to some eminent solicitor, and feel themselves entitled to pass their term of service in an easy gentlemanly manner; yet amongst them are some energetic and industrious men, who exert themselves, master the difficulties of their profession, and soon take a prosperous position amongst their brethren. 2. The next class are articled to attorneys of moderate practice, to whom they pay a smaller premium, and are expected to submit to some of the drudgery of the office, and are in general more practically useful than the wealthier class. 3. The remaining class are for the most part young men who have shown their diligence and ability as managing clerks, and enter into articles without paying any premium, and sometimes from their merit receive a moderate salary during their clerkship.

Of the candidates examined it cannot be predicated that those who pass in a superior manner belong to any one of these three classes more than another; each class, we believe, supplies an average quota of excellence, of mediocrity, and defect. There is no "royal road" at the examination; strict impartiality prevails; the pupils of some of the examiners have been rejected, and the same fate has followed the sons of persons holding high positions in the law.

In carrying the new regulation into effect we presume that the candidates will be examined (as hitherto) in five departments of law and practice-namely, in common law, conveyancing, equity, bankruptcy, and criminal law, including proceedings before magistrates. They will be required to answer the questions in the first three branches in a satisfactory manner in order to entitle them to pass. We conceive (looking at the announcement made to the candidates) that a certain number of marks will be given, according to the nature of the question, and the merit of the answer, whether perfectly accu

rate and complete,

accurate to a certain extent, but incomplete, or evincing a sufficient knowledge of the subject to justify a single mark.

We are not aware that any candidate has been rejected who sufficiently answered eight questions in common law, and the like number in conveyancing and equity. Assuming this practice to be continued, a candidate must obtain a certain number of approval marks on the questions answered in each of these three essential classes; and it is expected that the practice will be pursued of framing questions in bankruptcy and in criminal law, including proceedings before magistrates. The approval marks in these departments, we suppose, will also be reckoned in estimating the merit of the whole examination of each candidate. We conceive, however, that it would not be sufficient to answer accurately a less number than eight in any one of the three principal branches, and a larger number in another. There must be twenty-four questions well answered.

It will of course be understood that we make these remarks merely to aid the candidates who may not be aware of the intended prizes, and not from any official authority. They will of course, from term to term, be duly apprised under the directions of the examiners of all the details necessary for their guidance; and in the meantime we trust that the candidates for next term, who intend to compete for the prize, will use due diligence in their studies during the present vacation. A continued strenuous exertion may be crowned with success.

Before concluding this article it may not be inappropriate to add a few words on the subject of the preliminary examination which has been suggested in some branches of literature and science, prior to the legal or professional examination. Several of the provincial law societies have signified their approval of such preliminary examination; but some have doubted whether it ought to take place before, or during, or at the termination of the clerkship. The Council of the Incorporated Law Society incline to the latter course, especially in the outset of the change.

It has been suggested that whenever a classical examination shall take place, whether before or after a student is permitted to enter into articles of clerkship, it should not extend beyond the Latin and French languages; arithmetic, algebra, logic, and English history; and that the examiners should prescribe the extent to which the examination should proceed, and the stringency of which they might gradually increase.

It is not improbable, as some have urged in opposition to the plan, that if a classical examination were required before entering into articles, several respectable members of the profession, who have been, or are now in good

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