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Law of Divorce and Matrimonial Causes.-Parliamentary Return.
Another great hardship of the present system is, that a woman separated from her husband, in case of injury or in other cases, cannot maintain an action in her own name, and the committee came to the conclusion that a woman divorced à mensà et thoro from her husband ought to be allowed to come into a court of law as a feme sole. I think that your lordships will be of opinion that such an alteration in the present law would be wise and beneficial; and I beg leave to say that, from the conversations which I have had with my uoble and learned friend on the woolsack, I think that it has passed through his mind that such a provision should be inserted in the bill.
I now come to the third point-the action for damages in cases of adultery-an action which I consider and which I think many of your lordships will consider to be of a most scandalous character. I proposed, my lords, in that committee, to abolish the action for damages, but the opinion, although not the unanimous opinion of the committee, was against me upon that point. I afterwards proposed that, for the action for damages a prosecution should be substituted, and I am quite sure that a prosecution would be more effectual in preventing adultery than the action for damages-an action which is a scandal to a civilized country, and which excites the horror and disgust of other countries, and which at the same time is an action involving a great hardship and injustice to the woman, who is not allowed to appear either in person or by counsel, and who thus may, by the combination of her husband and another person, become a victim without a remedy. Such a state of things is contrary to all principles of justice. In the Court of Chancery, if it be suggested that any person not then in the suit is in the slightest degree interested in it, the suit is suspended until he is made a party to it. The committee came, I think, to a most unfortunate decision upon that point. I shall presently propose a motion with respect to it, and I trust that your lordships will take the matter into your most serious consideration. I find that in actions of this kind judgments constantly go by default, upon the understanding that the damages shall be refunded; and it is said that I shall inflict a hardship upon some persons by carrying out my proposition upon this subject; but, when hardships are spoken of, permit me to call to your lordships' recollection the substance of a curious petition which was presented some time since by a noble and learned friend of mine not now present, and for
the accuracy of the statements contained in which he vouched. In the case to which the petition related an action for adultery was brought, a verdict was obtained by the plaintiff, nominal damages were given, and the lady lost her character and was driven out of society. After a lapse of 18 months or two years she contrived to prove to the satisfaction of the court that there was not the slightest foundation for the accusation. In such a case, I submit to your lordships the hardship of a woman losing her character and being driven from society, without an opportunity being afforded her of being heard, or of examining witnesses in her defence.
In a fourth point of great importance, the committee, although they have not gone quite so far as I wished, have advanced considerably in the way of reform, and with the view of protecting the rights and interests of women. I thought that it was consistent with scripture, consistent with the law, and consistent with reason, that the wife should be put on the same footing as the husband in proving cases of adultery. Such an equality would be in accordance with the known law of Scotland, and evidence was adduced to show that no inconvenience resulted from placing the husband and wife on the same footing in that respect. I cited many authorities in support of that opinion, and ultimately the committee went so far as to decide that, in all cases of adultery accompanied with cruelty, in cases of incestuous adultery, and in cases of bigamy, the wife was entitled to a divorce. I very much thank the committee for having gone so far as they have in this matter, although I would fain have pursuaded them to go a little further. I thought, for instance, that where adultery was committed and the husband was charged with felony and sentenced to be transported, so that the object of marriage was defeated, the wife ought to have an opportunity of obtaining a divorce. However, I am thankful for the amendments in this direction which have been made.
There is one more point only in which the committee made any material alteration in the bill as it went before them. The bill provided that the wife should be entitled to alimony after four years' desertion by her husband, and the committee have shortened that period, and have decided that she should be entitled to alimony after a desertion of two years. With these observations, I trust that this bill, which I regard as an importaut step in the right direction, will shortly become the law of the land,
It will be observed from the following account, that the attorneys and solicitors of Ireland contribute a considerable annual sum to the inn of court there, and that the benchers receive from the Stamp-office a certain proportion (about one-fifth) of the duty paid on attorneys' indentures or articles of clerkship. On the other hand, it appears that the benchers have provided rooms in the buildings connected with the four courts for the exclusive use of the attorneys, and for furnishing the same and stocking their library. They have also provided reception rooms as well for attorneys as barristers.
In the forthcoming plan for the improvement of the course of legal education in England it is worth considering whether this precedent should not be followed, and contributions made by the Inland Revenue
Parliamentary Return: King's Inns, Dublin.
337 Office out of the taxes received from attorneys, for the purpose of extending the means of legal education to that branch of the profession.
A RETURN of all Monies received by the Honourable Society of the King's Inns in Dublin, in each year, since the 30th June, 1839, from Students at Law; similar account of all Moneys received on the Admission of Barristers; similar Account of all Sums received from Attorneys' Apprentices; similar Account of all Sums received on the Admission of Attorneys; and, a similar Return of all Sums received from the Stamp Office, being a portion of the Stamp Duty received on Attorneys' Indentures to the end of Trinity Term, 1856:
Students... Barristers.. Apprentices Attorneys. Stamp duty on Attorneys' Indentures...
868 0 0 1180
d. £ S. d. £ S. d. £ S. d. £ S. d.
0 829 12
0 601 17 4 91548 1 3 0 362 9 5 31220 17 9
0 0 1218 0 0 1820 0 0 1090 0 0 1426 0 0 1344 0 0 1482 0 0 1022 0 0
The sums received as appropriated duties cannot be deemed as payments made by either branches of the Profession, the same having been, so far back as the year 1796, granted by the Government as an equivalent for a rent to the society for the ground on which the Four Courts of Justice on the Inns' Quay were erected, and which was the property of the Society, which grant has been since that time confirmed by the 56 Geo. 3, and 5 & 6 Victoria.
A RETURN of the Annual Expenditure of the Honourable Society of King's Inns since the 30th June, 1839, to the end of Trinity Term, 1856, which consists of the following Heads of Disbursements; viz., Rents, Taxes, Library, Officers' Salaries, and every Expense connected with Housekeeping, and the Society's Establishment, as set forth in the following Table marked No. 1.
The following Sums, amounting to the Sum of £51,056 18s. 3d., as set forth in the Table No. 2, expended in the purchasing the interest of Lands held by the Society under the Representatives of Lord Blessington and Robert Courtney, Esq., on part of which the King's Inns is erected; in discharging the residue of Accounts for erecting Buildings at Rear of the Four Courts, in which are several Apartments allocated exclusively for the use of the Profession of Attorneys and Solicitors generally, and the cost of furnishing same: and also a Grant made to them as an outfit for stocking their Library (besides a large Number of Law Books out of the Library at the King's Inns); likewise a grant made to the principal of the late Law Institute; the erection of a Building at the King's Inns for Lectures for Students and the Profession generally, in which are Reception Rooms for both Barristers and Attorneys; and also Grants for Superannuated Servants of the King's Inns, and Grants for Charitable purposes.
Parliamentary Return.-Law of Costs.-Law of Vendor and Purchaser.
No account can be rendered for the building of Chambers "for the exclusive use or benefit of the Attorneys of Ireland;" all moneys received by the Society merge into a general fund, by which the Benchers are enabled to discharge the liabilities of the Society as set forth in the foregoing Accounts.
The Total Sum expended in purchasing the ground on which the buildings at the rear of the Four Courts are erected, and in which are the apartments for the exclusive use of the Attorney Profession, referred to in the Note prefixed to Account No. 2, amounts to the sum of £35,000 5s. 84d., besides an outlay of £15,000 5s. 9d. for purchasing head rents, also referred to in the said Note.
LAW OF COSTS.
OF ALLEGED CONTRIBUTORY, UNDER WINDING-UP ACTS, SUMMONED AS WITNESS.
THE respondent, an "alleged contributory," was applied to on behalf of the official manager to admit his execution of the company's deed, and was informed that if he did not, the costs of proving the execution would come out of the assets. He declined, and was summoned to attend as a witness before the Master under the 11 & 12 Vict. c. 45, s. 63, but he disobeyed the summons, and there appeared every probability of his being a contributory. The ViceChancellor Stuart (2 Smale and G. 87) held, that as his travelling expenses had not been tendered to him, his failure to attend did not amount to a contempt. On the hearing of an appeal the respondent's counsel admitted the execution of the deed.
On the question of costs, L. J. Turner said"It seems to me that the question of the act of 1849 has no application whatsoever to this question, and that it depends entirely on the 64th section of the act of 1848. If it was necessary to decide the point, I am very much disposed to think that the official manager was wrong in not having tendered the costs under the 64th section of the act of 1848.
wholly prevented; for it must be impossible to say when a person is served before he is upon the list of contributories, whether he will or will not have been a contributory at the time of the order absolute being made. I give no opinion on the question whether it may not be competent for the master to suspend payment of costs to a witness before that witness is summoned. The act may have contemplated cases in which there might be no funds enabling the official manager to pay the costs of witnesses necessary to be examined for the purpose of ascertaining the amount of the assets of the company, and the latter part of the clause may have been intended to provide for such cases by empowering the Master to suspend the payment of costs.
Although, however, if it was necessary to decide the question, I should probably hold that the official manager was wrong in not tendering the costs to the witness at the time of the summons being served upon him; still as Mr. Mercer was served with the summons, and also with the proposed admission, and well knew, as he must have done from the tender of the admission, the purpose for which he was summoned, I cannot consider him as having acted rightly in not having taken any notice either of the summons or of the admission. I think that he is not entitled to any costs, because it is his conduct which has led to the application. My opinion concurs with that of my learned brother, that the costs of the official manager ought to come out of the estate, and that Mr. Mercer should have no costs of the application."-In re Northern and Southern Connecting Railway Company, exparte Mercer, 5 De G. M'N. and G. 26.
The LAW OF VENDOR AND PURCHASER.
The first branch of the section is, 'That every person summoned before the Master as a witness shall be entitled to such costs and charges as are by law allowed to witnesses;' and the costs and charges which are by law allowed to witnesses are costs and charges which are payable to them immediately upon their being served with a summons. second branch of the section is,-'but that where any person, who at the time of the order absolute was a contributory of such company, shall be summoned as aforesaid, every such person shall have such costs and charges only, if any, as the Master in his discretion shall think fit.' And I incline to the construction of the act for which Mr. Daniel has contended, viz., that this second branch of the section applies to persons who have been ascertained to be contributories. Otherwise the operation of the first branch of the section would, as it seems to me, be
PAYMENT OF DEPOSIT BY A CERTAIN TIME-CON
CLUDED AGREEMENT-SPECIFIC PERFORMANCE.
CERTAIN property at Wimbledon having been advertised for sale by private treaty, the plaintiff's solicitor, on March 3, 1855, wrote to the agent of the defendant (Mr. Marryat) that he was instructed to make him an offer of £25,000 for the purchase of the estate. On April 4 the defendant's agent wrote in
Law of Vendor and Purchaser.—Authority of Counsel to consent to Compromise.
reply that he was authorised to accept the offer, subject to the terms of a contract being arranged between their two solicitors, and requiring a deposit of from £1,200 to £1,500, and the completion of the purchase by the next Midsummer-day. The defendant's solicitor on the following day sent the plaintiff's solicitor a draft agreement for his perusal, in which a deposit of £1,500 was to be paid at the date of the contract. On April 20 the draft was returned approved, with the exception of the deposit being reduced to £1,200, and in reply the defendant's solicitor wrote that unless the contract was completed, and the deposit of £1,500 paid before April 24, the treaty would be considered at an end. This day was afterwards extended to the 26th, in consequence of the plaintiff being out of town, but his solicitor wrote that before the agreement was signed there was a question to be settled as to the amount of the deposit. The defendant's solicitor then wrote that his client (Mr. Marryat) declined to sell without payment of a deposit for £1,500, and ultimately fixed April 27 for payment, and refused to allow the matter to stand over until May 2, as requested by the plaintiff's solicitor. The deposit was not paid by the time fixed, and on the 28th the defendant's solicitor declared the treaty was at an end, and declined to renew it. The plaintiff, however, on May 5, tendered the £1,500, and offered to sign the agreement, and on the defendant insisting that the treaty was at an end, this bill was filed for a specific performance.
The Master of the Rolls (after stating the facts) said "The question really is, whether in that state of circumstances the contract was ever concluded? What I have already stated shews, that in my opinion, it was not, and that was open to either side, consistently with the terms already agreed upon by the first two letters, to add fresh stipulations to the proposed contract, until the terms proposed by either side had been definitively accepted by the other. Mr. Marryat did propose and insist on a term to be added to the contract, which was not agreed to or accepted, and which it has now become impossible to comply with. If the term had been an unreasonable one: if it had been one that had been manifestly made for preventing the contract being entered into, then a different view of this case might have arisen, which at present, in my opinion, it does not admit of. The aspect of the case wonld then have been changed, and might have been different from what it appears at present.
"The case is complicated from this circumstance:that the term relates to the time when the deposit money shall be paid, and the Court of Chancery does not, except in very special cases, allow time to be of the essence of the contract. But the distinction between this case and the cases which relate to time being of the essence of the contract is this, that in the latter cases there is a concluded agreement, a contract actually entered into, and then the Court considers it inequitable that, by reason of a slight delay, one party to the contract should not have the benefit of that for which he has contracted. But that is a totally different matter from this: whether a person is not at liberty to make a contract in which time shall be introduced as one of the terms of
the contract? I look at it exactly in this point of view, as if Mr. Marryat had said-'I require, as one of the terms of the contract, that the deposit shall be found on or before the 24th or 25th of April,' and the opposite party had said, 'I agree to all the terms of the contract except that, for I shall not be able to pay the deposit within that time: I shall not be able to pay it until the 3rd of May.' The question is, whether, under those circumstances, Mr. Marryat,
under the terms of these first two letters, would have been bound to enter into such a contract. I am of opinion that he would not; and whatever might be the effect of such a contract when once entered into, to say that he should not be allowed to insist on such a stipulation forming part of the contract, would be going far beyond any of those cases in which the Court has regarded time as not of the essence of the contract. It would go to this extent, that a person might not contract that time should be of the essence of the contract. In my opinion, this agreement was not concluded; this was a term which he chose to have added, which was not an unreasonable term, and was not introduced for the purpose of making it impossible for the other party to enter into the contract. My opinion is, therefore. that there was no concluded agreement between both parties, and that this demurrer must be allowed."
Honeyman v. Marryat, 21 Beav. 14.
AUTHORITY OF COUNSEL TO CONSENT TO COMPROMISE.
ON an objection that a compromise entered into by the counsel for the respective parties was without the authority or consent of the plaintiff. Cresswell, J., said—
"I think the Court cannot for a moment listen to an objection of that sort; and I am glad to find that there is abundant authority for our holding that the client is absolutely and conclusively bound by what the counsel on her behalf assented to. I think it would be most fatal to the due administration of justice if we were to allow the authority of counsel to be thus questioned. And there is not any hardship or inconvenience in this: for, if the client or the attorney has reason to think that the counsel is taking a course that will prejudice his interests, he may withdraw his brief, and so put an end to his authority to represent the client before the Court. But, if counsel, duly instructed, take upon himself to consent to a compromise which he, in the exercise of a sound discretion, judges to be for the interest of his client, the Court will not inquire into the existence or the extent of his authority. I am extremely happy to find that the decisions abundantly bear us out in thinking this objection cannot be permitted to prevail." Swinfen v. Swinfen, 18 Com. B. 503.
FEES FOR REGISTERING JOINT STOCK COMPANIES.
Under the 19 & 20 Vict. c. 47.
For registration of a company whose £ s. d. nominal capital does not exceed £1,000. 5 0 For every £1,000 of nominal capital, or part of £1,000, after the first £1,000, and up to £100,000, an additional fee of 0 5 0 For every £1,000 or part of £1,000 after
the first £100,000, an additional fee of 0 1 0
Fees for Registering Joint Stock Companies.-Canvassing for Professional Business.
For registration of any increase in the £ s. d.
For every £1,000 or part of £1,000
0 1 0
CANVASSING FOR PROFESSIONAL
IT is a well-understood rule that attorneys and solicitors must not canvass for professional business. There is an exception, however, in the case of a solicitorship to a public society or company, and we have heard of several occasions on which eminent firms have competed for such offices. But of late it appears that the changes which have taken place in consequence of various law reforms, have given rise to new struggles for particular classes of business. Amongst these, we have a circular issued by Messrs. Roberson and Maddox, describing themselves as "Joint-Stock Companies' Solicitors," from which we make the following extracts for the consideration of our correspondents :
"Having long devoted our attention to that branch of the law relating to joint stock companies, in the business of which our firm has acquired considerable experience, we have determined to make this fact generally known to the profession.
"We therefore beg to state that we shall be prepared to act as agents to solicitors in the registration of joint stock companies, and in all business (legal and practical) relating thereto.
This business being of an exceptive character, solicitors are not generally so well acquainted therewith as with other branches of the law. It must, therefore, be of considerable advantage to the profession that they should put themselves in communication with gentlemen who have made it their particular study.
"By so doing, we need hardly say, that much valuable time may be saved and thus a greater amount of profit realised.
"With these observations we beg to refer you to our detailed prospectus on the other side."
"The following matters of business relating to Joint Stock Companies are transacted at our office, viz.:
"The Formation and Registration of Joint Stock Companies.
"Under Registration is comprised— "The preliminary establishment of companies, and advice thereon.
"The drawing and settling of prospectuses, advertisements, letters of allotment, scrip certificates, and advice thereon.
"The drawing, settling, and stamping of memorandum of association and articles of association, and advice thereon.
Returning the various documents and registering the company.
Preparing, settling, and stamping certificates of shares, transfers, proxies, &c
Obtaining licenses to hold lands (when required). "Drawing and settling notices of meetings and drafts of special resolutions, and advice thereon.
"Drawing, settling, and advising on alteration of regulations in table B. of act, and articles of association.
"Registering periodical and other returns, notices and documents after incorporation.
"Inspecting and obtaining extracts from companies' register of shareholders, returns, and other documents.
"Making application for rectification of companies' "register of shareholders."
of "Drawing and settling companies' powers attorney, mortgages, conveyances, and other deeds, and advice thereon.
"As to Examination of Affairs of Company. "Making application to the Board of Trade for examination of companies' affairs.
"Attendance and advice on inspection, settling inspectors' reports, &c.
"Winding-up of Companies by Court.
"Taking proceedings to wind-up companies, advice on liability of shareholders, making application to strike out name of contributories.
"Acting as solicitors to official liquidators, &c., &c. "Voluntary Winding-up.
"Acting generally for companies, official liquidators, and shareholders.