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This was an application for judgment in an action tried before Ridley, J ., anda jury. The plaintiffs sued as indorsees and holders of a bill of exchange for £120, dated the 7th of July, 1894. One of the defendants, Mrs. L. E. Edwards, was sued as the indorser of the bill to the plaintiffs. Mrs. Edwards’s defence was that she had no due notice of the dishonour of the bill. Shortly before the bill matured the plaintiffs handed it to their bankers, the Cardiff branch of the Coimty of Gloucester Bank, in order that it might be sent up to London and presented at the National Provincial Bank of England, at which bank it was payable. The Cardiff branch of the County of Gloucester Bank forwarded it to their agents, the London and \Vestminster Bank, by whom it was duly presented on Saturday, the 10th of November, 1894. The bill having been dishonoured, the London and Westminster Bank gave notice of dishonour on Monday, the 12th of November, to the County of Gloucester Bank, but by mistake they addressed the notice to the Cirencester branch of that bank, and not to the Cardiff branch. On the next morning, having found out their mistake, they sent notice of dishonour by telegraph to the Cardiff branch. It appeared that the Cardiff branch duly gave notice to the plaintiffs, and the plaintiffs duly gave notice to the defendant. The defendant, however, contended that she was entitled to rely on any failure to comply with the requirements of the Bills of Exchange Act, 1882, with regard to any link in the chain of notices, and that the London and Westminster Bank had not given notice to their principals in accordance with those requirements. Section 49 of the Bil s of Exchange Act, dealing with notice of dishonour, provides as follows: “ (12) The notice may be given as soon as the bill is dishonoured, and must be given within a reasonable time thereafter. In the absence of special circumstances notice is not deemed to have been given within a reasonable time unless . . . (b) where the person giving and the person to receive the notice reside in different places, the notice is sent off on the day after the dishonour of the bill, if there be a ost at a convenient hour on that day, and if there be no such post on that gay, then by the next post thereafter. (13) Where a bill when dishonoured is in the hands of an agent, he may either himself give notice to the parties liable on the bill, or he may give notice to his principal. If he give notice to his principal he must do so within the same time as if he were the holder, and the principal, upon receipt of such notice, has himself the same time for giving notice as if the agent had been an independent holder. (14) Where a party to a bill receives due notice of dishonour, he has, after the receipt of such notice, the same period of time for giving notice to antecedent parties that the holder has after the dishonour." Ridley, J . , thought the requirements of the statute had been sufficiently complfeg. with, and gave judgment for the plaintiffs. The defendant appea e .

THE Couiir (A. L. Sm-rii and Rioiir, L.JJ., COLLINS, L.J., dissenting), dismissed the appeal.

A. L. Snrm, L.J., said tho person to give notice in this case was the London and \Vestminster Bank, and they gave notice to the right persons—viz., the County of Gloucester Bank, on the proper day, but they addressed that notice to the Cirencester branch instead of to the Cardiff branch. They found out their error in time to enable them to send notice by a_t/elegram on the next day, and that telegram was received by the Cardiff branch as soon as a letter posted on the previous day would have been received. He thought that the sending of the two notices ought to be treated as one continuing act, and that the first mistake in the address did not avail the defendant. Ln his opinion, therefore, the judgment of Ridley, J., ought to stand.

Rronr, L.J., concurred.

COLLINS, L.J., thought that the different branches of a bank ought not to be treated as_o_ne and the same person, but as different persons, for the purpose of receiving notice of dishonour of a bill of exchange. In his opmion, therefore, the first notice was sent to a wrong person, and could not b_e relied on at all. And the notice by telegram was clearly not sent off withm the time required by the Act. The whole of the law as to notice of dishonour was technical and arbitrary, but it seemed to him that the defendant had shown a break in the chain of notices, of which she was entitled to avail herself.—CovnssL, Woodfin ,- Ashton Crou and R. Edmondson. SOLICITORS, G. J. Brosklaby ; W in(l_z/bank, Samuel, it Behrend.

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This was an appeal from an order of Day, J ., at chambers. The action was_ commenced in the District Registry of Manchester. The defendant having made default in appearance, the plaintiff signed judgment. On the application of the defendant, the district registrar made an order setting aside the judgment on the ground that it had been entered for a larger sum than was really due to the plaintiff. Un appeal Day, J ., set aside the order of the district registrar on the ground that it was made without jurisdiction. The defen ant appealed. The case of Hood 5' Sam v. later (1894, 1 Q. B. 240) was cited.

Tris Oovnr (A. L. Sm-rii, Rroni',_and COLLINS, L.JJ.) allowed the appeal. They thought that, notwithstandmg rule 1 of order 35 spoke of proceedmgs being taken in a district registry down to final judgment, yet on the


true construction of rules 1, 5, and 6, read together, the district registrar had jurisdiction to make the order which he had made in this case.—Covnssn, zllontague Lush ; Oarringtou. Souciroas, Shaw, Trsmellen, if Kirkman ,' Sims 5} Symes.

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nswsou 0. was AFRICAN CONSOLIDATED mun sun TRADING co. (mu) No.2. 10i7l1 Nov.

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Appeal of the defendants (other than A. Bifeldt) from an order of Bidley, J. (sitting as Vacation Judge), who granted an injunction restraining the defendant company, and the three other defendants, Thomas Thompson, A. B. Nielsen, and E. G. Sanders, until judgment in the action or further order, from forfeiting, or declaring forfeited, all or any portion of the shares held by the plaintifl? and the other shareholders in the company, and from selling, or allotting, or otherwise disposing of, such shares, or any of them, and from taking or continuing proceedings to recover the amount of the alleged call of 3s. on each share which had been made, or alleged to have been made, by the defendants Thompson, Nielsen, and Sanders, and from parting with any proceeds of the call money in their hands, or to be received under the call. The resolution making the call was alleged to be invalid because Nielsen, who had been a director and purported to be one of the directors making the call, had ceased to hold any shares from the 17th to the 23rd of June, 1897, and had never been formally re-elected a director after again acquiring his qualification. Further objection was made because Thompson was stated tobe an undischarged bankrupt at the date of his appointment, and therefore vacated his seat on the board immediately on his appointment. By article 90 of the articles of association the number of directors was to be not less than three, nor more than seven ; and by article 93: “ No person, other than the first directors, shall- be qualified to be a director who is not the holder of shares of the company of the nominal value of £200." Article 96 : “ The ofllce of a director shall be vacated . . . if he become bankrupt, or suspend payment, or compound with his creditors . . . or if he cease to hold the required amount of shares to qualify him for oflice.” Article 105 : “ Until otherwise determined two directors shall be a quorum." Article 114 : “ All acts done at any meeting of the directors, or of a committee of directors, or by any person acting as a director, shall, notwithstanding that it shall be afterwards discovered that there was some defect in the appointment of such directors or persons acting as aforesaid, or that they, or any of them, were disqualified, be as valid as if every such person had been duly appointed and was qualified to he a director.”

THE Coiriir (LINDLEY, M.R., and Currrr and VAUGHAN WILLIAMS, L.J J .) allowed the appeal.

LINDLBY, M.R., said that the various suggestions of irregularity, when examined, were nothing more nor less than small irregularities; there was no radical defect in any one of the points. There were originally three directors appointed by the proper parties, the subscribers to the memorandum of association, they were Bradford, Sanders, and Griffiths. Bradford died on the 13th of April, 1897, and Thompson was appointed director in his placo under an article which clearly authorized the appointment, subject to the point that he was an undischarged bankrupt. There was a casual vacancy which the other two directors had power to fill. There was a meeting of shareholders afterwards, and Thompson then retired and was re-elected. The clause relating to the bankruptcy of a director did not apply to the facts with which the court had to deal, and it appeared to his lordship to be perfectly competent for the shareholders, if they chose, to appoint Thompson. Nielsen was appointed in succession to Grifiiths, who died in December, 1896. That was all right, and Nielsen remained a properly-qualified director until the 17th of June, 1897, when it appeared he had transferred all his shares, and for five or six days, from the 17th of June to the 23rd of June, he had no shares. So under one of the articles of association he vacated his offlce. On the 23rd or 24th of June he acquired other shares, and became qualified. There was a meeting of the directors on the 24th of June at which he was present, and acted as a director. There was a casual vacancy which the other two directors had powerto fill up, and although they did not go through tho form of passing a resolution appointing him a director, they accepted hini as a director, and allowed him to act as one, and when this call, which was impeached, was made on the 23rd of June it was made by Thompson, Sanders, and Nielsen; Nielsen then being a properly-qualified director. If that was not an irregularity in his appointment such as was attempted to be cured by article 114 his lordship could not conceive what was. It would be reducing that article to a nullity to say that it did not apply to such trumpery defects and trivial irregularities as those they had to deal with here. It was said that on account of The Howbcaeh Goal Co. v. Teagua (5 H. & N. 151) the court must hold that the article (114) did not apply to such a case as this. His lordship explained that that case did not warrant the contention that the article did not apply to calls and things of that kind as between the company on the one side and the shareholders on the other. Another point taken here, and not in the court below, was that the calls had been made for an improper purpose, and not for the purpose of bond _/Ida carrying on the business of the company, for the purpose of recouping the persons who had paid off the promoters under agreements which were sought to be rescinded. The evidence was far from sufficient to enable the court to grant an_injunction. The appeal must be allowed and the order discharged with costs here and below.

Cl{l’l'l‘Y and Vacuum WILLIAMS, L.J.l'., gave judgment to the same effect. Appeal allowed.—Covnssr., Alexander, Q,.C., and W. Hiygmv;

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This was an action by the registered proprietor of the copyright in and author of a work called “A Wingless Augel” against the defendants, who were publishers, claiming an injunction restraining them from publishing reprints of the plaintiffs work, delivery up of all copies in the defendants’ possession, an account of profits made by the defendants by the infringement, or alternatively damages in respect of the infringement with an inquiry as to the amount thereof, £250 damages for conversion as in an action of trover, and costs. Two actions had been begun originally, one in the Chancery Division claiming an injunction, an account, and delivery up ; the other in the Q,ueen’s Bench Division claiming damages under section 23 of the Copyright Act, 1842, for wrongful conversion of copies of the book unlawfully printed without the plaintiff's consent. The latter action was transferred to the Chancery Division, and the two actions were subsequently consolidated; the claim in the consolidated action being as first above mentioned. The defendants had bought the stereotyped plates of the work at a public auction in 1886 and had used them without complaint until 1896. The plaintiff had not published the book since 1875. Prior to the Queen's Bench action the defendants had offered to submit to an injunction, to pay £10 as damages, to deliver up their copies of the book and pay the costs, but the plaintiff had refused the offer. Counsel for the plaintiff relied upon section 23 of the Copyright Act, 1842, and submitted that the remedies given by it were not alternative, and that he could sue both in detinue and trover. On behalf of the defendants it was argued that the remedies were alternative and that section 23 was inconsistmt with section 15, which rendered the offender liable to a special action on the case, which was the proper remedy in the present instance, and the following cases were referred to : Pike v. Nicholas (18 W. R. 321, gssh. 251), Colbum v. Simms (2 Hare 543), De{fe v. Delamotte (3 K. & J.

Kiziuiwicii, J ., said it was strange that in the year 1897 he should be called upon for the first time to say what was the meaning of section 23 of the Copyright Act, 1842, and whether the remedy given by that section was inconsistent with the remedy given by section 15 of the same Act. There did not appear, however, to be any decision upon the question. Two points had been raised. The first was that as section 15 gave the proprietor a special action on the case, that was the remedy which he was intended to pursue except so far as his remedies at law were not interfered with, and that-, therefore, the 23rd section, which gives certain rights of action, must be construed as meaning something entirely different; that the oilender under section 23 was a different person from the offender under section 15—in other words, that section 15 contemplated a person who had “ unlawfully printed or imported,” while section 23 contemplated a person who was the accidental possessor of an infringing book. This certainly was a possible view, but the language of the two sections was not so clear as to compel his lordship to adopt it, and he therefore did not hold that because. under the 15th section, the plaintiff had an action on the case, therefore he could not sue under the 23rd section. Then the next point was this: the proprietor was entitled under section 23, after demand in writing, to sue for and recover the infringing books, or damages for the detention thereof, in an action of detinue from any party who should detain the same, or to sue for and recover damages for the conversion thereof in an action of trover. It was argued that the remedies under this section were alternative, and that the plaintiff must sue either in detinue or in trover, not in both. In his lordship’s opinion that was not so; it would be an extremely narrow construction of the Act to hold that the proprietor of the copyright in a book, knowing thata man had a certain number of copies in his hands and that he had sold other copies, could not sue that person in detinue for the copies detained, and also in trover for the copies converted to his own use. This seemed plain from the Act itself, and his lordship did not see why the plaintiff should not have the two claims-viz., for detinue and trover—and he might also be said to have been exercising his right to an action on the case by his proceedings in the Chancery Division. In his lordship's opinion the plaintiff was entitled to an injunction, delivery up of copies as in an action of detinue, and damages as in an action of trover for the books 801d.-—COl'NSEL, Wan-ington, Q.C., and J. G. Joseph; Rmahaw, Q.C., and J. W. Bainea. Boticrroas, E. Szlaman, Fort, Q Co. ,Richardion §- Goring T/mmu.

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college for cadets. The plaintiffs alleged (par. 12 of the statement of

claim) that the defendants had entered upon a portion of the estate and

had placed certain stakes thereon, with a view to the acquisition of the

sito for the training college, and (par. 17) that the defendants had, by

their servants and agents, wrongfully entered upon the property, and

surveyed and staked out the site, and threatened and intended to take

possession, and they alleged that the defendants contended that they had

statutory powers of compulsory acquisition, which they threatened and

intended forthwith to exercise, and (par. 18) that they, the plaintifis, were

advised that the defendants had no right, either by statute or otherwise,

to enter on the land, &c., or to acquire it by compulsory purcha=e. The

defendants admitted that the site had been surveyed and marked out, but denied that they or any of them had done the acts compl iined of, and they alleged that what had been done had been duly performed by the ofllcers of the Lords of the Admiralty acting by the direction of the Executive Government under the Crown. They submitted that the Lords of the Admiralty were entitled to exercise by statute compulsory powers. They, however, raised s. preliminary point of law—namely, that the court had no jurisdiction to entertain the action. The plaintiffs asked leave to amend, if necessary, by also suing the defendants individually, and by adding as parties two marines and a civil engineer who had staked out the site. The plaintiffs had also taken out a summons for the delivery of interrogatories with a view of ascertaining by whom or by whose directions the alleged wrongful acts were done. The preliminary point of law and the plaintiffs’ summonses now came on to be heard. It was contended for the defendants that an action of tort could not be maintained against the Ministers of the Crown as such, and that this was the character of the action. Such proceedings against persons acting in an ofllcial capacity should not be allowed to be amended by turning them into new proceedings against the same persons as being private persons. For the plaintiffs Walker v. Baird (1892, A. C. 491, 41 W. R. Dig. 62) was cited.

Nov. 4.—Roiii-ia, J.—The only question, to my mind, is whether this is not a case in which an amendment ought to be allowed. It appears to me if any perzon commits a trespass (I use that word advisedly as meaning a wrongful act or one not justifiable) he cannot escape liability for the offence. He cannot prevent himself from being sued merely because he acted in obedience to the order of the Executive Government or of any oflicer of State, and it further appears to me, as at present advised, if the trespass had been committed by some subordinate officers of a Government department or of the Crown by the order of a superior oflicial, so that the trespass was caused by the order and was in substance the act of the superior oflilcial, that superior oflicial, even if he were the head of the Government department in which the subordinate offioial was employed, or whatever his official position might be, could bo sued, but in such case the superior official could be sued not because of, but despite of, the fact that he was an officer of State. I think it is clear that the head of a Govemmeut department is not liable for the neglect or torts of officials of the department unless it could be shewn that the act complained of was substantially the act of the head himself, in which case he would be liable as an individual, as a stranger committing the act would be.

Nov. 13.—Bomm, J ., said that the above were the princiglea of law applicable to the case. The result was that the plaintiffs ooul sue any of the defendants individually for trespasses committed or threatened by them, but they could not sue the defendants as an oflleial body. Was the present action one against the defendants as individuals? His lordship came to the conclusion that it was intended to be and was a claim a(gainst the defendants in their offlcial capacity. They were described an sued as the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty and the Director-General of Naval Works. No distinction was drawn between them, and no act, order, direction, or threat by any of them individually was alleged. His lordship then dealt with the allegations in the statement of claim, referring particularly to paragraphs 1, 12, and 17, and pointed out that the correspondence referred to therein was with officials of the Admiralty in an ofllcial capacity only. Then the plaintiff's summons to amend really proceeded on the footing that the present action was one against the present defendants in their oflicial capacity only. Ought then the plaintiffs to be allowed to amend their action? His lordship, on consideration, thought not. For what the plaintiffs were seeking to do was to change one action into another of a substantially different character, as would be seen when questions of discovery, and the form and operation of any judgment that could be obtained by the plainiiffs were considered. Action dismissed with costs, without prejudice to any claim the plaintiffs might have against the two marines and the engineer or against any of the defendants i11d.lVl.d.l1&lly.—00UNSBL, Sir Riclmrd 7Vebster, A G., A. T. Lawram:o,Q.C., and Ingle Joyce; Swinfen Eady, Q,.C., and S. Dickinson. SOLICITORS, Solicitor to the Treasury ; Patch Q Smurthwaita.

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Health Act, 1875, for the purpose of permanent so"-vage works, and most


of which had been used for the erection of tanks and machinery and for filtration beds for the purpose of the reception and disposal of sewage. It was also stated that some of the land had been sold as not being required for sewage purposes—-in accordance with section 175 of the Public Health Act—but another part had been utilized by the defendants as a place of deposit for refuse collected from dustbins, to receive which trenches had been dug to the gravel surface and drawn to the level of the subsoil. A mound had also been raised. The plaintiff alleged that the defendants had also entertained a scheme for turning another part of the unused land into a public recreation-ground, with a lake, bathing-place, and promenade. and had constructed a temporary footpath over the land. The plaintiff alleged that the pieces of unsold land were, within the meaning of section 175 of the Public Health Act, 1875, “not required fpr the purpose for which they were acquired"--viz., the reception and disposal of sewageand submitted that they should be ordered to sell the same in accordance with the section. The defendants alleged that their mode of using this land was not permanent, but merely temporary, and not such as to prevent the land from being used hereafter for sewage purposes; and, moreover, that, having regard to the rapid increase of Teddington in extent and in population, and to the necessity of having reserve land available for these

urposes, the land was, in truth, still needed for the purpose for which it had been acquired. The plaintiff claimed a declaration that the land in question, in all some eight acres, was not required for the purpose for which it had been acquired under the Act of 1875, an order directing its sale under section 175, and an injunction restraining the defendants from appropriating or using any portion as a site for a public promenade or recreation-ground, or for ornamental water, or for a footpath, or for the purpose of the deposit of house refuse, or for any purpose other than that of the reception and disposal of sewage.

ROMER, J., found that all the land should be kept and would be ultimately required for sewage purposes only; or, in other words, that section 175 of the Public Health Act, 1875, did not apply to any portion of the land. No doubt at the time when the land was purchased with the sanction of the Local Government Board it was contemplated, as shown by the plan, that part of the land purchased would not be required for sewage purposes. But circumstances had changed, and if he were to hold that the portions contemplated at the date of the purchase as not being then required to be retained for sewage purposes were on that account never to be so used at all, he failed to see what right the local authority had to acquire the land at all. In his lordship's view the local authority did acquire the whole of the land for sewage purposes, and they were not conclusively bound to sell the land marked on the plan as not required if circumstances changed and it was found that they did require it. Apparently they had now changed their minds, and, in his opinion, they had come to a wise conclusion, and the land was required for sewage purposes. No doubt the council, until very recently, had thought that the whole of the land would not be required, and if they had committed themselves irrevocably to the position that part was not required perhaps section 175 would have applied. He had considerable doubt on the point, but he should give the council the benefit of the doubt; but he thought they were not precluded from saying that the whole lunil was required, and they were entitled to retain it. Undoubtedly what they had done had misled the plaintiff ; and his lordship would remember that when he came to deal with the question of costs. The next question which arose was whether the defendants had dealt with any part of the land so that it could not be used for sewage purposes. Tuc only parts which that referred to were those on which the trench and mound had been made. Although he thought these works were improper, yet, at the same time, they did not make the 1-ind on which they were wholly unfit for sewage purposes. The plaintiff was not, therefore, entitled to any declaration that any portion of the land should be sold. A further question arose. The plaintiff or relator said that the defendants had dealt with parts of the land improperly, and ought to be restrained. \Vith the exception of the mound and trench, nothing had been done of a permanent character. They had made a footpath and put a few benches, and contemplated using parts of the land as a temporary park, and these things only referred to parts not immediately required for sewage purposes. The plaintiff, however, argued that even such temporary use was not permissible, and claimed an injunction. His lordship thought it right to state shortly his views with reference to the interim user of the land not required for sewage purposes. He agreed that the defendants could not apply the land to or use it for any purpose inconsistent with the purposes for which it was acquired. But those purposes

did not require the immediate user of every part of the land for sewage .

purposes. Some part only was required for immediate sewage works, and the remaining part had to be retained because needed hereafter for such works. Pending the actual application of this remaining part for such purposes the defendants could retain it, and one of the purposes for which it was required might be said to be such retainer. But, of course, while so retaining it, they could not use it or deal with it in such ii way as to prevent user for sewage purposes or substantially interfere with its immediate user whenever it was needed for these pur ses. But, subject to such exception, while retaining the land, his lordship did not see how it was inconsistent with the purpose for which they had acquired it to use it in any lawful manner in which in its then condition it could be used, provided that such user did not substantially interfere with the main purpose of drainage for which the laud was ultimately wanted, and he

new of nothing which made it unlawful for a council such as these defendants from permitting vacant land in their possession, and not at the time required for the ultimate purpose for which they had acquired it, to be temporarily used as a recreation-ground, provided care was taken to prevent any rights from being acquired over it by the public or otherwise which would prevent or interfere with


the council's using the land for its ultimate purpose whenever required. The case of Attorney-General v. Corporation of Southampton (1858, 1 Giff. 363, 8 W. R. Ch. Dig. 2) did not interfere with that view. Nor was the judgment of Cotton, L J ., in Boyley v. Great We/m-rn Railway Co. (1884, 26 Ch. D., p. 450, 3'2 \V. R. Dig. 227) inconsistent. It might alsobe added that he had nothing to do in the present case with the misapplication of ratepayers’ money. He was only concerned with the lawful user of the land. With regard to the works proppsed by the defendants to be put on the land——namely, campsheddiug, ma ing up the frontage, making a lake, and, above all, a bathing-place—when the correspondence was looked at, and all the facts, his lordship thought that the defendants had contemplated using parts of the land not for sewage purposes, nor for justifiable interim purposes. The defendants now asserted that they had no intention of doing anything which would prevent them from properly using the land for its ultimate purposes. He accepted that statement. The mound and trench were, however, most injurious to the proper user of the land for sewage purposes, and were inconsistent with such user. As he understood that the defendants would give an undertaking not to use the laud for such inconsistent purposes, he made no order except that, on the defendants’ undertaking not to use the land for dustbin refuse, the defendants should p\y the costs of the action.—Coci~:siir., Neville, Q.C., and F. R. 1'. Rrdclifik; Jlacmorran, Q, C., and Lewis Tliornas. SOLICITORS, Powell 5- Ro_r/era ; G. C. She:-rard. [Reported by J’. F. Wsnsr. Barrister-at-Lnvr.]

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The decision in this case involved a question as to the powers of a bankrupt to validly deal with property acquired after his petition, but before his discharge. In April, 1892, John Emery, who lived in Melbourne, in the colony of Victoria, filed his petition in the Court of Insolvency there. His estate was placed under sequestration, and the defendant Cohen was appointed the assignee. In March, 1893, the father of Emery, who lived in England, died, leaving by his will a legacy of £300 and a share of residue to his son, the insolvent. The first two defendants were the executors and trustees under the will. Shortly afterwards, and before his discharge, Emery was informed of these fact-. In September, 1893, he obtained his certificate of discharge. In June, 1895, being then indebted in a much larger sum tothe plaintiffs, Emery assigned to them, in consideration of £900, all his share and interest in the estate of his father under the will. Neither previously to his discharge nor to this assignment did he inform his assignee in insolvency of these interests which he had acquired. Upon obtaining the assignment the plaintiffs applied to the executors of the will to have the legacy and share of Emery paid to them, but the executors, having heard of the insolveno , refused to do so, and upon the assignee in insolvency hearing of the willhe claimed the interests of the insolvent under it on behalf of the creditors. The plaintiflf brought this action for payment to them of the moneys in question. It was admitted during the trial that the plaintiffs knew at t‘:e time of the assignment that Emery had not informed his assigncc in insolvency of his interests under his father’s will. The executors took no part in the argument, and had paid the moneys into court. The question depended upon the law of Victoria, which was governed by the Victorian Insolvency Act, 1890, the sections of which, as far as it applied to this case, were almost identical with the corresponding sections of the English Bankruptcy Act, 1883. Expert evidence was given of the Victorian law upon the case.

Brims, J ., held that the result of the exp art evidence and of the decision of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in Trimlla v. Hill (28 W. R. 479, L. R. 5 Apgi. Cas. 342) was that the decision of Cohm v. dffffhdu (38 W. R. 551, 2 Q,. B. D. 262), as explained by subsequent cases, truly represented the law of Victoria on the question, the decisions of the English Court of Appeal upon sections nearly identical with those of Victorian Acts being recognized and followed by the courts there. Cohen v. Mitchell was a case where what was assigned was n legal chose in action. The rule laid down there was only meant to be a new expression of the old law and not to throw any doubt upon Er parte Ford (2 W. R. 590, L. R. l Ch. D. 521). The fact that here the money claimed was in the hands of trustees, and had been paid by them into court to abide the results of the trial, was not sufficient to distinguish this case from Cohen v. Mitchell. The proposition was laid down in that case in general terms. Re Beardman, Ex pom Clarke (38 s0LICl'l‘ORS' JennNAL 492; 1894, 2 Q. B. 93), like E4: parts Ford, was ii case not between a particular assignee and the trustee in bankruptcy as here, but between two general assignees, and therefore was distinguishable. There was good consideration in this case, and the only question was whether the transaction was bondfide. It was not necessary to consider whether Emery had done what he ought to have done I see Lord Esher in Cohen v. Mitchell (ib., p. 369). Dealing bomijide meant dealinghonestly. There was no obligation upon parties dealing with an uudischarged bankrupt, although they knew of the fact, to go to the trustee in bankruptcy and make enquiries. They deal with the bankrupt as with any other customer. The utmost that could be said against the plaintiffs was that they had ultimatelyastrongsuspicion that there were some outstanding creditors under the old bankruptcy who could re-open the bankruptcy and put the assiguee in motion. Tl e reasonable inference was that the plaintiffs were dealing honestly-—i 1: , bondfide, within the rule in Cohen v. Mitchell. Judgment for the plaintiffs. —CouNsnr., Era, Q.C., and illuir Haekmzie; Norton; Atherloy Jonas, Q,.C., and Compton Smith. SOLICITORS, lVhites 5- Co.; Leslie §~ Hardy, for Henry Pollit, Leighton Buzzard, Beds. ; II. A. Graham.

[Reported by NIVILLI Tasuurr, Barrister-at-Law-1


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Tiis_weelily meeting of the United Law Society was held on Monday evening at the Inner Temple Lecture Hall, under the presidency of Mr. C. \V. Williams, the chairman.

The Bllb_]BOli of debate was announced as follows : “That this society disapproves of the Land Transfer Act, 1897. To open: Mr. J . S. Rubinstein. 3;) opppse :"Mr. W. J. Boycott. Mr. Benjamin Greene Lake will speak on

e mo ion.

Mr. Runissrsm, in introducing the motion, said he felt rather strongly upon the suhilect. No measure had been passed in recent times probably with such far-reac ing consequences, and which was so little understood, and it was very important that there should be afforded not onl to members of the profession, but also outside its ranks, opportunities for Filly considering the measure before it was absolutely and definitely decided that it was to come into operation in any county. The Act was a most dangerous one. It was fraught with the greatest danger to the interests of the landowners and of the public. He was not going into the relative merits of transfer by deed as against transfer by registration of title, because theoretically, "'1dP@l'h*1P9 Pfflciltffllly, there was a great deal to be said in favour of a system of registration; but what they had to consider was, whether the system of registration of title as brought into force by the Act was one which they could support. In other words, it was not to the point to tell him that there were absolutely perfect systems in any other country in the world, whether it were France, Germany, Austria, or China. That was absolutely beside the question. What they had to consider W89, Whether the system of registration as introduced by the Act of 1875, and the amending Act of this year, would bring about a system which would tend to the advantage of landowners and the public. Although he thought the Act was a very bad one alto ether, he was not going into Part 1 or Part 2, but would confine himself to§’art 3, under wh_ich_ it was to come into operation compulsorily. Personally, he had no ob_]oc_tion to any Act being passed which would enable landowners of their own will to_registcr their tit es. As a matter "of fact, the history of the Act showed that in_1862 such nn Act was passed, the Act under which the present Land Registry Office was established. Subsequently, when it was found that that ofiico was not sufficiently attractive to draw into its net the tl’tl0 andlandowncrs, the Act of 1875 was passed, which, with the thirteen years experience of the earher Act, was apparently thought to be sufliciently attractive bring about the desired result. They all knew that the registration of titles u_ndei' the Act_of 1875 had been a dismal failure. The landowners had Fl'8.0t_lC8.lly'l$lVBD. it the cold shoulder. Of course, there was an ofiicial exp anation. hey were told that it was the solicitors who had practically prevented the landowners from registering at the Land Registry Ofiice, that the advantages of registration were very great, and that it was only tho dust thrown into the ey_es of the laymen which had prevented them from seeing how advantageous it was to register their property. It was rather a singular fact that the ox-Lord Chancellor and the present Lord Chancellor, who were responsible for tho last Act, although themselves landowners, had never yet seen_the_ advantage of the Register established by the Act of 18 _l5 siitlicientlyto _]ustify_them in registering their titles. If they had such implicit faith in the merits of this panacea one would'havc thought they would iave_been the first to take advantage of it. Those present knew that the _old oflicial explanation was not the true one. Laymen were not so easily blinded and led by the solicitors. And, it must be berm; in mind that-, solicitors themselves owned a good deal of property in England, and yet it was found that solicitors who would have seen it to be to their advantage to register if such were the case had failed to do so. He was personally acquainted with the case of_ a large land society, one of the largest "1 LPMOII, ‘(hose practice it was to grant their conveyances without the intervention of a_ solicitor. That society bought some years back ono_particulsr estate in Leytonstono which was registorcd wit an indef0=l‘!l 10 tlt10- _Th0y thought they were going to do marvellous business, but utter a httle experience of the Act, and of the difficulties and delays thrown in _their way by the Land Registry Ofiicc, they came to th_e conclusion that it was a_ delusion and a snare. This was of their own accord, without rof_ercnce_ to solicitors, and, as a consequence, they ignored in their future dealings with the property the Land Registry Oflice, and continued to issue these prmted forms of conveyance as if it did not exist. Some of the allotteos thought it desirable to register, and ho had heard from many of them very grave and serious complaints of the delays and difiiculties they met with. llc proposed to refer the matter first under the head of simplicity, secondly of expense, thirdly expedition, and fourthly security. lie put simplicity first _bccauso he thought it really tho most important. lhose who were p]'8.\;tltl0116I'B hardly needed to be told what the present system wa._s. Since the Act of 1881, known as Lord Oairns' Act, was passed, coupled with the Solicitors’ Remuneration Act, the practice was very simple indeed, and year by year it was growing more simple. That Act cut down the length of deeds, and simplified titles, doing away with surperfluous words which used to encumber the deeds, and under the Solicitors’ Remuneration Act costs were put on a sound, rational, well-understood basis. That scale had worked well. It unquestionably did out down solicitors’ bills, but, as fur as he knew, no one had complained. Indeed, the Act of 1881 which cut down these costs was a permissive Act, and it was not compulsory for the solicitors to come under it. They could have still continued to draw out long_doeds and long bills of costs, but voluntarily, and in the recognition that it was to the interest of their clients and, consequently, their own interest, they adopted it. At. the present time nothing was more simple than the systeiirot conveyance. An ordinary deed contained no words that were not intelligible. Ho did not know what cc-kificate was to be issued which


would be much shorter than many of the present forms of conveyance. They could be got into an ordinary sheet of paper, and were to be understood by any persons of ordinary intelligence. What would be the position if the new Act were allowed to come into operation? He apprehended that the landowner would start with his certificate, a certificate which was to be issued to him by the Land Registry Ofiice. And there at once they were met with amost serious and great difiiculty. Under the Act the Registrar could issue three kinds of certificate. He might give one showing that the holder had an indefeasible title. He might issue one with a qualified title, or he might issue one giving a possessory title. Any certificate, unless it showed an indefensible title, would be practically worthless for all business dealings. Assuming that a solicitor was acting for a willing purchaser, how could he advise a client to accept a certificate saying that a man had a qualified title only? He would not know what the defect in the title might be. It was absolutely impossible upon the face of the certificates that were likely to be issued to find out where the defect existed, and a purchaser must absolutely refuse to accept such a title. Acting for a mortgagee, how dared a solicitor lend money upon a certificate which showed that a man had only a qualified or possessory title? He might be told they would have this indefeasiblo title. He ventured to say there was the greatest possible doubt about this. If one went to the Registrar with, say, a twenty-nine years’ title, the Registrar would laugh at him. He would say he was bound to see that thcro was a cod forty years’ holding title. “ Give me the prior title." \Vhat was the ungortunate purchaser to do? He was compelled to register. He would be asked how he got the prior title. The conditions under which he had bought might preclude him from asking the vendor to give it him. How was it possible to go back twenty or thirty or fortnyears in many cases, having regard to the numerous dealings that take p ce with property? Let him refer to what takes place under the Torrens Act in Australia. They knew that was an admirable Act. But what did they find ? It came into operation in 1862, and all titles issued by the Crown since lS62—and they were very numerous—were registered under the Act. The fact of having a registered title under the Act gave it a valiic it would not otherwise possess. With regard to the titles prior to 1862, thorc were some 7,500,000 acres, and only 150,000 of these acres had been brought under the Torrens’ Act, ; and the reason was simply that even in Australia, where the dealings were comparatively very few, it was found almost impracticable to bring them under the Act. The expense, the delay, and difiiculty of searching out the earlier titles were so great. No one knew how much this was the case except those who had had occasion to go through with it, and he ventured to say that the Act had not been found to be adjustable to the titles in existence before 1862. If that was so in Australia, and for one dealing that took place there, there would be seven in the case of similar property in this country; and it was absolutely impossible in many cases to find the previous title, what prospects were there of success ? It might be said that the Registrar had power to dispense with these if he thought right, but he would be in a responsible ition, and dared not allow a title on the register unless it was a good one, iitisscause the authorities would be liable for damages. They knew sufiicient of Government ofilcials to feel certain that they would not run any risk; it would be as much as their osition was worth. If the oflicc was called upon to pay £50,000 or £100,800 in damages, what would become of the Registrar and of the staff of the ofiice 1* They dared not allow it to take place, and therefore all they would give was a qualified or a possessory title, which would be absolutely worthless for practical purposes. With regard to the question of expense. At present solicitors were paid by scale, and the expense was not serious. What would be tho expense if the new system were adopted? The first purchaser, who had his conveyance and had paid his solicitor’s costs, would be compelled to register. His solicitor, or, if not, the man himself, would go to the re istry oiiice with the title-deeds and ask for a certificate under the Act. The Registrar would take possession of the deeds, which he would require to be left with him. \Vhen the Registrar found time to look into it-, he would begin to detect errors and omissions in the title. The purchaser would ask when he was likely to get his certificate, and the Registrar would reply, “ You soc that pile. I must deal with those first.” " But," says the purchaser, “ I want to mortgage the property, and cannot do so until it is registered." “I am very sorry for you," replies the Registrar, “ wo are not ii mortgage oflice; that is the law. It is compulsory for you to register, and we will take it as soon as we can." “ What will be the expense?" inquires the purchaser. “ There, again," says the Registrar, “ I cannot tell you till I have gone into the deeds.’ The unfortunate purchaser would be faced with all these disadvantages and difficulties. No one could tell him when it would get through or what the expense would be, or what sort of a certificate ho would get w en it was flnishe . At present the solicitor could tell an intendmg purchaser almost to a fraction what was the expense he would be put to. The Act was introducing a system which would not commend itself to the landowner or the public when they had had any experience of it. On the question of delay, having given several instances of the rapidity of transactions imder the present system, he referred to the paper read by Mr. Blyth at the provincial meeting of the Incorporated Law Society last month at Shetfield, and quoted from it cases brought under the notice of the Commission which investigated the subject to show in the bulk of cases matters were carried out in a very short time. When the new Act came into operation it would be impossible to fix a date for completion. \Vith regard to the question of security, it had been suggested that the present system did not afford adequate securit i such as would be given by the system of registration of title. He could not call to his reco ection any instance of actual fraud which had occured in his own ofiice. Of course, there had been cases where titles had been submitted to his firm which they had not been able to pass, but he knew of no case of fraud. But, if they turned to countries where registration was the rule, it could not be said there was the same security. Mr. Blyth, in his paper, referred to Austria, whcre there had been 1,-500 cases of fraud in the last twenty years. He (Mr. Rubinstein)


knew of a case in Australia under the Torrens’ Act. A property-owner there sold his land for £3,000, but it was explained that if he sold it at that price, which was a very good one indeed, he must not object to the purchase-money appearing as £6,000. The same land repeatedly changed hands again. The next conveyance was for £9.000 and immediately after there was one of £12,000. The moneys might have been aid, but it was doubtful. At all events, the last purchaser got £8,000 from Ibis bankers to enable him to complete the transact ion, and in course of time the bank found the property on their hands, and it was valued at £2,000. These facilities for fraud were given by a system of registration of title where the people were encouraged to act as their own solicitors. There were cases where c ients said they had bought the property for so much, but had no objection to a larger sum being stated, and,of course, solicitors invariably refused such transactions, and that was a protection against fraud. During 1888 Australian property to the extent of £l1,000,000 changed hands according to the Registry, but he suggested that that was not the true figure. Certainly the Australian banks had had a very rudc awakening, and he thought it fair to assume that this was to a certain extent due to the Registry. TheRegistrar was told that a certain property was sold, for, say, £1,000, and knowing nothing, he entered it upon the certificate. The certificate might be shown to an ignorant man acting without a solicitor, and he might readily advance, say, £750 upon property which was not at all of that value. The present system of depositing deeds with a banker for an advance was safo and speedy. The Act of 1897 was the worst drawn that had ever been issued, and as he read it, it was doubtful whether under its provisions it could be applied to London. There was no question but that it would give lenty of work to the lawyers ; but solicitors were considering the interests of) their clients, and did not want to deter them from buying properties. If the Act came into operation, and all these troubles arose, solicitors would be blamed for it. Every expert who knew anything about the subject was opposedto the Act. The present Lord Chancellor and the ex-Lord Chancellor were no doubt very well-meaning theorists, and they had evolved asystem out of their own inner consciousness, but they had never had any experience in conveyancing matters. Lord Cairns was a conveyancer, and at one time had an idea that compulsory registration of title might be a good thing. He brought in a Bill, but further consideration led him to a different conclusion, and as a result he brought in the Act of 1881 simplifying conveyancing. He might be told that the Act of 1897 was purely experimental, but if it once came into operation, how would it be got rid of F Everybody knew how strongly Government oflicials fought for their position. The Act would never have been passed had it not been for the existence of the Land Registry Oflice with its staff. It would be necessary to get a large oflice and a big stafi‘, and would the Government under such circumstances give it up at the end of the three years? What was to become of the people who had got these comforta le positions. It was the purest fallacy in the world to say they would ever get rid of the system or of the ofiicinls if it once came into operation.

Mr. W. J. Bovcorr, in opposing the motion, said he believed that in old countries such as England, it would be impossible to formulate any system of registration of title which would be as sim le and satisfactory as the present system, and he was heart and soul opposed to any principle of compulsion upon the simple ground that if it was a bad thing it was clear it ought not to be compulsory, whilst if it was n. good thing, it would be brought into public service without any aid from the Legislature to force it upon the people. But he supported the Act on the ground that for more than thirty years there had been a vepy solid and constantly increasing agitation in favour of registration of ti e in substitution for the present system. It originated with Lord \Vestbury, and was carried on by Lord Cairns, an had reached its culminating and most unreasonable pitch in the Chancellorships of Lord Herschell and Lord Halsbury. Whether there had been any justification for the agitation he was not called upon to deal with. It was not an agitation which had proceeded from the public at large. There was no don t that constant persuasion from Lord Chancellors and persons holding very high legislative ofi-ices would in time have persuaded the public that such an Act as this was radically necessary. He believed the Act to be absolutely unworkable and doomed to failure, nt it was a compromise. He did not believe it would be ever applied to any district after the first, and thought that no harm could be done by the experiment, although they must sympathise with tho district ex erimented upon. If the Act had not passed, so icitors would have been told) that they had thrown it out; but in the future they could tell the public they had made a fair offer, and had given them the opportunity of tcstin the benefits of the registry, that it had proved a hopeless and irremezigiable failure, and all they could ask them was to be quiet in future. Ho thought the subject might have received more attention from the members of the Bar, who had been somewhat lukewarm with regard to it. Without attempting to defend the drafting of the Act or the system of registration of title, while being absolutely hostile to any system of compulsion. he would hm-e his opposition to tho motion on these two grounds—first, that they were adopting what was not an unreasonable compromise; and, second, that solicitors at any rate were putting themselves in a very strong position for the future.

Mr. B. G. Lairs opposed the motion. He said that his difliculty in so doing arose from the fact that Mr. Rubinstein’s motion and speech difiercd so very widely. When he saw the resolution he had thought it was a little vague, but he had been relieved to hear from Mr. Rubinstein that he disassociated Parts 1, 2, and 4 from his criticism, and proposed to deal entirely with Part 3, which made the registration of title in certain districts compulsory. But he was afraid he must say that Mr. Rubinstein had wholly misunderstood the Act. He had gathend this from Mr. Rubinstein‘s paper read at the Shetiield meeting, and the same misconception permeated the speech. There were two objections to the Act, and he really thought only two—he meant to the system. Ho

should not propose to follow the discussion whether registration of title or of deeds was good. He did not conceive that that came before them. But the real objection to the Act was, that it compelled the new system to be introduced. He took it that compulsion was what they had all felt to be the great evil of the Act, and, as Mr. Rubinstein had said, so long as it was left as a voluntary system,as it had been since 1862, there was no great objection to giving it a fair trial. The objection to compulsion was very easily formulated, and was not always so easily met. But compulsion was rather the rule than the exception in legislation with the present day. He would show how far it operates in conveyancing. There were three or four systems, such as in Yorkshire and Middlesex, in which the system of com ulsion was in force, and had been for years. It was not a new system at all. The mere system of compulsion was not of itself an objection to the Act. Prirmi facie he agreed that if a thing was good it ought to be taken to voluntarily, and if bad it ought not to be made compulsory ; but that only ut half the case. Ho wanted to explain what the Act really would do. All these alarmist views about the unfortunate purchaser taking his deeds to the registry and having such one of three certificates as the Registrar preferred were moon

that if a man voluntarily went for an absolute title ho could do so. To that none of them could have any objection. If he wont for an absolute title and it turned out that he could have it subject to one defect, he might withdraw his application, or he might have a qualified title. A qualified title merely meant that there was a note in the margin, that there was an outstanding legal estate or something of that kind. N o one could have the certificate unless he sought it and chose to accept it. A purchaser bought his land, and went to the Registrar and said, “Hero is a conveyance under which I am entitled in fee simple to Blackacres.” The Registrar would look at the form he brought, and if the deed carried out that he would give him a certificate of possessory title, which renll meant that the Registrar was satisfied that the purchaser coming to him hail acquired the right to possession of that land. If he wanted to mortgage it the next day he would not have to wait years or months for his title. He had nothin to do with that. The Act said that the possossory title meant this only, 518$ for the future the title was absolute if one dealt on the register excepting with regard to any matter which had taken place prior to the date of the registration. In other words, the certificate of a possesso title operated, as had been well said, as a filter to a muddy river. It dilly not affect the previous muddy stream, but from the time the filter was used, it cleared it.

The man who had bought not for immediate sale, but to keep, would in fifteen or twenty yours have a title which would show he was absolute owner, because how many solicitors would hesitate to acce t a title based on a conveyance twenty years old P This, in fact, was what the certificate would be. There was no obligation on any body, even in a compulsory area, to submit his deeds or his title to tho Registrar. He had simply to say, “ I am in possession," and the Rggistrar would give his certificate. It was provided—he thought by the r es-that the Registrar should not give a certificate or possossory title without havin a document of some kind produced to him. That got rid of a good deafof difiiculty. If a man wanted an absolute title ho could have it. But he was not even invited to o for it, because the scale of fees settled for the purposes of the Act ap mil only to registration of possossory title. The higher scale of fees applied to those who went for an absolute or qualified title. On whose behalf were they asked to express approval of the Act P If of the community, then the solicitors were, of course, a part of the community, by no means a majority, and surely it was not without force to say that of that community as represented in Parliament, all the principal landowners had passed the Act. The House of Commons would have passed it by a majority of ten to one if it had ever come to a decision. The bankers were satisfied with the Act, and the building societies were satisfied with it. Both the bankers and the building societies opposed the Bill of 1895, but neither opposed the present Bill.

Mr. RUHXNBTEIN : Tho building societies are against it.

Mr. Laxs said he was not able to quote an authority, and therefore accepted the statement as what Mr. Rubinstein believed. But, in considering the question, it was found impossible to get the building societies to act in organised form against the Bill. What happened was, that it was found that the time for argument had well-nigh ceased. Speaking as the whole legal profession, because the Council of the Incorporated Law Society had been assisted throughout and up to the last by a leading conveyancer, it was found that the arguments on one side and the other were practically unanswerable. There were a certain number of men who believed in the system of registration, and of making it compulsory; and a still larger number who were inclined to adopt registration of title, but could not make up their minds that it should be com ulsory. In that state of affairs there were only two things to be done. Either the Bill must have been fought out in the House of Commous—and, having regard to the fact that the leaders of both parties were in favour, there would have been no chance of succoss—or that must have been done which was done, namely, an experiment must be tried to see whether the arguments as to failure or success were right. Argument could not decide the question, and it was necessary to i have some trial in order to see whether or not the objectors or the supporters

took the mcre correct view. What had to be done by those who had nothing to do with the Bill was to take care that there should be a band fidc experim_ent, that its period should be limited, that there should be sufiicient time given to show whether, when brought into practical working. it was a success. All that had been done. Although there was power for the Queen to proclaim by Order in Council that the Act should apply to any county or part of a count ,that could not take effect without the consent, or at least in opposition to the dissent, of the local governing body. The County Council had to consider the question, and if the circumstances of their county were such that to introduce the Act would be,in their opinion,a mistake, they had only to say l so, and the Act did not give anyone, Queen or anyone else, power to Ova;-ride t that decision. And that was not the only precaution. Tint order itself


shine. There was nothing of the kind in the Act. What happened was,

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