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only encroach on his time but must try his temper. There is one barrier under Order xxvihus 15, are apparently conditions precedent to the issue
which unnecessarily impedes the intending suitor at an early stage in his career. I refer to the restrictions involved in thempresent requisites for obtaining leave, when leave to commence is requir under section 74. I um aware how narrowly the public escaped a ridiculous increase of these restrictions under the lately withdrawn Rules, but I nevertheless venture to suggest that even the existing restrictions could well be relaxed with advantage to everybody concerned. The vast majority of cases in which leave is sought is where the action is for the price o goods sold or services rendered. In all these cases where the original creditor is suing tho discretion which has to be exercised is apparent rather than real; for since the decision in Northey v. Gidney (1894, 1 Q,.B. 99) it has been clear that such a plaintiff can invariably sue where he resides or carries on business, since it is there where the money must be paid, and there, accordingly, that the cause of action in part arises. The registrar, therefore, in all such cases grants leave as of course, and it is surely ridiculous to have to ask for something which is matter of course. Personally, I have never since this decision refused it in these cases, or heard of its being refused, though I am aware that a registrar may refuse it with impunity (Regina v. Turner, 1897, 1 Q,.B. 445). S0 long as Northey v. Gidney stands—and it is to be hoped that may be for good-no leave to commence an action by an original creditor for the price of goods sold and delivered or services rendered should be required. or if it is, it should be granted without aifidavit and upon the precipe only. No one who has not experienced it can appreciate or even conceive the vast amount of trouble and annoyance that these truly formidable affidavits for leave entail; in fact, to my knowledge, heaps of would-be litigants for small sums are thereby choked off. Apart from the trouble of filling them up-and they frequently have to be rejected for erroneous filling in, unless the creditor can make it convenient to attend the registrar's otfice, which ma mean a morning wasted—he has to pay :1 solicitor ls. 6d. to he sworn, und'ho cannot get this ls. 6d. back, nor can his own solicitor recover any costs for preparing it or attending to be sworn. It is a sufficient answer to the argument that an unrestricted power to sue a defendant outside the district might lend itself to abuse to point out that Order XIL, rule 9, ahead reduces any such possibility to a minimum, by enabling a defend’ant—-who has a good defence, and who lives more than twenty miles from the court-to claim his expenses of attending court as a condition precedent to the continuance of the action. I would remind you that no such leave is necessary in the City of London Court, and why there should be such an invidious distinction between the City of London Court and the City of Manchester Court I cannot imagine. With reference to the judicial powers of registrars, it would unquestionably be an excellent thing to adopt the recommendations of the Council, raising his contentious jurisdiction to £5, though why it should be confined to contract, as suggested, is ditficult to see. At present a. registrar, by the general permission cf the judge, and the rarely refused assent of the parties, has contentious jurisdiction in tort up to £2, and, if my experience is anything to go by, the difierence between £2 and £5 in actions of tort certainly does not involve any greater legal ability or entail any increased responsibility. In fact, anyone with county court experience knows that, es ecially in tort, the amount involved is quite an unsound test of responsibility. Why then hesitate to give the power up to £5, irrespective of whether the cause of action is ea: contractu or ea: delicto? Such a change would out down the remanets and involuntary adjournments, which are such a frequent cause of vexation, and for this reason alone would be an incalculable boon to suitors. When we recollect that, in the exercise of bankruptcy jurisdiction, a registrar is called upon to decide points of the greatest nicety and importance, including the trial of disputed proofs up to £200, without any appeal except to a divisional court, it is diflicult to see the logic of the suggested limitation. An expedient for relieving the judge's list was recently a opted in some districts with marked success. Certain days were set apart each month on which were held was termed a. “ re istrar’s court," for which were entered all cases looked upon as undefended. The registrar presided over this court, exercising such jurisdiction as he is empowered to by sections 90 and 92 of the Act. Some doubts appear to have arisen as to the legality of this expedient, as to the power of the registrar to exercise judicial functions in the absence of the judge; and it appears to have been discontinued. Such a practice might well be authoritatively re-organised, as there can be no doubt that it would greatly facilitate the dispensation of justice in that it would leave practically nothing but contentious business for the judge's sitting. So far as I am aware, the only objection is a sentimental one; but it is not always a compliment to registrars to countenance the idea.—I say it with all respectthat their forensic prowess is reflected from the ju ge. I commend this system to your notice as a ready solution of the “ block" problem that troubles so mandv of the heavier courts. There would be no more complaints of over-crowds lists, and that greatest of all grievances, procrastination, would disappear. It is suggested that suitors ought to be able to have a special jury. This is, however, a very unsubstantial grievance, as any party can, as things are, have a special jury by merely suggesting its desirabilit to the registrar. I know at least one genial registrar who prides himself on his juries, and I have on occasions heard five or six county justices “ breathing out threatenings and slaughter " against this disciple of the law at being afiorded an opportunity of earning a shilling. His idea is that it was on excellent thing now and again to disabuse the minds of big men of the notion that his court was merely a small debts collecting agency. There are several respects in which the practice might be amended or elucidated with advantage, and one thing that occurs to me is what a lot of time is wasted in filling up superfluous forms, for I take it any form that no one ever reads must be superfluous. For instance, Nos. 10, 19, aud 172 are filled up by the score quite unnecessarily, the recei t of the summons or the warrant being a suflicient indication to the high bailiff of what he is required to do. Then, whoever reads the pile of aflidavits in proof of moans, which,
of a judgment summons where there has been no payment for four months? N o suitor would be such a fool as to summons a man who is out of work, as he knows that the judge would promptly order him to pay the debtor’s expenses, and the last thing :1 plaintifi'—-and particularly a plaintifl‘ ‘s agent —cares about is to figure as a “ biter bit." These things a pear unimportant in themselves, but they immensely increase labour, and anything which serves no useful purpose should be abolished. I have never yet met anyone who understood Order IX rule 16 (a). lt is an enigma; and why the admission of a fraction of the plaintifi"s claim should saddle a counterclaimant with a court fee, when a wholly disputed claim may be counterclaimed to any amount without fee, I have never been able to understand. A great deal has been made of the alleged delays in the oflice of the high bailifi‘. One cause of such delay occurs to me that might well be removed. At present it is necessary—if the court to which tho process is sent happens not to be that within the district of which the defendant resides-—to return the summons to the home court—although maybe the bailifi‘ knows perfectly well which is the right district, and could just as easily send it there direct instead of returning it to the home court, and leaving it to them to find out. Nor does the 500 yards indulgence avail anything in this case, since (apparently per incuriam) sec. 77 of the Act only empowers the bailifl of the home court to go 500 yards across hi boundary. If he is serving a foreign summons he cannot go a yard across. And hereon it would be an incalculable boon if there were some authorised large scale map correctly indicating the boundaries of each district ; as things are at present—and especially in view of the frequent changes that are being made—it is not always easy to ascertain which is the right court in which to sue your man. The ofiicial “alphabetical index ” is by no means a satisfacto or an infallible guide. Sec. 156 of the Act requires a claimant of goods tdken in execution-if ho wish to avoid a sale—eitherto deposit or give security for their value, or else a suflicient sum to pay the costs of keeping ossession. The words of the section are plain; nevertheless some high bailiffs presume to place their own construction upon it—a construction quite at variance with the meaning, and one which I have known to operate harshly upon the execution creditor. Take a frequent case: An execution for £5 is levied at u house where there are, say, £100 worth of goods. The goods are frivolously claimed by the wife or some relation. Instead of requiring the claimant to deposit or give security for “the value of the goods claimed,” the high bailiff only demands a deposit of the sum endorsed on his warrint; this comparatively small sum is readily forthcoming, and an interpleader issue, involving vexatious trouble and expense, follows. The issue results in judgment for the execution creditor, with attendant costs which are never recovered. My point is, that if the high bailifl‘ required-as he certainly ought—the “vu ue of the goods” to be deposited, avexatious claimant would not raise the ruoney, and the execution would be paid out. I don't fancy the ordinary outsider has any conception of the vast number of fictitious claims with which it is sought to hoodwink the bailiffs, and wherever the practice I allude to obtains it constitutes a considerable grievance and should be desistcd from. In view of the decision in Haddon v. Mouton (1894, 1 Q.B. 165), that the effect of a successful execution creditor taking the amount of the deposit was to estop him from afterwards denying the title of the claimant to the specific goods, it would seem desirable for the successful execution creditor to ignore the deposit and take the goods. There is a point I.1IIl(l8l‘ sec. 160 of the Act, the harsh operation of which upon weekly tenants (who form the vast majority of execution debtors) is so striking that it is extraordinary it has not been ventilated before. As is well known, under this section the landlord of an execution debtor can step in as against the execution creditor and claim the rent in arrear, which the bailifl' must then retain, and if a sale becomes necessary he has to sell so much of the goods as shall be required to satisfy “ First, the cost of and incidental to the sale; next the claim of such landlord, not exceeding the rent of four weeks where the tenement is let by the week . . . and lastly, the amount for which the warrant was issued." The hardship to which I would dirlct attention arises where the execution debtor--as so frequently ha.ppens- desires to pay out the bailifl' within tho five days, and so avoid a sale. In this case, whatever the amount of the rent in srrear—short of six years—the unfortunate tenant must find it, or the bailiff must sell, since it is only when he sells that the four weeks’ limit must be observed. The result is a hardship on the tenant where he wants to avoid a sale, or else an injustice to the landlord where a sale actually takes place. An example will illustrate the absurdity of the osition:—The bailiff executesa ii. fa. on a weekly tenant for 5s. The Ihndlord steps in with a claim for £18, being twelve months rent at 5s. per week. If the tenant wished to avoid the expense and house-wreck of a sale he must plank down £18 5s. and costs, whereas if he lets the sale proceed he gets out of the hole for £1 5s. and costs. Query, Wh‘y should the bailifl' be compelled to seize for £18 5s. when he can only sell or £1 5s. P Another great hardship on the tenant, in which the Treasury is also concerned, occurs to me. A landlord enters a plaint against his tenant for possession under sec. 138, alleging that defendant is a weekly tenant at a rent of 5s. per week; on this plaint he pays 3s. for plaint and hearing. On the trial defendant satisfies the judge that he is not a weekly tenant, and of course obtains judgment, but his joy is short lived, as he finds—subject t » the operation of sec. 119, which is very limited—that he can get no costs at all except witnesses’ nor has the judge even power to award any, because his costs have (under Order L. rule 10) to be taxed “ on the scale applicable to the rent or value of the premises on which the court fees are assessed," viz., 5s. The result is, that by entering his case on the fooling of the tenant being a. weekly tenant, t e latter is compelled—if he fights -to fight at his own cost in any event, and the Treasury is done out of fees, because both fees and costs ought to le charged on the nature of the tenancy as ultimately determined by the judge, since it is the real tenancy, and not what the plaintiff‘ choosis to call it, that ought to be the determining factor.
But the question of costs is a very large one, and any registrar could fill a paper with lacunae, anomalies, and absurdities under the existing practice. It has been suggested that county court practitioners are handicapped by the absence of pleadings, but I can confidently say that I have never yet seen anysuch case. The few notices of special defence required fulfil all that is needed, and the absence of pleadings has the decided advantage of sharpening the wits of the county court practitioner, who has to be always on the alert for “ points,” and is never taken by surprise when he has done his work properly. 'Tis to be hoped that the advent of pleadings in the county court is far distant. I have one suggestion to make, however, which would, I think, be distinctly beneficial, and that is, that the defendant should be required under Order X. rule 10 to give notice of the defence of no jurisdiction. There are some cases where under the rules an alternative procedure is provided; this entails confusion, as the practice is not uniform, and the practitioner finds his own registrar doing things one way and a neighbouring registrar another. Perhaps the procedure for discovery is the best illustration. Leave for discovery can be had either’ ex parts under Order XII. rule ll (a), or on notice for directions, under Order XV. rule 1. The former would seem in ordinary cases to be the better plan, but I believe it will be found that the latter is more generally adopted, it being thought iindesii-able—especially where the opposite side is not legally represented —to make so stringent an order behind an opponent’s back. Again, whilst on this subject, some judges will not allow their registrars to make orders for discovery and assume the right to approve the specific interrogatories. AltlIl0l€fl1 this is done ostensibly to prevent abuse and keep down costs, I respec ully suggest that it fails to serve this or any useful purpose. A practice prevails in some districts which might well be authoritatively and therefore universally recognised. At my court as many as 500 judgment summonses are frequently entered for a single day, and it is obviously necessary to economise time. With this object—and in order to enable the judge to deal more efliciently (because better armed) with the debtors, and also to keep down the costs—a circular (stamped and addressed for return) is sent by the court to each employer inquiring the average earnings of the debtor, with an intimation that the employer is not bound to give the information, but may by acceeding avoid being reqiired to attend on subpoena. It is found that the employer invariably responds, and thns the court is placed in possession at first hand of direct and unequivocal evidence of “means” with which to check the statement of the judgment debtor in the box. These returns are frequently “a source of innocent merriment" in the eye-opener they prove to the wife. How familiar it is to us to hear it so frequently. The debtor's wife-they nearly always send their wives—-in answer to the stereotyped question, “ Well, what is he earning ? ” glibly responds, “ He's only getting 18s. a week." (Q ) “ Is that all you get? " (A.) " Yes, yer honour." (Q.) “ Well, would you like to know that he is earning 26s. P” says the ‘ud e, who has it on the return. Then as it gradually dawns upon the gocii lady that she has been “ spoofed ” by her wily spouse she portentously mutters, “ You don't say! Well, wait till I get home: I'll warm him." It should be added that a fee of 3d. is allowed against each debtor on whose case one of these returns is used, being just sufficient to cover postages and printing; and as the judge has power under Order XXV. rule 22 to allow the expenses of witnesses summoned on the hearing of a judgment summons, and every purpose served by subpoening an Bmdployel‘ is achieved by these returns, it will be conceded that they consi erably mitigate the burden and thus redound to the advantage of the judgment debtor, and certainly of the cause of justice. Whilst on judgment summonses I should like to direct attention to the abominable and wholly unnecessary complexity of detail which their preparation involves. Just examine that monstrosity intituled "50 B ," and if you have ever seen anything to a preach it (except, of course, an income tax return or an inland revenue aflidhvit) I shall be surprised. N o one who has not experienced it can have any conception of the trouble and worry involved in working out the details requisite to properly fill up the form where there have been previous judgment summonses. I defy any ordinary mortal, certainly a poor judgment debtor, to understand them, and it is perfectly monstrous that they are retained in their present form. The word “and ” in the eighth line from the bottom of this form should surely be “or.” And before quitting the subject of judgment summonses I should like to refer to a matter upon which the Council has made the following strong recommendation —viz., “That the provisions of section_'l2 of the County Court Act, 1888, and of Order LI. rule 1, relating to parties appearing by agents, other than solicitors, be amended, so as to prevent debt collectors appearing for suitors or as advomtes under the guise of witnesses or otherwise, either on the hearing of claims or judgment sim_imonses." This is the only recommendation of the committee with which have any disposition to quarrel, but I do wish to record my emphatic opinion_that this recommendation is not only uncalled-for, but is ininiical to the interests of suitors, and therefore of the profession, and strikes at the very root of the growth and efficiency of this tribunal. I have always been an uncompiomising stickler for the rights of our profession, but I protest against its being suggested that the ordinary debt collector is an enemy of our craft, a poacher upon our preserves. The suggested suppression of the debt collector reminds one of tho policy of those keepers who slay the owls and the magpies in the foolish belief that they are ridding themselves of a pest. A person who woull silence the honest debt co ector does not know what ho is talking about. It is notorious amongst those who have a practical experience of those muchabused individuals that they are the very life of the court, filling a place that is essential to success, and performing work that, so far from infringing the rights of tho profession, no solicitor could or would do. As zit present constituted a heavy court could not get along without the debt collector; he _is an integral factor in the machinery. The dog ed pertinacity with which an energetic man of this class will nunt up—and finally succeed in obtaining oi ders agaiust—that large class who feed on the credit system, and
are the bans of the small shopkeeper, is wonderful ; and then the laborious part of his labour only commences. Executions against this class of debtor are useless. The money has to be dragged out of them in shillings on ‘udgment summonses. It is at this stage that his aid is simply invaluable. He knows all about every one of his debtors; he can tell the judge where he works, what he is earning, how many children and what sort of a wife he has, whether he is an honest fellow, or an idle scoundrel: in short, he not only assists the court, but a court that has to dispose of some hundreds of judgment summonses in o. day would be paralysed without him. Let anyone who doubts this, or imagines I am hyperbolical in my advocacy, attend the sitting of a large court on a judgment summons day, and watch a single debt collector going through the ordeal of bringing to book as many as 150 or 200 judgment debtors without leaving the box, and then ask him—without fear of contradiction—how the court could do wiihout the debt collector, and how any solicitor can be so foolish as to be jealous of him. If you destroy the vocation of the debt collector by silencing his voice in court, you will deal a blow at the county court system from which it will never recover. Do not then “killthe goose that lays the golden eggs.” Does anyone suppose the small shopkeeper could or would do this work himself? Not he; he would rather strike the names ofl' as ii-recoverable debts than have the worry of personally collecting them through the agency of the county court. And does anyone seriously suggest that he ought to employ a solicitor for such work, or that there is a solicitor in this assembly who would do it ? Why then advocate s policy that is worse than "dog-in-the-manger.” “ Oh I " I hear someone say, “ these fellows are harpies, who prey upon the misfortunes of the poor." Bathosl A dishonest or oppressive debt collector is a suicide, for I have ri shrewd belief he would not be dishonest or oppressive twice, even were he inclined that way. He is too anxious to stand well with the judge, for he knows that success depends on his having a good name with his honour, and woe be to that agent who ina fit of mistaken zeal essays to mislead thejudge; the judge would never trust him again, and his occupation would be gone. As a body, they are a hari-working, trustworthy, and conscientious lot of men, and well deserve the 20 per cent. which represents their commission. I hold no brief for the debt collector, but I eel very strongly _on this subject, and am sure that the committee's recommendation would-if acted upon-work a great injustice to a deserving class of men, handicap suitors in the collection of their debts, seriously increase the worry of the judge, and assuredly deplete the national Exchequer. Just one fact to supplement these remarks and clinch the argument. At my court, which is a comparatively small one, I frequently pay out to individual debt collectors hun reds of pounds at a time, and at a time receive batches of plaints running well into three figures. Ancnt the credit system, there is one phase of it which should be controlled. I refer to the travelling drapers and others who go round from house to house in the day time, “ when the good man is not at home,” prevailing upon the " foolish ones " to pledge their husband’s credit for finery. Judgment summonses are continual y showing up the abuse of this practice; time after time the defendant comes into the box and tolls the judge that he did not know his wife was dealing with the “Scotchman_’ until the summons came. Sometimes, indeed, the advent of the bailiffs is his first intimation, as his wife not infrequently suppresses the summons. I am, of course, aware that a husband who allows his wife suflicient money, or who forbids her to pledge his credit, is out of the reach of this class of creditor. But to get at the facts of each case is so diflicult and involves such a lot of perjury, and the system lends itself to such great abuse, that some restriction might be well placed upon it. One of the ablest of _our county court judges suggested to me the other day that something on the lines of the Statute of Frauds should be introduced, preventing any action being brought against the husband in such circumstances unless he had signed s memorandum of the transaction, or the goods were delivered to and accepted by him, or he had personally paid somethmg on account thereof. I take this opportunity of commen ing the suggestion to your notice, even if_ it had nothing more to back it than the experience of the high authority from whence it came. Another point on section 72 of the Act. What is this cry for amendment to enable one solicitor to represent another? It 18 a class cry, emanating from the large firm only. It _is surely to the advantage of the younger solicitors that things should reinain_ as they are, since they are thereby enabled to get work that would otherwise be lost to them. It results in a more cquable distribution of work, as a firm is at present dissuaded from taking cases which none of the_partners_can conduct through, and so the largo firms have to decline the business, which finds its way into younger hands, who would never have ii. chance at it if the family solicitor could take it and then pass it on to his nominee. The rights of the younger solicitors, and, I submit, the interests of the public, are best served by letting things remain as they are. There is another thing that is crying aloud for redress. Up in Lancashire we have two local courts, the Salford Hundred Court of Record, and the Liverpool Court of l?assagc, whose jurisdiction competes with that of the county court on unfair lines. As is well known, un er section 122 of the Bankruptcy Act, the county court judge has power in certain cases to make administration orders for the protection of debtors whose aggregate indebtedness does not exceed £50, and the preservation of their small estates. Now what happens ? Through the medium of these two favoured courts an alert and rapacious creditor is able the moment he receives-as he must do - notice of the intended application to issue ii. writ, get judgment by default, or at any rate under Order XIV., and sweep away the whole of the poor fellows assets under the very nose of the County Court judge, for there is no stay under the Act uni-11 the order is made (sub-sec. 5). This is an intolerable and iniquitous state of affairs, and the marvel is that it has not been stopped long ago, as it so frequently rouses the ire of the judge. A simple remedy would be to provide that the request (not the order) should operate as a stay under sub-sec. 5. I would now mention another matter which is, I know, of s
,mors controversial character, but which has an important bearing on the
status and elficiency of the county court. I refer to the pressing necessity for arming county court judges with some short and summary method of counteracting the truly frightful amount of perjury which is daily committed with the utmost impunity. No one who is not familiar with the court can have any conception of the alarming extent to which it prevails. And is it any wonder while the only expedient is indictment at the assizes ? Without wishing to apologise for or appear to underrate the moral delinquency of such perjury I would say that it is altogether too trumpery, too lenial for indictment. \Vhat is wanted is that the county court judge should be empowered to commit an obvious offender right in the face of what would be an awe-stricken audience to prison for fourteen days, with a right of appeal (to guard aglainst remotely pomible hastiness) to the judge of assize. Not till then s all we succeed in cleansing our administration from this great blot, and be able to say with \Vilmot, C.J., “Procul 0! procul este, profani." Is there any sound reason why a.n action of tort should not be remittable to the county court under the same circumstances as an action of contract under section 65? The only case where such an action is remittable at all is that provided for by section 66, when the plaintiff has no visible means. The anomaly seems to be more ridiculous when one has experienced the mortiflcation of finding that such anaction cannot be remitted even by consent. The necessity for an alteration in this respect was forcibly brought home to the writer quite recently when in two cases the solicitors on both sides asked the district registrar to remit, and on his necessarily declining, both plaintiffs were compelled to abandon honest claims, simply because they could not face the expense of an assize trial. The plaintiff subsequently obtained ll partial remedy by beginning de novo in the county court, but the damages were inadequate. Seeing that “forms of action ” are supposed to have gone the way of the ichthyosaurus, it seems strange that we should at the end of the nineteenth century have occasion under certain circumstances to wrestle with the subtleties involved in distinguishing between causes of action ea: contmctu and ex delieto—subtleties the exquisite involvement of which may delight the soul of the black letter lawyer, but have nevertheless bewildered registrars and taxing masters, and even worried the Lords Justices of Ap eal (Taylor v. The rllnncluster, Shefiirld, and Lincolnrliira Railway Company/,76 IET. 596). Again, why should sect. 64 be confined to Common Law actions? It works one of the greatest hardships in actual practice, that a friendly equity suit—of which there are scarescannot be worked out through the medium of the county court on the spot, and that the subject matter of such suits should therefore be driven into the insatiable maw of the Court of Chancery, from which the residuum emerges emaciated beyond recognition. There is one class of clients which has always had my deepest compassion, in that, like Solomon's “Three Things,” it is “never satisfied," simply because satisfaction is impossible as things are. I refer to the parties to a “ friendly " Chancery suit. Shades of "Bleak House," but the thing still lives! Let the county court have jurisdiction by consent to deal with equity suits of any amount, and you will knock the bottom out of a substantial grievance and lighten the burden of many an unjustly abused solicitor. Another béte noir of the county court practitioner is the defendant who incurs obligations in England and then lithely steps over the border to Scotland or Ireland, or, for that matter, the domici ed Scotchman or Irishman. I venture to say there is not a man in this room who has not experienced the annoyance of being unable to bring such a person to book in the county court. It is in reference to this flaw that I have heard Mr. Bumble’s aphorism most frequently repeated. The look of blank amazement and disgust on the face of your client when you have to tell him, with apologetic and downcast mien, that he must follow his 30s. debtor to Aberdeen or Cork is a thing to be remembered. It is, in truth, a reproach to the law, when one bears in mind the extensive and close business relations existing between the several divisions of the United Kingdom, that she should not provide a creditor residing in Manchester with the same local remedy against a debtor in Glasgow as he has against a debtor in Swansea. We make all sorts of exprtions to swallow the public international camel, but we still strain at the private international gnat. One point on court fees seems to have escaped attention. A voluble lady defendant comes into the witness-box, and after an excited harangue, which may last for ten minutes, you discover she really admits the debt, but is bent on what she calls “ speaking her mind.” You never hear this expression from a man. You thereupon make an order for payment, and for this lengthy “ hearing" you debit her ls. in the £. In the next few cases defendant does not turn up; you make half a dozen orders in two minutes, and defendant is rewarded for considerately expediting the business of the court by having to pay 2s. in the £ for the “hearing." Why should this unfairness continue? That it is illogical, unjust, and accidental can be seen when it is borne in mind that for entering judgment on a default summons, when defendant, after giving notice of defence, fails to appear, the fee is ls. in the £. Tho common notion that a defendant who owes the debt will save money by staying away is clearly a fallacy, which I have a shrewd bfillcf is not as widely known as it deserves to be. I cannot close this already long paper without referring to the recent extraordinary decision by the Court o Appeal in the case of Manl_r/omer_1/ v. Do Bulnu (rcferrcd to in the L.T.N. for June 25th last, but not yet authoritatively reported, as, if permitted to pass unchallenged, it would have a detrimental operation upon our courts by dissuading one class of creditor—the High Court judgment creditor-from seeking our aid to enforce his judgment. In that case it appears to have been held, by a strong court, that after s Hi h Court judgment creditor had taken the requisite steps under section 5 of tie Debtor's Act, and rule 17 of Order XXV., to enforce his judgment by commitment in the county court, he was debarred from thereafter issuing execution in the High Court. As I am not aware how he could issue execution in the county court, the result appears to be that he cannot in such case issue execution at all, in spite of the provision in section 5 of the Debtor's Act that “ no imprisonment under this section shall . . . deprive any person of his right to take out execution," and of the fact that the rule (rule 17)
only contzmplates a removal “to enforce by commitment,” and not absolutely. At present the position seems incomprehensible and its possibilities disastrous, and something should be done to get a plaintiff out of such a ridiculous cul de sac as this decision would seem to land him into. These are 9. few of the thoughts that occur to me as the result of a not inconsidcrable experience of county court practice. l. don’t pretend that they are exhaustive—no one knows better than I do that this is far from being the case-nor have I presumed to reiterate many other acknowledged grievances that are already receiving consideration. It is because it seemed to me that there was more to be said upon the subject than tho Council's report would seem to suggest, and because there are indications on all hands that the immediate future will be a momentous epoch in the evolution of the county court, that I determined to use the opportunity afforded by this meeting of making the foregoing observations, in the hope that others might be induced to do likewise, so that before it is too lat: a period so pregnant with poisibilitics
may not be allowed to pass without a determined concentration of effort to
secure that justice be done to the county court. _
Mr. W. T. Rooiras (Liverpool) could not agree with the proposition that debt collectors should be allowed to appear in court and act for suitors.
Mr. J . T. ATKINSON (York) spoke in favour of enabling one solicitor to employ another. \Vhy should some of them, to whom had been denied the gift of eloquence, be debarred from employing another solicitor instead of having to go to the expense of briefing counsel.
Mr. A. H. Conur (Birmingham) was in favour of the simplification of forms in the county court.
Mr. H. Bsvia (Wootton Bassett) said that when debt collectors handed in plainte running into three figures it was obvious that they must occupy a good deal of the practice of the court.
Mr. J. MILLER (Bristol), Mr. G. H. Fmcii (London), Mr. H. P. CHARLES (Neath), Mr. McLai.i.siv and Mr. C. W. Snsrsn (Swansea) also spoke.
REGISTERING Dssns IN Y0ltlfSHIlI.E.. Mr. W. C. Aurr (Sheflield) read a paper entitled, “ A Few Remarks on the Manner of Registering Deeds iii the West Riding of Yorkshire ” :
In Yorkshire the largest share of work falls to tho ‘Vest Riding Registry of Deeds, and it may be of interest to note the practical working of the registry, particularly as wc are in the West of England, and presumably many present are unacquainted with the practice of the Yorkshire registries. The following remarks apply, with slight modification, to the East and North Riding Registries. Registry is permissive, and not compulsory but in practice it is always usual to register. The instructions for record on the register are generally by way of “ memorial," and until recently memorials were engrossed on parchment of oblong form, sealed with wax, and were directed “ To the Registrar of the West Riding of the County of York, or his lawful deputy." Formerly one of the witnesscs had to attend personally at the registry to be sworn to the fact of witnessing tho execution of the deed proposed to be registered. The journey was often made on horseback. It was usual for practitioners to delay registration, and wait until a number of deeds were ready, and then send to the registry. This attendance was one of the picturesque little incidents of clerkship. Now, all documents can be sent by post and registered without delay. Deeds and wills form the greater number of the documents registered. Of deeds, a conveyance or mortgage of freehold, and an assignment or mortgage of leasehold, are the most frequently registered. A memorial of these deeds is prepared upon printed (paper) forms, issued by the West Riding Printing Co. by authority. The memorial commences with a short description of the deed to be registered, followed by the date of the deed, tho names, addresses, and occupations of the parties to the deed, and a description of the lands to be registered; sometimes by a short reference to a prior registration. The names and addresses of the witnesses to the dee are lastly given, so that it can be readily ascertained by reference to the memorial if any interest in the property had not passed at the date of registration. The memorial is signed and sealed (printed seal) by one of the parties to tho deed, or if he is dead, or an infant, by his legal representative, and the signature is attested by one or more witnesses (in practice generally one witness), one of whom at least shall have been s. witness to the execution of the deed. The memorial bears a stamp of 2s. 6d., or a stamp of similar amount to that on the deed if less than 25. 6d. If distance is not convenient for personal attendance at the registry, the deed and memorial mary be sent by post, addressed to tho registrar, enclosing a postal order for os., the registration fee, and also a stamped directed envelope for return. Postal registration is optional. The deed is usually returned duly registered by the next post. Acknowledgment of its receipt is not required. The minute of registration was formerly written upon the deed. It has been for some years past impressed with n. clear and compact stamp in characters of old English text, stating that a memorial was registered at Wakifield, the date, the hour, the volume at the registry in which the memorial is recorded, with the page and number. The minute is signed by the registrar or his deputy. The statement as to the hour of registry has been of importance in settling questions of priority of title. If there is a. plan on the deed, a copy is required to be registered. If there is suflicient space the copy may be drawn upon the memorial, if not. it may be drawn upon tracing cloth and annexed. A will (on production of the probate, &c., thereof) is generally registered if it includes freehold. It is often registered for leasehold, butas a matter of title this is optional. The memorial docs not require a stamp. The date of the will, the date of testator's decease, his name, residence, and occupation, a description of the lands in the riding affected by the will, and the names and additions of the witnesses to thewil , form the particulars required. The memorial may be signed by the trustee, executor, or a person claiming an interest in some of the land situate in the riding affected by the will. It is a matter of convenience for registration if in drawing a will a short but clear description is given of any property so
situated. A copy of a will may also be enrolled at full length. A lease and counterpart may have the oflicial stamp of registry impressed upon each, if the witness to the memorial is a witness to the lease, otherwise it is usual for the solicitor to place upon the counterpart a written copy of the oflicial memorandum of registration on the lease. Transfers and reconveyances being generally by endorsement, the memorial gives particulars of registration of the previous deed, as the parcels of the endorsed deed are usually “ All those the premises described in the within-written deed." A memorandum of deposit, lien, or charge may be registered at full length, and although this makes the form as a rule more lengthy, there is the advantage of exemption from stam duty on the memorial, and the full nntureo the document is shown on the register. A special form is provided for registration of a statutory receipt. The statement or memorial is, equally with the receipt, exempt from stamp duty. No provision for a date is made in the statutory form, but for convenience it is usual to add the date at the foot of the receipt, so that the requirement of the date in the statement may be complied with. A witness to the receipt is not necessary. The statement contains a description of the mortgage deed upon which the receipt is endorsed; a note of the registry of the mortgage; particulars of the name, residence, and occupation of the person on whose behalf the receipt is to be registered ; the date of the receipt ; the township in which the property affected by the receipt is situate. The statement is then signed by the person requiring the same to be registered, a witness to such signature not being necessary. A copy of the receipt then follows. The Oflicial Memorandum of Registry states that “A copy of the receipt was registered,” the further particulars of registration being in the usual form. Ccpyholds are exempted from the operation of the Registration Acts. In practice deeds of enfranchisement are registered. Documents of more infrequent occurrence which may be registered are the discharge of a corporation charge, order of court or Charity Commissioners, certificate of appointment of trustee in bankruptcy, private Act of Parliament, or order or award of land commissioners. The newest innovation under the last Registry Act was probably allowing the registration of a caveat. The printed form for registry constitutes the caveat, and requires the date, the names, addresses, and occupations of the grantor and grantee, the length of period for which the caveat is given, and a description of the lands affected. t is signed and sealed by the person by whom the caveat is given, and its execution must be attested by one witness at least. The registry fee is 2s. To discharge the caveat from the register is a more difficult matter, and the steps necessary apply also to the discharge of a memorandum of de osit or other lien or charge. In the first place an official form, called an aflidjavit of discharge, is required for enrolment. It must bear a 2s. 6d. stamp, and must be sworn before a commissioner. A form of consent to the enrolment of the aflidavit of discharge must be signed by the persons entitled to the charge and witnessed by an independent witness. Upon the last-mentioned form is also an aflidavit of proof of the due execution of the consent. Such aflidavit requires a 2s. 6d. stamp, and must be sworn before a commissioner. The registry fee is the usual one of 5s. If the document registered is a memorandum of deposit or written charge, the official certificate-—viz., that of registration of “An afiidavit of dischargo"—is endorsed. A search for registered documents may be either ordinary or oflicial, the latter being the more usual, and, affording as it does an oflicial certificate of lhe result of such search, it is a matter of title generally preferred. The fees for an oificial search are 7s. 6d. for any one name for any period not exceeding ten years, and a further fee of 2s. 6d. for every additional period of five years. The form of requisition for an oflicial search in the registry does not require a stamp. The name, address, and description of the person on whose behalf the search is to be made is followed by similar particulars as to the person against whom the search is to be made, and if a search is required to be made in more names than one, a separate requisition must bc made in respect of each name. Dates of the period between which dates the search is to be made are then given, followed by a brief description of the lands in respect of which the search is required to be made, or a. reference to a registry where they are described. The date is inserted, and the requisition signed by or on behalf of the person making it. In practice it is generally signed by the solicitor. The form is then sent to the registrar, with the fee of 7s. 6d. if the search is in any one name and for a period not exceeding ten years, and a further fee of 2s. 6d. for every additional period of five years. The oflicial certificate of search states that the registrar, havin received a requisition for an ofiicial search, has caused the search to be made, and that the documents shortly set out in the schedule annexed to the certificate form 9. complete list of the instruments registered within the period mentioned. The certificate is signed by the registrar and bears the ofiicial seal. It is endorsed with the name of the part ' against whom the search is made, and the dates between which such search is made. \Ve have only noticed the salient points connected with the ractice in the registr ; the subject is exhaustively treated in Mr. Burgers excellent manual. The registry is threatened by the Land Transfer Act of last year. The smooth working of the registry has been aided by the courtesy invariably shown by the oflicials, and personally I wish to acknowledge my indebtedness to Mr. William Pickard, the present registrar, for his kindness in approving these notes.
Mr. Arurssoiv spoke of the advantage of being able to register deeds at full length. If the present system of registration was to be altered it would have been better for the Government to have adopted the Yorkshire system in its entirety. With regard to the Land Transfer Act he was convinced the Council did the very wisest thing they could under the circumstances, but he was also convinced that the solicitors of Yorkshire did also the wisest act in fighting as they did and happily with success. If the Act was ever to be applied to Yorkshire they had the machinery and should give it the most determined opposition.
Mr. Huivrsa thought the registry of Yorkshire was not likely to be put an end to. The more so because there was a provision in the Land Transfer Act that if the land registry was imposed upon Yorkshire and
the present registry suppressed the Treasury had to make good to the county of York any loss that might be sustained thereby. The Yorkshire county, he believed, derived a considerable income from the existing registry.
Mr. ATKINSON : £7,000 a year.
Mr. HUNTER thought it would be probably a veg considerable time before that county had the Land Transfer Act impos upon it.
J URIBDICTION or ms Couxrr Couars.
Mr. MCLBLLAN moved: “ That the Council be requested to give their attention, at the earliest opportunity, to the observations of the president in his address as to county courts, so that concurrent jurisdiction up to £500 may be given to them with the High Court under the reservations suggested by the president, or such other reservations as the Council may deem expedient.”
Mr. P. Douum. (Liverpool) seconded the motion.
Mr. Human remarked that the Council had already embodied in a report their view that there should be unlimited jurisdiction in the county court, gith unlimited right to the defendant to remove the trial to the High
The motion was adopted by 14 votes to 8.
MAMTIIB Csrrrns. Mr. H. G. CAIPION (London) read a paper upon this subject.
PRIVILBGB UNDER. rna BANIKBUPTCY Acrs.
Mr. G. W. Enwsans (Liverpool) read a paper entitled “ The Question of Pfiivilege as between Solicitor and Client under the Bankruptcy Acts,” as fo ows :
“ It is of the highest importance that a man should be able to consult his solicitor without fear.”—Pn' Cave, J ., in Re Arnott, E2: parts 0/litf Oficial Receiver (50 L. T. 109).
The personal relations of solicitor and client are of such widespread and far-reaching importance to the general public, as well as to our own profession, that a brief consideration of that relationship and of some points affecting it will not, I venture to think, be uninteresting to this influential meeting of lawyers. From the earliest times the privilege of a solicitor with regard to communications passing between himself and his client has been fully recognized by our courts of law. Whether the advice and assistance have been in respect of the client's property or the conduct of his litigation, the principle is well established that the solicitor cannot and will not be allowed to divulge the secrets of his client. “ The secrets were imparted to the solicitor for the client's benefit and should not be used to his detriment ” (Smith v. Kay, 7 H. L. Gas. 750-779). The privilege has not been accorded on the ground of confidence alone, otherwise protection could be claimed for the confidential communications intrusted to a man's medical adviser or clergyman. The protection is strictly limited to the legal adviser, and has never been extended to other persons except ofiicials of state, who cannot be compelled to disclose any State affair, the publication of which would be prejudicial to the community. Nor is the protection afforded on account of any particular importance which the law attributes to the business of legal advisers, but it has its origin, it is said, “ out of regard to the interest of justice which cannot be upholden, and the administration of justice which cannot go on without the aid of men skilled in jurisprudence, in the practice of the courts, and in those matters affecting rights and obligations which form the subject of all judicial proceedings " gGramou_qh v. Gaskell, 1 Myl. & K. 98). It was at one time thought that the
octrine only applied to the communications relating to actual or cxpeited litigation, but it is now settled that the principle applies to all professional communications which pass in a professional capacity. \Vith a knowledge of the security thus afforded him, a client has at all times been able to fearlessly intrust his business to his solicitor, and has never felt it necessary to withhold any matter bearing upon the subject of his affairs. His family secrets as well as his litigious work have always seemed to him safe from the peering eyes of the outside public. Whether the business has been the carrying out of some family arrangement with its preliminary correspondence and delicate interviews and the preparation of the deeds necessary for effectually completing the arrangement, or whether it concerns the adjustment of some of those domestic difierences which from time to time arise, the solicitor has always been able to assure his client that these were matters that need never get outside the family circle. The client, too, in his litigious work following extensive commercial relations could make his statements and reveal his business secrets, believing, as he was advised, that these, not being intended for the information of any other parties to the action who might ultimately turn out important creditors, could never come to their knowledge. Privilege from inspection in respect of his professional communications with his solicitor upon the subject o thc action is claimed and as readily conceded, also for the opinions of his counsel, his brief, and other law papers. Multifarious indeed are the subjects and occasions upon which the relations of solicitor and client become of the most confidential and private character, whether they be of the nature that I have mentioned, or whether they involve other and not less important considerations, such as the raising of additional capital for the client’s business or the conversion of his concern into one of limited liability. The honour and integrity of both solicitor and client are largely involved. In all these transactions the necessary documents are pre ared carrying out the various proposals. The correspondence, probably voluminous, is of no less importance than the attendances and interviews themselves, expressing, as it generally does, the exact relations of the parties and the terms upon which each transaction is arranged. In all these matters the solicitor necessarily and properly makes his entries in hisdrait costs, diaries, cash-books, and ledgers, and preserves other records.
It is never contemplated, while these prosperous relations continue, that a time of adversity may overtake the client. Now, supposing that through reckless or indiscreet dealings, or perhaps misfortune not involving fault, the client may be driven to consult his solicitor upon the complicated character his affairs may have assumed, and to seek his advice upon some conduct which in the eye of the law would amount to an act of bankruptcy. He makes an unreserved disclosure and advice is given, and subsequent steps are taken either to shield the client or to negative the effect of the act of bankruptcy committed. A receiving order is, however, ultimately made against the client and adjudication in bankruptcy subsoquentlyiollows. \/Vhat will then be the position of the parties under these altered circumstances ? Consider that of the solicitor first. His client is probably largely indebted to him for work done; but as a set-off against this he will have in his possession documents upon which he will claim his lien, which may seem to constitute a good security for such indebtedness. He thinks that they are at any rate rivileged from production until he has been paid what is due to him. ‘With respect to the advice he has given his client, and the information he has acquired while acting as his professional adviser, he believes that the fullest privilege will be maintained. It is eminently desirable that this should be so, for the bankruptcy may have been brought about by a former rival in trade, or an embittered creditor may, for his own advantage, be determined to probe to the utmost tho baukrupt's s.fi‘airs and his former dealings with his assets. In the light of these altered circumstances some of the solicitor's entries in his draft costs look somewhat ugly, and some of the correspondence might with prudonee have been worded in a difi‘erent way. And this may equally app y to the entries in the solicitor’s cash book, ledgers, and bank-books. It is probably not until the debtor's answers to the numerous printed questions of the official receiver and the public examination have been given that any difficulty is anticipated. The debtor, as very often happens, is unable to give full details of many of the matters in which he has been concerned. It has been necessary, in his answers to frequently refer to and mention the name of his solicitor, who may have many if not most of the documents belonging to the debtor and can give the exact information required. When the solicitor is approached he objects to production of the documents before discharge of his lien. To give the in
emotion desired about the debtor's affairs would also tend to prejudice his security, and in any case that information he looks upon as privileged. He says that the information has been acquired by him when acting as the baukrupt's adviser, and he cannot disclose it without his client's consent. On the other hand, the client's position is admittedly completely altered. Hi-i rights, whatever they may have been with regard to his property, have now passed to his trustee. The secrets which formerly existed cannot be sot up as against his trustee. He has no longer any power to give or to withhold his consent with respect to any matter affecting his affairs. His privilege has gone, and with it, as we shall presently see, that of his solicitor also. Both are compelled to disclose all information in their power respecting the debtor, his dealings, or property. It has no doubt been the intention of the framers of the Bankruptcy Acts that the examination into the debtor's affairs should be thorough, and that every facility should be given to the trustee for discovery of the debtor's property. The rcvoli1'ion effected in the position of the solicitor and his client by tho worl-rizig of the section could not, however, I venture to think, have been fully foreseen. Let us see for a moment what powers are given by the Bankruptcy Act, 1883, with respect to the question we are now considering. Section 27 is substantially a repetition of the section in the former Bankruptcy Acts upon the same subject. Under this section the court has power, on the application of the ofiicial receiver or trustee, at any time after a receiving order has been made, to summon before it any person known cr suspected to have in his possession any of the estate or effects belonging to the bankrupt, or any person whom the court may deem capable of giving information respecting the debtor, his dealings, or property ; and the court may require any such person to produce any document in his custody or possession relating to the debtor, his dealings, or property. The object of the section is clearly a sweeping one. It is first intended to reach the persons having or believed to have some of the debtor's assets under their control ; but it also has a much wider application. and it is to the latter part of the section that I desire more immediately to direct my remarks. It is not necessary, as a preliminary condition to an examination under the section, that the person should have any of the debtor's property in his actual ossession, or under his control. In most cases, so fer as the solicitor of the debtor is concerned, no property of the bankrupt will be in mortgage or pledge or otherwise vested in him. The fact that the solicitor has acted for the debtor, and is conversant with his affairs, is enough to bring him under the jurisdiction of the court for examination. His position under his client's altered circumstances is at once changed. He is simply, when subpoenaed, an ordinarv witness summoned to give evidence before a court of law. His lien on his client's documents remains, it is true; but he is compelled, at the instance of the oflicial receiver or trustie, to produce all these papers for inspection. It becomes a lien in name only, inasmuch as all information can thus be got from them, and the ofiicial receiver or trustee afterwards probably finds that he can do very well Without tho documents themselves. If there is a document which is necessary for perfecting the trustee's title to some of the baukrupt's property, then the so1icitor's lieu will remain of some value, but he will, in all probability, find himself compelled to fall in with the general body of creditors, and prove for his costs. As to the examination itself, this can be of the most siarching description. The first impression of a solicitor, when served with ll summons under the section referred to, is one of surprise and perhaps consternation. If he is versed in bankruptcy practice, his feelings may be more modified. The first question which naturally then arises is the degree of privilege to be allowed as to communications which have passed between the solicitor and his client. It is true that the information was acquired at atime when tho witness was acting as the baukrupt's solicitor, and solely for the purpose of being advised upon the matters referred to
in the summons. The authorities have long since established and recognised that confidential relationship, and the Courts of Law have cast a duty upon the solicitor to do or say nothing that should be a violation of the confidence reposed in him. To disclose communications thus made to him might lead to most mischievous results, and the privilege when it once exists always exists (Bullock v. Gorrio, 3 Q. B. D. 356); “once a thing is privileged it is always privileged," and cannot again be questioned, even in different circumstances (Pearce v. Foster, 15 Q. B. D. 119). So far as the client is concerned, he naturally objects to the disclosure by his solicitor of anything relating to his afl'airs. Section 27 is, however, emphatic, and appears to revolutionise the position of solicitor and client. The latter is clearly now not entitled to waive or insist upon the privilege which before existed. Ho is bound to disclose all that relates to his property and dealings, and his solicitor cannot claim a higher privilege than himself. And so it comes to pass that those confidential relations which our judges have said should at all times be religiously observed, and the communications passing between the client and his legal adviser, which sho lld be so sacredly respected, are now ruthlessly disregarded. Notice the machinery which sets all this in motion—a mere statement in writing by the otficial receiver or trustee, without even being verified on oath! Such ii power may be made assrious instrument of oppression and injustice, and, rather than face the ordeal, many legal advisers would say to the official receiver or trustee, “I won't trouble about my lien. Take all the documents out of my office, but don’t worry me with a personal examination as to the debtor-'s affairs.” Moreover, it occasions serious loss of time as well as anxiety, to the solicitor. He may be under examination or crosscxamination for hours, and yet cannot claim any adequate remuneration for his attendance. Points may be involved in the case which make it imperative that he should employ counsel. But if the solicitor briefs counsel, he must do so at his own expense. The trustee himself is allowed the costs of both solicitor and counsel. The scope of the examination, too, may be little short of that through which the debtor himself is put at his public examination, the only difference being that the solicitor cannot be compelled to answer questions which may tend to incriminate himself. Even in this respect he is not to be the sole judge. The court must be satisfied that the apprehended danger is real and appreciable, and not of an imaginary character. The past history of the whole of the debtor-‘s dealings in which the solicitor has been concerned may be gone into, and the solicitor may be interrogated and examined with the same minuteness as the debtor llim self. Let us suppose, for example, that the solicitor has acted for the bankrupt in mortgaging a portion of his assets, and has also in the same transaction acted fol‘ the mortgagee. This is the kind of summons the solicitor may get when, say, the trustee desires not only information as to the debtor's affairs, but also evidence which will assist him in threatened proceedings to set aside the transaction referred to :—“ You are hereby required to attend the court of situate at ,at o'clock in the forenoon, to give evidence in the above matter, and then and ther: to have and produce all ledgers, cash, and other books containing entries of the various sums of money received by our firm from A B (the mortgages), or other person or persons on behalf ofy the bankrupt, and of all moneys advanced and paid by you to, or on his behalf, all cheques drawn by you in favour of the bankrupt or other persons on his behalf, or for moneys to be remitted to or on beha f of the bankrupt, and counterfoils of the same cheques, your bankers‘ passbooks showing the payment of such cheques, the lease of the debtor's property situate at , and any assignment or re-assignment of the same, the draft and fair copies of the above-mentioned or of any other deeds and documents of A B or of the bankrupt, all letters received by you from A B or the bankrupt and other persons on his behalf as his solicitor or the solicitor of A B, and copies of all letters written by you to the bankiupt or A B as his solicitor. All your diaries, letter-books, day-books, draft costs, or bills of costs, books containing entries of the work done for the bankrupt or A B in connection with the bankrupt and his alfsirs, and of your dealings with the bankrupt and his property." The summons may be made to extend over any period of tho debtor's affairs. The trustee is not bound toaccopt the solicitor's answers, but may cross-examine him in order to test his credibility (Re S1-han-er, 20 Q. B. D. 518). Neither need the questions relate directly to the bankrupt/s property. The solicitor is bound to answer all questions relating to the debtor, his dealings, or property, although in so doing he may expose himself to civil actions. He is bound to answer, even though it would seem that his replies would incriminate his client. He obviously receives harsher treatment than he would be liable to incur at the Bar of the House of Commons, if we may judge by the result of the recent appearance of an eminent solicitor_before that august tribunal. It may be said that the solicitor's former privilege is not altogether gone, as ho is not compelled to disclose the actual advice given to his client. This may seem so in theory, but in practice, when the solicitor has gone through the ordeal of examination which I have described, and when every scrap of paper in his possession relating to the debtor and his affairs has been examined, it is not difficult to find out what adv_ico the solicitor gave It is at least doubtful, however, whether, even m this respect, the privilege continues. The trustee, as I conceive it, could compel the bankrupt to disclose what steps he was advised to take and did take in dealing with his property, and the solicitor would be, it seems to me, under the same obligation. The privilege is the privilege of the client, not of the solicitor. Sec. 27 is, I t ink, sufficiently wide to co_ver not only facts concerning the debtor's property, but the advice he received with regard to his dealings with it. It is to the advantage of his creditors and his estate that they should know whether or not their interests have been considered. To_say that the subsequent result of the debtor's dealings with his property is suflicient to prove this is not, in my opinion, a complete answer. The creditors have a right to know the motives of the debtor in his deilings with the property, the residue of which he now offers them for distribution. I think they would also be entitled to know whether that which was done and which caused the