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MR. F. A. STRINGER, writing from the Royal Courts
of Justice, suggests that the English form of oath should no longer be adhered to, on the ground that the kissing of the Book causes danger to the person sworn, on account of disease being propagated by contagion. He would ask the Legislature to make the Scotch form of oath, i.e., lifting up the hand, take the place of the English form, power being already given by the Oaths Act, I888
(51 & 52 Vict., c. 46), to all persons sworn in English_
Courts to adopt the Scotch form if they please. He says that persons are not aware of this right, as a rule. We should be sorry to see our ancient form of oath disappear. If the only difficulty be in the kissing of the Book, let the kissing be abolished ; that would end the difficulty, without
It is by no means certain, however, that the kissing of the Book is of obligation. Sir Sherston Baker, Bart., Recorder of Barnstaple, writing to the Times under date of January 2nd, I897, says :-—
Sir,—I am by no means certain that “kissing the Book" is of obligation for witnesses who swear according to the English form. In ancient times a large folio Bible containing the Gospels was placed upon a stand in the view of the prisoner. The jurymen, who occupied a space set apart in the Court, came forward, one by one, and placed their hands upon the
Book, and then the prisoner had a full view of “the peer” who was to try him. This was called the “corporal oath,” because the hand of the person sworn touched the Book. Probably, out of reverence, the Book may have been kissed sometimes, as a Catholic priest now kisses the Book in the Mass; but I strongly doubt the kiss on the Book to be, or ever to have been, essential to the validity of the corporal oath.
At the last meeting of the Bar Association of the United States many distinguished speakers advocated the abolition of written instructions to juries; a practice which very seldom obtains in England, although it would appear to be common in the United States,
By a vote of nine to six the Benchers of the Law Society of Canada have decided not to allow Miss Martin, who had passed her final examination in law, to be called to the Bar, notwithstanding that the Legislature a year before, had passed an Act, allowing women to practise as Barristers conditional on their consent. She can, however, practise as a solicitor. There is one other woman on the books of the Law Society, viz.: Miss Powley, who is studying law at Port Arthur.
Judge Otis, of Chicago, is of opinion that there is as much crime committed there in one day as there is in all England in three days.
“Ex-Grand Juror Robert H. Parker,” says the Chicago Legal News of last December, “was fined 50 dols. for contempt of Court by Judge Hutchinson last Tuesday, and the fine was paid. Parker was held to be in contempt of Court on two counts, and an order was entered upon him in each to shew cause why he should not be punished. It
was held by the Court that Parker was in contempt because of his visit to the grand jury room, after he had been drawn as a juror, and his examination there of the books of the clerk, in reference to a case to come before the jury. The supplemental alleged contempt was Parker’s failure to answer the questions propounded to all jurors as to their qualifications to serve. ]udge Hutchinson asked if any juror knew anything about any case that was to come before the jury, or knew any reason why he should not be a fit and proper person to serve. Parker made no answer, although it afterwards developed that previous to being sworn, Parker had talked with Mr. Hulin, who was interested in a case that was to come before the October grand jury. Mr. Hulin stated to the Court that Parker’s action and conversation about the matter led him to the conclusion that a bribe was being solicited, and Parker said to him, ‘Of course you want the man indicted,’ with a significant nod of his head. Attorney Gisdell made an argument in defence of Parker, and Assistant State’s Attorney Bottum urged that punishment was merited. In passing sentence, judge Hutchinson said: ‘ Parker’s motives were not, apparently, those of an honest man; his action diminished public confidence in the grand jury system. I shall fine him 5o dols., and he will stand committed until the fine is paid.’
“Judge Hutchinson is entitled to the thanks of every honest man for his action in punishing this grand juror. Lives and property are not safe if either grand or petit jurors can be tampered with. The judges of our Courts have it in their power, largely, to secure better jurors if they will examine them closer as to their qualifications, and punish them for any wilful violation of their duty as jurors. There are a few who hang about the Courts and are sometimes called ‘jury fixers.’ These animals are wild beasts of the worst kind, for they spare neither life nor property, if they can reach it through a corrupt juror. They should be exterminated, and, whenever they can be reached, they should be severely punished by the judiciary. Let a war be instituted against jury fixers. They are adroit in avoiding punishment."
The new German Civil Code was finally adopted and sanctioned for the whole German Empire on July 2nd,1896. The first impulse was given to this great work by the Reichstag in 1871, but it was not until 1874 that the Federal Council issued a Commission to arrange the plan and the method of the preparatory work; since then it has made gradual progress in spite of serious difficulties.
An interesting case in which the “X” rays practically decided the point was tried before Mr. justice Hawkins and a special jury at the Nottingham Summer Assizes, 1896. Miss Ffolliott, an actress, had injured her foot on leaving the stage, and in consequence brought an action for negligence against the management. At the end of a month, being still unable to resume her avocation, she was sent to University College Hospital, London, where both feet were photographed by the “ X" rays. The negatives were shewn in Court, and the difference between the two was convincingly demonstrated to the _]udge and jury. There was a displacement of the cuboid bone of the left foot, which shewed at once both the nature and the measure of the injury.
“ Q.C., M.P., tells a true story infinitely full of pathos,” says the Strand Magazine (june, I896). “A fortnight ago a letter reached him in the handwriting of an old college friend, telling a pitiful story of a stranded life. The writer had been called to the Bar, hoping some day to land on the judicial bench, even if he did not reach the Woolsack. He had no influence, and very little money. No business came in his way. But he held on through long years, patiently hoping that some day his chance would come. Now he was sick, probably unto death, and had no money to buy food or medicine. His old friend promptly sent a remittance, which was gratefully acknowledged. At the end of a fortnight it occurred to him that he would call on the sick man and see what more he might do to help him. Arrived at the address, the door was opened by a lady-like woman, still _voung, pretty in spite of the pinching of poverty. He gave his name and announced his errand. Whereat the lady, bursting into a passion of tears, told him he was too late. Her husband had died that morning. ‘Would you like to see him?’ she asked, wistfully. The two walked upstairs to a small front room. On the bed lay the body of a man about forty years of age, fully dressed in the wig and gown of a barrister. In his right hand he held a bundle of foolscap. ‘ What is that?’ the old friend whispered. ‘ That,’ said the widow, ‘is the only brief he received in the course of nineteen years’ waiting. He asked me to dress him thus, and put it in his hand when he was dead.’ ”
THE Jurisdiction recently held to have been conferred
by the Common Law Procedure Act, 1854, empowering a Judge to restrain by Injunction, and even by Interlocutory Injunction, the publication of an alleged libel, on the ground of injury to character and reputation, is a jurisdiction hitherto unknown to the law of England ; and, as it has the effect of striking a serious blow at the