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LONDON, JUNE 3, 1882.
absent whilst motions were within the bar, and had entered the CURRENT TOPICS.
court whilst the motions were with the outer bar. His lordship said: “This is the undoubted rule, as I have ascertained from
a very high legal authority whom I have consulted.” OF THE TWO LEGAL APPOINTMENTS announced this week, in the Court of Appeal and House of Lords respectively, that of Mr. Justice Bowen is the only one upon
which an English
HIGH TIME that the practice as to motions in the lawyer can express an opinion. That opinion, we believe, will be Chancery. Division should be assimilated to that in the Queen's universally favourable. The New Lord Justice's learning, acute- Bench Division, motions being placed in a list which might be ness, and ability give every promise of a successful career in the arranged according to alphabetical order or date of notice of Court of Appeal.
motion. And at the same time it may be suggested that judges should sit continuously for the purpose of hearing motions. At
the present time, and for a long time past, the state of business The cause lists are not yet printed, but we believe the list before some of the Chancery judges, interrupted as they are by of appeals will show 56 appeals from the Chancery Division, 98 circuit duties, has been such that motions in the hands of the from the Queen's Bench Division, and 20 from the Probate Divi- outer bar are seldom reached more than once or twice in each sion and the Court of Bankruptcy, making a total of 174
appeals, sittings, and one or two heavy opposed motions have occupied besides 5 appeals standing for judgment.
At the same time last the whole of the one day set apart in each week for the hearing of
motions. When Mr. Justice CHITTY went circuit, Mr. Justice year there were 181 appeals.
North took his place, and, with the exception of Saturdays, which were petition days, sat continuously for three or four weeks
hearing motions according to an alphabetical list. This list, TAERE HAVE BEEN 146 public Bills introduced into Parlia- although confined to such motions as were before the court when ment during the present session. Of these eight have passed, Mr. Justice North first took his seat, was practically left unesnone of them being of any importance. The Bills of import- hausted when Mr. Justice CHITTY returned. ance which have passed the House of Lords are the Settled Land Bill and the Conveyancing Bill, the Payment of Wages in Public Houses Prohibition Bill, and the Married Women's Property Bill. The only Bill of importance which has passed
IT WILL BE SEEN from the report we publish elsewhere that the House of Commons, and has still to go through the House the decision of Vice-Chancellor Hall in Little v. The Kingswood of Lords, is the Bills of Sale Act Amendment Bill.
and Parkhurst Colliery Company, on which we recently commented, came before the Court of Appeal last week; and although it became unnecessary to decide the point, the Master of
the Rolls seems to have intimated his dissent from the view of IT WILL BE seen from the list of candidates at the Honours the Vice-Chancellor that, although a solicitor has been discharged Examination, which we publish elsewhere, that " in the opinion by a client without any fault on the part of the solicitor, he of the committee the standard attained by the candidates does not
cannot afterwards act against his former client in the same justify the issue of any first class list.” We have the fullest
He said that the decision of the Vice-Chancellor had sympathy with the wish of the committee to keep up, a high gone further than any previous decision. That is probably correct, standard for this examination, but it is very desirable that the standard should be uniform: that the questions set at successive for, as we pointed out in our previous comments, it seems to have examinations should either not vary greatly in difficulty, or that Ves. 261), that a solicitor discharged by his client stands on a
been assumed, ever since Earl Cholmondeley v. Lord Olinton (19 some allowance should be made in marks in respect of questions different footing, as regards the application of the rule laid down of more than ordinary difficulty. There is an impression abroad in that case, from a solicitor who has discharged himself. But that the questions at the last Honours Examination were un
we should hardly expect the learned Master of the Rolls to usually difficult, and that no allowance was made in the marks.
object to a decision on the mere ground that it went further than
previous decisions, if the direction in which it went was right. WE COMMENTED last week on the very inadequate provisions of decision was wrong in principle ?
What reason is there for thinking that Vice-Chancellor HALL'S
The only reason that seems to the Government Middlesex Registry Bill, and we observe, with have been alleged by the Master of the Rolls was, that “ the much satisfaction, that Mr. Hopwood has re-introduced his Bill“ to client could not deprive the solicitor of the means of earning his amend and improve the Middlesex Registry.” The measure is not livelihood.” With great respect, we think this observation yet printed, but we presume that it will include the provisions con- must have been made in some forgetfulness of the extent of the tained in the Bills introduced in previous sessions by Mr. OSBORNE operation of the rule under discussion. The rule is not that the MORGAN and Mr. Hopwood, reorganizing the office, and com- solicitor can never act against his former client, but only that he pelling a more convenient system of keeping the index, by pro- cannot act against him in matters with reference to which the viding that the registrar shall divide the district into sub-districts, communication of his knowledge of his former client's affairs may and keep a separate division of the register for each sub-district; unfairly prejudice his former client. Those matters are not likely that the index shall be so framed as to furnish references to places to be numerous enough to interfere with the solicitor's livelihood. as well as to persons, and that it shall, as far as practicable, be The view of the Master of the Ro'ls seems to be that a solicitor based on the ordnance map.
who has been discharged by his client may act against his former client in any matters, but be must not avail himself of his know
ledge of his former client's affairs. “In no case," said the learned MR. JUSTICE CHITTY, on the last day of the recent Easter judge, a solicitor be allowed to communicate to the sittings, stated that upon motion days any member of the inner client's adversary information which he has acquired while he was bar was entitled to take precedence of the outer bar, and move acting for the client.” The view of Vice-Chancellor HALL his two motions notwithstanding that such member had been appears to be that no solicitor ought to be put into the embarrass
ing position of knowing his former client's affairs, acting against (15 & 16 Vict. c. 84), the Metropolis Water him in reference to such affairs, and yet being obliged to act as if (34 & 35 Vict. c. 113), and in most cases also by the Waterworks he did not know them. We venture to think that this view is Clauses Act, 1847 (10 Vict. c. 17). The two Metropolitan Acts both more practical and more politic than that favoured by the chiefly provide for a constant supply of water and the preservaMaster of the Rolls.
tion of its purity. The Act of 1847 which, in law, applies only to those companies which are governed by Acts incorporating it,
but which has, we believe, as a matter of fact, been incorporated THE NEW CONVEYANCING Bill, which reproduces the clauses into most of the special Acts, by section 68 provides that "the of last year's Bill struck out by the House of Commons' Select water rates, except as hereinafter and in the special Act Committee, on the ground, as Mr. WOLSTENHOLME has stated, that mentioned, shall be paid by and be recoverable from the person they were not immediately approved by different members of the requiring ... the supply of water, and shall be payable accordcommittee, or [were] considered likely to give rise to opposition in ing to the annual value of the tenement supplied with water, the House,” has now itself been referred to a Select Committee of and, if any dispute shall arise as to such value, it shall be deterthe House of Commons, and it remains to be seen whether the mined by two justices ;” and, by section 74, that if any person, objections formerly entertained will prevail in the new committee. liable to pay the rate, neglect to do so, the company may “stop So far as we can ascertain very little interest is taken by the pro- the water from flowing into the premises, and may recover the fession in any part of the measure, except the clauses as to dis-rate due from such person, if less than £20, in the same manner pensing with investigation of title, and as to abolishing acknow- as any damages for the recovery of which no special provision is ments by married women. We have repeatedly discussed the made are recoverable by this or the special Act [i.e., by proceedformer provision, which appears to us, for reasons before stated ings before justices, under section 85, which incorporates a portion (ante, p. 380), to be ill-considered, wholly unpractical, and a mere of the Railways Clauses Consolidation Act, 1845, as to proceedings trap for solicitors. The proposal that acknowledgments should before justices], or if the rate exceeds £20 ... by action in any be abolished is based upon reasons which are explained as follows court of competent jurisdiction.” The construction of these in the memorandum prefixed to the Bill :-“The legal position of sections was much discussed in New River Company v. Mather married women, in respect of dominion over and disposal (L. R. 10 C. P. 442), and Sheffield Waterworks Company of property, has been much altered since 1833, when the v. Bennett (L. R. 8 Ex. 196). In Mather's case (Mr. Mather existing system was established, under which deeds relating appears to have attempted to make the same point as Mr. to land, executed by married women (in lieu of fines), are Dobbs) it was held that if a bona fide dispute as to the acknowledged by them before two commissioners, after ex
annual value of the tenement has arisen before any proamination, by way of protection to the married women.
This ceeding has been taken for the recovery of the rate, the comsystem adds to the difficulty of transfer of land ; and, in some pany must get such value determined by the justices before cases, as, for example, where a married woman is resident in they can sue. In Bennett's case the rate varied, not with the India, or in a remote foreign country, creates considerable costs annual value, but with the rent, and it was held that an owner and delay. The formality cannot, as the law stands, be avoided, who paid water and other rates for his tenants might deduct the as an instrument requiring acknowledgment cannot be executed Emount of such payments from the rent before paying the rate under a power of attorney.” Let us look a little into the upon it. We may add, in connection with the subject, that the remarkable statement with which this extract commences. The
Valuation (Metropolis) Act, 1869 (32 & 33 Vict. c. 67), which, Legislature, for
the protection of married women against by section 45, makes the valuation list izder that Act conclusive their husbands, has thought fit to provide, since 1833, that for the assessment of poor rate, income tax and a very large certain limited kinds and amounts of personal property shall number of other purposes, does not make that list conclusive belong to a married woman for her separate use, and that the for the purposes of water rate, as perhaps might have been rents and profits of freehold and copyhold land taken by her expected. as heiress shall belong to a married woman for her separate use, leaving her still unable to deal with the fee simple of such IT APPEARS from Mr. TREVELYAN's answer to Mr. SEXTON'S land except under the provisions of the Act for the Abolition of question in the House of Commons that several persons of both Fines and Recoveries." Is it therefore to be concluded that there sexes in Ireland have been held to good behaviour with sureties, is no longer any necessity for protecting a married woman or committed to prison in default, under the Act 34 Edw. 3, c. 1. against her ignorance of the effect of provisions in deeds relating The statute in question, an English Act which applies to Ireland to land, and her liability to marital influence ?
by virtue of Poynings' Act, is well known and often acted upon in this country. It enacts that there shall be assigned in every
county one lord, and with him three or four of the most worthy THE CASE OF Dobbs, Appellant; Grand Junction Water Com- in the county with some learned in the law,” who are to have pany, Respondents, in which the judgment of a divisional court power (inter alia) “to inquire of all those that have been pillors was recently delivered to the effect that the basis of the charge and robbers in the parts beyond the seas and be now come again for water rate was on the net rateable value, and not on the gross and go wandering and will not labour as they were wont in estimated rental of Mr. Dobbs' house in Westbourne-park, is of times past, and to take and arrest all those that they may find by very great interest. The Vestry of Paddington considered the indictment or by suspicion and to put them in prison; and to take case of Mr. Dobbs of so much importance to the parish that of all them that be not of good fame where they shall be found they voted one hundred guineas out of the parish money towards sufficient surety and mainprise of their good behaviour toward his legal expenses, a vote which we imagine to be without the King and his people, and the other duly to punish (et les parallel, but which is supported in principle by the analogy of autres duement punir), to the intent that the people be not by Leeman's Act (34 & 35 Vict. c. 91), which allows town such rioters or rebels troubled nor endamaged nor the peace councils and governing bodies of other corporations to contribute blemished nor merchants nor others passing by the highways of out of their public funds to promoting or opposing legal pro- the realms disturbed, nor put in the peril which may happen of ceedings for the general benefit of the inhabitants of the borough or such offenders.” Mr. Sexton's question was, perhaps, directed to members of the corporation. On the point whether the special show that the statute applies only to the “pillors, robbers, Act of the Grand Junction Canal Company ( 7 Geo. 4, c. 11, s. rioters, and rebels" mentioned in the opening and concluding 27) differs sufficiently from the special Acts of the Metropolitan paragraphs of the above extract; but it has long been the Water Companies generally to take away from the decision the wide universal practice in England to treat the statute as being of application which it has been conceived in some quarters to have, we general application, and to take sureties to keep the peace and to propose to speak on a future occasion when a full report of the commit in default, upon “ articles of the peace” being judgments has appeared ; meanwhile we may state that the provi- " exhibited” against any person complained of. The practice sions of the general Water Acts which apply to disputes of this is to adjudge the peace to be kept towards a particular person, character are shortly as follows :—The eight principal London and also towards all the subjects of the Sovereign for a limited companies are governed by the Metropolis Water Act, 1852 time. See a warrant of commitment in default held good, and
the practice reviewed, in Ex parte Aston (12 M. & W. 476). is a member of the corporation which is charged with the duty of For a long time (see Lort v. Hutton, 45 L. J. M. C. 95) the prosecuting the offence which he sits to adjudicate upon, but that party complained of could not be examined, nor could the com- in order to disqualify the justice it must be established that he plainant be cross-examined, until the law was very properly has such a substantial interest in the result of the hearing as to altered in this respect by section 25 of the Summary Jurisdiction make it likely that he has a real bias in the matter. Applying Act, 1879.
this canon, the only pecuniary interest that a justice can have in the matter is that the penalty in case of a conviction would go
to A COMPLAINT is made by a correspondent of the Times on the the borough fund or some fund of a similar nature. It is obsubject of the offices of the Supreme Court in vacation.
viously absurd to suggest that this is such a substantial interest as that “the Chancery Division of the Supreme Court obstinately is likely to cause a bias. adheres to its own old-fashioned, and now illegal, customs; for,
The more substantial possibility of interest arises, to our mind, without a scintilla of statutory right, the Chancery offices were
on the second branch of the alternative mentioned-viz., that the closed on Saturday, whereas the Common Law Division was open.” corporation is the prosecutor, and the justice may feel a sort of So far from this being the case, we have the best authority for esprit de corps in the matter. For instance, the corporation is stating that in the Chancery offices the usual vacation attendance- generally the urban sanitary authority. The town council may viz., from eleven to three-was given on Saturday last, and that be very energetic in promoting sanitary measures, and there may many solicitors attended for the purpose of transacting business. be some amount of conflict on the subject with a considerable body The correspondent proceeds to state that his motive in writing of the inhabitants
. On a prosecution for breach of some sanitary is the hope that some public notification may be given regulation, is it not very possible that a member of a town council of what holidays public officials are entitled to by law, and he pledged to energetic sanitary measures, and enthusiastic in enadds, “ at present even the legal profession is in darkness upon feel some doubt on this point ; but, perhaps, after all, this possi
We the subject.” Probably the correspondent is not a lawyer, or he feel some doubt on this
point; but, perhaps, after all, this possi. would not have hazarded such a statement.
The rule which bility of interest must, in most cases, be considered as too remote. regulates the opening of the offices is ord. 61, r. 4; which It may be said that it comes, if analyzed, to little more than this provides that, “ The several offices of the Supreme Court shall be – viz., that men are generally more or less likely to take sides on open on every day of the year, except Sundays, Good Friday, any question. One man will favour the cause of sanitary reform; Monday and Tuesday in Easter week, Whit-Monday, Christmas- another will favour economy or individual freedom, and be someday and the next following working day, and all days
appointed what disposed to dislike the energetic reformer as a crochetby proclamation to be observed as days of general fast,
humiliation, monger. This is a species of interest you cannot treat as a legal and thanksgiving.". The result is that the offices are open every town councils, and one of these may be prepared to adjudicate as
disqualification. There is generally a dissentient minority in most day in the year, with the exception of Sundays and six other days, although the attendance during vacations is confined to a limited well as one of the majority, and his interest will be the other way. number of officers, and possibly this number might, with advan- The real question is whether the justice, as a member of the cortage, be increased.
poration, is likely to be biassed apart from his individual predilections merely from the fact that the corporation of which he is a member is prosecuting. We do not think in general that he is;
we do not think the esprit de corps of a corporation is generally INTEREST DISQUALIFYING FOR JUDICIAL strong enough to produce this effect
. We can imagine, however, FUNCTIONS.
a possible class of cases in which some bias might be produced.
The town council as a body might have pledged themselves to The Queen's Bench Division has recently decided two cases of some particular line of action or to some particular construction of very considerable importance with regard to the amount of interest a bye-law, and a member of the body might be prejudiced as which will suffice to disqualify a justice of the peace for acting in against a person resisting such line of action or construction. We a judicial capacity. One of these cases, Reg. v. Handsley (L. R. are not clear that the case of Reg. v. Handsley in anywise ex8 Q. B. D. 383), is important as overruling a recent case, Reg. v. cludes the possibility of a legal disqualification in such a case. If Gibbon (L. R. 6 Q. B. D. 168), which had gone a very long way carefully read, the canon laid down is only that the mere fact in respect of the amount of interest that would disqualify. In that the justice is a member of the corporation which prosecutes the last-mentioned case, the corporation being, by a local Improve- is not sufficient. This seems to us quite correct and to leave open ment Act, the lɔcal authority in a borough, with power to direct the possibility of holding that under certain peculiar circumstances, prosecutions for offences against the Act, an information had been such as we have mentioned, the fact of being a member of the preferred for such an offence by an officer on behalf of the corporation may disqualify. The decision that the mere fact of corporation. A summons was issued upon this information by a being a member of the corporation does not disqualify, besides justice who was an alderman and a member of the corporation. being common sense and justice, has the additional merit of being The summons came on for hearing before justices of whom none very convenient. In most boroughs the aldermen constitute the were connected with the corporation, and the court held that such the most active magistrates, and it is highly inconvenient that justices could not adjudicate upon the summons, because it had they should be ipso facto disqualified whenever a question arises been issued by one who was virtually the prosecutor. The court under the Public Health Act or similar statutes. decided not to follow this decision, on the ground that the point It may be worth while to point out that the case of Reg. v. had been decided the other way in a case of White v. Redfern, Milledge (L. R. 4 Q. B. D. 332), a case which, we believe, conwhich, however, was not reported on this point. We are glad siderably influenced the decision in Reg. v. Gibbon, is, when that they have seen their way to taking this course, for, to our carefully scrutinized, an altogether different case. There the mind, the decision in Reg. v. Gibbon was obviously wrong, quite question substantially affected the town council, because the apart from the question of interest. There are a number of defence to the charge of creating a nuisance was that the nuisance decisions establishing that the summons is for the purpose of was caused by the acts of the town council themselves. It is causing the defendant to appear. If he does appear, and the obvious that in such a case there was a substantial likelihood of information is gone into on the merits, how can it in any way be a bias in the matter. material that the justice issuing the summons was interested ? The other case to which we referred at the commencement of If the defendant had not appeared, and had been convicted in his these observations is Reg. v. Justices of Yarmouth (L. R. 8 absence, the question of the validity of the summons might have Q. B. D. 525). The circumstances there were briefly these : arisen. The court, however, in Reg. v. Handsley did not overrule at a special sessions for appeals against a poor rate, there Reg. v. Gibbon on that ground, but on the broader ground that the being several appeals involving similar questions, the chairman of interest was not sufficiently substantial to disqualify. They laid the magistrates, who was himself appellant in one of the cases for it down that it is not enough to show that an adjudicating justice hearing, took part in the decision of all the cases except his own. is a member of the town council, and, as such, has a pecuniary When his own case was called on he left the bench and conducted interest in the result of the complaint or information, or that he the case himself. In each of the cases a reduction was made in
the valuation. The court held that the chairman of the magis ing, the trader may realize his stock-in-trade, and cease to carry on trates was disqualified from adjudicating. This decision seems to business, and then say to his creditors that he is no longer a us a very obvious one, but it strongly illustrates the extreme trader, and when their debts mature they cannot make him bankdifficulty that exists in drawing the line between an interest that rupt as such, even though he may commit any of the acts which legally disqualifies and one that does not. Justices have, no would be acts of bankruptcy in the case of a trader. And in case doubt, sat and decided hundreds of cases being, in substance, just the debtor, being then a non-trader, should depart from his dwellingas much interested as the justice in the case to which we have house and leisurely leave the country, the creditors cannot avail referred. A justice may not be actually an appellant against the themselves of rule 65 when their debts become due, so as to get particular rate in question, but he may be interested in property an adjudication forth with. True, they can make him bankrupt as of a precisely similar description to that which is the subject of a non-trader for departing out of England with intent to defeat such rate, and so interested in reducing the valuation thereof. We or delay his creditors ; but in default of personal service of the can speak from some knowledge of what happens at quarter petition upon him they will have to go through all the formula sessions. A question arises as to the valuation of a particular prescribed by rule 61 of inserting a notice thereof in the kind of property on a re-valuation by the assessment committee in Gazette, which simply means much delay where promptness of a particular union, and the professional valuer called in comes to action is most required, coupled with greatly increased cost. Then the conclusion that the proper valuation should be higher perhaps should execution be issued against him for £50, and be levied by than it is in adjacent unions. Magistrates owning the same class seizure and sale of his goods, this will not constitute an act of of property in adjacent unions are interested, because if the valua- bankruptcy; nor will the sheriff be required, under section 87, to tion is upheld the same class of property is likely to be assessed hold the proceeds for fourteen days to see whether any bankruptcy more highly in the adjacent unions very soon. We will give an petition might be presented against him ; nor will the proceeds of instance in our own knowledge. When woodlands were first of such execution, in case of an adjudication being made on a petition all rated under the Rating Act of 1874, there was a good deal of presented within fourteen days, have to be paid to the trustee. divergence of opinion throughout the country as to the proper There have been a good many methods suggested for evading the tests of value and scale of valuation. In a certain union of some provisions of that section, and this offers an additional one. importance the valuers had assessed lands of this description Further, should a creditor issue a debtor's summons against the at a rate certainly considerably higher than the rate in debtor under section 7, such summons will not mature until three other unions. An appeal being brought by some of the weeks after service thereof, instead of seven days, all which is parties rated to quarter sessicns, at a quarter sessions where equivalent to giving additional time and opportunity to the rogue generally only a comparatively small number of magistrates to mature his plans. attended, the bench was literally crammed. It was well known So much for the acts of bankruptcy. Let us now see how the that this unusual attendance was composed of country gentlemen decisions will operate upon the order and disposition clause of the interested in similar property in other parts of the county. In Act. In section 15, sub-section 5, the words are the same as in this case there was, beyond doubt, a bias, and it may be that the section 6—viz., “ being a trader.” If, then, a bankrupt who had case was practically decided before ever the appeal was called on. ceased to trade before he committed any act of bankruptcy has, Yet there was no interest which could legally be taken advantage at the commencement of his bankruptcy (i.e., the date of his comof as disqualifying. The same considerations obviously apply in mital of an act of bankruptcy to which the trustee's title would many instances to the case of a jury. The law cannot, in practice, relate back), any goods and chattels of another person in his posobviate the posssibility of a bias in all cases. Too wide a field session, order, or disposition by the consent and permission of the would be opened ; but that is no reason, of course, why the dis- the owner, such goods and chattels will not become the property of qualification should not arise in certain cases where the interest is the trustee. Now, as we are not particularly enamoured with the very obvious, and capable of being ascertained by tests which the law of order and disposition, and think that on the whole it law can apply.
works greater hardships than it remedies, if this were the only effect of the decisions, we should have no objection to urge
against them. At the same time it is another inroad into the BANKRUPTCY OF PERSONS WHO HAVE application of the doctrine of order and disposition which it is
well to note. CEASED TO TRADE.
Next, have the decisions any effect upon section 91 with regard The opinion which we expressed (ante, p. 226), that the ratio to the avoidance of voluntary settlements? The words of that decidendi in the case of Ex parte Schomberg, Re Schomberg (23 section are, any settlement of property made by a trader," with W. R. 204, L. R. 10 Ch. 172), would require a person, in order to certain exceptions therein enumerated, shall, in certain events, be be adjudicated bankrupt as a trader, to be such at the time of his void as against a trustee of the settlor's property in bankruptcy. committing the act of bankruptcy on which he might be adjudi- On first consideration it might appear that the settlor must be cated, has been confirmed by the Court of Appeal in a recent case adjudicated bankrupt as a trader in order that the section should of Ex parte McGeorge (ante, p. 463). If Ex parte Schomberg apply. But we think that would be going much further than even must be taken as rightly decided, we do not see how any other con- the Court of Appeal would be inclined to go, and that it would be clusion could be arrived at. The effect of the two decisions is to sufficient if the bankrupt was a trader at the time he made the render inapplicable to the present Act the whole of the cases settlement. But we do not consider the question beyond all decided upon former Bankruptcy Acts to the effect that a man
doubt. who had retired from business might become a bankrupt as a Lastly, what is the effect of the decisions we have been comtrader in respect of debts contracted during the period of his menting upon upon section 11, sub-sections 14 and 15 of the trading or before he commenced trading. We do not think this Debtors Act, 1869 ? The first of those sub-sections provides that alteration of the old law any improvement, but, accepting the law any person adjudged bankrupt, &c., shall be deemed guilty of a on the point as now finally laid down, it behoves practitioners to misdemeanor “ if within four months next before the presentaconsider carefully what will be the effect of the decisions upon tion of a bankruptcy petition against him, or the commencement of other sections of the Bankruptcy Act, 1869.
the liquidation, he, being a trader, obtains under the false pretence First, all acts of bankruptcy which are applicable to traders of carrying on business," &c. The other sub-section provides the only will not be applicable to such a person. Thus if he, with same if, within the like time, “ he, being a trader, pawns, pledges," intent to defeat or delay his creditors, departs from his dwelling. &c. Would a trader, who committed one or other of those house or otherwise absents himself, or begins to keep house, or offences, and afterwards ceased to trade, and was, within four suffers himself to be outlawed, after he has ceased to trade, he will months of his coinmitting the offence, adjudicated bankrupt as a not hare committed an act of bankruptcy on which a bankruptcy non-trader, be liable to be indicted for such offence ? or must he petition can be presented, Coupled with the provision in the Act be also a trader at the commencement of his bankruptcy ? It that a petitioning creditor's debt must be a liquidated sum due at would, to our mind, be absurd to contend for the latter view. law or in equity, this presents additional opportunities for rogues to And yet, on the other view of the question, we have the anomaly cheat their creditors. ^ Whilst the debts of the creditors are matur- of a man who cannot be adjudicated bankrupt as a trader, but who, on being adjudicated as a non-trader, can then be prosecuted criminally for acts done by him which are only made offences
CASES OF LAST WEEK. when committed by a trader!
HUSBAND AND WIFE-SETTLEMENT - CONSTRUCTION-EXCEPTION OF JEWELS
FOR NEW TRIAL-POWER OF COURT TO ENTER JUDGMENT OR VERDICT-
oase o Williams V. Mercier, before the Court of Appeal on the 25th ult., a
question arose as to the construction of the ordinary olause in a marriage THE EMPLOYERS' LIABILITY ACT,
settlement providing for the settlement of other or after-acquired [To the Editor of the Solicitors' Journal.)
property of the wife, excluding jewels, trinkets, &o. The action was
brought by a milliner against å married womno (saed without her Sir, -The Court of Appeal decided on March 15, in the case of Keen husband) for the price of goods supplied to her by the plaintiff before v. The Millwall Dock Company, that the following statutory notice of her marriage. Judgment was recovered, and execution was levied apon injury was insufficient under the Act by reason of its not containing the gome jewels which were alleged to be the separate property of the wife. cause of the injury as required by section 7, and that a nonsuit directed These jewels had been given to her as wedding presents before her mar. by the county court judge was right:
riage, some of them by her husband and some by other persons. The husband “Sir,-I am instructed by George Keen, of 136, Rhodeswell-road, interpleader summons, and an issue was directed to try the question whether
claimed the jewels as his property, and thereupon the sheriff took out an Limehouse, to apply to you for compensation for injuries received at
at the time of the seizare by the sheriff the artioles seized were the property your dock, particulars of which have already been communicated to your of the husband as against the execution creditor. A settlement had been superintendent. I shall be glad to hear from you on the subject. executed prior to the marriage, and it contained a declaration that all real
"(Signed) [Plaintiff's Solicitor.]” and personal property to which the wife, or the husband in her right, at The divisional court decided on May 20, in the case of Stone v. Hyde, any time doring the covertare, should become entitled, whether in possesthat the following notice was suficient to satisfy the statute ; that the sion, reversion, or otherwise, "except jewels, trinkets, ornaments of the judge of the county court ought to have amended, and that the nonsuit the like nature, which it is hereby declared shall belong to her for her
person, plate, linen, obina, farnitare, pictures, prints, books, and articles of which he directed was wrong:
separate use, and except also any legaoy or other property acquired at one “Sir,- Mr. Stone, of 193, St. George's-road, Peckham, has consulted and the same time not exceeding in amount or value the sum of £300,” ine respecting the injury sustained by him whilst in your employment should be transferred to the trustees of the settlement apon the trusts on the 19th of November. He is now and for some time has been under therein mentioned. The issue was tried before Lord Coleridge, C.J., and he medical treatment at Guy's Hospital as an out-patient particularly for assumed, as did the counsel on both sides, that the settlement did not affect injury to his leg, and has been unable to earn anything and will be for the jewels which had been seized, and he directed the jury that, under the some time to come.
“(Signed) [Plaintiff's Solicitor.]” general law, they were the property of the husband, and therefore could not In both of these written notices there is not a word as to the cause of
be taken in execution for the wife's debt contracted before marriage, and
a verdict was accordingly found for the husband, who was the plaintiff in injury, therefore, as the matter vow stands, it would appear that where the ingne. The defendant moved for a new trial, and on the bearing of the an employer has been informed verbally of the cause of injury, but such application in the divisional court the same view was takea of the effect of cause of injury is not re-stated in the written notice, the notice is bad in the settlement. Mathew, J., took the same view of the law as did Lord toto, but where, up to the time of trial, the employer has no notice what- Coleridge, bat Cave, J., differed, and thought that there ought to be a new soever of the cause of injury, the notice is not bad, but can be amended. trial. The application was, therefore, refused. The Court of Appeal
The ase of Keen v. Millwall Dock Company was not cited to the (Jessel, M. R., and LINDLEY, L.J.), took an entirely different view of the judges of the divisional court, or it is probable they would have decided construction of the settlement, holding that the effect of it was to make the differently.
ALFRED H, RUEGG, jewels in question the separate property of the wife, and, therefore, liable 3, Essex-court.
to be taken in execution for her debt contracted before marriage. Jessel, M.R., said that the jewels, being the property of the wife before the marriage, became the husband's property on the marriage, and then the settle
ment made them at once the separate property of the wise. LINDLEY, L.J., A GIGANTIC LIQUIDATION.
said it was strange that the view which this court took of the construction of
the settlement should never have been taken before, but he thought it was [To the Editor of the Solicitors' Journal.]
not open to any other construction. It seemed to have been tacitly assumed Sir: --A Bill now pending in Parliament, styled “The City of Glasgow by a common mistake that the settlement had nothing to do with the Bank (Liquidation) Bill," provides for the taking over by a company of
question. the remaining assets of the bank, and you may like to put on record the
Another question arose on the construction of section 12 of the Married following facts in connection with that most disastrous failure.
Women's Property Act, 1870, whicb provides that a wife shall be liable to be The bank was founded in 1840, and on the passing of the Companies liable to satisfy, debts contracted by her before marriage "as if she had con:
sued for, and that any property belonging to her for her separate use shall be Act, 1862, was incorporated as an unlimited company. For many yeare tinued unmarried.” It was urged, that even if the jewels were by virtue of it did a large business, but in October, 1878, it stopped payment with the settlement the wife's separate property, still the verdict on the issue was liabilities of £14,400,000, or thereabouts, and with very small available right, because, no trustee of the jewels being appointed by the settlement, the assets. Two calls were made-the first of £500, and the second of husband must be a trustee of them for the wife, and, therefore, at law they £2,250-in respect of each £100 of stock held by the partners. These were his property, and property in which the wife had only an equitable calls enabled the liquidators to pay off £13,063,147, and the claims interest could not be taken in execution under the judgment. The court remaining unsatisfied in October last amounted to £1,338,116. A large held that this objection was untenable. Jessel, M.R., said that the effect of proportion of the outstanding assets are believed to be of increasing wife just as if she had been unmarried. "It was then objected that, on a
section 12 was that execution might issue against the separate property of the value, but cannot now be advantageously realized, hence the proposed transfer of the remaining assets and liabilities to a company, to be called motion for a new trial in an interpleader issue, the court could not enter the “ The Assets Company.
judgment or verdict for the applicant instead of directing a new trial. It was
said that, inasmuch as, by rule 2 of order 1, the old procedure and practice I may add that various sums, representing a total of £54,143, have with respect to interpleader, under the Interpleader Acts, is now to apply to not been claimed in the liquidation, and I venture to suggest that the all actions and all divisions the High Court, the power given to the
court names and addresses of the persons entitled, with the amount available by rule 10 of order 40, upon a motion for a new trial, if satisfied that is has in each case, should bo published in the leading newspapers, so that before it the materials necessary for finally determining the questions in persons interested may have a fair chance of making good their claims. dispute, to give judgment accordingly does not apply to a motion for a new Judging by the highly satisfactory results of like publicity in similar trial in an interpleader issue. The court overruled this objection also. cases, there is every reason to believe that most of these unclaimed funds JESSEL, M. R., said that rule 10 of order 40 clearly applies to every applicawould be transferred to their rightful owners. EDWARD PRESTON,
tion for a new trial. The old practice in interpleader remained, but there were 1, Great College-street, Westminster, May 30.
in rule 2 of order 1 no negative words excluding the new powers which are given to the court by the Judicature Rules. LINDLEY, L.J., agreed that the old practice in interpleader must be observed. But when, as in the present case, there was really no question to be tried, he did not think the court would be exceeding its powers in entering the verdict at once for the execution
creditor. The verdict was accordingly so entered, with costs in the divisional Duriog the Easter sittings in London, says the Times reporter, only fifteen court and in the Court of Appeal. —SOLICITORS, Lewis & Lewis ; Pawle cages-nine of wbich were sot down for trial by special juries-have had to be
Fearon, made remanets for want of time to try them." of the whole number of the causes, 205, as many as eighty bave been tried out, just bålf of which were SOLICITOR-RIGHT TO ACT AGAINST FORMER CLIENT-INJONCTION.-IQ a special jury cases. Sixty cases, thirty-two of which are set down for trial by case of Little v. The Kingswood and Parkhurst Colliery Company, before the special jaries, have been made remanéts by order, and forty-nine have been Court of Appeal on the 25th ult., a question arose as to the power of the court withdrawn.
to restrain a solicitor from acting against a former client. The plaintiff had