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creditors, I see nothing in them of which husbands have a right to complain. Act. The special requirements of the Act of 1878, as to the execution and It can hardly, however, be anticipated that an Act making such sweeping attestation by a solicitor of bills of sale, is done 'away with after the lot changes in what was once considered one of the main principles of our law of November, 1882, and only the ordinary attestation required. As to the can take effect without giving rise to some litigation, and it has already been bill of sale itself, not only is a form given in the schedule of the Act, but remarked that the present law of the wife's right to pledge her husband's the unusual provision made that the instrument shall be void unless " made credit as his agent for necessaries will probably have to be reconsidered, and in accordance with” the form. . What construction will be put upon these that circumstances must arise in which the rule laid down in Debenham v. words, or why they were used instead of the more ordinary phrase "in the Mellon and other cases will have to be modified. For the presamption of the form or to the effect” of that given in the Act, I have not seen explained ; wife's right as her busband's agent to pledge his credit was obviously mixed and it seems at first sight undesirable that the security of any document of up with and derived from her common law right to be maintained by him, and importance should depend upon the verbal memory of the practitioner, or this again bad its origin in the old doctrine of the merger of all the civil upon bis having a copy of the Act at hand whenever he is called on to rights of the wife in her husband on marriage. But now it would appear that prepare a security. With the exception of the Inferior Courts Judgments in every case in which the wife orders articles from a tradesman she is to be Extension Act, 1882, which will enable the holders of judgments of inpresumed to make her separate estate liable unless where the contrary is shown ferior courts in England, Scotland, and Ireland respectively, to utilize these (6.g., if she orders them in her husband's name, and they are articles as to which judgments in corresponding courts in other parts of the United Kingdom her right to pledgebis credit could be inferred from the circumstances). Astrades without the necessity of bringing fresh actions, and of a section in the men will not always know what ladies have and what have not separate estate, County Courts and salaries Act, which repeals the unrepealed portion they may sometimes be placed in a difficulty whom to sue. These, however, of the 91st section of the 9 & 10 Vict. c. 95, and prohibits the are small matters, and the Act is, on the whole, a large step in what the recovery offee or reward for appearing or acting on behalf of majority will consider the right direction. Mr. Druce's address at our last any other party in a proceeding in a county court by any other person provincial meeting contained some very sensible and judicious remarks upon than a solicitor of the Supreme Court, I believe we have now exhausted the difficult subject of the codification of various branches of our law. Few the legislation of last session specially interesting to our profession. of us then anticipated that an attempt in this direction would bave been Nothing has been done or attempted in bankruptcy, though doubtless tois successfully made during the last session. This has been done in respect of important subject will receive the early attention of the Legislature. the law of bills of exchange, cheques, and promissory notes, a subject, I need | Within the experience of many of us, public opinion has completely swung hardly say, of considerable importance to all members of the community who away from what has been termed the official side of the pendulam towards have anything to do with mercantile transactions. The Bill is understood to the plan of leaving entire control of the estate in the creditors' hands, and have been drawn by Mr. M. D. Chalmers, whose valuable and clearly arranged having learned by bitter experience that in a considerable proportion of treatise on the subject will be known to many of you. The care and attention cages this control is found in practice either not to exist or to be so weakly which he has evidently bestowed upon it, and the names of the members of the (and occasionally, I fear, corruptly) exercised as to be inoperative for any Select Committee in each House of Parliament to which the Bill was referred, and useful purpose, it is now swinging back again with full vigour towards the who devoted a more than usual amount of trouble to the consideration of its official side, in which direction any forthcoming changes of the bankruptcy numerous details, are the best guarantees we can bave for the work baring law are almost certain to be made. The risks in this direction arise from been well done, of which time and experience must be the only real tests. The the delays and red-tapeism which are sure gradually to grow around any professional man and his client will now both have the advantage of being able official system, unless great care is taken to keep them at bay, but this to find the whole of this important branch of law comprised in an Act of 100 ought not to be an insoluble problem; and they are certainly less serious sections arranged under convenient heads. The 74th section of the Act, both in kind and degree than those which have been found by experience which was introdnced in the Lords' Committee, contains provisions in the to exist in acting upon the erroneous presumption that creditors may case of non-presentation of cheques for payment and the failure of the banker always be trusted to look after their own interests. A Bill to consolidate on whom they are drawn, which will to some extent modify, but in a direc- and declare the law of partnership, and another to give still further tion which seems just, the law as to the absolute discharge of the drawers as facilities to the enfranchisement of copyholds, were among the many it was considered to be settled by previous decisious. The discussion at onr legislative projects which broke down owing to the political exigencies of Brighton meeting last year sbowed how equally opinion was divided amongst the session ; and the same cause prevented any progress being made in the us as to the policy wbich should govern legislation in reference to the vexed very desirable object of enacting a complete code of criminal law. With question of bills of sale. Most of us were probably disposed to take the view regard to quasi-legislative changes, the report of the Legal Procedure abstractedly, that there was no reason why a poor man possessed of furniture Committee appointed last year by the Lord Chancellor, together with the or other moveable chattels sbould be deprived of the ordinary right, wbich report of a committee appointed at a meeting of this society to consider possessors of all other classes of property enjoy, to raise money upon the the recommendations of the first-named committee, are understood to have security of his chattelo if he could find people to lend it. On the other hand, been referred to and considered by the Rule Committee of Judges, wbo there were many who said that whatever might be the abstract merito have come to their conclusions thereon, and such conclusions are, it is of the question, it was found in practice that the classes who were most believed, being put by skilled craftsmen into the form of ney rules to be tempted to borrow upon their small moveable property were so exposed to submitted to Parliament in terms of the Judicature Act. Not much of the oppressive treatment from the worst kind of moneylenders, that it was to the purport of the alterations which the new rules are intended to carry out interest of the community at large that they should to a certain extent be has transpired, but the general impression is that they will tend to the protected from the consequences of their own follies or necessities, and simplification and partial abolition of the present forms of pleading in the their rights of borrowing upon such securities limited and prescribed. more common classes of actions, and it is to be hoped that they will introThis latter has been the view ultimately taken by the Legislature, which, duce other considerable improvements. This will be the proper place to by the Bills of Sale Act jąst passed, and coming into operation on the 1st of allude to the proceedings taken during the year upon an Act of the year November next, has absolutely prohibited all securities of this nature under 1881 of great moment to our profession. 'I refer, of course, to the £30. Moreover, every bill of sale is to be void (apparently not only as Solicitors Remuneration Act. As you are all aware, this Act was regards third parties, but as between grantor and grantee) anless registered avowedly passed as a complement to the Conveyancing Act of the same with seven clear days after execution (section 8). A schedule of the effects session, and because it was felt that the alterations made by that Act would comprised is compulsory, and it will not have operation over any other or render more than ever absurd the old method of paying solicitors by the over after-acquired property, but actual growing crops are exempted from length of documents, and that some new mode of remuneration, having the operation of this provision, and also new plant or trade machinery put regard to the professional skill and responsibility incurred rather than to up in substitution for any mentioned in the schedule. This Act is to be verblage, ought to be adopted. You are also aware how the tribunal under construed together with the Bills of Sale Act of 1878, and therefore it would the Act was constituted, and my excellent friend and immediate predecesseem that, under the 6th section of the new Act and the 5th section of the cor excused

bimself last

year from offering any remarks upon the subject, principal Act taken together, a mortgage of a factory comprising any on the ground of the exceptional duties which were likely to devolve upon plant and machinery which come within the definition of "personal him as a member of the tribunal. In fact Mr. Drace, who worthily and chattels" under the 4th section of the Act of 1878 must still be registered efficiently represented this society, and had taken great pains to make as to the latter, and that in case of an addition

to the buildings and himself fully master of the subject, attended all the earlier meetings of that plant after the mortgage, the new plant would not be covered by the old body. They had arrived at their conclusions in the form of a draft order, security. This is a point which has probably already attracted attention which, by the terms of the Act, they were bound to send to the council of this among our friends in the manufacturing districts, where securities on society for their suggestions, just when I had the bonour of succeeding to the this description of property are most comäion. The Act also strictly chair; and it fell to my lot to attend the final meeting of the tribunal, when defines in what cases only the mortgagee is to be entitled to take pos- they had to consider and discuss the suggestions and objections the council session of his security; and as it repeals the 20th section of the Act of thought it necessary to make upon the draft. The order, as you are aware, has 1878, which took chattels comprised in a duly registered bill of sale out sioce been made, and has recently been circulated among you by the council

, of the order and disposition clause under the Bankruptcy Acts, the effect together with a statement by them in reference thereto. It is unnecessary for me would appear to be that all the old difficulties affecting a bill of sale to add to that statement, but perhaps I may be permitted to say that one

main from a trader in case of bankruptcy are revived as to bills of sale by way reason which induced me, after careful consideration, to take the course I did, of security for money after November 1, 1882. Nevertheless as one of was that, having regard to a possible revision of the order at a fature date, it the cases in which, under the 74th section of the new Act, a mortgagee is might put the profession in a somewhat better position, that one of its special to be entitled to seize the chattels comprised in a bill of sale is on the representatives upon the tribunal should have dissented from the order as it grantor's becoming a bankrupt, it is by no means clear what construction now stands, thongh it is almost unnecessary to state there were many portions will be put upon these apparently inconsistent clauses of the Act. The of it in which I fully concarred. It is satisfactory for me to know that my logical result of making all bills of sale void which are not registered predecessor entertained the same view, and had he remained in office would within seven days, would seeni to have been to give full effect, even as have acted in the same manner. Having said thus much, I am sure the meetagainst bankruptcy, to those which are so registered, at all events, un ing will excuse my adding that I do not think it would be becoming or lesa there were some laches on the part of the secured creditor in asserting decorous, or in accordance

with the view usually taken in this country of the his rights. But it seems in doubt whether this will be the result under the duties of a member of a quasi-judicial tribunal, for me to go into any further detail here, or to take an active part in the discussion which will probably which at the present time are brought to a condition effectually keeping ont arise on the subject upon one of the papers which will be read to you by and those who are utterly coqualified. But the question of general education is in bye. We have thus rapidly gone through the main features of the year's legis. many respects even more important. The sphere in which an English solicitor Jation especially affecting our profession. With the exception of the Settled is called upon to act bas been immensely extended in the lifetime of Land Act, which goes to a certain extent opon new lines, all the changes the present generation. The rapid growth of our colonies, and made bave, as regarde practice, been in the direction of simplification, and as the enormous increase in all directions of the commercial relations regards alteration in the law, in the direction of getting rid of ictions and of the country, render it desirable that a solicitor should be a sort of "Admir. doctrines or decisions which, often useful or right in their origin, have able Crichton,” with encyclopædic knowledge. We all know that this is become ill-adapted to the requirements of modern business and society. becoming increasingly impossible; but the man who has been well edacated Indeed, this has been the constant tendency of our legal legislation during and taught how to learn has an immense advantage in pickiog up the deedthe past fifty years. And what immense changes have been made in that ful information in any case of a scientific, technical, or otherwise abstruse period, as to almost all the important branches of the law, during the pro- character wbich comes before him. I hope I shall not be considered as going fessional life of many still practising! Let us briefly glance at a few of the beyond my province if I add that even more important than these is the most striking. They may be said to have begun just after the passing of the attainment of that high moral standard in our business relations which we Reform Act of 1832, and to have continued almost without interruption to should all endeavour to promote. We bave been in times past much abused, the present day. It is not quite fifty years since the Uniformity of Process and occasionally have still to hear something on this score, A dear friend of Act (2 & 3 Will. 4, c. 39) became law. There are those amongst us who mine, who was cut off by long illness and premature death from the seat on can still remember the course of actions before the passing of that most the bench wbich he would have adorned, and to which his well-earned sucrseful statute, and the famous new rules wbich were contemporary with it. cess at the bar would certainly have raised him, used to say that his experi. Those were the days of latitats and original writs, when it was often a ence of solicitors was the very reverse of what was often attributed to them ; matter of the gravest consideration in what form an action apparently of the and that so far as he could judge, if other portions of society were in the simplest character should be brought, for no mistake coold afterwards be set habit of regulating their actions by as high a standard as that which solicitors right. There was no such thing as a consolidation rule in those days. If were obliged to and did observe, the world would be a much better one then proceedings had to be taken upon a marine policy bearing the names of it is. This is the character which I hope our younger brethren will endeaiwenty underwriters (no uncommon case), twenty actions bad to be com- voor to maintain-to avoid anything approaching in the slightest degree to menced, and it not unfrequently occurred that legitimate costs to the extent sharpness or trickery in the conduct of their business, and, as far as possible, of several bundred pounds were incurred by the plaintiff's solicitor in a few to keep a control over their clients in the same direction; but above alí days after the first step in the actions. In pleadings almost every question things, to recollect in their conversation or negotiations with their professional could be raised upon the general issue, and a plaintiff, therefore, hardly ever brethren, that what they say must be, under all circumstances, implicitly knew what case was going to be set up by the defendant, and had, at enormous relied on and kept to. Absolute truth and straightforwardness in our cost and great risk of failure, to prepare all kinds of evidence accordingly, relations with each other are the surest method in the long run of conducting This was altered by the new rules before referred to, under which special our business satisfactorily to ourselves and our oljents, to say nothing of the pleading grew to a sort of science; and tbese in their turn were displaced by respect of our fellows and other consequences, which the constant and stead. a simpler system with whicb we are now familiar, originatiog in the Common fast practice of these qualities will &ssuredly bring in their train. Law Procedure Act, 1854. County courts were unknown. A tradesman in a Mr. TOURLE (London) thought that the time had arrived when no future country district, who had sold goods to the amount of £10, unless he and his entails should be permitted and the law of primogenituro in land should be debtor had the good fortune to reside in some borough which bad a court of materially altered. record, bad no remedy against a dishonest debtor, except by action Mr. C. T. SAUNDERS (Birmingham) remarked that it would be observed in the superior courts. If he laid the venue in London, the costs of that the power of re-iavestment of the capital of an estate wbich had been trial there were too serious to be thought of in small matters, while if sold by a tenant for life entitled him of his own motion apparently to re: his solicitor laid it in the country, it could be tried only twice in the invesť such capital in the purchase, not of freehold estate, which had year, and from July to the following April bis debtor could set bim at been the subject of sale, but of a wasting security-namely, an estate of defiance. Even the assizes of his county were not always held in a central a leasehold obaracter. Thus, under the Act, the following might happen :county town, but sometimes in a little place of three or four thousand inhabit. A tenant for life of a large estate might convert it in the first instance into unts in one corner of the county with no accommodation, and to which he money, and then apparently of his own motion he might re-invest the whole and his witnesses would have to travel perhaps the best part of one hundred of the money in the purchase of leasehold property having not more than miles over roads where there were few coaches and very bad meads of sixty years' unexpired term. If the tenant for life should be a young man, access. In those days the simplest bill in chancery extended to 100 folios or say twenty-five years of age at the time he so forfeited the settled estate, it more, and the whole case the plaintiff intended to make had to be put three was manifest he would be entitled to "eat "the estate if he lived long enough, times over, by way of statement, charge, and interrogatory, many of which in and practically to exhaust the settled estate. He thought this could not have simple suits, such as those for administration of estates, grew to be fictitious been contemplated by the framers of the Act, and it certainly iovolved very in their nature, and merely common form. The defendant's answer was serious consequences. The powers given to a tonant for life in the way of acnearly or quite as volumicons, and it took weeks and months to get it in; cepting surrenders of leases and granting fresh leases also appeared to bim to and it was often years before a cause could be brought completely to issue and go too far. Referring to the very animated discussion which took place at set down for hearing, when again it had to wait an indefinite period before it Brighton last year with respeot to bills of sale, he thought those who had could be heard. In real property law, before the passing of the Fines and spoken in opposition to the Act based their opinions upon an insufficient Recoveries Act, 1834, if an entail had to be barred, the whole fiction first acquaintance with the valuable evidence to be found in the blue-books. legalized by the decision in Taltarum's case in the time of Edward IV. had to

He was satisfied the Act would be found to be beneficial to the honest porbe resorted to at a great cost. It was often very doubtful who should be made

tion of the community. tenant to the præcipe; and if a mistake was made as to this (and I can Mr. B. WAKE (Sheffield) spoke in opposition to the Married Women's remember several instances of titles where it bas occurred), the whole thing Property Aot, which he looked upon as a step in the direction of dissolving had to be gone over again. If a poor married woman inherited a cottage, she the marriage tie. He protested against sooh an Act being pasged without could only sell it by levying a fine, which involved a cost of perhaps twenty its being discussed by the law societies throughout the country. He or i hirty per cent. on its value. Every property of any magnitude bad one or observed that the Bills of Sale Act was one of the greatest puzzles that had more satisfied terms assigned to attend the inberitance, to protect it against ever been invented. mesne incumbrances. The titles to all these had to be investigated separately and traced to the origin of the term, and separate deeds prepared for their instances where persons in Brighton bad been saved from rain by their

Mr. HowLETT (Brighton) spoke in favour of bills of sale, and gave assignment, which often bad to go through the hands of various solicitors unconnected with the purchase, whose charges had to be paid by one of the

agency. unfortunate parties interested. These are only a few of the points in which

NEXT YEAR'S MEETING. improvements bave been introduced. Many of them were not carried without The PRESIDENT remarked that the time had now arrived for considering great opposition, and almost all bad to wait for years after their necessity was the place of meeting next year, demonstrated to tboughtful minds by the kind of passive resistance which Mr. G. R. Dodds (London) observed that it was not fair to cast the heavy abuses of long staoding almost invariably offer to improvement. There were expenses of these meetings on small towns where there were few solicitors, not wanting croakers in those days who insisted that the changes proposed He moved that before accepting an invitation from aby town it should be were undesirable, and who predicted the ruin of the profession as the conse- made a condition that the members of the society should be allowed to pay quence of any alteration, just, as I have no doubt, there are some now who at least for the banquet which was usnally given on these oocasions. have been making the same prediction over the more recent changes in con- Mr. MILLER (Bristol) seconded the motion, which was supported by Mr, veyancing which we have been consideriug. I advise the younger members of F. K. MUNTON (London), Mr. MARIGOLD (Birmingham), Mr. W. SMITH our profession to pay no credit to such vaticinations. The true policy for us to (Sheffield), Mr. M. BATESON Wood (Manchester), and Mr. W. MELMOTH y ursue is to be in the foreground of all well-considered improvements, and as WALTERS (London), whilst Mr. Howlett (Brighton), spoke in opposition. far as possible to facilitate the early and easy dispatch of all classes of busi- The motion was carried mem, con,

We may rely upon it that as long as the commerce and business of this Mr. IUN moved that Plymouth be the next place of meeting. great country continue to prosper, the amount of professional work will Mr. E. KIMBER (London) seconded the motion. increase, though the forms of it may change. The great point to secure the The PRESIDENT observed that it was usual to wait for an invitation, and the future well-being of our profession, and to maintain the social standing and motion was withdrawn. position to wbich it is entitled, and wbich of late years have come to be Mr. MARIGOLD (Birmingham) invited the society to meet there in 1884, gradually more recognized, is to take care that those entering it should be He regretted that his society were not in a position to invite them for 1883. qualified, both by education and character, to keep and even to raise the standard which it bas now attained. As far as professional education is con

THE LONG VACATION. cerned, I thiok we may say that this is now secured by the examinations Mr. William Ford (Gray’s-ion, London) read the following paper :which thiş society has from its earliest days done its best to promote, and After some introductory observations, Mr. Ford said that : More obaoges


have been made in the law during the last fisty years than in the preceding Society be requested to resist any efforts that may be made from any three centuries. The life of the elder generation of lawyers has been one quarter to abolish the Long Vacation or to ourtail its length.” These sobool-time, & never-ending process of learning and unlearning. Besides observations are intended to apply strictly to contentious business of an alterations in the law, we have seen the chiefships of the Common Pleas ordinary character durirg the Long Vacation. The Vacation Jadges can and Exchequer extinguished ; almost every part of our legal system has continue to deal with exceptional cases. It is probable that the dispatch of been abolished or recast. Only one legal institution remains intact, and administrative business in the chambers of the equity judges might be that is the time-honoured institution known as “the Long Vaca- accelerated and improved by curtailing the Christmas Vacation. The tion." This venerable institution has been assailed, and may be Easter and Whitsuntide holidays are already confined within reasonable and attacked again ; it is proper therefore that the attention of the profession even narrow limits in those chambers. should be directed to its preservation. These attacks re-appear annually in Mr, SIDNEY SMITH (London) seconded the motion,

Mr. W. H. HERBERT (London) considered the exceedingly long vacation a very cal news and the courts of law are closed. They mostly proceed from the great scandal, bat did not think its entire abolition would be a benefit either pens of members of the bar who have not yet won their way to fame, and are to the public or the profession. He was, however, in favour of its abridg. naturally desirous to multiply their chances of early success, and to display on ment, and be would make it a real vacation, the sole business transacted a fitting arena the talents of wbich they are conscious. It would be a short- to be confined to simple applications and injunctions, and business of that sighted policy to hold cheap and disregard these periodical attacks on the Locg description. Vacation, because they emanate from men who conceal their names, and have Mr. E. KIMBER (London) thought the manner in which the business not yet made their mark in the world ; and none the less because one of the was conducted by the Vacation Judge was a disgrace to our boasted civilizamembers of our society has more than once expressed the same opinion in his tion. The burden imposed upon him was far too heavy, for how was it to place in Parliament. It is prudent, therefore, to investigate the merits and be expected he could decide two hundred cases in three days ?. He animaduses of the Long Vacation, and to ascertain whether it is for the benefit of the verted strongly on the great pressure of business and crowded state of the public and our clients that it should be preserved intact, for if this time-honoured courts. institution will not stand that test, it will surely succumb to the assaults Mr. COLBORNE (Newport) moved as an amendment: "That, in the opinion which annually recur in some portion or other of the London press.. Lawyers of the meeting, the Long Vacation might be considerably shortened, to the can never expect, and ought not to desire, to preserve a state of things which great advantage of the suitors, without any detriment to the interests of the is antagonistic to the general good ; nothing is more certain than that in the profession.' The shortened vacation, however, could not be made an absolute long run the interests of solicitors are identical with those of their clients. vacation, especially in the country. What is good for the client must, in the end, be the best for the solicitor, and Mr. DEBENHAM seconded the amendment. it is entirely from this point of view that the question should be argued and Mr. PENNINGTON (London) observed that a committee of the council had decided. Is it, therefore, to the benefit of the publio that the courts of law passed a special resolution on the subject, which had been adopted unanimously should be open all the year round ? I submit the answer should be "No," for at a very large general meeting of the society. That resolation was binding the following reasons : -The judges are, for the most part, men long past on the council, wbilst nothing that could be done at this meeting could be middle life, some well advanced in years. Men who work with the brain binding. It would be very unfortunate if they were now to change their cannot toil day by day, and every day in the year, with impunity; they will front and adopt such a resolution as that proposed by Mr. Ford. The busibreak down and be absent from illness if driven too hard. If

, therefore, justice ness of the public ought not to be allowed to come to a stop, is to be dispensed every working day throughout the year, the number of judges The amendment was put and carried with only two digsentients, It was must be multiplied, with a corresponding increase of their satellites. The then adopted as a substantive motion. number of masters, chief clerks, taxing masters, and the staff of all the law offices generally, must, for the same reasons, be augmented, if the various law THE PROPOSED EXTENSION OF THE JURISDICTION OF THE offices are to be at work de die in diem all the year round. It is easy to see

COUNTY COURTS. that such an alteration would be costly, though it might be difficult to calcu. late the exact amount of such additional expense. If chancellors and judges

Mr. J. T. WOODHOUSE (Secretary of the Hull Incorporated Law Society) require rest, so do advocates. If there is to be no “close time," the advocate read a paper with this title, as follows :who had advised or appeared in court during the earlier stages of an action

Alter some observations on the evidence given before the Select Committee might not be accessible or available when most needed at the trial, or in the of the House of Commons in 1878 on the jurisdiction of county courts, Mr. Court of Appeal. It is not easy to transfuse into the mind of a substituted | WOODHOUSE said : The Bill introduced into Parliament for extending the counsel the res gestas of the earlier proceedings. Still less is it frasible to jurisdiction of county courts best known to lawyers is that of the esteemed transfuse into the mind of another solicitor, albeit a partner, all the details, member for our town, Mr. Norwood, which proposes to increase the present cross-considerations, aims, and objects which ought to be present to the mind

common law linit of £50 to $200, and further proposes to confer apon these of a solicitor who tries an important cause. Again, much of the success of an

courts the same jurisdiction which they now exercise in all cases for the action depends on the fencing in judges' chambers ; it is, therefore, essential recovery of tenements under the 50th to the 52nd sections of the Act of that the managing clerk who conducts it sbould be always at hand; for the 1856, where the value of the premises or the rent payable in respect thereof knowledge of the details of such fencing, and of the papers, often voluminous shall not exceed £200. The jurisdiction is now limited to cases where the and multitudinous, cannot be transferred from the mind of the clerk who con value or the rent payable in respect thereof does not exceed £50, and the ducted the skirmishes into the mind of another clerk who might suddenly process is known as that for the recovery of small tenements. Farther, it is attempt to take his place. It is easy to imagine that the interests of the client proposed to substitute £40 for $20 as the limit of ejectment cases under the might suffer if the managing clerk conversant with the various petty, and yet 11th and 12th sections of the Act of 1867, and to empower the court to enteroftentimes important, antecedents of an action should not be available either tain actions for damages for malicious prosecution ; and the Bill contains a in chambers or at the trial. Solicitors and their clerks, as well as judges and clause increasing the salaries of the judges to £2,000 exclusive of travelling advocates, need occasional or periodical rest; and as no solicitor can

expenses, with proper provisions for a pension. The only complaint I have to Now tell when, or where, or by whom any cause 'will be tried, I submit that it make of the Bill is that it does not go far enough, inasmuch as it makes no is to the benefit of the suitor that there should be a recognized interval of provision for increased equitable jurisdiction, and does not repeal section 39 of leisure, during which the bencb, the bar, solicitors and their clerks, should the Act of 1856. After thorough consideration of this Bill, and the examinabe at liberty to recruit their energies and to prepare for the next campaign. tion of upwards of thirty witnesses representing all parties concerned, the Again, if there is no “close time,” will not scientifio witnesses of mark and diction of county courts protected by costs ; (6) that the court fees payable on

Select Committee reported : (a) That there should be no increase in the juris. eminence expect larger

fees to compensate them for sacrifioing the expected the plaint should be reduced ; (c) that the salaries of the judges should be ramble over the moors of Grea: Britain, or the mountains of Switzerland, increased to £2,000 per annum ; (d) that a registrar intrusted with the disor the soothing delights of a yachting cruise ? Will Sir Frederick Bramwell, Sir William Gall, and Sir James Paget be contented to remain in charge of judicial functions should not be permitted to practise within his

district or elsewhere ; and (e) that Mr. Norwood's Bill be approved and proEngland in Angust and September for the fees which they would accept at other times? Witnesses of eminence, in other walks of life, would require present exists for the trial of common law cases involving from £50, the

ceeded with. The necessity for having some different tribunal from what at additions to their remaneration if they are expected to be available at a

present limit, to £200, the proposed limit, was, I should bave thought, too season of the year devoted to rest and recreation. Scientifio witnesses cannot be suddenly replaced. It often happens that their testimony, to be succession to Mr. Burton, and who has perhaps had as great, if not greater,

obvious for argument. Mr. Hollams, who occupied the presidential chair ia of any value, must be based opon inspection and observation of natural, experience in contentious practice as any other professional man in the city physical, chemical, or other processes, extending over a lengthened period of London, in his evidence stated that be believed there was an enormous It is not only supposable, bot it is certain, that suitors would soffer if the amount of business which is nipped in the bud and cannot progress, on scientific or skilled witnesses, who had been retained months before, should account of the expense of litigation in the High Court; and added that he be abgent when most wanted, and that the expenses of litigation would be stopped on an average one case a day of £50 to £200 on the score of expense. seriously inflamed if scientific witnesses engage to be at hand at every There are, therefore, hundreds of mercantile men who, having claims for say geason of the year, or their numbers would be swelled, to guard against the £100 or somewhat more, advised that they are quite right and are entitled to contingency of one or more absentees at the trial. The employment of a recover, are yet compelled to put up with their loss because the expense of third counsel would be much more common than it is now, as it would be litigation in the High Court is so great ; and Mr. Hollams expresses his necessary to guard against the contingency of the absence of a single leader, opinion, “that the system of the higher court is not only not adapted to cases and the devolation of his responsibility upon the inadequate shoulders of of £100, but also £200 or even £300.” Quite recently I had a good illustrahis junior. In this assembly I need not dilate on the inflammation of the tion of this complaint in my own experience. A client, who was an indorsee costs occasioned by a third brief, a third copy of documents used at tbe for value, beld a dishonoured acceptance for £58, and after making the best trial, and of the shorthand writer's notes for the use of a third counsel. inquiries he could as to the solvency of the acceptor, as he somewhat doubted Whether, therefore, we regard the interests of judges, advocates, solicitors, the drawer, sued the acceptor by a specially indorsed writ in the High Court, suitors, or the publio, it is undesirable that the period of annual relaxation the county court having, of course, no jurisdiction to entertain the claim. Bhould be annihilated or abridged, and I trust that you will unanimously The acceptor ignored application for payment, and the indorsee expected he pass the following resolution :-" That the Council of the Incorporated Law I would pay on receiving the writ ; but an appearance was entered, and application being made under order 14 for judgment, the defendant set up a decision been reversed. Again, on the question of competency, it should defence of fraudulent misrepresentation by the drawer as to some goods not be forgotten that, since 1868, many of the judges have had jurisdiction which formed the original consideration for the bill, but of which the plaintiff in admiralty causes up to £300; and who has ever heard any complaint, indorsee bad no knowledge whatever, and so deposed. The master thought other than that the jurisdiction is not sufficiently extensive ? As the only the defendant's allegations were sufficient to shift the onus of proof, and court exercising jurisdiction in the greater portion of the claims cognizable gave unconditional leave to defend ; and as the master's order was made on in admiralty is that of Sir R. Phillimore, the result is that where a claim the last day for giving notice of trial at the assizes, it was deemed more in a collision case exceeds £300, litigants with frequently a large number prudent to deliver claim and proceed instead of appealing to a judge. Plead- of witnesses are compelled not to try at the assizes, but to go to London ings were delivered, defendant administered interrogatories, obtained discovery and incur all the expense of a suit in the Chancery Division, and though of documents, tried to create delay by applying to change venue, and ulti- the court cannot now entertain any action of ejectment where title comes mately the action reached trial, and my client obtained his verdict at an expense, in question, if the annual value or rent of the property exceeds £20, yet even on this simple claim of taxed coste, amounting to £146, or nearly three in an action of replevin (another anomaly) its jurisdiction is unlimited, times the amount of the claim. This action, if the law had permitted, could though title to properties of large value may be involved. Bat though the have been tried in the county court at a tenth of the cost and in much less fitness of some of the judges originally appointed for exercising the time ; and this is an illustration of many men's daily professional experience. jurisdiction proposed to be given might perhaps be questioned, yet There are those, however, who, admitting the necessity for some different few can cavil at the appointments made in recent years, and the confidence tribapal for dealing with the class of cases I have mentioned, deny the of the public is best attested by observing the amount of business which expediency of making that tribunal the county court, and they desire the they have allotted to themselves. In 1880, on the common law side creation of a new tribunal, intermediate between the High Court and the of the courts, 1,095,869 plaints were issued to recover the total sum county court, to be called a district court, but to be, in fact, a branch of of £3,366,474. Judgments were obtained for sums amounting to the High Court, with a judge ranking not so high as a paisne judge of the £1,681,865 ; 13,694 of these plaints were for sums between £20 and £50; High Court, but higher than a county court judge, and that these district that is, in cases where the court exercises ouncurrent jurisdiction with the courts shall be held only at the larger centres of industry. They urge this High Court; and 296 gases were entered by consent above £50. In addition because they object to the county courts, and I think their objections may

to this 921 actions remitted or transferred from the High Court were tried be summed op ander the following heads :-(1) The public have not

in the county court; and since the passing of the Employers' Liability Aot, sufficient confidence in the courte. (2) The judges are not men of sufficient by which it is provided that all olaims of whatever amount onder chat Act ability or experience to make them a competent tribunal to deal with cases must be com menoed in the county court, 118 aotions were last year so tried, that would arise under the enlarged jurisdiction. (3) The courts are not and I am quite satisfied that in the current year they will be nearly twice that suitable, because thoy mix up substantial business with trivial business. number. This is exclusive of upwards of 10,000 petitions ia liquidation and (4) No proper bar practising before them. (5) Not sufficient facilities for bankruptoy, and of 373 soits in adviralty. It is obvious that this regalt must obtaining discovery or for hearing interlocutory applications. (6) No have greatly affected the High Court, which, if it had not been relieved by pleadings—and therefore the contending parties do not know what the other the county court, must have been completely blocked with work. The admits or dispates. (7) Interference with the business of the assizes. (8) number of writs issued in the High Court in 1867 was 127,702. In the same Court fees too high. (9) No sufficient appeal. (10) In equity po proper year was passed the Act which provided that costs should not be recovermachinery for working out decrees or taking accounts. Dealing with the able in the Sopreme Courts where the cause of action, if in contract, should first two objections, it seems surprising, when Parliament has been for so long involve an amount less than £20; and in 1868 the number of writs fell to continually adding to the very limited jarisdiction originally conferred upon 83,174, being a decrease of 44,528, or nearly a third ; in 1869 the writs county courts, limited jurisdiction in equity, and, by the Bankruptcy Aot, issued were 81,778; in 1870 they fell to 72,660 ; and in 1881 they pombered 869, unlimited jurisdiction in bankrapto y, that persons should be found to only 55,783. The county court plaints' in the same year numbered question the fitness of the court to deal with a common law action involving 1,035,311, the High Coart writs recovered $182,993 ; the county court £200 in value, or to adıninister the trusts of a will, or otherwise exercise plaints recovered £1,601,648. These figures, I think, sufficiently answer equitable jarisdiction where the assets or property involved amounts to the objections with which I bave been dealing. The third objection£1,000. A county court judge may now bear and dispose of, on motion on namely, that substantial cases are mixed up with trivial cases—is one which the bankruptcy side of his court, an issue involving, and may grant an

is not exclusively applicable to county courts ; it is a mere matter of classi. injunction affecting, property of unlimited and, as not unfrequently happens, fication and arrangement, and in all the larger courts now this classification of enormous value ; as, for example, in cases as to the validity of bills of sale, takes place. An excellent arrangement, which only wants a little further the relative rights of trustees and execution creditors, of fraudulent prefer classification to make it perfect, exists at our court. The judge (whose ence, and in the settlement of questions arising under the order and disposi- constant study is to devise the best means for disposing of the work of his tion clauses of the Bankruptoy Act, and out of the doctrine of "relation court) sits at Hull three, and sometimes four, days every month. On the back," and may exercise the power of committal for contempt for disobedi- first day he takes cases in wbich solicitors are not engaged and judgment ence to orders of the court; and yet where the same issues are raised by

On the remaining days he takes cases in which advocates are action at common law (and since the decision of Ex parte Dickin, Re Pollard, engaged according to a classified cause list, which is printed and ciroulated L. R. 8 Ch. D. 377, they have unfortunately for the pockets of litigants, a few days prior to the bearing. Each day's list is peremptorily called over and, as I venture to think-with all respect to the eminent judges who gave at the sitting of the court, and the undefended odces eliminated from the list, that decision-for the proper and economical administration of the law of and the parties at once liberated from further attendance; only fighting cases bankruptoy, to be determined by action at law) a county court judge cannot remain in the list. This has been proved to work well, and removes an entertain them, if the value of the subject-matter of the dispute exceeds such objections as the one I am dealing with, and though more days and a £50. Nay, the anomaly does not stop here, for not only may he entertain different classification would be required with an extended jurisdiotion, this and adjudicate upon issues in bankraptcy of unlimited amount; but he has the is a mere matter of internal arrangement. The bankruptoy basiness is power—which is not unfrequently exercised-of delegating his judioial func principally disposed of by his able registrar, and motions are heard tions in bankruptcy (except that of committing for contempt) to his registrar, immediately the parties are ready. I will not stay to deal with the who then has the power to exercise the delicate duty of ordering the arrest of objection as to the bar. Lord Bramwell is of opinion that bars would not absconding debtors and of granting search warrants, and may sit and be prejudicially affected by the proposed change, and all the county court determine, either with or without a jury, issues frequently raised before judges are quite satisfied that there is nothing in this objection, and that the him, involving the sifting of complicated facts, discrimination of conflict- bar do go and will go wherever there is business, if they are required, and ing evidence, as, e.g. in a case of custom”under the 15th section of the that the courts form an excellent training school for their subsequent Bankruptcy Act, and the consideration of some of the most difficult and practice before the higher tribunal. I am quite satisfied from practical abstruse points of law that can be raised, and invariably are raised in any experience that there is nothing tepable in the objections that there are not bankruptcy issues ; and this anomaly reaches truly the height of absurdity sufficient facilities for obtaining discovery and hearing interlocatory appli. when it is remembered that as the law at present stands, a registrar can. cationg. The cases even in the High Court are not numerous where not, when exercising common law jurisdiction, hear in his court any discovery is absolutely necessary; it is a species of machinery that is defended case, whether it be a servant girl suing her master for a month's too often used to obtain costs, and is very much abused ; but where it is wages, or however trivial it may be. Those who argue against any increase necessary, with some alterations of the rules of court, drawn more closely in the jurisdiction of these courts are bound, therefore, to show that after upon the lives of the Judicature Rules, no difficulty need be experienced. thirteen years' experience, the judges have not exercised the unlimited The registrar would hear and make orders upon summons, just as jurisdiction vested in them by the Bankruptcy Act, 1869 (and which prior he does now in the district registries of the High Court, with an appeal to the to the check imposed by the decision I have referred to was very extensive judge. This appeal could always be heard within a few days, but I apprehend indeed), with satisfaction to the profession and the public. I challenge appeals in such ioterlocutory matters as were necessary would be rare, and I any person to do so. I am aware that as there is a simple, cheap, and would discourage all unnecessary interlocutory applications by making the valuable system of appeal, there have been in some districts many appeals ; applicant, if the court were of that opinion, pay costs. Nor after the resolu. but not more in proportion than occur in the higher courts. This displays tion passed last year by the Lord Chancellor's Committee, that it was desirable not so much a want of confidence in the tribunal of first instance as the to abolish pleadings in the Queen's Bench Division of the High Court, can it necessity of settling by the opinion of the ultimate Court of Appeal, the seriously be contended that they should be introduced into the county court. construction of a new Act of Parliament, and in many instances where a Nor are they in fact, I submit, in the great majority of cases at all necessary. decision of the county court has been reversed on appeal to the Vice Mr. Hollams, whose opinion must always command amongst us the greatest Chancellor sitting as Chief Judge, the ultimate Court of Appeal bas weight, says, “I have always been an advocate for having no pleadings at all. restored the decision of the county court judge. I am not aware that in I think they add seriously to the expense of litigation, and I think that the Judge Bedwell's extensive circuit (which, according to the number of Judicature Act has proved that pleadings are more costly since." If the parplaints issued, ranks second of all the courts of England) there have ticulars of claim at present required by the court rules were given on entering been more than six appeals in bankruptcy since he sat eight years ago, plaint, and the defendant were required within a specified time before the and I believe I am correct in stating that in no single instance has a court day to give short particulars of defence, that, I am sure, would in nine cases out of ten be sufficient, and let both parties and the court know what the issue stand, sabject to any special application, and to the usual powers of adjoora. to be tried was. Time does not permit me at length to deal with the remain- ment for hearing at the coort, to be held on the next succeeding court ing objection. The High Court will never be short of work; the more day. I would do away altogether with bailiffs. They have long been the facilities you offer for litigation the more work there will be. There is abun. bane of the county courts. Sometimes great delay occurs in the service of dance of work now, and always will be, in the Chancery Division alone to a summons, for every defendant 18 not known to the bailiff. If the service occupy the time of the superior court judges, and probably the lords justices be in the hands of the suite there is an interest in effecting service which might then advantageously be saved the necessity of going on circuit. I can never be infused into a bailiff. In the levying of executions, too, the admit the court fees are too high and operate most prejudicially on the fees having been already paid, the balliff has so little interest in the matter business of the courts. The mode of appeal is also far from satisfactory. The that he is only too prone to be satisfied with any allegation as to the owner. suitor should be allowed to make use of shorthand notes, as in admiralty and ship of the chattele seized, or as to their liability for rent, and to withdraw; bankruptcy appeals, and I see no reason why the appeal sbould not, as in and a poor suitor, after incurring great expense, 18 left perfectly remediless ; bankruptcy and admiralty, be in effect a re-bearing ; but the appellant, as in whereas, if he had the power to intrust the execution of his judgment to a bankruptcy, should be required to give security at the discretion of the court, person of his own choosing (who, if deemed necessary, should be previously otherwise a successful suitor who was poor might be undoly barassed and approved by the court as fit and responsible to undertake the duties of deprived, by the mere length of his adversary's purse, of the benefit of bis levying warrants), as landlords can do in distress for rents, he would probjodgment. I strongly advocate the extension of the equitable jurisdiction to ably, by the exercise of greater diligence, and the personal interest which £1,000. It is said that there has been very little equitable business trans- would accrue, realize his judgment without difficulty. All that should be acted in the county courts, but this is due to the niggardliness of the juris. required to effect the levy should be an authority from the suitor or his diction. The jurisdiction is not in any degree exclusive but concurreni, the solicitor attached to an office copy of the judgment. If balliffs were court fees are high and the professional remuneration very low, and this in a abolished an immense amount of the expense which county courts entail great degree e' plains why the jurisdiction bas been so partially used. The would be saved, and I am convinced the result would be that justice would machinery, too, provided for by the rules, is ill.considered and not at all be administered more expeditiously, more certainly, and cheaply. adapted to small matters. The procedure should be settled by practical men. At the conolosion he moved, “ That in the opinion of this meeting it is The object has clearly been to copy almost exactly the procedure of the desirable that the county ooort jarisdistion should be generally extended.” High Court, but it is like ntilizing a locomotive engine to draw a bath chair.


Mr. SHACKLES (Hull) seconded the motion. He could not understand why In extending the jurisdiction to £1,000, I would either make it exclusive or machinery capable of dealing with amounts op to $500 should not be equal protect it by costs. I venture to predict it would be largely used, and would to dealing with amounts up to £5,000. prove a great boon, with a simplified machinery which the judges themselves can easily arrange by new rules. There would be no difficulty in working always bold diametrically opposite views with respeot to the matter. The

Mr. MUNTON (London) said that London and country solicitors would out the orders. I have worked tbree administration suits in the court during the past year most satisfactorily, and at much less expense-one of country solicitors availed themselves gladly of the system direotly the courts them being considerably above the £500 limit, and in which some most import

were instituted, and whilst the solioitors in the country were quite satisfied ant points of construction as to the disposition of legacies had to be settled with the way in which the basiness was conducted, the London solicitors and to argue them in the High Court would have greatly diminished the estate. thought that the majority of the county coart basiness in London was The county court judges were all of opiniou that their several registrars the case the London solicitors would continue to withhold their support from

carried on in a very adsatisfactory manner indeed, and so long as this was were equal to any chief clerks, Under these circumstances there can be no reason to fear that orders once made would not be properly worked out. I the system. He entirely disagreed with Mr. Wood house's motion. If the think this makes out a strong

case in support of my contention that the business of the county court was added to, the confusion would be greater equitable jurisdiction should be increased as well the common law jurisdiction. than ever. He thongbt it desirable that successful juniors should be aplo extending the equitable jurisdiction, I would include the jurisdiction to pointed to the county coort bench instead of unsuccessfal seniors. entertain petitions for winding up companies under the Companies Acts where

Mr. T. MARSHALL (Leeds) qoite agreed that the desirability of the in. the nominal capital of the company did not exceed £10,000. The procedure crease of jurisdiction really depended on the facilities given by competent and machinery of the Chancery Division are too elaborate and costly for wind- judges and by amended rules of practice for the jurisdiction to be carried out. ing op small companies, and too often the expense entailed consumes all In the large towns, such as Hall, Leeds and so on, the practice was large, available assets. Surely if the county court is the proper and cheapest and the officials were able, by constant practice, to get through their work tribunal to administer an insolvent estate of a private trader where the assets properly. If the increase of jurisdiction was to work well it ought to be in and liabilities are unlimited, it is as competent, and should be the tribunal to some way limited to those courts where there was practice enough to enable bave the charge of winding up an insolvent business carried on by a those who did the work to do it thoroughly and satisfactorily. It was number of traders incorporated as one person under the Companies Acts. To absurd that a man should be obliged to take a case to a superior court when give the judges ample time to deal with the additional work that would be be, and perhaps the defendant also, were desirous of taking it to the county cast upon them by an increased jurisdiction, I would intrust the registrars court; bat satisfactory provision mast be made for the satisfactory diswith the power of hearing common law cases up to £5 or £10, with a right of charge of that jurisdiction in the county court. Mr. Woodhonse bad engappeal to the judge ; and where a point of legal or mercantile importance was gested that bailiffs should be abolisbed. He thought this would work well involved in any case within this limit, as, for example, in the case of the con. wbere a solicitor was employed, bat in the vast majority of county court struction of a cbarter-party, the solicitor on either side should be at liberty to cases this was not so, and if the bailiffs were abolished the service of the mark it for beariog before the judge ; and it would then be desirable to give summons would be left in the bands of a class of persons who would not, he effect to the resolution of the House of Commons'Committee that registrars should thought, do the work satisfactorily. Conoty ooart fees were admittedly high not, where they exercise judicial functions, also carry on private practice. To but it must be remembered that much work was done for them which in a make the courts more workable and more efficient, certain reforms must superior court would have to be obarged for in another way. The county inevitably be introduced. First, the court fees must be reduced. At present courts, with their present high fees, 008t the country £250,000 a year. If a suitor on ordinary plaint pays, up to £20, 18. in the pound on entering the fees were reduced it would be necessary to abolish a large number of plaint, 28. in the pound more before hearing, and when he has got judgment the smaller and approfitable county courte. he has to pay a further 1s. 6d, in the pound to enforce it by execution ; in other words, to pay £4 10s. to the court on the mere chance of recovering his went into the county courts, it would raise the tone of the county court bench.

Mr. LEAROYD (Huddersfield) thought that if a superior class of solicitors debt. There would be in the High Court in fees on the same debt to the same point not more than £2 7s. This is, of course, exclusive of any professional

Mr. GRIBBLE (London) thought the expense would be much heavier than

was anticipated. remuneration or cost of attendance of witnesses, and is a hardship on tradesmen and suitors, and frequently operates to deter a tradesman resorting to

Mr. ELLET (Cirencester) asserted that the country solicitors were not so his remedy for his customer's default in payment if he is not very sanguine of unanimous in their desire that the county court jurisdiction should be extended bis solvency. I would fix a uniform fee on entering plaint of 3s. in all cases over

as had been suggested. £5, and 6d. in the pound on all cases under. I would do away with much of Mr. Herbert (London) spoke in high terms of the county court judges. He the routine and intricate procedure now in existence. To issue a default thought the high bailiff shonld be abolished, and that the solicitors should be summons and serve it otherwise than by the bailiff of the court, no less than entitled to employ other persons than their cle:ks for serving writs, &c. seven forms, inclusive of plaint note, must be prepared. It need not be such Mr. Birks (Hall) was in favour of the extension of county court jurisdic. a matter of surprise, therefore, that these summonses should have been very tion. little used, especially, indeed, in towns where courts are held at no greater intervals than a month ; for, assuming a bailiff to serve a summons the day to non-contentious business.

Mr. Veler (Chelmsford) suggested that the extension should be confined it is iesned, by entering appearance on the sixteenth day a defendant can practically sometimes put off a plaintiff for five weeks. Why not adopt a exclusive jarisdiction up to £50, so as to deprive a plaintiff of his costs if the

Mr. M'LELLAN (Rochester) proposed (1) that the county courts should have form of writ similar to that in use in the High Court, on which particulars of action was commenced in the High Court; (2) that the county courts should claim should be endorsed by the plaintiff? The form should be obtainable at bave concurrent jurisdiction with the high court up to £200, with power to the court or otherwise, and sealed by the gistrar in duplicate. Let the writ be served by the plaintiff ' or by any other person, as is now done in the

remove to the high court as could now be done.

The PRESIDENT ruled that he could not accept this as an amendment. superior court. If the defendant lives at a distance from the court, allow a fixed sum, whatever the distance, for mileage. I would require defendant to commit itself to a resolution that the couoty court jurisdiction should be

Mr. DEVONSHIRE (London) thought it unadvisable that the society should enter an arpearance in cases under £20 in twelve days, and above £20 in eight extended, unless the practice of the county courts be revised, and an adequate daye, and I would give a plaintiff the same facilities to obtain judgment scale of costs determined. He suggested that this should be added to the if writ especially indorsed as under order 14 of the High Court. If no appearance be entered, I would, on an affidavit of service, give plaintiff

motion by way of rider. immediate judgment without the necessity of having to go to the court that the decisions of the county court judges were so infallible as had been

Mr. E. KIMBER (London) seconded the proposition. He could not agree and formally prove his debt. apy application made for judgment within five days, the case should represented. He asserted that they often refused to obey Acts of Parlia

ment by declining to take a note

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