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cantile business has probably led to a like growth in differences inevitably arising between the parties to them, and the speed and cheapness and convenience of the local Courts have tended to draw them thither for settlement. The same recommendations have tapped the supply as regards many disputes that formerly went to arbitration. It is matter of common occurrence to find causes in the Sheriff Court for the settlement of which by arbitration provision has been made, but of which neither party cares to avail himself. The same recommendations, coupled with the diffusion of knowledge in regard to cases and the law applicable to them, through newspaper energy, have attracted into Court a good many cases that would otherwise not have come into Court at all. And, in the last place, they have diverted a considerable proportion of cases that ought to have gone to the Supreme Court into the local Courts. It appears to me that this last result is much to be deprecated. Alike as to competency of Bench and Bar, the Supreme Court never stood higher, perhaps, than it at present does; and the emaciation of its business can hardly fail to lessen the supply and even the forensic experience of those by whom the seats on the Bench of the Supreme Court and the more important local Courts will have to be filled. As regards the Sheriff-Deputes, this evil is only too well marked. Though they can be appointed with two years less experience than Sheriff-Substitutes can, as a matter of fact no such occurrence ever takes place. The latter class of Judges is appointed from the junior Bar, and occasionally from the Bar of the local Courts; the latter from the senior Bar of the Supreme Court. But as the business of the Supreme Court has increased but
I little, and is despatched with a rapidity that might naturally
have invited more business, the work of the seniors has unfortunately been mainly concentrated on a few of the most eminent lawyers, whose very eminence, by procuring
them a connection with the Crown, has disabled them from holding Sheriffships.
I am, Iconfess, one of the many who think that the existence in a local Court of both an appellate and a primary Judge is now-a-days an ;anachronism, and is injurious to the interests of the country and of the Bars of the Supreme and local Courts. I have shown that of old the Crown Sheriff-Depute was a resident local Judge, that in 1746 he was released from living in his county during more than four months in the year, and in 1838, from living in it at all; that, practically, the Sheriff-Substitute has come to hold the post he formerly held; and the Sheriff-Depute has drifted into being an appellate Judge in regard to the more important parts of the work in the Civil Courts. The question will probably soon arise whether the duties at present discharged by fifty resident and eighteen non-resident local Judges might not be more acceptably discharged by about thirty resident Judges with better arranged districts than at present. The dissemination of legal knowledge and legal literature throughout the country has enabled the country to get its knowledge speedily and accurately. Formerly it came through the Sheriff alone. The Sheriff-Substitute made up the record, but the Sheriff decided the case. One instance of this I find as recently as 1846. And as regards the work that might be overtaken by the Sheriffs-Substitute it is surely absurd to say they cannot get over more ground and more work with the aid of railways and short-hand than stage-coaches and long-hand. No doubt this means more brain work, at least, if not more physical work ; for, the more the cases, the more the mental toil. But no one acquainted with the work of the Sheriff Courts will deny that many of the local Judges might with advantage have more to do. About one-third of the Sheriff Court work of Scotland is done by the five Sheriff-Substitutes in Glasgow, one-third by the nine next busiest Sheriff-Substitutes, and the other third by the remaining thirty-six. I do not suppose there is any Sheriff-Substitute in Scotland who, if conscious of having too little to do, would refuse to accept more work, always provided of course that remuneration and work increased together. The labourer is, we know, worthy of his hire.
Since the foregoing pages were written, the important debate in the House of Lords, on 22nd March, on the Court of Session Bill has settled the doom of the double Sheriffship ; and it may be expected that in little more than a year Scotland will have its local Courts brought into more close connection with the Supreme Courts by the abolition of the existing impediment to a result so desirable. It is to be hoped that the legislation necessary to attain this end will not omit one matter for which, in the interests of the country and of the local Judges, provision ought to be made. It is not certain that the resident shrieval Judges are ineligible for the Bench of the Supreme Court; but in practice such promotion is unknown. Now it is undeniable that every step which is taken to raise the status of the local Judges is of national concern; the better the Judge, the more fortunate the community; and, probably also, the less the work of the Supreme Court of Appeal. Now, if the resident Judges not only get more pay, but have the inducement held out of possible promotion to the Supreme'Court, it is obvious that this will tend to attract the candidature of men for the local judgeships who at present are deterred from accepting such a final settlement of their industry and ambition. On the other hand, if the ability of a local Judge has shown him to be one whose services would be of advantage to the country, it is undesirable that the country should be unable to obtain his services where they will be of most use. At present the only road to the Supreme Bench from the local Resident Bench is througha Sheriffship ; and if this oflice is abolished some other road ought to be provided. There are few countries where such promotion is not accorded; but Scotland is one of these few. And if the training of an appellate Sheriff be of any value, the absurdity is carried still further; for, while the sixteen non-resident Sheriffs, who dispose of 775 appeals among them, are eligible for such promotion, the two resident Sheriffs in Lanarkshire and Midlothian, who overtake 93I appeals, are denied it. Till I877 this exclusion was based on the idea that, as the resident Sheriffs and Sheriff-Substitutes could not decide cases of heritable proprietorship, they must have forgotten this branch of law. But as by the Sheriff Courts Act of 1877 such questions have been made competent to them, no tangible ground now exists for their exclusion from
promotion if deserved. J. M. LEES.
II.—THE LAWS OF VVALES.—THE KINDRED AND THE BLOOD FEUD.
HE Ancient Laws and Institutes of Wales, of which Mr. Aneurin Owen now many years ago published an edition and an English translation for the Record Commissioners* have hardly hitherto received, even in the Principality, the attention which is their due. Englishmen having at one time somewhat too greedily devoured \/Velsh myths are now wont to mistrust any information contained in a Welsh document, and thus an indiscriminating cred ulity has given birth to an indiscriminating scepticism. There seems really very little ground for doubt that the bulk of Mr. Owen’s three codes, Venedotian, Dimetian, and Gwentian, was at one time law in Wales, or at least was thought to be law. This qualification we add because it is very apparent that a large part of these masses of rules is neither law made by any “sovereign one or many" (to use Austin’s phrase), nor yet “ judge-made ” law, nor yet again a mere record of popular customs. It is lawyer-made law, glossators' law, text-writers’ law. That the kernel of the mass is a real old code compiled by Howel the Good about the year 928 is more than probable.° But our documents do not profess to give us the code, the whole code, and nothing but the code. By comparing the several versions which Mr. Owen assigns to Gwynedd (North Wales), Dyfed (South \Vest Vi/ales), and Gwent (Monmouth), we soon come to the conclusion that they have been made at different times, in different parts of the country, and that the makers thereof have held themselves free to gloss, to rearrange, and to introduce new matter. The relation of these versions to the real ancient code is probably much the same as that of the compilations which bear the names of Edward the Confessor, William the Conqueror, and Henry the First, to the codes and statutes of Cnut and his \Vest Saxon predecessors. Between the Norman Conquest and the reign of Henry the Second, there lies a time in which it must have seemed likely that the future of the law of England was committed to glossators and text-writers. This period was brought to a close by Henry's vigorous legislation. But in Wales there was no one to issue assises or constitutions. Much as the later Welsh lawyers must have added to their ancient -code, they hardly ever refer to any subsequent legislation. Only fitfully, now and again, were the VVelsh people united under one chieftain, and then for the purpose of war, while even in each separate kingdom or principality the king or prince can have had but small legislative power.
' Ancient Laws and Institutes of Wales, 1841. I use the octave edition, which I believe agrees in all points with the folio,