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them a money compensation in lieu of rights which they had been deprived
Otherwise they might have rules thrust upon them by an official who had were adopted, and every county had its registry office, every man never perused an abstract in his life, and the responsibility would be recording his own title in his own language and his own plan, at the end thrown on the unfortunate solicitors who were trying to carry out a of ten years there would practically be the groundwork on which, if they machine which from the first was constructed not to work. The most in- liked, they could build registration of title. But what would be the teresting question to solicitors, in one way, was their position under the effect of making all land pass to an executor for the payment of debis and Bill. Under the Act of 1875 the position of solicitors was very distinctly legacies ? All your difficulties and your records of pedigrees upon long preserved, and under the rules it was preserved in the same way. He did deeds would be done away with, and there would be a register with maps not think for one moment that the Lord Chancellor had any intention of in the course of about ten years. acting unfairly to the body of solicitors and of altering the position they Mr. BLYTH (Londou) suggested that a special meeting should be called now occupied. Of course, his lordship was aware that, as a consequence for the consideration of the subject. He agreed very cordially with the of the exclusive privilege of conveyancing which was intrusted to solici, council that an indefeasible title should not be attempted such as was tors, they were under extremely stringent regulations both as regarded required under Lord Westbury's Act, which led to much trouble, delay, education, conduct, and professional status, and in many other ways, so and expense, and the Act was practically dead. that the public had the advantage of having a body of men specially Mr. J. J. COULTON (Lynn) suggested that printed information should be trained for the work, and who were under special responsibilities, and sent round to the profession so that their opinion might be obtained. every possible inducement, apart from professional honour, to carry out The PRESIDENT said this had already been done, and answers had been to the best of their ability whatever work they were intrusted with. received from the country law societies. That had worked, as a whole, to the satisfaction of the public and of
Mr. SHACKLES (Hull) said it seemed to him the meeting was drifting clients. They must press very earnestly that solicitors must not be interfered with by this new system. He thought the Lord Chancellor into details and losing sight of principles. One principle was to settle was satisfied that solicitors, as a body, were not opposed to a system of whether they were to have a registration of titles or a registration of registration per se. He did not think the present system was sufficiently deeds, and another to approach the legislators upon that question. The thought out, but it was possible that there might be a system which, registration of titles was out of the question, and the public would revolt without being compulsory, might offer such advantages that it might be against it. The extension of the Yorkshire Registries to every county accepted. But what they had to do was to make any Act which was put
would give them practically what they wanted. upon them as beneficial for the public as they possibly could. Therefore, Mr. W. M. WALTERS (London) said the Bill would be in committee next they must criticize the Act before it had become law so as to point out on week, and they had to consider a Bill which had gone through its second what principles they could work it. In the event of its not passing into reading in the House of Lords. They had to accept it and to do their best law this year, which it probably would not, he thought they should have to mould it into sbape. Registration of deeds would not meet with sup: the opportunity of an inquiry, so that next year the Lord Chancellor might port in either House of Parliament. Their Yorkshire friends were enamou red see that it had received the general assent of both branches of the pro of their registries, but at the provincial meeting at Yorkshire a resolution fession The council had made sixteen recommendations, which he would had been carried condemping them, and the president of the Yorkshire move, as follows:
Law Society, Mr. Walker, had voted in the majority. They had to deal 1. That compulsory registration is unjust to landowners, and, if the with a system of registration of title, and it was for them to make it as system were made workable and inexpensive, would be unnecessary.
innocuous as possible. Mr. Blyth had told them that they ought not 2. That, whether compulsory or not, a system of guaranteed title is merely to object to an indefeasible title scheme, but also to a guarpreferable to that of an indefeasible title as contemplated by the Bill.
anteed title. They were bound to put forward a system of guaranteed 3. That the Land Transfer Board should be selected from barristers and
title themselves, and they said that, if, instead of aiming at an absolute solicitors, and be presided over by a judge of the Supreme Court, or
and indefeasible title, the principle of a guaranteed title were accomplished, someone of equal position and authority.
many difficulties would disappear. 4. That the outlines of the arrangement for branch offices and land Mr. ELLETT (Cirencester) said that several speakers had referred to the transfer districts should be defined in the Bill.
discussion as if it were a question of the adoption of a report just before 5. That an interval of not less than six months should be allowed be- circulated. He was speaking for a class who had come some hundreds of tween the issue of the rules and the creation of any land transfer dis. miles to attend the meeting, and he hoped they would at least be practical, trict involving compulsory registration.
and that they would, if unable to deal with the questions of detail, deal with 6. That the duty of registration ehould be thrown on the grantee, and the few leading and important points and principles upon which all of them not, as at present proposed, on the grantor.
must already have made up their minds, or ought to have done so before this. 7. That provision should be made to relieve a purchaser or other grantee The country law societies had had a series of questions, raising practically the from being affected with notice of the trusts of any settlement of the same points as those Mr. Lake had touched upon, put before them by the existence of which he will, by the fact of the proprietor appearing as council, and he believed every law society had considered these questions and tenant for life, necessarily become aware.
sent in replies. The gentlemen present were representatives of the country 8. That the proposed confirmation of a possessory or qualified title law societies, and had taken part in the discussion of these questions locally, after five years' advertisement would be open to grave danger and be of and were, he was sure, prepared to express an opinion. It would little practical use.
facilitate the discussion if it were limited for the moment to each point in the 9. That the provisions for determining boundaries would give rise to order in which it was stated, and the vote taken upon it. The first was the much discussion, if not litigation, between neighbours, and would be question whether or not registration should be compulsory. Surely it was a seldom taken advantage of.
principle upon which every practitioner in the room must by this time have 10. That inasmuch as landowners are compelled to register, and there made up his mind. He had long ago determined to say no, because he fore to incur a risk which, as the Bill assumes, they would not incur believed that if any system of registration was worth having it would be voluntarily, the cost of insurance against that risk should not be thrown found to recommend itself by its merits. There had been attending the on them, but on the country. 11. That the enforced contribution to an insurance fund will largely a gentleman who had practised in the colony of Victoria, and he had told
meeting as a visitor, introduced by the president of the Bristol Law Society, add to the cost of registration, and would, if registration were optional, be him that the system of registration in that colony was a voluntary system, unnecessary. 12. That if an insurance fund be established, the remedy of an
and that, as a matter of fact, it was very much prized; and he had told him
also that he and his brethren in Melbourne found it perfectly possible even aggrieved proprietor should be against the fund' directly without the under the system of registration to make such a bill of costs in relation to necessity of preliminary proceedings against the person (if any) liable for the transfer of land as was remunerative.
He (Mr. Ellett) was entirely in the wrong, the Land Transfer Board having the right, if deemed worth favour the first resolution. having, to take proceedings on their own account. 13. That the right of an aggrieved proprietor should be to full com- general resolution of approval put at the end.
Mr. LAKE proposed that each paragraph should be taken seriatim, and the pensation, and not merely to the cost of the land irrespective of buildings or other improvements.
This was agreed to, and No. 1 was put to the meeting and adopted. 14. That the power to make rules should not be vested in the Lord compulsory or not, a system of guaranteed title is preferable to that of an
Recommendation No. 2 as follows was then carried : -" That, whether Chancellor alone, but that rules should be framed by the Land Transfer indefeasible title as contemplated by the Bill.” Board and be issued hy the Lord Chancellor on their advice. 15. That the devolution, on death, of real and personal estates should would entail great expense upon small land owners.
Mr. ADAMS WILLIAMS (Newport) hoped it would not be carried out, as it either be left as at present or be assimilated for all purposes. 16 That without limiting the right of any proprietor to transact in approved of what the council had done, and that they should continue in the
Mr. T. H. DEVONSHIRE (London) asked the meeting to say that they person his own business, the conduct, for fee or reward, of legal business
same direction. If these were adopted by the meeting they would have much greater transfer "bion, and "requests them to continue their efforts in the direction
the conclusions at which the council have arrived with regard to the Land weight. The VICE-PRESIDENT seconded the motion.
indicated.” Mr. BERNARD WAKE (Sheffield) had come to the conclusion that the
Mr. LAKE said he was very pleased to accept the motion.
Mr. HUNTER (London) said that, under the indefeasible title, it was way to end this dritt was, in his opinion, to make inanatepersonal property De Pontpensated. ve The result would be that the officials wonld probaki gere alike, so that at a very early date it must be assimilated. and he shortest property and leave everybody who had been ousted by any fraud or certificate land marketable as easily as possible, and their studueftrem homes from alle suen sal in de tensible ntike, aan de este effect it would be to take away iroon land he would place upon it the small weight of registration of all deeds.
an absolute title to the
rightful owner should have the property restored to him, and the man on it, should be taken into consideration by the council with a view to action the register should have pecuniary compensation. The result was that the thereon.” man coming on the register made no investigation, and, if there was any Mr. DEVONSHIRE (London) seconded the resolution, which was carried. blunder, nine times out of ten it would be owing to his want of care or want of information, and he would be the person to suffer. It would certainly
THE CLAIMS OF THE PROPESSION. make a very material difference in the amount of care which would have to Mr. W. C. AUTY (Sheffield) read a paper on this subject in which, after be exercised in placing on the register.
discussing the relations of solicitors to each other, their clients, and Mr. LEWIS Walsall) said the Bill would altogether revolutionise the the public, he said : Apart from the usual liabilities of his profession, and mortgage system, because, if anyone borrowed money, it would be made the tax which burdens his right to practise, the solicitor has to withstand known in the registers of trade protection societios.
not only the competition within the profession, but also the attacks of Mr. LAKE pointed out that a section of the Act of 1875 which had not those outside. It would be acceptable if assistance were tendered to some been repealed guarded against this.
of us as to the attitude which should be taken towards chartered accountAfter some further discussion, the motion was carried unanimously. ants, especially as encouragement is given to this new institution by some
of our senior members. Drawing agreements, giving advice, requesting THE SITTINGS OF THE LAW COURTS.
interviews with themselves and their“ clients," and writing letters couched Mr. F. K. MUNTON (London) read an interesting and lively in legal phraseology, surely seem to infringe upon our just claims. paper on
this subject, in which, after describing the existing He concluded by saying: Consistent with the duty of a solicitor to do state of confusion and uncertainty with regard to Nisi Prius his best for his client, there are many opportunities, as between the trials and cases before the divisional courts," he said that the solicitors concerned, of mivimizing the adverse feeling which constantly uncertainty as to the time of trial on the common law side is completely arises. It is to the honour of the profession that good faith, courtesy, put into the shade by the extraordinary state of things in the Chancery and consideration in their mutual business relations are the rule. The Division. Although the number of causes for hearing has largely exceptions show an attempt to carry matters with a high hand, and an increased, and the interlocutory work too, the old system survives of inclination to look upon solicitors as being of dubious standing, and as giving only intermediate days for trials, so that, however many witnesses hardly entitled to legitimate costs. It will not be disputed that it is one may drag up from the country, there are frequent breaks, during equally unfair for a solicitor to depreciate professional brethren to his which these unhappy people have to return or waste their time in town. client, particularly as to the question of costs. The facts of the case are It is notorious that in some of the Chancery Courts no substantial rarely explained by the client, and it is a matter of honour to withstand progress in the trial of witness causes has been made for many months, any attempt on the client's part to injure the character of the absent owing to the choked condition of the court from other and more party. On the bright side of the account we find candid dealing between immediately pressing matter, such as motions, petitions, adjourned solicitors, resulting benefit to clients, and the many mutual obligations summonses, and the like. Almost every branch of interlocutory work, which build up the strong and useful fabric of the profession. The including chamber appeals (by no means an unimportant list) is now political relations, which are so freqnent between solicitors, require fordealt with somewhat hurriedly from the limited time allotted, and every bearance, particularly where the parties are actively opposed. In politics, body who is familiar with the Chancery Division on a day set apart for municipal and social matters of importance the profession is well repremiscellaneous work will bear me out. As to chamber appeals, nobody sented, and is by no means behindhand as a powerful and beneficial mfluwill deny that the time has come for specific days being absolutely set ence. Energy, perseverance, and liberal views are characteristic of many apart to hear summonses and applications adjourned by the chief lawyers, individual instances will suggest themselves, and it cannot be clerks; and in conclusien he made the following practical sugges- doubted that these qualities have afforded valuable assistance in the great tions :
task of the recent purification of the law. United we stand, divided we 1. Chancery Division.—That all witness and other causes should be fall. A closer unity in the profession is to be desired. It is matter for entirely separated from interlocutory business, and be taken de die in diem regret that every solicitor is not a member of the society; the council by independent judges sitting for that purpose only.
would then be entitled to speak for the whole of the profession. The 2. That cases of an administrative character (if a judge so directs) admission to our debates of solicitors not yet members, and articled clerks, should form the subject of an entirely separate list to be separately dealt is but a small instalment of what is due. Surely some means can be with.
devised by which all those who have qualified by examination can be 3. That all original motions and petitions, and every other application inrolled as members of a society of which the profession has every reason (in cases wherein there has been no previous intervention of a particular to be proud. Could not articled clerks who have passed the intermediate court), should be put into a separate list, and be dealt with by one judge, become associate members ? The interests of solicitors demand wacthful sitting for the time being for such purpuse only, instead of several care, quite beyond the scope of individual effort; the attitude and claims judges taking such work to the obstruction and disorganisation of other of the profession have considerably changed of late under the pressure of business.
the general spread of education, as well as the marked tendency of legal 4. That one or more judges should sit in chambers for one or more reform to cast away the husks and get at the justice of the matter. entire days every week to hear adjourned summonses.
It is now more than ever necessary that provincial solicitors should feel 5. Common Law Division. That the cause lists should be more com that in London there is a society safeguarding their interests, the expletely separated into—a) special juries ; (6) common juries ; (c) causes ponent of wide views, and a counteracting influence to the effect of local without juries; (d) causes standing over sine die.
prejudice. May we not with hope look to an extended and honourable 6. That special jury cases should be heard in the order in which they future for the profession? The claims for fulslment of that hope will are marked as such, and not be placed between other special juries already be higher than in the past in consequence of the present clearer view of so marked.
right. The influence wielded by solicitors is a powerful influence, and 7. That, (şay) on every Friday evening, the judge, who is progressing the way in which it is and will be exercised is of the utmost consequence, with a very long list, should announce that he will not go beyond such not only to clients, but to the general public. and such a case during the coming week (a good margin being allowed Mr. JOHN JAMES COULTON (Lynn) read a paper on for contigencies), it being suggested that it would be better even for a judge to be left at leisure for twenty-four hours once in a way (in case of
THE LAW OF RATING, extraordinary and unprecedented collapse) than that hundreds of people in which, after referring to the cases of R. v. Chaplin (1 B. & Ad. 926), and should be constantly kept anxious, and expensive preparations be made, Hayward v. Overseers of Brinkworth (10 L. T. Rep. N. S. 608), he said: frequently to no purpose.
The principle established by these cases is intelligible and reasonable. 8. That, to avoid needless changes, no cause within the compass of the Real estate, like everything else, is worth what it will fetch, and the best ensuing week’s estimate should be postponed without the judge's express guide to the rent at which a holding may reasonably be expected to let is
that at which it does actually let, unless there is evidence that the rent is 9. That at least one day before the conclusion of every sitting there not the value, or ground for inferring it—such as relationship between should be an announcement of the intended programme for the following landlord and tenant, stipulations that tenant shall deal with landlord, or sitting (emergencies excepted), it being submitted that the dates of the do landlord's repairs, and the like. In such cases the rent criterion fails, assizes and other known work ought to be fixed with a fairly long notice and the value (as in cases where there is no letting) must be estimated as to the profession; and especially that it should be stated approximately best it can how many courts are to be devoted to a particular list.
But this principle, although dictated by common sense, and
established by law, is systematically ignored by some assessment com10. Lastly, I suggest that the sittings of the law courts form a subject mittees, who disregard the rent, and estimate the value on a principle of committee of practical men, the bar to be largely represented thereon often made years previously. No valuer, however competent, can know (their interests and wishes being of the gravest moment), one and all of all the circumstances which affect the present letting value of a holding, us bearing in mind that the administration of the law 'is only next in still less can he predict its value a few years hence. From the decision of importance to the law itself.
Mr. WAKE (Sheffield) moved : “That the continuous sitting in public of a appeal to a special petty session, and from it to the quarter sessions, but court to deal exclusively with contentious, as contrasted with administrative the justices who compose these tribunals are often members of assessment work, is essentially necessary to the due conduct of the business of the committees, and usually uphold their decisions. The rent criterion has forense and delay, and the still greater evil of a denial of justice by the en- plains, but when the rent exceeds the assessment the overeeers and assessforced reference or compromise of cases, many of which can only be dealt ments committee have no sufficient means of ascertaining the fact, nor with by the examination and decision of the courts of justice.”
can they guard against the rent being raised after the assessment is
reduced. Moreover, the Acts themselves have two defects : 1. Many M1: BLYTH (London) moved, as a substantive resolution : "That this weddings are not in practice, and cannot be advantageously, let from year the law courts, and the general question of Yegal delays which is involved in terking value, and therefore ought not to be deducted. He suggested that
The Holding of Property.-The law that in former times gave the hus. If the matter were regulated upon the lines of strict equality, the wife
husband took the gains. He could not, therefore, reasonably complain In any case, it may be assumed, public opinion is not yet sufficiently
Indeed, strong arguments may be urged in
the following alterations of the law would be found useful :-1. Contracts more legal right to the wife's property than a stranger, and yet it is of letting, and assignments thereof, and alterations therein to be in doubtful to what, if any, extent his sole liability is affected. Responwriting, and produced within a prescribed time to the assessment com- sibility should go with the property. A husband is now fairly entitled mittee for registration. In default to be void. 2. The appeal to be to to ask for such a revision of the law as will equitably divide obligations the county court, and, in important cases, from it to the Queen's Bench that it was reasonable enough he alone should bear when he alone Division ; or, by consent, to Queen's Bench direct; Queen's Bench to be possessed everything. When the claims of third persons are considered, final. 3. The assessment to be the rent at which the holding might be the matter is far more serious. Creditors have been prejudiced by the expected to let for the term for which it actually is let, or the unexpired new Acts, and that most seriously. Formerly, a creditor who had supresidue thereof, and, where there is no letting, for the term for which plied necessaries to a man's household was fairly safe in suing the similar holdings usually art let. 4. The gross estimated rental to be the husband ; and, in view of the wife's legal incapacity to contract, it was rateable value. 5. The poor rate assessment to serve for all other rates only in wholly exceptional cases that he was able to escape the liability. upon value, including the property tax, the surveyor having the same But now, by reason of the recent legislation, it is easier and commoner appeal as a person assessed.
for a husband to allege, as a defence, that credit was given to the wife, Mr. PAYNE (Milverton) addressed the meeting, stating that he differed alto- and not to him. If, on the other hand, the creditor sues the wife, the gether from the conclusions arrived at in the paper.
answer may be that she contracted as agent for the husband, or that
she has no separate property. Doubtless, in the professional experience THE NATIONALITY AND NATURALISATION Questions.
of most of us, we have at times been asked to advise as to whether a Mr. Bernard Lewis (Wrexham) read a paper on this subject, in which he tion should be more simple to answer; but, in fact, no question is now
husband or wife, or both, should be sued for a particular debt. No quesadvanced the following proposals :
more difficult. Iake the case of a builder, who, on the orders of the 1. That nationality should be derived from descent. 2. That the period of residence prior to naturalisation should be increased but from which the husband was absent at the time. The husband, when
wife, repairs a house in which the husband, wife, and family reside, and the fees raised; and Professor Leone Levi's recommendation on p: 141 applied to, can allege that the contract was made with the wife, and of the Appendix to the Report of Naturalisation Commission should be that he, therefore, is not liable; and the wife, on her part, can assert adopted-viz., "ten years' residence in this country, satisfactory evidence as to character and respectability” being necessary.
that she simply contracted as agent for her husband, and that he, and 3. That more publicity should be given to naturalisation in England; and
not she, must therefore pay. The unfortunate builder could, it is true, the registration of naturalised voters should be placed on a more satisfactory dismissed against one of the parties, and having to pay costs perhaps
sue both husband and wife, but only at the risk of having his action basis by adoption of the American system, as previously stated.
little less than the debt itself. Cases of hardship are constantly 4. That the naturalisation of persons attached to the diplomatic bodies occurring. A husband may keep up an expensive establishment.
When, might be vested in the Foreign Office. In London, in the Lord Mayor's however, a creditor seeks to enforce a judgment, the wife comes forward Court, and in all other cases (as previously recommended at Liverpool) in the and claims everything. Such cases were formerly, it is true, not unknown, clerks of the peace of each county or borough, and the oath administered by but they are now greatly on the increase. In former times it was the chairman or deputy-chairman in open court of quarter sessions, and annual returns made to the Home Office and published.
necessary for third parties-trustees—to put the claim forward, and in 5. That in view of the great alterations impending in our land system, and they made the clain at the risk of having to pay costs personally.
practice to produce some deed or document upon which it was founded, foreigners should not hold real property (saving rights of those who have Thus, there were certain guarantees for the bona fides of the claim. Now, taken advantage of second section of Naturalisation Act) without making a however, the wife simply puts forward the claim in her own name, and, primary declaration to become naturalised, and then pay a portion of the fees, but hold leaseholds as formerly.
as there is no necessity for any document of title to be produced, it is
in such cases, in the absence of any special facts not likely to be known Tue AMENDMENTS IN THE LAW OF HUSBAND AND Wife NECESSITATED BY claim so made. In justice, therefore, 'to creditors as well as to the hus
to an ordinary creditor, most difficult, if not impossible, to contest the RECENT LEGISLATION.
band, the law should be so amended as to remove the difficulties and anoma. Mr. J.S. RUBINSTEIN (London) read the following paper on this sub- lies that now exist. The remedy appears to be a very simple one. Both the ject:-There is, perhaps, no question upon which public opinion has husband and wife are jointly interested in starting and keeping up a proper within our own time more rapidly advanced than the question as to the establishment, and justice requires that they should be jointly responsible proper status of a married woman, particularly with regard to the holding for the liabilities incurred in consequence. For the purpose of maintaining of property, of which alone this paper treats. Before 1870 it was con
the joint establishment they are, in fact, partners. As partners they should sidered subversive of our common law, and opposed to all principles of be treated in so far as liabilities for necessaries incurred for themselves of expediency and reason, to allow that a married woman could have an
their household are concerned. Thus a creditor for necessaries would individuality apart from her husband, and be allowed to hold any prop no longer be left to the present risks and dangers of deciding conflicting erty, unless, indeed, fenced round with the cumbersome machinery of claims, or be without a remedy in cases where all the property belongs to trustees and settlements. Husband and wife were one, but the husband the one at present not legally liable to pay the debt. One material distinc, was that one. Equity, it is true, had centuries back created the doctrine tion between an ordinary partnership and the relationship of husband and of separate property for the protection of married women; but common
wife is that the former is capable of being determined at any time, and law wholly ignored the wife as an independent individual. 'The husband, the liability of one partner for another can thus be brought to an end. in taking a wife, took also her property and her liabilities. He could be It may be desirable to introduce some means of limiting the liability of of property by his marriage. The support of the wife and children feil by a public notification in the official gazette. A person who gives credit upon him, The wife had implied authority to pledge his credit for neces- without making proper inquiries has only himself to blame if he loses his saries for herself and household, on the principle that the relationship of money. Most creditors do, in fact, before giving credit, learn what they plied relationship of principal and agent. With what appears, however, and the Bankruptcy Court, and, at times, local inquiries. Another him, and still allows him, to rebut this implied relationship by'evidence the same right to hold property as a feme sole, the creditor's remedies that, it may be, without the knowledge of any third person. In 1870 the judgment cannot be obtained against her personally, but only against her Legislature for the first time sanctioned the principle that married women separate property. All exceptional limitations should be swept wote
The dangers these limitations were, it is to their own earnings and small legacies. Only twelve years later the assumed, intended to guard against are far more imaginary than real. of married women, and recognized to the full their right to hold property, equality should govern the ownership of property in the case of husband and to contract as independent individuals. The further change in the and wife, little, if anything, need be said in favour of the same prin; before Parliament, marks the crowning step in the progress of public distinction is made between real and personal property. In the casehad wife. On the death of the husband interstate, historiadott is given a life bent bonus capable of inheriting. A wife, on the other hand, in vielen opinion. The Bill deals out the same treatment to both husband and realityca husband takes a life estate in his wife's freehold once a child has interest given to the husband on the wife dying intestate. The changes of declarations in bar of dower, contained in so many conveyances, the so made go nearly to the whole extent of placing married Women angon Wife's claim nis "frequently wholly lusory. The Land Transfer higu Pemoval of the few remaining inequalities is a mere duestion one time. The band bandare Pe on the same hosting, and giving to each a life estate bien hulse law has declared in favour nos equality.es with equal estimufdi come The benetan freeholds. th with regard 2 personal property, however, the brink responsibility. As get, the responsibilities thavarundt been up portioned. band takes the whole of the site's property on her intestacy: But they in ments to place on a plain and practical looking the item in boleh husband and there are children, and one-hale if there is no child. In the formatining wife, with regard to both the holding of property and the destindoand the children take the remaihing two-thirds ; in the latter the remaining property, it is the aim of this paper to answer.
half goes to the husband's next of kin, of, in default, to the Crow the of his sole liability to bear the burdens. Now,' however, he has no advanced to sanction it.
favour of the converse remedy of cutting down the husband's right to street, on Thursday the 2nd inst., the following being present-viz., Mr. the whole where there are children. In such cases the law might, per- Boodle (chairman), and Messrs. Bolton, Collisson, Cronin, Desborough, haps, with advantage, be made uniform, and like the laws of most civilized jun., Hine-Haycock, Lucas, Nisbet, Sawtell, Sidney Smith, Walmisley, countries, by giving in each case a proper proportion to the children. and Arthur Carpenter (secretary), grants amounting to £1,315 were made In cases, however, where there are no children, why should not the same to the widows and families of thirty-one members and £165 to the widows law apply to the wife as to the husband ? The next of kin may be very and daughters of eleven non-members. One new member was elected, deserving objects, but, on the other hand, they may not be. If the and the ordinary general business was transacted. husband omits to make provision for them, why should the law do this for him ? The hardship upon the widow appears, perhaps, greater where there are no next of kin. In that case the Crown claims the half. The present rights of the next of ki and the Crown might well be taken away in favour of the widow, so as to place her, in this case at least, upor THE INCORPORATED LAW SOCIETY ON THE LAND the same footing as the husband. Although the Land Transfer Bill goes a long way towards assimilating the law of real and personal property in
TRANSFER BILL, 1887. the case of intestacy, and treats the wife with equal fairness, it is, perhaps, The following is the report of the committee on the Bill as reprinted :to be regretted that the same rules of distribution should not apply to In consequence of the numerous suggestions made to the Lord Chancellor freeholds as to personalty. This last point will not unlikely be dealt from various quarters, the Bill has been considerably revised, and is to be with in the usual way by some amending Act. With the view of eliciting considered in committee of the House of Lords when that House re-assemthe opinions of this meeting upon the matters referred to, I venture to bles after the Whitsuntide vacation. In view of this consideration, the conclude by moving that the council be recommended to support the committee submit to the council a further report upon the provisions of the amendments in the law of husband and wife suggested in this paper, and Bill, and for convenience of reference, as well as for general information, embodied in the following resolutions :
should this report be generally circulated, they have practically embodied 1. That husband and wife should, subject to proper safeguards, be made most of their former observations. The general scheme of the Bill remains jointly and severally liable, as partners, for necessaries supplied to them- unaltered; registration under it is still made compulsory, and the principle selves and household while living together.
of an indefeasible, as opposed to a guaranteed, title is adhered to." But, as 2. That all existing limitations on creditors' remedies against the wife will be seen on going through the Bill, many of the suggestions which the should be swept away.
council made have been adopted either entirely or to a considerable extent. 3. That on the husband dying intestate, without children, the wife should The Bill, however, is only supplemental to the Land Transfer Act, 1875, be entitled to the whole of his personal property.
and it is absolutely, necessary that, before the system can be properly 4. That husband and wife should be placed on the same footing, with worked, there should be a consolidation of the two statutes, so as to remove regard to the devolution of real property on intestacy, as proposed by the the unavoidable confusion inherent in an attempt to graft a system of Land Transfer Bill now before Parliament.
compulsory registration upon one which was merely optional. The comIf the law of husband and wife be amended as suggested, I venture to mittee adhere to the view expressed in their previous report that compulsion think that a branch of law that has perhaps given rise to more hardship and is unjust and should be unnscessary, and they retain the belief that, if a litigation than any other will at length have been placed upon a sound, a system of registration cannot be worked except by pressure of compulsion, satisfactory, and a rational basis.
it will be because it has not been made suitable to the requirements of the He concluded by moving the resolutions contained therein.
country, and will hamper, instead of facilitate, the dealings with real estate. Mr: DoDD (London) expressed an opinion that the paper was one of the They refer, on this point, to the arguments advanced in their report, and to most important that had been read to the meeting, but he was not prepared the following more detailed observations :The main object proposed to be to adopt all its suggested amendments.
attained by registration of title is to make dealings with land, especially Mr. WHITE (London) said that to adopt the suggestions would be to alter sales and mortgages, cheap and easy. The committee believe that, under not only the law of husband and wife, but that of agency generally.
the existing and recently much-improved system of conveyancing, sales and Mr. T. K. CROSSFIELD (London) remarked that if the husband could mortgages are now effected with cheapness and ease. But, assuming this to pledge his wife's credit her separate estate was gone.
be a disputable proposition, they make the following remarks on the Bill as Mr. W. J. M'LELLAN (Rochester) thought the wife should be able to claim reprinted :—The economy is to be effected by putting an end to periodical in her husband's bankruptcy for money lent to him by her.
investigations of title. On the other hand, new expense will be rendered Mr: J. A. Rose (London) and Mr. CoultON (Lynn) also took part in necessary-viz., fees or percentage for the maintenance of the registry, the discussion.
and percentage for the insurance fund. The facility is to be obtained Mr. J. ADDISON (London) moved, as an amendment to Mr. Rubinstein's by the transfer of a great part of the business from private
Experience alone motion : That this meeting recognises the importance of the topics dealt practitioners to the Land Transfer office. with in his paper and recommends the council to have regard to the matter show whether the Land Transfer Office will fulfil the promise of when opportunity occurs in the progress of future legislation.
cheapness and ease which leads to its establishment; whether the saving Mr. HOWLETT (Brighton) seconded the amendment.
of part of the cost now incurred will, or will not, be outweighed by Mr. Rubinstein accepted the amendment, which was carried.
the new expense imposed by the proposed scheme; whether facility will or will
not be afforded by the transfer of business from private hands to a public office; VOTES OF THANKS.
in short, whether it will be cheaper and easier to deal with land under the
system intended to be established by the Bill than under the present system. Mr. Kenion (president of the Liverpool Law Society) moved a vote of Dealers in land ought, ia the judgment of the committee, to be left free to thanks to the president, vice-president, and council, and to Mr. C. 0. avail themselves of the teachings of experience, and to be at liberty to Humphreys, vice-chairman of the executive committee, and to the executive register their land or to leave it unregistered as they may find most con committee for the excellent arrangements made for the convenience and comfort ducive to free and unrestricted dealing. There are a multitude of small of the provincial members, speaking in glowing terms of the reception with transactions which take place very frequently in England, in which the busiwhich they had met.
ness of conveying land is now transacted without investigation of title Mr. C. E. MATTHEWS (Birmingham) spoke in support, and the motion was at very small cost and with great despatch. In such cases the scheme of carried with acclamation.
registration proposed would probably increase cost and cause delay. The PRESIDENT, who was received with loud cheers, briefly returned [On this point the committee quote the evidence which Lord Cairns, thanks, observing that the success of the entertainment was due to the while Lord Chancellor, gave on April 28, 1879, before the Select Committee executive committee and to the secretary (Mr. Williamson) and his staff. of the House of Commons on land transfer.] Without the almost superhuman exertions of Mr. Williamson the meeting could not have been carried out as had been the case.
The scheme of compulsory registration of iitle affects not only the dealers The VICE-PRESIDENT and Mr. C. O. HUMPHREYS having responded,
in land. It applies also to the landowner who wishes neither to sell nor to
mortgage, but desires to maintain his estate during his life, and to hand it The SECRETARY, who was loudly applauded, said that he and his colleagues, down at his death to his successor unimpaired. If the proposed scheme were the assistant secretary, and the staff, had been actuated but by one desire to become law, such a landowner must cause himself to be registered as pro
He prietor of his land. He would be advised, we may assume, to choose the had been sometimes asked by the curious, PP? What are the duties of the least expensive mode of complying with the requirements of the law, and to secretary of the Law Society?"
The experience of the last few weeks enabled register himself with a possessory title. him to answer the question. In the first place, he was proud to say he was a
According to the system now in force under the Land Transfer Act, 1875, solicitor. In the second, he frequently acted as a Parliamentary agent.
He the course would be as follows:was clerk to a board which met once a week, and generally once a day. He unica especies of public prosecutor, a carpenter, a gasfitter, ca florist, and last settlement or other deed under which he held his estate, and also each might eventually become a dancing master. "There was one other qualification. a description of his estate by map and schedule, With evidence by statutory The would like to be a setter of good examples, and not to occupy their time declaration or otherwise to show that he was in possession of the estate as thanking them, and saying what extreme gratification literature him to see son map of his estate, showing with accuracy its boundaries, divisions, and other maia y pleasant faces, and to hear so many pleasant things which had been particulars, and a schedule corresponding to it, it would be necessary to take
the ordnance map, if it had been completed for the district in question, and Mr. Day moved a vote of thanks to the readers of papers, which was
if not, the tithe map, or such other public map as might be in existence, and to compare it with the rental or schedule of the estate, so as to mark upon it
the farms and lands belonging to the landowner, to make such corrections as LAW ASSOCIATION.
the changes in the face of the land since the preparation of the map might
render necessary, and to correct the boundaries where the estate adjoined the At a meeting of the directors, held at the Hall of Clifford's-inn, Fleet- land of other proprietors. This last point would require special care,
consist of a registrar-general, a chief examiner of titles, and an assistant however, think it doubtful whether such a person would be qualified to
The suggestion made by the council, that in the case of settled lands the
because it happens seldom, if ever, that the existing public maps have been absence of any prescribed qualification. The committee cannot too strongly prepared with a view to defining boundaries between adjoining owners, or urge that the board, which will be at the head of so new and comparatively that the persons preparing them have had the means of ascertaining such untried system of conveyancing, should be composed of persons conversant boundaries. The business of preparing an accurate map and schedule would with, and practically versed in, the law and practice of conveyancing, and be similar to the business of preparing a particular and map of an estate should therefore, as was required by section 106 of the Act, which section which is to be offered for sale by auction, and would be not less expensive. the Bill proposes to repeal, be selected from practising barristers and solicitors, The map and schedule having been either ready in the hands of the land and should be presided over by a judge of the supreme court, or some one of owner, or prepared for the purpose of registration, a fair copy would be equal position and authority: The committee are satisfied that not only made and carried into the registry. The map and schedule would there be should the board consist exclusively of trained lawyers, but that the position examined by the proper officer in connection with the documents of title and of a member of the board should be made sufficiently attractive to secure the the declaration of title, and if found correct they would be engrossed, so as services of the very best men in the profession. The working of the Act will to form part of the register, the map for the register being prepared by the depend very much upon the branch offices, but the Bill does not define what Land Commissioners from the best public map at their command. The land are to be the duties of the branch offices, nor what is to be the qualification would then be registered, and the Land Transfer Board would deliver to the of the district registrars, nor on what principle the district of each branch registered proprietor of the land the proper certificate (clause 28). For this office is to be formed. Unless these matters are explained it is impossible to business the landowner would have to pay :
form a trustworthy judgment as to the probable success of the measure, and The charges of his solicitor;
the committee suggest that the outlines of the arrangement proposed for The charges of his land agent or surveyor; and
branch offices and land transfer districts should be explained in the Bill, and The fees of the Registry, which would probably be calculated on a settled by Parliament. percentage on the capital value of the estate.
Compulsory Registration. The right to apply for registration, which by The total amount would vary with the size of the estate and the circum- the Act was strictly limited, is by the Bill (clause 4) extended to " stances of each case. It would probably be least in the case of an estate of person appearing to the Land Transfer Board to be interested in the land, agricultural land; but even in that case, with an estate of ordinary dimensions, and to be capable of showing a title to or a right to convey the fee simple it could not fail to be large. . Landowners now find considerable difficulty in of or the first estate of freehold or the whole interest in the land, whether meeting their present obligations. An additional burden would be felt to be with or without consent, and whether for his own benefit or not, and oppressive. The benefit promised by the scheme of registration of title is whether subject or not to incumbrances,” and as the Bill proposes to put increased facility of selling or mortgaging, but this benefit is of little or no leasehold land on a similar footing in all respects with respect to registration advantage to the landowner who wishes only to maintain and improve his to freehold land, all land capable of registration may be registered with an estate. The committee are of opinion that if instead of aiming at an absolute absolute, qualified, or possessory title, and the right to mines or minerals or indefeasible title (which is unattainable since if by any accident or over may be separately registered. The Bill aims at making registration of sight two persons are, as has already happened, registered as proprietors with title compulsory but gradual, the introduction of registration in any an absolute title to the same land, one or other must be ejected and his title particular district being left to orders in council, so that the system may be be defeated), the principle of a guaranteed title, as in the case of the Australian tried at first in selected districts to be from time to time enlarged or statutes, were adopted, many of the difficulties which have rendered land- supplemented, and may eventually become universal. The effect of an owners reluctant to place their land on the register would disappear or be order in council declaring that registration is to be compulsory in a land greatly diminished. For, if the principle were accepted, that registration of transfer district is to be clause 2) that from and after a day to be specified title should not prejudice or defeat prior existing estates or interests, but that in the order every person in possession of any land in the district capable the registered proprietor, if a purchaser for value without notice, should, if of registration must before selling, settling mortgaging, or leasing for ejected or damnified, receive compensation from the insurance fund, the more than twenty-one years such land be registered as a proprietor of the registrar could go much further in accepting less than an absolutely perfect land, or have a proprietor registered on his behalf, and until a proprietor of title than he does (in practice) now, under the powers given him by section the land has been registered a conveyance or lease executed after the 17, sub-section 3, of the Act, and might act on the investigation and certificate specified day will have even less operation than a contract now has. The of solicitors acquainted with the applicant's title, and need not insist on much committee suggest that the several orders in council should always allow an (if any) publicity. He could, in fact, act as the solicitor for a purchaser acts interval of not less than six months between the creation of the land at present, secure in the knowledge that his action could not prejudice any transfer district and the date after which registration is to become com. rightful owner, and that the chance of any interference by an undiscovered pulsory, in order to enable intending vendors, lessors, &c., to prepare for and claimant would be exactly the same as at present; while, moreover, if any complete registration. For, if registration is to be made compulsory, as is such interference were successful, the registered owner would be indemnified. at present the scheme of the Bill, it is evident that when the compulsory If the process of registration were thus facilitated, and the needless challenging clause first comes into operation there will necessarily be an enormous of objections and perhaps of litigation were removed, the committee consider number of applications poured into the register office, and, unless ample that the cost of registration would be greatly reduced, and the subsequent time is given for preparation and organisation, the conveyancing work of dealings with registered land be much simplified. They believe that under the district will fall hoavily into arrears, and the system at once acquire a such a system landowners would readily avail themselves of the many bad name, wbich will not easily be lost.
The Bill as revised retains the advantages incident to registration, and that, as in the case of the Australian principle of registration by the grantor, and not necessarily by the grantee, Colonies, it would be found unnecessary to resort to compulsion.
and will therefore necessitate, as a general rule, a double registration, the The Bill as at present framed follows the plan of the Act, and is based advantages of which the committee fail to appreciate. The committee upon the principle that title is to be or to become absolute and indefeasible ; for desire to repeat their opinion, which is shared by most of the country error, either direct payment of compensation or restoration of the land first dealing with land after the establishment of the land district in which although by clause 16 the High Court may, in case of forgery, fraud, or societies, that registration, if made compulsory, should be enforced on the according as the court may think equitable under the circumstances, no principle is laid down to govern the exercise of this discretion, which appa- grantee, and not on the grantor. Take, for example, the case of the sale of
it is situate, and that the duty of registration should be thrown on the rently is not to extend to cases of first registration in which an absolute or a small piece of land, part of a large estate. If the scheme proposed by qualified title has been registered. In the opinion of the committee the the Bill be adopted, the owner of the large estate would probably be rightful owner should be reinstated, at least in cases of first registration, and advised not to begin 'under the new system by registering himself as Panorama been wrongfully placed on the register, should, if innocent of the fraud or requirements of the Act as to his whole estate ; and this seems to be error, be indemnified out of the insurance fund to which he will have contributed. not, the committee are satisfied that solicitors, as a body, will do what lies in been registered, or it would be abandoned by the vendor from dread of the
Whether the Lord Chancellor adopt the foregoing suggestions or sale of the small piece would either be delayed until the large estate had determine to be most for the public benefit, and the suggestions in this and ever, to be deliberately intended. For the proviso now added to clause 2 may be permitted in this connection to quote the report of the Land Transfer the proprietor is not a party to the conveyance, and in those cases throw this were not hostile to the plan of registration; on the contrary, they came into behalf” (Clause 2, line 10) were omitted,'it would be possible for an opening the office seriously intending to use its machinery for the benefit of their prietor, on applying for registration, to have the grantee registered i mini clients." With these prefatory observations, the committee proceed to the details of
stead; and clauses 4 and 7 are framed at if this view had been in the mind the Bill.
of the draftsman, though, if so, it is certainly not carried out. Or the Constitution of Land Transfer Office. The machinery provided by the Act
objection could be met by allowing a conveyance prior to the registration of
a proprietor of the land, or a contract made subsequently to confer a right to and in its stead the Bill propostes to create a land transfer board, with alphind this claust have been revised so as to meet the difficulties pointed out to be
This is to be abolished, obtain registration (as in clause 2, sub-section b). Sub-sections (a) and (b) of cipal office in London, and district Prices, to each of which does and transfer touncii, and a conveyance executed before registration does not incapacitate district is to be from time to time attached by corder in Council.and traiter the grantee from taking any benefit in the land conveyed. A persoanelore tration as well as in conveyancing," she Tiande trang kami beard in dreadfyinige ansi, ton registration being complete, this rights in the land are to take offee board is to comprise - persons mom espediem cepenforganisation Bild him in the registration, is apparently intended to have the right to obtain registrert Office of land registry underammother thama, more than er en brandke is proudly in the age from the date at which they pleted håvelisther vise accrued. The Comment Lord Chancellor, are to be attached such officers as the Lord Chancellor, enlarged. with the concurrence of the Treasury, may from time to time assign. Great