Page images
[ocr errors]

Scottish case of Blair v. Duncan ([1901], 4 F. (H. L.) 1, at p. 3), that "the English law has attached a wide and somewhat artificial meaning to the words “charity” and “charitable” derived, it is said from the enumeration of objects in the well-known Act of Elizabeth (43 Eliz., c. 4), but probably accepted by lawyers before that statute. In the law of Scotland there is no such technical meaning attached to the words." The chief ground of judgment in Hay's Trustees V. Baillie (cit. sup.), was, that the words “charitable” and “benevolent" did not in Scotland express an alternative, but were merely two words expressing in an amplified, and perhaps redundant, fashion the scope of the delegated bounty of the testatrix. Under this reasoning the case was at once differentiated from those of Blair and Grimond (cit. sup.), where the word charitable” was used as an alternative to publicand to religious" respectively. The special interpretation of “charitable," cited by Lord Davey (supra), as peculiar to English law, has resulted in English decisions which are not in harmony with the law of Scotland, and which, if given effect to, would necessitate the separation of “charitable " and “ benevolent” as alternatives essentially different in character. In illustration of the conflict between the laws of the two countries, Lord Dundas cited the English case of White v. White (L. R. (1893], 2 Ch. 41), and the Scottish case of Grimond v. Macintyre (cit. sup.), which could not stand together, although each may be presumed to be good law in the country of its origin.

R. B.


HE vagaries of the law as to franchise and registration

are a source of delight to political agents, and of worry to revising barristers. For instance, a person who is otherwise entitled as the inhabitant occupier of a dwellinghouse has a kitchen, which is part of his qualifying premises. Upstairs, there lives another person who occupies the upper part of the house as a separate dwelling. But the stairs, which form the only access to the upper part, lead through the kitchen, and the upstairs tenant is entitled to pass over a yard or two of the kitchen floor in order to reach them. The result, according to the Court of Appeal (M-Bride v. Bryans (1908), 2 Ir. R. 329)), is, that the downstairs man loses his vote, although the upstairs man does not. The stepping across the kitchen floor prevents the exclusive occupation of the qualifying premises, which is necessary for the household franchise.

Again, a person is entitled as a rated occupier if he is in occupation of premises rated on a valuation of £10. But this franchise was held not to have been gained by a man who was in the following position. He was rated on four separate ratings, amounting in all to £9:118. He also owned one-fifth share in a mountain-shooting, which was rated at £4:55. Seventeen shillings of the last-mentioned rate had, in fact, been collected from him, but the rating had never been segregated in the rate-books between him and his co-owners. It was held that he could not add the seventeen shillings to the other ratings, so as to bring himself over the £10 limit. You cannot tack an undivided share in a joint rating to a separate rating (Buchanan v. Torish (1908], 2 Ir. R. 321).


What used to be called a dum casta clause " cannot be implied in a separation deed on the part of a husband, though it may be as to a wife. In Ross v. Ross ([1908], 2 Ir. R. 239), a deed of separation provided that the wife should accept certain chattels and a sum of money, and contained a covenant by the wife that she would not thereafter institute any proceedings to enforce any claim for any further alimony or for support or maintenance. Subsequently the husband committed adultery, and the wife obtained (under the Irish practice) a divorce a mensa et thoro. She then applied for alimony as from the date of the divorce: but the Court held that the covenant in the deed restraining her from doing so still applied, and that the husband's adultery did not deprive him of his right under this covenant. In other words, there had been no breach of an implied condition on his part. It is to be noted, however, that the English cases as to dissolution of marriage and subsequent variation of settlements by the Court, do not apply to the Irish practice.

Palmer v. Bateman ([1908], 2 Ir. R. 393) is an illustration of the limits to be put upon what Sir F. Pollock calls the 'duty of insuring safety,” incumbent upon the owner of fixed property towards persons lawfully coming upon or near such property. The plaintiff, while passing along a street beside the defendant's house, was injured by a piece of the gutter from the roof falling upon her. The fall was due to the rotting of a screw. Evidence was given on behalf of the defendant that workmen had been periodically employed to examine and repair the gutter; there was no evidence that the defendant knew of its want of repair or its defective condition. The jury found that there was no want of reasonable care on the part of the defendant in maintaining the gutter, and that its fall was not occasioned by any neglect or default of his. It was held on a motion for a new trial that this was a verdict for the defendant, which he was entitled to retain. In other words, the cause of action is apparently negligence, although the case is one in which a very high standard of care is required, and very slight negligence will make a defendant liable. Still, negligence is a jury question, and if the jury negative its existence, and there is any reasonable evidence on which they can so find, that is an end of the matter. The duty is not an absolute duty of insurance, but a duty to employ a very high standard of care. Tarry v. Ashton (1 Q. B. D. 314) was held to be distinguishable.

1. S. B.





The Public Trustee Act 1906. By F. G. CHAMPERNOWNE, H. JOHNSTON, and J. S. C. BRIDGE. London : Butterworth & Co. 1908.

The learned Authors have treated in a very exhaustive manner a very complicated Act of Parliament. In an admirably written and carefully thought-out Introduction they have traced (A) The trend of public opinion which led to the Act; (B) The strong points of the Act; (c) Its inherent weaknesses; (D) Its novelties. There is no doubt that for many years it has been felt that it was essential for some public official to be appointed and guaranteed by the Government, who could lighten the burden cast upon private individuals. Moreover, the numerous cases of defaulting trustees caused an immense amount of widespread misery. On the other hand, in a well

meant effort to lessen this evil, the Legislature had increased the risks of taking up the post of trustee until it became almost impossible to find an adequate supply of individuals to undertake the duties of that office. The Authors do not appear to rank very high the draughtsmanship of the Act, but year by year one notices how common has become a slipshod style of drafting public Acts of Parliament. An experiment is made in legislation ; wide, vague, and often incomprehensible principles are enunciated, and it is left to amending Acts and judicial decisions to bring these principles within the limits of precision. The Workmen's Compensation Acts are instances of this, whereas old Acts, such as the Fines and Recoveries Act, come triumphant through the ordeal of practical experience. The Act may be divided into four parts for practical criticism: (1) The part which deals with the Public Trustee; (2) The part dealing with the Administration of Small Estates; (3) The part dealing with Custodian Trustees; (4) The part dealing with the Audit of Trust Accounts. The Introduction treats of each division in detail, giving the pages of the text which affect them. The notes appended to each section are a mine of useful information both practical and theoretical. The language employed throughout is simple, accurate and informing. The text of the Act is in addition added in an Appendix without annotation; the Rules approved by the Treasury are also set out in extenso. The forms given, though few in number, will prove to be of great practical utility. Among the other good points to be noticed is the Index, which is easy of comprehension and renders research simple.

The Victorian Chancellors. Vol. II. By J. B. ATLAY. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1908.

We have perused with pleasure the second volume of Mr. Atlay's interesting work. As he gets nearer our own time he deals with matters more familiar to most of us ; and long and complete biographies exist full of information about Lord Campbell, Lord Westbury, and Lord St. Leonards. In all these cases Mr. Atlay has selected his materials well, and blended them into an excellent and most readable narrative. He does full justice to all the subjects of his biographies, but never shrinks from condemnation or criticism when he feels it deserved. We are not sure that in some cases, such as Lord Campbell, he does not in the end treat his Chancellor rather more favourably than is quite consistent with his earlier criticism. We are much indebted to Mr. Atlay for the accounts he has given us of Lord St. Leonards, Lord Cranworth, Lord Chelmsford, and Lord Hatherly. The information that even Mr. Atlay has been able to collect about some of these is rather scanty, but he is able to tell us much, about Lord St. Leonards in particular, that has not, we believe, been in print before. He has had the great advantage of being enabled to draw from a most valuable autobiography which Lord Chelmsford left behind him, and also in a slight degree to benefit from memoirs of Lord Cairns and Lord Hatherly. Lord Cranworth and Lord Hatherly were both very lucky in attaining the Chancellorship, Lord Cranworth in particular, whose practice had dwindled down after he took silk, and who was a very ineffective debater. Perhaps his main legislative success was in the Divorce and Matrimonial Causes Act 1857, which he forced through the House of Lords "against the vigilant and strenuous opposition of Bishop Wilberforce." As a Chancellor he was most successful. Lord Selborne wrote, “Take him for all in all he was one of the best Chancellors I have known. Others had more splendid gifts; but in him there was nothing erratic, nothing unequal. In steady good sense, judicial patience, and impartiality and freedom from prejudice he was surpassed by none.” Lord St. Leonards' is a most

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »