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by some previous unsatisfactory and improper conduct of was a claim and a counter-claim. The case was tried by a the plaintiff in relation to another person, and that there jury, and a verdict was found for the defendant on the claim fore in justice he ongbt not to be allowed his costs of the and for the plaintiff on the counter-claim. The certificate action. This decision was apbeld by the Exchequer of the asscciate stated that judgment was given for the Division (Huddleston, B., and Stephen, J.). Before the defendant on the claim, with the costs of the delence, and Court of Appeal it was urged that the order in effect over. for the plaintiff on the counter-claim. But the certificate roled the verdict of the jury, and that the “good cause". said nothing about the plaintiff's costs of the counter-claim. to be shown for depriving a successful party of costs The plaintiff insisted that under order 55 he was entitled to referred only to some conduct of bis in the course of the his costs of the counter-claim, because he had succeeded litigation, not to sometbing which had taken place pre upon it and the judge had given no direction depriving him viously, and in relation to a stranger to the action. The
of the costs. The taxing master, however, refused to tax Court of Appeal (JAMES, BRETT, and COTTON, L.JJ.) the costs of the counter-claim. The Court of Appeal affirmed the decision of the Exchequer Division. JAMES, (JAMES, Brett, and COTTON, L.JJ.) held that the taxing L:J., was of opinion that the jurisdiction as to coste, given master was right. So long as the certificate of the associate by order 55, was not confined to the conduct of the parties remained he was not entitled to go bebind it, and as it stood in the litigation itself. The judge could not take upon
it was consistent with the judge having made an order himself to overrule the verdict of the jury, and had no
depriving the plaintiff of his costs of the counter-claim. The right to say that the particular thing complained of was
plaintiff ought to have applied to the judge to have the cernot a libel; but in determining the question of costs it was
tificate amended.--SOLICITORS, Phelps of Woodforde; Thonnas his duty to consider the whole of the circumstances of the
White & Sons. case-anytbing which led or conduced to the libel, abything in the conduct of the parties, anything showing that BANKRUPTCY-SECURED CREDITOR-ELEGIT-SEIZURE OF the action was not properly brought in respect of the libel GOODS BY SHERIFF-BANKRUPTCY ACT, 1869, s. 87.--In a complained of. His lordship was eatisfied that the letter | case of Ex parte Abbott, before the Court of Appeal on the in question in the case never could have done the slightest 29:h ult., a curious question arose as to the effect of the barm to the plaintiff, and that it was not the real cause of seizure of goods of a liquidating debtor under a writ of elegit. the litigation. The real object was to set the plaintiff On the 28th of June, 1879, judgment was signed in an action right as to come disagreeable rumours which had been against a trader for $207, debt and costs, and the same day current about bim, and be availed himself of some | the judgment creditor sued out a writ of elegit upon the judgincautious expressions in the letter for that purpose. His ment (vide Form No. 2, Appendix F., to the Rules of Court, conduct bad been such as to give rise to the rumours, and 1875), and lodged the writ with the sheriff for execution. the judge wbo tried the action came to the conclusion tbat On the 30th of June the sheriff issued a warrant to his bailiff, there bad been a great deal in that conduct which bad directing him "to seize and take all the goods and chattels" caused the whole matter, and tberelore thought himself of the debtor“ (except oxen and beasts of the plough) in justified in depriving the plaintiff of his costs, and bis my bailiwick, so that I may cause the same to be delivered" lordebip thought the judge was right in so doing. to the judgment creditor "as by the said writ I am comSOLICITORS, Digby & Tabor; T. S. George,
manded.” On the same day the bailiff took possession of some goods and chattels of the debtor. On the morning of the 1st of July an inquisition was held before the sheriff,
when the jury found that the debtor, on the 28th of June, PRACTICE-JURISDICTION-VESTING RIGHT TO TRANSFER
and on the date of the inquisition, “was possessed in his STOCK-ORDER ON SUMMONS IN CHAMBERS-TRUSTEE
own right of the goods and chattels named in the schedule Act, 1850, s. 43–TRUSTEE EXTENSION ACT, 1852, ss. 6, 7–
hereto of the price of £327, as of his own proper goods 15 & 16 Vict. c. 80, s. 26–18 & 19 Vict. c. 134, s. 16–CON.
and chattels." The proceedings on the inquisition commenced SOLIDATED ORDERS OF COURT OF CHANCERY, ORD. 35, R. 1.
at 10.30 a.m. and were concluded at 11.15 a.m. Later in the In a case of Frodsham v. Foodsham, before the Court of
day the sheriff delivered the goods and chattels mentioned Appeal on the 2nd inst., the question arcee whether an order
in the schedule to the inquisition to the judgment under the Trustee Acts, vesting the right to transfer stock,
creditor “ to hold as his own, in satisfaction of his debt, costs can be made upon sur mons in chambers. The action
and interest in such writ named as by such writ I am conwas brought by cne of two executors against the other for
manded." At the time when this delivery was made, the the administration of the estate of the testator. It was com
judgment creditor had no notice of any act of bankruptes menced by writ, and an administration decree was made
having been committed by the debtor. He bad, however, is upon an application by the plaintiff ander rule 1 of order 15.
fact, filed a liquidation petition at 10.30 a.m. on the lat of Afterwards an order was made by Jessel, M.R., upon
Julý. The trustee in the liquidation claimed the goods summons in chambers, that (it appearing by affidavit that the
which had been delivered by the sheriff to the execution defendant could not be found the right to transfer a sum of
creditor. It was contended that the case, though no: console, to wbich the plaintiff and the defendant were jointly within the letter of section 87, cape within its spirit, and reentitled upon the trusts of the testator's will, and which was
liance was placed on the case of Ex parte Rayner (20 W. R. standing in their names in the books of the Bank of Eng
456, L. R. 7 Ch. 325), in which it was held by the Court of land, should vest in the plaintiff, but only for the purpose
Appeal that, when the sale of goods of a trader, seized by of trarsferring the amount into court as thereinafter directed.
the sheriff under a fi. fa. for a judgment debt of more than The Bank of England declined to act upon this order, on the
£50, had been intercepted by the filing of a liquidation ground that there was no jurisdiction to make such an order
petition by the trader, the trustee in the liquidation was eile in chambers. On the motion of the plaintiff another order
titled to the goods, though there had been no sale under the was then made by Jessel, M.R., in court, that the bank
execution, inasmuch as under section 87 he would have been should act in accordance with the previous order in chambers.
entitled to the proceeds of sale if the goods bad been soli. The second order contained a recital that the court was of
And even if section 87 did not apply, it was urged that the opinion that the judge bad jurisdiction on an application by
writ of elegit did not authorize the sheriff to seize any goods o: summons in chambers to make the vesting order. The
the debtor until their value bad been appraised by a jury, and Court of Appeal (JAMES, BRETT, and COTTON, L.JJ.)
that consequently the possession of the sheriff was wrong! thought that, especially baving regard to the course of
until after the inquisition had been completed, and the judga practice, there was, at ar y rate, sufficient doubt as to the
ment creditor did not become a secured creditor until after jurisdiction to make the order in chambers, that it would be much safer that it should be made in oren court. JAMES,
the filing of the petition. Consequently the goods which had
been seized belonged to the trustee. It appeared, howe L.J., said that no doubt a general order would soon be made
ever, that in all the books of practice there is given a form prescribing the conditions and safeguards under which the
of warrant by the sheriff to the bailiff directing the latter jurisdiction might in such a case be exercised in chamhers.--SOLICITORS, Fresh fields & Williams; Norris, Allens, &
to seize the goods of the judgment debtor immediately Carter.
after the issue of an elegit, and tbat the practice
has always been to make the seizure at once. Toe
| court (JAMES, BRETT, and COTTON, L.JJ.), affirming the - Coste-ACTION TRIED BY JURY-CERTIFICATE OF Asso decision of Bacon, C.J. held that the jadgment creditor CIATE-ORDER 55-ORD.36, R, 23, 24.-In a case of Bozuard was entitled to retain the goods. JAMES, L...? v. Stallard, tefore the Court of Appeal on the 3rd inst., there who delivered the judgment of the court, said that si
established practice having been for the sheriff to seize at no means of paying he would not bave been prevented once, it could not be said that he had acted wrongly, and from doing so. The petition was, therefore, remitted to the he was therefore in possession of the goods before the filing county court judge, with this expression of the opinion of of the petition just as he would bave been under a fi. fa, the court-for him to determine, és & question of fact, and it was impossible to say that the judgment creditor whether the debtor had been prevented by the pendency of was not a secured creditor just as he would have been if the first petition from paying the debt.-SOLICITORS, Nash the seizure had been made under a fi. fa. Section 87 did & Field, Robert Wood. not apply. The result of this, no doubt, was to make section 87 a laughing stock, bat to extend the section to the present case would be, not construing the section, but
COMPANY-PROMOTER-MONEYS OBTAINED SECRETLY legislating to supply an omission. The omission could
FROM VENDORS TO COMPANY—“ DERT INCURRED BY FRAUD only be cured by the Legislatore. His lord ship expressed
AND BREACH OF TRUST"_BANKRUPTCY Act, 1869, 8. 49.a hope that the taking of goods under an elegit, which he
In the case of Emma Silver Mining Company v. Grant, before characterized as an absurd anachronism, would be soon
the Master of the Rolls on the 29th ult, an important question abolished. He added that the principle of the decision
was raised as to the construction of section 49 of the Bank in Ex parte Rayner was this, that the beneficial owner of
ruptcy Act, 1869. By that section “ an order of discharge
shall not relieve the bankrupt from any debt or liability the proceeds of the sale of the goods was not obliged to have them sold, but was beneficially entitled to the goods
incurred by means of any fraud or breach of trust; but it themselves. In the present case there were no proceeds
shall release the bankrupt from all other debts proveable under
the bankruptcy with the exceptions" therein mentioned. In of sale. Leave to appeal to the House of Lords was re
February, 1879, as reported L. R. 11 Ch. D. 918, Jessel, fused.-SOLICITORS, Shaw & Tremellen ; Scott & Co.
M.R., decided certain issues against the defendant Grant, whereby he found that the defendant was a promoter of the
plaintiff company, and that he had received a large sum as ACT OF BANKRUPTCY— Debtor's SUMMONS - NEGLECT TO promoter without the knowledge of the company, and that he PAY DEBT-DEBTOR PREVENTED FROM PAYING BY ACT OF was accountable for the same to the company, with interest. CREDITOR - BANKRUPTCY PETITION PRESENTED BEFORE At the time of the trial of the issues the defendant had preTIME LIMITED BY SUMMONS FOR PAYMENT -BANKRUPTCY sented a petition for liquidation, but he bad recently obtained Act, 1869, s. 6.-In a case of Ex parte Greener, before the his discharga therefrom. His trustee had been made a Court of Appeal on the 29th ult., a question arose as to the party, and the company now moved for judgment, following right of a creditor who had served a debtor's summons to the findings on the issues ; for leave to prove in the liquidaavail himself of the non-payment of the alleged debt by the tion of the defendant for the amount found due, and also for a debtor within the time limnited by the summons as an act of personal judgment against the defendant. The latter judge bankruptcy. The debtor's summops was served on the 17th ment was asked, on the ground that the debt was incurred of April. The debtor was not a trader. On the 3rd of May both by means of fraud and also of a breach of trust, and (before the expiration of the twenty-one days limited by the therefore that the defendant was not discharged therefrom summons for payment) the creditor filed a bankruptcy peti- | under the above section. JESSEL, M.R., was of opinion tion against the debtor for the same debt, alleging that he had that the moneys had been obtained by the defendant by committed an act of bankruptcy on the previous 5th of means of fraud and also of a breach of trust, and he therefore November, by executing a fraudulent conveyance of his prop- allowed judgment against the defendant for the amount erty. The 21st of May was appointed for the hearing of the found due. He also gave the plaintiff company leave to petition. The debtor did not pay the debt within the prove against the estate of the defendant for the same twenty-one days, and on the 12th of May, the creditor pre- amount.--SOLICITORS, W. Snell f: Greenip; Michael Abrahams sented a second bankruptcy petition against him for the same f: Roffey. debt, founded on the pon-compliance with the debtor's summons as an act of bankruptcy. The 21st of May was appointed for the hearing of this petition also. When the
County COURT – JURISDICTION -- CHARITY – CLAIM two petitions came on to be heard, the petitioner applied to
AGAINST COLLECTOR OF SCHOOL-CHARITABLE TRUSTS ACT, the judge of the county court to consolidate them, but the
(16 & 17 Vict. c. 137).--In the case of Christie v. Sanaberg, judge beld that he had no power to do so under sub-section
and In the matter of a plaint of the county court al Settle, 2 of section 80 of the Act. He, however, required the peti
before the Master of the Rolls on the 30.5 ult., cause was tioner's counsel to elect on which petition he would proceed,
shown against a rule nisi, previously obtained for a certiorari, and the counsel elected to proceed with the second
removing the plaint to this court, and staying the proceedings petition, and an order was made dismissing the first petition.
in the county court in the meantime. The plaint was by H. The hearing of the second petition was then opened, and the
Christie and w. G. Perfect, the managers of a school at judge dismissed it before all the evidence had been taken,
Langcliffe, against the incumbent of Langcliffe, and the on the ground that the debtor had been prevented from pay- P
plaintiffs required payment of a balance of £37 195. 4d., ing the debt within the twenty-one days by the peti
alleged to be in the hands of the defendant for the use of the tioning creditor's own act in presenting the first peti
ti school. The plaintiff's also required an account of moneys tion alleging the commission of an earlier act of received and
received and paid by the defendant, and delivery by
paid by. bankruptcy. In 80 deciding the judge was in
bim of certain books relating to the school. The school was fluenced by the decision of Knight Bruce, V.C., in the
a Sunday-school founded in 1822 on waste land at Langcase of Ex parte Musgrove (3 M. D. & De G. 386). Bacon,
cliffe, and it was alleged that the freeholders of Langcliffe C.J., reversed the decision of the county court judge, and
bad exercised ownership over the site, and that there was no remitted the petition to him for further hearing. Before
conveyance to any other person. The incombents for the the Court of Appeal it was argued that the effect of the first
time being bad exercised certain duties of management. petition was to tie the debtor's hands, and to prevent him The defendant had, it appeared, received the subscriptions from dealing with his estate, as no one could safely
for the school, and had recently claimed to be the manager, Jend him money during the pendency of the petition. This and disputes had arisen between him and the manager apdifficulty having been created by the summoning creditor's
pointed by the freebolders, which appointment bad been own act, it would be inequitable to allow him to use the non recently accepted by the Education Department. The payment of the debt as an act of bankruptcy. The creditor grounds on which the role nisi was granted were that had, in fact, assumed two inconsistent positions ; by the the county court, under 16 & 17 Vict. c. 137, had no debtor's summons he was insisting on the payment of his jurisdiction in the matter, as tbis was really a question own debt, while by the petition he was claiming to have the relatiog to a charity. JESSEL, M.R., said that in bis debtor's property distributed equally among all his creditors. | opinion the county court had jurisdiction to determine the The Court of Appeal (JAMES, BRETT, and COTTON, | matter. The court bad no donbt jarisdiction to remove L.JJ.) beld that, if it could be shown as a matter of fact that the matter by certiorari, if the inferior court were exthe debtor had been prevented by the pendency of the first ceeding its powers; but that jurisdiction had always been petition from paying the debt, it would be inequitable to s discretionary, and if he had any doubt in the matter be allow the creditor to avail himself of the non-payment of the should have refused to exercise it, on the ground that debt as an act of bankruptcy. But the mere fact that the under the County Court Aote, the claim being for more first petition was pending was not sufficient to show that the than £20, the defendant could remove the case as of right debtor had been prevented from paying the debt, for if he had to the superior court. In his opinion, the plaint was a
simple action by the managers of a school against their SHARES IN CHARTERED BANK—7 WILL. 4, AND I Vict. collector to recover the amount in his bands. The defendant, c. 73, s. 21-REGISTRATION OF TRANSFER-DURATION OF the rector, defended himself on the ground that he was LIABILITY-SHARES PAYING DIVIDEND.--In a case of In re also a manager, ard, of course, if that was so, it might be Griffiths, Tate v. Rolls, before ViceChancellor Hall, opon a good answer. That fact was, however, denied by the further consideration, on the 5th inst., a point was raised by plaintiffs, and it could very well be determined by the the chief clerk's certificate as to the liability of certain inferior court, but that issae did not involve any question execators with respect to shares in a chartered bank. A of charity. It really made no difference whether the sub testator, who died in November, 1878, had, by his will, ject-matter was a charity or a brewery, and the question in dated in the previous October, bequeathed certain specifio dispute was wholly irrespective of any charity. The legacies, and appcinted executors. Part of the property defendant said that by reason of the above Act the county belonging to him at his death, consisted of 338 shares in court would not have jarisdiction, but the proviso in a banking corporation formed ander a charter granted section 41 did not apply, as there was no claim adverse in 1844, whereby the liability of a shareholder is to the charity, and the sole question was whether the limited to double the amount of capital held by him. defendant was or was not a manager of the school. The The statute (7 Will. 4, and 1 Vict. 0. 73) under order nisi must therefore be discharged.-SOLICITORS, which the charter was granted, provides (section 21) that, Ridsdale & Co.; E. Kennedy.
“any person ceasing to be a member, &c., whether by the transfer of any sbare, or by death, or otherwise, sball be
considered, for all purposes of liability, as continuing a PRACTICE-PETITION PRESENTED WITHOUT AUTHORITY member, until a return of the transfer, or other fact -RETAINER--Costs- ALTERATION OF ORDER AFTER A whereby he shall bave so ceased to be a member, shall be YEAR-SLIP-AFFIDAVITS TO BE USED ON A MOTION- registered pursuant to the provisions hereinbefore conAFFIDAVITS IN REPLY.-In a case of Re Savage, before the tained.” In the present case, the executors had sold the Master of the Rolls on the 4th inst., & motion was made shares, and the transfer to the purchaser had been duly to rescind an order to make a solicitor pay the costs of a registered. The transfer had been made in February, petition on which an order had been made for the appoint- 1879, and the dividends most recently paid upon the sbares ment of new trustees, in July, 1879, on the ground that the bad been £6 per cent. The charter, however, contained petitioners, who were interested in one-eighth of the prop no provisions as to the liability of past members of the erty, bad not authorized the presentation of the petition. | corporation, nor does the statute expressly limit the dara. Afidavits were filed in opposition to the motion, wbich tion of liability, and the question was raised whether the stated that the solicitor bad authority from the persons liability upon the shares ceased when the transfer was interested in six-eighths of tbe property, and that he be registered, or, if not, for what period it continued. The liaved he had also authority from the present applicants. point reserved for the consideration of the court wa9 There was no written retainer on their part, and they whether any, and what, pruvision should be made by the swore that no retainer had ever been given by them. The executors before paying over the legacies against any affidavits in support of tbe motion went into certain irre possible liability upon the shares. HALL, V.C., held that, levant charges against the trustee appointed by the peti. under the circumstances of the case, no liability attached, tioner, and contained an allegation shown to be ontrue bythe and no provision need be made.--SOLICITORS FOR ALL respondents' affidavits. On the motion being opened, the PARTIES, Maples, Teesdale, & Co. respondents asked that the motion might stand over to enable item to answer an affidavit on the other side. For the applicants it was contended that the affidavit was
PARTNERSHIP ACTION-Costs.-In a case of Darson F. simply in reply, and that there was no right to file any further affidavits. JESSEL, M.R., said there was no such
Clever, before Denman, J. (sitting for Fry, J.), on the 3rd
inst., the action was brought for the dissolution of a partnerrnle on a motion, and that the parties could go on filing
ship between the plaintiff and the defendant, and the taking affidavits until they were exhausted. On this the appli
of the partnership accounts. There was a dispute whether capts withdrew their affidavit, and the motion was heard on the merits.
a partnership had in fact existed, and the hearing of the eri. JESSEL, M.R., said that the application
dence on the point occupied several days. DENMAN, J., was an uncommon one, and that solicitors were bound to
found as a matter of fact that there had been a partnership, be very careful to see they had proper retainers from their
and he decreed a dissolutioc. He declared that the plaisclients. It was, in his opinion, clear on the evidence that
tiff was entitled to his costs down to and including the trial; the solicitor had no authority from the applicants to pre
but he directed that the costs should not be paid until after sent the petition. He believed he had, and with a view
the result of the accounts should be known." He said that to save costs no doubt joined the applicants as petitioners,
the difficulties had been caused by the plaintiff's fault in wbereas, if he had any doubt, he should have made them
entering into a partnership in a very loose way, and that he respondents. He knew their address, and, therefore, could
ought not to be allowed to walk off at once with a large have written to them to ascertain if he should make them
| amount of costs, when it might turn out that a large som petitioners or not. The order had been obtained more
was due from him on the balance of the accounts. than a year ago, and be very much donbted whether be SOLICITORS, E. F. Buttemer Harston ; C. Harcourt. had jurisdiction now to alter it. If the petition had only been presented by one person, that would have been different; but there were several petitioners, and tbe Court of Appeal would only alter the order on special leave. The order
At the meeting of the Common Council on Thursday was, however, in itself quite right, and he should bave
week, a report was brought up from the Law and City bimself made it on the petition of persons interested in
Courts Committee on a letter from the judge of the Ci'y of six-eighths of the property, even if the present appli
London Court (Mr. Kerr) asking for a reconsideration of the capts, as they should bave been, had been made respond.
duties assigned to him at the Central Criminal Court, on the ents. He should not, therefore, disturb the order, but
ground that the business of his court demanded his whole would, under his general jurisdiction and the new rule
time; that attendance at the Old Bailey Sessions compelled allowing him to correct slips in orders, make the appli
him to keep himself free for eleven weeks of the year; and cants respondents, not requiring to be served with the
stating that he was prepared either to give up his duties as petition. As to the costs, as a general rule, the solicitor
commissioner or to remunerate a member of the bar for per ought to pay the costs where the application was a proper
| forming them. The judge also stated as his opinion that one, and he had acted without retainer ; but here the ap. division of the month's work of the Central Criminal plicants had gone into irrelevant matters ; bad also stated
Court between two sessions would be a great boon, both to an untruth on their affidavits; and, under the circum jurymen and to witnesses, and would produce a considerstances, he sbould not order the solicitor to pay the ap. able saving in the maintenance of prisoners and the expense plicants' costs, but he would have to bear his own costs
of prosecutions. The committee, who had consulted the and also the costs of the other responden's to the motion. Court of Aldermen on the subject, reported that it was 13 -SOLICITORS, E. Kimber; Munns & Longden, for Reed, thought desirable that Mr, Commissioner Kerr should be rePortsmouth.
lieved from his duties at the Central Criminal Court. The | report to that effect was adopted.
REPORT OF THE COMPTROLLER IN BANK. majority of creditors, generally represented by proxies,
place, submits a statement of his affairs, and the required RUPTCY.
may resolve in favour of a composition, or that the affairs The following report has just been issued :
of the debtor shall be liquidated by arrangement and not in The results obtained during the tenth year of the Bank- bankruptcy. There are no doubt cases in which the credruptcy Act, 1869, are generally similar to those reported in itors, sympathising with the debtor, are content to rely on each successive year since the commencement of the Act,
his statements, and desire to relieve him from what he owes and particularly as regards the large and continuing in
them in the manner least disagreeable to him ; but it cancrease in the number of debtors who avail themselves of
not be believed that such cordial understanding exists in so facilities offered by the liquidation clauses of the Act.
many as 12,000 cases in one year, or in so large a proportion The system of liquidation arrangements, by which a
as 93 per cent. of insolvencies. debtor can free himself from the whole of his debts with
Where the creditors have any confidence in the debtor the assent of only a part of his creditors, and without any they would naturally rather at once receive from him, in preliminaries before a competent tribunal to obtain some
the shape of composition, whatever he can afford to pay disclosure of the state of his affairs, is, I believe, as peculiar them, than wait for the chance of receiving, at some indeto English bankruptcy law as the continued increase of infinitely remote period, whatever may remain of that sum solvency, alike through periods of commercial prosperity or
after the costs, charges, and incidental expenses of a number depression, is peculiar to England. In Scotland, where of professional agents are satisfied, especially as in thouthere are no arrangements of that character, there is no
sands of small cases nothing at all remains. Under the such increase of insolvency; the number of sequestrations former Act there were many more compositions than assignappears to have averaged about 500 per annum during the ments, and in Scotland, though composition contracts are last twenty-four years, with no greater variation than much the more difficult to carry (requiring to be adopted, may be reasonably accounted for by the state of trade, or
and afterwards confirmed, by a very large majority in value other temporary circumstances--t.g., the annual number
of creditors at a second meeting after the examination of fell during a period of great commercial prosperity from the bankrupt), there have been more than ten times as many 555 in the year 1870 to about 380 in the years 1872 and compositions as arrangements; in fact, there have been, 1873, rising again through worse times to 513 in the year practically, no arrangements as understood in England, for 1877, as appears by the last published returns. The samo
it has been stated, on high authority, that 19 out of 20 fall and rise occurred as markedly during the same periods another form, and there have been on an average of many
Scotch arrangements are, in effect, composition contracts in in the annual number of English bankruptcies proper on petition of creditors; there were 1,351 bankruptcies in the years only nine “ arrangements” out of 500 sequestrations year.1870, 915 in the year 1873, and 1,156 in the year 1879; awarded annually. but the number of liquidations by arrangement and of In England under the present Act there have been, concompositions with creditors, like the number of trust deeds trary to all experience, many more arrangements than comunder the former Act, has rapidly increased in each year positions, and still more suggestive, their annual number since the commencement of the Act, rising through the increased more than twice as rapidly during the period of period of greatest prosperity from 3,051 in the year 1870, greatest commercial prosperity, thus :to 6,574 in the year 1873, and through worse times to 11,976 in the year 1879.
There were, therefore, altogether last year 13,132 cases
4,152 7,167 position or scheme of settlement under section 28, and 70 Compositions with Creditors.......
4,809 more for various other reasons (see Table V., Appendix),
3,651 6,571 11,976 leaving only 1,000 cases, or about seven per cent., to which the more important provisions of the Act for preventing abuses by insolvent debtors and professional agents applied ; By the year 1873 the annual number of arrangements the other 12,000, or 93 per cent., escaping the provisions of had increased by 2,117, or more than doubled, while the the Act which refer to the examination and discharge of a annual number of compositions had increased by 806, or bankrupt, and to the accounts, charges, and conduct of about 50 per cent. agents employed.
Arrangements may be resolved upon by any person who Section 115 of the Act requires an annual report, judicial can represent the majority of creditors at the first meeting, and financial, respecting all matters within the Act; but while compositions, resembling the Scotch in this one point from subsequent provisions the report can offer little better only, need to be confirmed by resolutions at a second than suggestions or inferences respecting those 12,000, or meeting, so that the interests of the creditor have a double 33 per cent, of the matters within the Act, and the whole of chance of being protected; with due allowance for this the increase of insolvency, a most important feature in the superiority in compositions, the character of the much working of the Act, occurring in those matters, its character greater increase in the annual number of arrangements and probable cause can only be shown by 'somewhat in- during a period of prosperity, and of the increase of insoldirect methods.
vency generally, may be deduced from the following table, The debtor having filed a petition for liquidation, and which shows only too clearly the character of the increaso summoned a meeting of his creditors at his own time and in the annual number of compositions.
The increase of 806 in the annual number of compositions positions as in the first year of the Act, when probably the which was attained in the year 1873, was wholly in the fact that smaller compositions would do quite as well was very worst classes, 706 being compositions between a few not yet so generally understood; of the worse classes there pence and 2s. 6d. in the pound, and 100 just over 2s. 6d. ; were in the year 1879 nearly twice as many between 5s. beside this there was an increase of 153 in the classes not and 7s. 6d. as in the year
1870 ; nearly three times as many exceeding 78. 6d., compensated by a like decrease in the between 28. 6d. and 5s.; more than six times as many number of the better compositions, exceeding 7s. 6d. in the between 1s. and 2s.6d., and nearly fourteen times as pound.
many of the worst of all, viz., of compositions not exThere have never been so many of these better com ceeding 1s. and averaging a few pence in the pound; though
as may be seen by the figures, the annual increase of these shall give no security;" but latterly the whole resolution nominal compositions was severely checked in the year 1877 has been as often struck out. by a decision of the London Bankruptcy Court, affirmed on It has been asserted, ironically, that dividends are among appeal, preventing the registration of resolutions in favour the matters referred to in parts 7 and 9 of section 125, as of such compositions when offered without security or any | “inapplicable” to liquidation by arrangement, meaninz probability of payment, and therefore manifestly in the probably that, through the negligence of creditors, such interest of the debtor, and not of the creditors.
would be the consequence of so many other important If the character of the increase of liquidation by arrange- provisions of the Act being made inapplicable by part 9. ment through times of prosperity and generally be estimated, Creditors are usually very uncomplaining, too much as it fairly may be, from the above figures (with due | accustomed to consider the amount of their debts as s allowance for the superiority of compositions), the result much loss, not worth wasting time or trouble about, ant will be, as obtained by a different method in a former any dividends which may be received as so much unexpected report, that the deplorable increase of insolvency under the profit; but, notwithstanding the continually repeated answer present Act represents a rapid and continued increase in the that the Comptroller has no power to interfere, I have stil number of persons who, without any regard to the state of frequent complaints about the non-payment of dividends in trade, continue to get rid of their debts by paying little or liquidation. nothing to their creditors, some compounding for a few The only direct evidence respecting dividends in liquidapence in the pound, others “ liquidating" just enough to tion is from the advertisements in the London Gazette, froti satisfy professional charges, without even a few pence in which it appears that during the first half of the present the pound for the creditors.
year not so many as 500 first dividends were declared payable, Having regard to the state of trade during the last ten representing that six out of the seven liquidations pay no diriyears, and its apparent effect on bankruptcy proper, on dend at all; it might no doubt be suggested that some trustes Scotch sequestrations, and on the better class of composi- pay dividends, though neglecting to advertise them, but it tions, there should have been in the year 1873 about 2,700 | would be difficult to suggest any reason for such neglect, arrangements and compositions, instead of 6,574; and which in many cases would evidently lead to gross abuses. about 5,000 instead of nearly 12,000 in the year 1879 ; I am As to taxation of costs in liquidation, which is strictly unable to suggest any reasonable causes for the excessive required by general rules, the returns of the taxing officer numbers attained, except the tendency of easy liquidation prove (as in former years) that the trustees practically to encourage, at all times, the growth of a too-rapidly ignore the rule as regards their own, and their own solicgrowing opinion that it is unnecessary, or even foolish, to tors' and other agents' charges. pay debts in full, and in times of commercial prosperity a In the year 1879 there were altogether 8,902 solicitors' large amount of hazardous speculation and consequent in bills taxed on account of 11,976 liquidations by arrangesolvency; whatever the cause, the financial result may be ment and compositions ; supposing even that not more thui represented as a continually increasing tax on English 500 bills were taxed in 4,809 compositions, there woul: commerce, averaging during the last five years about twenty remain, in round numbers, 8,406 bills taxed in respect of millions per annum from losses by bad debts, exclusively in 7,167 arrangements, in each of which arrangements ther** the class of insolvencies which are at present dealt with would be the small preliminary bill of the debtor's soliciter under the English Bankruptcy Act.
for the cost of the debtor's potition, leaving only 1,233 bis However important such an annual charge may be to taxed, out of more than 7,000 large bills of the trustee English commercial interests, whether directly as an item solicitors that ought to have been taxed. It is probab to be added to the cost of production and distribution, or that where the debtors' solicitor can carry the choice of it! indirectly as a cause of increased prices to consumers, re trustee, and continue as his solicitor, neither the bill to ter acting in increased price of labour to producers, it is choice nor any subsequent bill would be taxed ; allowing for probably far more important as indicating an increasing such cases, the 8,400 bills taxed would include fewer of the amount of immorality and insecurity in business transac preliminary bills, and consequently rather more than 1,2 tions.
bills of the trustees' solicitors. The remarkable preponderance of arrangements over The opinions of the London masters, and the returns from compositions under the present Act is a distinct question, the several county courts, support in general the opinions inasmuch as it depends very little on the inclination of expressed in a memorandum appended to one of those redebtors; being peculiar to the present Act it is evidently turns:-“The trustees under liquidations never have their produced by a peculiarity of the Act-namely, that arrange bills taxed; they charge what they like, and do what they ments or compositions are now carried by resolution of a ! like; it is a perfect swindle with them.” majority of the creditors at meetings, and the majority is Judging by the amount taxed off some liquidation bilas commonly represented by proxies held by or in the interest that were not intended to be taxed, but were afterwards of an agent.
brought in by unforeseen occurrences, the creditors nus The provisions of paragraph 9 of section 125 of the Act lose hundreds of thousands annually by this one item, from render the position of a trustee who represents the majority their own inefficiency and the untrustworthiness of ther of the creditors in a liquidation by arrangement singularly trustees. desirable ; he can make his own arrangements with the It would be impossible to exaggerate the abuses which debtor for a discharge, dispose of the funds, vote his own arise, and which must necessarily arise, under a system remuneration, tax his solicitor's bill of costs or not as he which altogether depends on the honesty, intelligence, ani prefers, audit his own accounts at such time and in such watchfulness of creditors, from the carelessness with whi: manner, and upon such terms and conditions as he thinks proxies are given to unknown persons, enabling them to fit, and, finally, grant himself a “release," discharging ropresent the creditors, not at one meeting and for cbe him from all liability in respect of any act done or default specific purpose, but throughout the whole proceedings sol made by him as such trustee.
for all the purposes of the Act. The Act leaves the creditors to see to these matters ; but | The probability of proxies being often socured by almall experience under the present and former Acts proves | any person who applies in time may be shown by the fa: that whatever is left to the creditors is, as a rule, left un- | that canvassing for proxies in liquidation has, for at least s done, even in bankruptcy proper: for example, nothing ! year, and, I have reason to believe, for a much long." could be more important under the present system of elect- period, been found sufficiently profitable to be worth it ing trustees than that they should give security, and attention of a “long firm” of swindlers who have success section 14 of the Act provides that the creditors, when I fully operated even in the remotest parts of England 11 they appoint a trustee, shall by resolution declare what security | Wales, and in manner so barefaced that it would stem is to be guent, and to whom, by the person so appointed before he | credible to any one who was not habitually conversant win oiters on the office of trustee;" but General Rule 106 ex- / the state of things which exists under the present bank. plains that “where no security is specified to be given by the ruptcy system. trustee, he shall be deemed to be personally responsible, &c.;”. It is neither necessary nor desirable to mention : and in the last 2,500 bankruptcies security was reguired to details, but I may say that, except that the members of be given by six trustees in one county court, twice by one firm are in the habit of very frequently changing the person in another court, and in only six other cases in all names and addresses, I am not aware that they have do The rest of England and Wales ; in London it was for some much more than is often done by professional agents of years almost the invariable practice to insert the word “no”. certain class under their own names; they entertain, in the form (38) of resolution; "that the said
common with other advocates of the right of creditcr