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Case of the Warden of Merton, I. 652, 677.
Application by Reid, Q.C., representing parties to the inquiry, against the Warden of Merton on account of a speech delivered at Oxford, in which, as was alleged, the
Warden had compared two of the parties to the inquiry with an infamous criminal known as the Whitechapel
murderer, the atrocities attributed to whom were then exciting public interest. The Warden, by affidavit and by his counsel, apologised and explained that his speech when read with its context was not capable of the construction sought to be put upon it, and the Commissioners accepted this apology and explanation.
Case of the Worcester Daily Times and .70m'nal, I. 672.
Application by Sir Charles Russell, Q.C., against the printer and publisher of the above-mentioned paperin respect of an article which was partly comment upon the political questions surrounding the inquiry, but also contained statements which prejudged the issues. The consideration of the application for leave to serve notice on the proprietor was postponed till after the determination of O’Brien’s Case, and the application was apparently abandoned after the decision in that case, as I have not been able to find
any further mention of it.
Case of the Shefiield Daily Telegraplt, I. 755, 764.
An application against this paper was abandoned on the principal proprietor causing the insertion of a paragraph that the matter complained of appeared without his authority, and expressing his regret.
Finch-Hatton’s Case, II. 29I.
An application to serve notice on Mr. Finch-Hatton in respect of a speech at a public meeting reflecting on a party
to the inquiry was stopped by the Commissioners asking for an aifidavit to support the allegation of counsel, and is not traceable further."-'*
IV.—DECISIONS IN THE STRAITS
IT is interesting to know that several of our Colonies
are now possessed of Law Reports of their own. Mr. Kyshe, of Lincoln’s Inn, has compiled a set of Law Reports for the Straits Settlements, in four volumes, of which the first three were published in 1885, while the fourth, just issued, brings the decisions down to the close of 1890. These Reports, containing as they do decisions on Civil and Ecclesiastical matters, Habeas Corpus, Admiralty and Bankruptcy Cases, Criminal Rulings, and Magistrates’ Appeals, give a good idea of the principles and forms of English Law as administered in the Straits Settlements. The two volumes which relate to the Civil Law contain about 800 pages each, and the other two on Probate, Admiralty, Criminal Law, &c., about half that number. The arrangement of the English Law Reports is followed, and considerable pains have been bestowed on the work. All the branches of English Law exist in the Straits except the Law of Divorce. The reason for that is shewn by the decision of the Chief justice in the case of Scully v. Scully, reported p. 602. But although the various heads of English Law are administered, they do not stand quite on the same modern footing as at home. For instance, the law of married women’s property is the English Law as it stood before the year 1870, and the Practice is taken from the judicature Rules of 1875, and not from the Rules of 1883— a matter which occasions confusion when Practice cases decided since 1883 are quoted in the Courts. It is curious to examine into the nature of the cases which come before the Courts in the far East. Several of them are of the same kind as our cases at home. The chief heads, as gathered from the Index, are :—Bankruptcy, Bills of Sale, Breach of Agreement, Extradition, Gaming, Land, Lotteries, Mahomedan, Married Women, Shipping, and Wills. In fact, the law of England applied to the Straits Settlements until 1827, when the Colony became a dependency of India. From that time the only new laws consisted of Indian Acts, &c. Vi/'hen, in 1867, the Straits Settlements were detached from India, and became a separate Crown Colony, these Indian Acts ceased to apply, and the Settlements have since been governed by local Ordinances, which to some extent copy the Home Statutes. Thus, for instance, there has been a Conveyancing Ordinance and a Bills of Sale Ordinance. The majority, however, are of a purely local nature. The Indian Penal Code regulates the Criminal Law, which is stricter than the Common Law. The Criminal Volume in Mr. Kyshe's Reports has thrown some interesting light upon that branch of the law as administered in the East, and many of the cases are cited by Mr. H. A. P. Phillips in his work on C ompurative Criminal .7urisp'rudence.
5 Ex parte Green. In re Robbins (Press Association), 1891, 7 T.L.R. 411, decided too late for insertion in the body of this Article; shews (with the larger number of the cases cited above, and more particularly with Roach v. Garvan; In re the American Exchange in Europe; Ex parte }’0nes; and In re Tuohy) that any person is punishable in respect of a contempt by publication whom the Court shall deem responsible, whether editor, manager, writer, publisher, actual printer, or what not; and also that a statement which may lead possiblejurors at the trial to suppose that what is taking place is a sham and not a real fight, is a C0ntempt.—H.N.
1' Kyshe’s Reports: being a Digest of the Cases heard and determined in Her Majesty's Supreme Court of the Straits Settlements, 1808-1890. Edited and reported, with aJudicial historical preface from 1786 to 1890, and the Rules and Orders of Court in force, by J/mes VVILLIAM NoR'roN Kvsm~:, Esq., of Lincoln’s Inn, Barrister-at-Law, Acting Registrar of the said Court and Commissioner of the Court of Requests in Malacca. Volume IV., 1885—189o. Singapore. Printed at the Singapore and Straits Printing Oflice. 1890.
Some cases which occur in the book have an odd look to English eyes. Thus in one case, Donohue v. joachim, p. 629, we find a suit against an advocate or barrister commencing by a claim, running thus: “ Special Indorsement—The plaintiffs claim is 1,500 dollars for culpable neglect, refusal of duty and cheating his clients in serving the other side against them—by not making the charges so strong, nor claiming the amount for loss shown by the plaintiff's instructions—-culpable neglect in allowing the other side to be screened when the law admits of no excuse —and in allowing his own clients to be outrageously punished, for being law-abiding and seeking redress at law, instead of taking the law into their own hands,”—and so the claim runs on through twelve paragraphs, finishing up as follows :--“ Although he neglected to prevent, he could not force the Chief justice and others to obey directions of law, therefore each is responsible for their own separate offences, and the Crown for all." The Chief justice,
however, on application ex parte, had this statement of claim set aside as scandalous.
There are several decisions of interest. One is whether the right of the Attorney-General to reply extends to the Attorney-General of the Colony (p. 605). Seeing that this right of reply is an ancient prerogative of the Crown and is possessed by the Attorney-General of England alone (thus the Attorney-General for the County Palatine of Lancaster does not possess it, nor the AttorneyGeneral for the Duchy of Cornwall) it is difficult to see on what grounds the judges held that the Attorney-General of a small Crown Colony possessed it; they give no reasons themselves. Mr. Kyshe, in his preface, appends a note of his own to the effect that Mr. Montagu Williams, in his Reminiscences, mentions that the Attorney-General, or his representative, alone possesses this right. We think that if Mr. Kyshe had desired to quote an authority, he might have fallen back on some famous work, as that of Blackstone or Stephen, instead of the light though interesting autobiography of Mr. Williams.
The decision as to the Colony possessing no jurisdiction in Divorce (p. 602), though indisputably a correct one, nevertheless exhibits a curious state of the Law. The Straits Settlements have the obsolete jurisdiction of the Ecclesiastical Courts in matrimonial matters. Why jurisdiction in that one particular branch of the Law should not be given, it is not easy to say; but the result inflicts considerable hardship at times. Thus a person cannot obtain a decree in the Indian Courts, some of which are fairly near, residence being required under the Indian Divorce Act, while many cannot afford to go home; indeed, it would be difficult to obtain a decree at home, if the places of domicil, marriage and delict were all in the Straits Settlements, as they might be.
A study of Mr. Kyshe’s last Volume would prove highly instructive to anyone interested in the study of jurisprudence —it brings out the peculiarities of the local law and the weight of the local ]udges—and Mr. Kyshe himself deserves high praise for the judiciousness of the selection of his cases and the general pains and care he has bestowed upon
the work. ]. A. Sneaawoon.