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Private International Law.
The Court of Appeal has very recently affirmed the decision of Mr. justice Day (Times L.R., VI., 408) to the effect that a Power of Attorney executed abroad in foreign form, but authorising the performance of acts in this country, must be construed, as to the extent of the authority given, according to the law of England and
not of the lex loci celebrati (Chatenay v. Brazilian Submarine Telegraph Co., Lim., Times L.R. VII., I. Cf. Story’s Conflict of Laws, 7th ed., p. 337).
A point of some interest as to the power of an English Court to vary a Scotch Settlement under 22 & 23 Vict., c. 6I, s. 5, was decided by the President of the Divorce Court in Nnnneley v. Nnnneley 6- Marrian, I5 P.D. 186. Noteworthy also is the case of In the goods of De la Rue, Ibid., 185, as to probate of English will where Testator also left a will of Swiss property in Swiss form.
In Shepherd v. Hirsch :5’ C0., 45 Ch.D. 23I, Chitty, j., recently held that service of a writ on one partner within the jurisdiction is good service on all the partners, although the partnership is a foreign one, and all the members reside and are domiciled outside the jurisdiction.
The powers already possessed by the County Council for the Administrative County of London are sufficiently considerable to enable that body to do much good, and probably also as much harm. It wants, no doubt, to have these powers extended, for that is a craving naturally existing, apparently, in all Bodies. The purchase ofthe Waterand Gas Supply of London is an undertaking not too large for the aspirations of the Council ; but it is at least possible, if not probable, that it might do more good by using its present powers for the Housing of the Working Classes, to which Mr. Chance draws our attention in his handy little work (The Powers of the London County Council in regard to the Housing of the Working Classes. By WILLIAM CHANCE, M.A., Barrister-at-Law. \/Vhiting & Co. 1889). That it is highly expedient to have some Public Body armed with authority in this matter, and that such Body should exercise its powers systematically and judiciously, cannot for a moment be doubted. A case in the East End of London quite recently came before one of our Magistrates, which the Magistrate, whose experience is unquestionably wide and varied, described, after a personal visit, as a disgrace to Civilisation and to Bethnal Green. Perhaps the latter portion of the dictum was almost unnecessary. The facts are fairly well known: the remedy which it may be best to apply is perhaps not so easy to hit upon. Houses may go great lengths towards being “ dangerous to health," or “ unfit for human habitation,” and yet may just fall short of coming technically within either category. There can be no doubt that cellars ought not to be inhabited; but there is equally no doubt that large parts of London are, so to speak, honeycombed with cellar dwellings. And the neighbourhood of the Houses of Parliament is itself, perhaps, as salient an example of this as any part within the jurisdiction of the London County Council. Westminster is in many respects, we believe, quite as bad as the East End, if not worse, for the various philanthropic agencies have been led to devote their energies mainly to the region favoured by the Dock labourer, and the West End has been tacitly supposed to be an altogether aristocratic district, far above such needs. It is unfortunate that Mr. Chance should have to point out the extreme carelessness, to put the case mildly, of our Parliamentary drafting. With all the care which Lord Thring has bestowed upon the subject, the class for whom he has written, and whom he has endeavoured to educate, seems to keep on its old blundering ways, citing schedules which have no existence, and playing similar havoc with facts. But when the “ tail” of a Bill, “cut off” in 1868, is “ stuck on” a Bill of 1879, the result may be more easily imagined than described, and yet it is only one out of many such cases in what is, it might almost seem satirically, called our Legislation. 41?
The Allotments Act and the Agricultural Labourer.
Since the publication of Mr. Dodd’s useful Manual (The Allotments Act, 1887, and the Allotments Compensation Act, 1887, Explained, with Notes, Forms, and Precedents. By j. THEODORE DODD, M.A., Barrister-at-Law. Horace Cox, I888), there has been time to see how the well-meant efforts of the Legislature are accepted by the two classes mainly interested, the landowner and the agricultural labourer. There is evidently a division in both camps. Some landowners seem to meet the Legislature half-way, so to speak, while others will have nothing to do with the innovation. On the estates of the latter class of owners, the position of tenants desiring to avail themselves of the Acts will probably not be very comfortable. There are often practical difficulties in the way of giving up land for allotments in situations relatively convenient to the tenants. And the tenants themselves seem often to have started with the idea that they were, by a stroke of the pen, going to develop into farmers on their own account, without paying any heed to the questions involved as to time and money. Obtaining an allotment is one thing; finding the time and the capital to work it is another thing. Sometimes this difference has early dawned on the agricultural mind, and claims which were boldly put in for four or even six acres have been met, to the satisfaction ofthe claimants, by the actual allotment of half-an-acre or even a quarter of an acre. Mr. Dodd seems to think that we can create a race of small farmers by a mere expression of the will of the Legislature. But in practice this is not possible, and if it were possible we are not so sure that it would be desirable. The Legislature cannot find the capital for these small farmers, and without capital they can hardly work their land so as to be a source of additional prosperity to the nation. They would simply end by getting into the hands of the money-lender, and that would mean ultimate insolvency, which we could hardly reckon a source of strength to the State. Moreover, it seems doubtful whether an ordinary agricultural labourer, even if he habitually and successfully worked a three-acre allotment, such as Mr. Dodd desires him always to be able to obtain, could be properly classed as a small farmer. Nor is it certain that every man who might be able to work one acre successfully, would be equally successful with three acres. In many cases one acre would represent the extent of the individual labourer’s potentialities in the matter of farming for himself, and his undertaking more would be neither for his own good nor for that of the State, it appears to us.
There is no doubt that the drafting of both the Acts wants amendment. If it was not intended that a tenant holding an allotment was to be prevented from erecting a cow-house upon it, the Act might well have shewn that the erection was permissible. It might have been better not to have attempted so specific an enumeration as to be apparently exclusive, and thus to minimise the possible mean
ings of “ shed” under the Act. If the “ pigstye ” had not
been expressly named, the “shed ” might perhaps have sheltered cow and pig alike. A “ cottage” undefined may be in as bad a case as a “shed.” The draftsman, perhaps, in some cases fell into the trap, through endeavouring to be very precise, and thus leave no room for doubt,while in other cases, such as “ cottage,” he may have thought that the definition, like the celebrated sheep, would come home and bring its tail behind it.
Lord Grey’s interesting contribution (Ireland : The Causes of its present Condition and the Measures Proposed for its Improvement. By EARL GREY, K.G. ]olm Murray, 1888) to the literature ofa question which this Review has devoted some space, both in a previous issue (No. CCLXV., for August, 1887, Art. Niebuhr and the State of Ireland in 1829) and in the current number, where a very recent phase (The Report of the Special Colmnission) is treated by one well acquainted with the country, is a welcome addition to our shelves as the result of a long and close study of the subject, carried on in both our Houses of Parliament. The career to which the noble author briefly alludes is one which entitles his writings on any political question to the respectful consideration of those who are not above giving attention to the suggestions of a calm and dispassionate student of politics, whose opinions have the weight of years and experience to back them up. There is no use in commending them to mere partisans, for the mere party man on either side will very likely be dissatisfied with them. The party man is required to vote straight, and not to trouble his head about any such considerations as those which Lord Grey would fain have him weigh. He does not care, for instance, two straws whether Lord Melbourne’s