Page images

New York: Baker, Voorhis & Co. Paris : Marchal, Billard et Cie. 1880.

A law book written in English by a French lawyer constitutes an event in legal literature, as well as an encouraging proof of the practical growth of friendly international relations. In truth, there is scarcely an aspect under which Englishmen and Frenchmen can come into contact or competition which does not find somne illustration in such a work as M. Goirand has undertaken. The utility of a book on French Commercial Law, embracing within its scope alike the Law itself, with its proposed amendments, and a Commentary both theoretical and practical, is too obvious to need enforcing. The only real question can be how has so considerable a task been fulfilled ? To this we are glad to be able to give a most satisfactory reply. In M. Goirand's pages we can easily follow the legal effects of our operations, whether in the purchase of French Rentes, the taking of shares in a French company, the entering into a contract with a French subject, or any of the other manifold cases within the scope of the “ Code de Commerce.” In his Commentary, M. Goirand is occasionally critical as well as expository. Thus he does not scruple, at p. 176, to condemn as an “obsolete theory" the provision of the existing French Law (Art. 110, S. I) by which Bills of Exchange require to be drawn in another place from that in which they are made payable. The description given by M. Goirand of the constitution of the French Courts will be of interest to many besides those who may have occasion to become practically acquainted therewith. We must say that there appears to us to be a good deal which is open to amendment in the constitution of the Tribunal of Commerce. That the judge in those Courts should have power to “ base his decision upon mere probabilities” (the words are our author's, p. 14) will, we cannot but think, seem to most English readers a very serious drawback to what is otherwise, doubtless, a valuable auxiliary to the Superior Courts. In some other particulars, such as the appointment in certain fixed seats, chiefly large manufacturing and industrial centres, of Arbitral Tribunals (Conseils de Prud'hommes), there is much in French practice which might be commended to the consideration of our own Legislature. In his “ Glossary of French Judicial Terms," M. Goirand offers a form of assistance which will be appreciated by all who have had occasion, perhaps at very short notice, to master the terms of Foreign Law, whether
relating to Jurisprudence or Procedure. In some cases he
might, we think, have found a safe rendering when he has
preferred to resort to an explanation. “Vis Major,” for instance,
would surely exactly have represented “ force majeure," and
have been immediately intelligible to an English reader. We
hope, that in his next edition, M. Goirand will add a Table of
Contents of the several chapters of his Commentary, and so
facilitate the readiness of reference to a work which we
commend alike to the lawyer, the banker, the merchant, and
the many classes practically interested in Commercial Law.

The Law of Highways in England and Wales, with Notes of
Cases, Forms, and a Copious Index. By T. Baker, of the
Inner Temple, Esq., Barrister-at-Law. Stevens & Sons. 1880.

Mr. Baker has accomplished a very useful work which will
no doubt be appreciated by Magistrates, Chairmen of Quarter
Sessions, Members of Local Highway Boards, and others who
have to deal with the important questions connected with the
Queen's Highway throughout England and Wales. We like
Mr. Baker's book much better than his history, which, as set
forth in his Preface, is scarcely on a level with modern research. To say that " in a Monarchical State ” all lands have been “originally granted by the Sovereign,” is to state a fiction of Feudal Law as a historical fact, and thereby to obscure the true facts of English history. But perhaps Mr. Baker would urge that the Teutonic invasion of Britain, and the consequent allotment of lands among the successful invading hosts, are both beyond the memory of man and need not be taken into account. As a matter of Nineteenth Century Law, a knowledge of which is very desirable in the present day, we are glad to see that Mr. Baker includes “ Suggested Forms” for the Regulation of Bicycles, under 41 & 42 Vict., c. 77, s. 26.

Introduction to Roman Law. By William A. HUNTER, M.A., of the Middle Temple, Esq., Barrister-at-Law, Professor of Jurisprudence, University College, London. W. Maxwell and Son. 1880.

There is a growing fashion in favour of small books on great subjects. In some respects this is a good fashion, when the small books are, as in the present case, written by persons thoroughly conversant with their subject. At the same time we fear that many will content themselves with the primers, manuals, and introductions of the various series of such works which are so much in vogue, and will never proceed any further in their studies. Professor Hunter has yielded to the demands of the day, and has produced an Introduction to Roman Law, which he no doubt intends to lead up to the fuller and more scientific treatment of the subject in the spirit in which he has himself treated it in his very elaborate and valuable Roman Law in the Order of a Code, already noticed in these pages. We fear that in the case of Professor Hunter's Introduction, as in the case of many other such manuals, the student who profits by the learned Professor's generally clear and acute method of exposition, will not go on as he should, to the deeper research which Roman Law so imperatively demands. But it will be well for the student if he reads carefully such a book as the one now before us. Professor Hunter's Introduction seems to us to be at once more interesting as a narrative, and better calculated to arouse the desire for further study than most books of the kind. There are some points where we should say that a too epigrammatic mode of stating his case has led the learned author into a

dubious position. His description of the Prætors (p. 7), as "the men who administered justice,” but “ did not know the law,” is sure to be misunderstood by the nineteenth century student, who will probably be much surprised, as he proceeds, to find how largely Prætorian legislation enters into, and how profoundly it modified, Roman Law-a fact which Professor Hunter himself brings out in full relief. Without the Prætor, and without his philosophical breadth of view, admitting aliens to possession, and to remedies by Interdict which else would have been unattainable to them, what would the Roman Law have been ? So far as we can see, and so far, it seems to us, as Professor Hunter can see, it would have been but a stereotyped Formalism, instead of being what the Prætors, and the Stoics, and the genius of the Roman people made it-a treasure-house of Juridical Science for all time. There are occasionally some words brought into use by Professor Hunter, which we cannot say that we hope to see taking permanent root among us. We have no liking for such an epithet as “clamant” (p. 71). “ Crying evils ” we were and are well acquainted with, and we are not sure that we should not be disposed to class among them the unnecessary coining of words in the treatises of scientific Jurists.

The Law and Practice of Joint Stock and other Companies. By Sir Henry THRING, K.C.B., of the Inner Temple, the Parliamentary Counsel. Fourth Edition. Edited by G. A. R. FITZGERALD, M.A., of Lincoln's Inn, Barrister-at-Law, Esq., late Fellow of St. John's College, Oxford. Stevens and Sons. 1880.

Among treatises on Company Law, Sir Henry Thring's work has long been admitted to be facile princeps. Five years have elapsed since the last edition was published, and during this period, in addition to the many important legal decisions which have been pronounced on the subject, the statute law has been augmented by the provisions of the roth sec. of the Judicature Act, 1875; the Companies Acts, 1877, 1879, and 1880, and the Industrial and Provident Societies Act, 1876. In preparing the present edition Mr. Fitzgerald has been careful to incorporate both the new statute and the new case law, and has generally revised the text so as to render it quite up to date. The very useful appendix of “ Forms relating to Companies," has also received important additions.

The Institutes of Law, a Treatise of the Principles of Jurisprudence as Determined by Nature. By James Lorimer, M.A., Advocate, Regius Professor of Public Law and of the Law of Nature and Nations in the University of Edinburgh, Member of the Institute of International Law, &c. Second edition, revised and enlarged. William Blackwood and Sons, Edinburgh and London. 1880.

The last time that Professor Lorimer came before our notice in these pages he appeared purely as a practical lawyer, providing his countrymen and all others whom it might concern with a Handbook of the Law of Scotland. He now returns to what is probably the more congenial sphere of a scientific, not to say a speculative, jurist. In its present revised and enlarged form, as indeed from the first, Professor Lorimer's book on the Institutes of Law must occupy a position different from that of most recent works dealing with the same subject. For it is, to say the least, much more of an encyclopædia of the various sciences whose borders are touched at some point by Jurisprudence, than almost any work of the kind not written by a German Professor. It would, in fact, be difficult to name a point in Theology or Morals, or even in the modern Science of Comparative Religion (to adopt a convenient nomenclature), upon which Professor Lorimer has not something to say, whether by way of rebuke or approval, somewhere in the course of his present work. It would be hopeless to attempt detailed criticism of such a Treatise in the limited space at our disposal. We can only endeavour to call attention to a few of the many points in the learned author's statement of his views which seem to require special notice. We observe, and we observe with regret, that one who occupies so influential a position as the Regius Chair of Public Law in the University of Edinburgh appears to be a determined adversary of John Stuart Mill, of Jeremy Bentham, and of John Austin. It is, no doubt, some satisfaction to find that Professor Lorimer upholds Plato and Socrates, Grotius and Savigny. But we must confess, for our own part, heterodox though the confession may be in the eyes of the learned author of the Institutes of Law, that we feel quite able to keep a place in our own regard for every one of these great luminaries of Political and Juridical Science. We are far from setting up any one of them against the other. We think that they, each and all, in their day, brought out into strong relief some essential portion of that Divine Truth which

« PreviousContinue »