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labour is far superior in educational efficacy, and thus the maximum of industrial training is combined with a minimum of saleable production.
To put the case broadly, the penal system in America is adapted to reform a man, while the penal system in England -even after allowance has been made for some recent improvements, which I desire cordially to acknowledge—is still calculated to degrade him. Mr. Michael Davitt has said that when a man enters a convict prison he must part with all his self-respect. Another gentleman recently stated that "in Portland prison all that is good in a man's nature is crushed and destroyed, and all that is brutal and bad is brought out.” On the other hand, the underlying spirit of the American system is to bring out what is good in a prisoner. The difference between the architecture of American and English prisons is only typical of a wide difference of system. Mr. Ruggles-Brise himself seems to have regarded with admiration the State prison at Pittsburg, with its “large airy windows all along the front,” and “the purity of the air," thus presenting such a strong contrast to "the gloomy features of English prison buildings.”
A year or two ago Mr. John Redmond related to the House of Commons an incident which deeply touched every one who heard it. He told us that once he had to break the news to a prisoner at Portland of the death of his little son, to whom the prisoner was passionately attached. Mr. Redmond showed the man a photograph of the boy, and a lock of his hair; and the prisoner begged him to get leave for him to keep these relics in his cell. Accordingly Mr. Redmond went to the Governor, told him the circumstances, and asked for leave ; whereupon that officer looked at him with astonishment, and said, “My dear sir, how can discipline be maintained if this sort of thing is allowed ? ”
E. H. PICKERSGILL.
V.-CIVIL JUDICIAL STATISTICS, 1897.*
ASTER MACDONELL, by his new volume of Civil
Fudicial Statistics, has once more made the legal profession his debtor. Nor is it to lawyers alone that his labours should prove of interest and value. All educated Englishmen are concerned with the efficiency with which our legal system works; the legitimate inferences to be drawn from the annual records of litigation are a matter of great social, economic, and even political importance ; and we can conceive of no subject better fitted to repay the attention of the jurists and statisticians of other countries than our own. The field covered by the Civil Judicial Statistics, is of the widest range: it embraces the jurisdictions of the Borough Courts of Record and other inferior civil courts-many of whose very names are now unfamiliar to us—of the County Courts, whose possibilities so many legal reformers are discussing, of every branch of the Supreme Court of Judicature, of the House of Lords, and of the Privy Council, with its imperial powers, splendidly exercised, over all the dependencies of the Crown. It is obvious that an area so vast, if skilfully dealt with, is capable of yielding an infinite variety of suggestive material. Master Macdonell has traversed it with the thoroughness and insight that were to be expected of him, and has summed up the results of his investigation in an introduction of the utmost lucidity. We propose, in the first instance, to take a survey of the main conclusions that he deduces from the Judicial Statistics for 1897, and then to consider the bearing of some of them upon the principal juridical problem of the day, viz. how the rival claims of the Metropolis and of the Provinces in the matter of the administration of justice are to be reconciled.
* Judicial Statistics, England and IVales, 1897. Part II.--Civil Judicial Statistics, Edited by John Macdonell, Esq., C.B., LL.D., Master of the Supreme Court. London : Eyre and Spottisivoode, 1899.
“A slight increase in appeals to the various appellate courts: a similar increase in proceedings begun in the Chancery Division : an increase in divorce petitions: a slight decrease in County Court proceedings begun, and a continued decrease in bankruptcy cases : in all, a decrease of oʻ51 per cent. in proceedings begun : such are some of the chief characteristics of the figures in the returns for 1897, as compared with the annual averages for 1893-97.” These results, according to Master Macdonell, are attributable to the facts that during the year 1897 trade was, on the whole, good, although trade disputes were frequent; the bank-rate was stationary and low, the price of consols abnormally high, and there was a slight increase in imports, together with a slight decrease in exports. The work of the Judicial Committee during 1897 shows a small increase, for which the Indian High Courts were responsible. But both in Indian and in Colonial appeals the percentage of cases, in which the judgment of the court below was affirmed, does not suffer by comparison with the record for 1897 of the Court of Appeal. How is it, by the way, that the largest number of appeals usually comes from New South Wales ? We commend this question to the attention of those who have a taste for wandering into the bypaths of statistics.
Two interesting features are presented by the record of the House of Lords. In the first place, the Appeal (formâ pauperis) Act, 1893, is effecting a very great and wholesome reduction in the numbers of pauper appeals to the House of Lords. The other point is not statistical—at least directly-the attendance of the judges before the House of Lords in Allen v. Flood. This episode excited some adverse criticism at the time, and, if it were one of frequent occurrence, it would certainly be objectionable. But the last previous instance happened as far back as 1881, in the case of Dalton v. Angus: considerable intervals of time separate earlier precedents from each other; and in view of the fact that when the House of
Lords has given judgment on a 'point of law, it does notunlike the Judicial Committee in the exercise of its ecclesiastical jurisdiction—treat the correctness of the decision as open to challenge in any subsequent proceedings, it can scarcely be contended that such issues as were involved in Dalton v. Angus, or Mordaunt v. Moncreiff, or Allen v. Flood, did not deserve to be determined by the aid of this exceptional machinery if it is to continue to form part of our legal system.
The only observation that suggests itself in connection with the increase in the work of the Court of Appeal, is that there is some reason to fear that this phenomenon -always more or less, unsatisfactory—is due to a steady increase in the number of motions for new trials. If this apprehension is well founded, the fact proves one or other of two things. Either the excellent rule laid down by various Appellate Courts many years ago, and rigorously enforced in the time of Lord Esher, that the verdict of a jury shall not be set aside as being against the weight of evidence unless it is practically perverse, is being relaxed ; or the administration of justice in some of the courts of the Queen’s Bench Division is not what it ought to be.
Now that a new equity judge has been appointed, there is no need to linger over the old complaint-which, it may be hoped, will soon be of antiquarian interest alone-as to Chancery arrears. We notice that on the Chancery side, the summons for directions has led to a decided diminution in the number of ordinary summonses as well as in the fees received on proceedings in Chambers. In the Queen's Bench Division, the number of summonses (including notices) has apparently not been much reduced by the new system. Possibly this curious difference may be due to the view which the Chancery masters are understood to have taken at first as to the application of the order for directions to pending proceedings.
Master Macdonell notices some interesting differences
between the Middlesex and circuit actions as to the modes of trial. Trial by a judge alone—the favourite method in London-is little resorted to on circuit. While 62 per cent. of the London and Middlesex cases were tried in this way
in 1897, the proportion of cases so tried on circuit was only 38 per cent., and the proportions for 1896 were about the same. Moreover, the returns show that while the superior courts in London are, broadly stated, engaged in trying actions for breach of contract, though, of course, incidental to such class, and as defences to claims on contract or as counter-claims there may be questions of fraud or negligence, on circuit the courts are engaged to a much larger extent than in London in trying actions of tort. The statistics as to the average verdict in London and in the provinces are curious. The average verdict in London and Middlesex is much higher than on circuit-£393 against £195—and this phenomenon is emphasized in certain classes of actions in which the sympathies of provincial juries might have been expected to have yielded different results, viz. those for breach of promise of marriage, libel, slander, and fraudulent representation. Owing to the fact that in the cause list, for each term, of the Commercial Court only the cases actually set down for trial are entered, that excellent tribunal has sometimes appeared to be only moderately successful, a comparative survey of its work corrects this impression. In 1897, 235 actions were set down as against 215 in 1896—figures which both show a satisfactory increase, and disclose the fact, on reference to the tables, that about 7 per cent of the whole number of cases entered for trial are commercial cases.
We may group together, in concluding the consideration of this branch of the subject, a variety of topics which are more or less disconnected, but yet ought not to be passed over without notice. The figures as to taxation of costs should be mentioned. It appears that the percentage of disallowance in 1897 was 28 per cent. in the Queen's Bench Division, and