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LONDON, DECEMBER 18, 1880.
Crxinre Tones 127
Jn>Gis roa Gbeat Casks 120
Tn Jtdicial Statistics 131
GZKEBAL COBESFOXDEXCB —.... 133
Cases or Thi Week :—
Wood v. Svrann 134
Kewlnn, Ex parte 134
Lacev, Ex parte 134
Breull, Ex parte 135
Withernsca Brick Works, The, In rc 135
Brown v. Sewell 135
Standanl Discount Corporation (Limited), Ro 136
Northern Counties Firo Insurance Company, Ro 136
Mrtrpohian District Railway Company, The, and Cotton's
Trustee*, In re 157
Cars Bbfoks The Baxxbcptcy Registrars:—
Kraft, Be 137
Lxsal ArronrnczxTS 138
Law Stcdzkts' Jocbkal 138
Cbecitobs' Claims 140
Cocbt Papers 141
Lomox Gazettes, Ac, 4c 141
CASES REPORTED In The WEEKLY REPORTER.
quadrangle ready for occupation by the chief clerks of the judges of the Chancery Division at Easter, 1881. It is hoped that the remainder of the building will be completed in time to enable the courts to be used at the Easter Sittings of 1882, but it is needless to say that this depends on many contingencies over which neither the architect nor the Lord Chancellor has any control.
The Last Act to suspend the Habeas Corpus Aot in Ireland, passed in 1866, followed generally the precedent of the English Act for the same purpose passed in 1817 (57 Geo. 3, c. 3). Section 2 of the Irish Act provided that, where any persons had been, before the Act or during its continuance, arrested, committed, or detained in custody under a warrant for high treason, or treason-felony, or treasonable practices, or suspicion of high treason, treason-felony, or treason practices, signed by six members of the Irish Privy Council, or by the Lord Lieutenant or the Chief Secretary for Ireland, it should be lawful for the persons to whom the warrants were addressed to detain such persons "at any place whatever within Ireland," and that the persons to whom the warrants were directed should be deemed and taken to be, in all respects, lawfully authorized to detain such persons, and to be their lawful gaolers or keepers. It will be seen that this provision retrospectively legalized custody under warrants issued before the Act came into force. Mr. Paunell and certain other Irish M.P.'s will also be interested to know that the Irish statute of 1866 did not imitate the English statute of 1817 by expressly preserving the privileges of Parliament.
Last Week we discussed the question whether the sheriff is bound to retain in his hands, for fourteen days, the proceeds of sale of the goods of a company, taken in execution for a sum exceeding £50, as he would be in the case of the goods of a trader—a matter upon which, as we pointed out, the judges of the Chancery Division had held opposite views. We did not know then that the question was on the point of coming before the Court of Appeal, but only a day or two after our article appeared —viz., on Monday last—the Court of Appeal decided, in the caso of Re Withermea Brick Wcrks (Limited), in favour of the view we advocated—viz., that the sheriff was not bound to do so. The object of section 10 of the Judicature Act, 1875, the court thought, was to abolish the old chancery rule that a secured creditor could prove for his whole debt, and realize his security afterwards, and to substitute the bankruptcy rule, that such a creditor can only prove for the balance of his debt after giving credit for the value of his security.
It Appears from Sir Charles Dilke's speech to his constituents that Sir Erskinb May's soheme for the appointment of Grand Committees of the House of Commons is likely to be brought forward by the Government in the ensuing session. The ancient Grand Committees of the House were appointed annually for certain general subjects, such as grievances, religion, and courts of justice (see Lex Parliamentaria, p. 340). They were, in fact, committees of the whole House, to which " Bills of great concernment were committed, to the end that there might be opportunity for further debate; for that at a committee the members have liberty to speak as often as they shall see cause to one question." Sii Erskine May's proposal differs widely from this ancient practice. He suggests that there should be four standing committees on public Bills, devoted respectively to religion and ecclesiastical affairs, law and courts of justice, trade and navigation, and local government and taxation; that each committee should be appointed by a special committee of selection; that twenty members of each Grand Committee should be chosen from members of Parliament who are "representative men in connection with the different subjects," and that whenever a Bill is referred to a Grand Committee there should be added to the standing Grand Committee members of Parliament whose functions should cease with the consideration of the particular Bill.
It Is An Interesting Question how far the right to the costs of a winding-up petition which is withdrawn extends with regard to persons appearing thereon in response to the advertisement issued in accordance with the Rules of Court. As the advertisement is addressed to all who consider themselves liable as contributories or entitled as creditors to appear on the hearing of the petition, there appears to be no reason why, if the petition is withdrawn, any one of these persons who appears should be deprived of his costs of appearing. The'question has not been definitively decided as yet, and, perhaps, never may be, but it was on the point of being decided by the Master of the Bolls on Saturday last. A petition for the winding up of a company had been in the paper of the previous Saturday, and was, by consent of the petitioner and of the company, withdrawn on that day, but was put in the list again last Saturday to be "called" pro forma in order that any creditor or contributory thinking himself entitled to costs might be heard. Upon its being "called" counsel for a creditor asked for his costs of appearing, and the Master of the Bolls would have considered the point had it not turned out upon inquiry that the counsel had only been instructed since the case was first in the paper—in fact, on the very morning of the day on which it was to be formally called on. Under those circumstances no costs were given, but it is difficult to see how, had counsel been instructed at the earlier stage, he could have been refused his costs of appearing. When a winding-up petition is compromised and withdrawn, practitioners should see that they get a sufficiently large indemnity against the contingency of having to pay the costs of creditors or contributories.
ing the Qneon's Bench and Court of Chancery into oneSupreme Court (see section 3), and by transferring the jurisdictions of the same courts to one High Court (see section 16), has apparently abolished the curious oldfashioned right of applying to one court after another for a habeas in case of each unsuccessful application. Among; the many instances of this ancient practice, it is instructive to refer to Reg. v. Baines (12 Ad. & E. 210)—one of" the many cases in which the writ de contumace was invoked, not, as now, by laymen against clerics, but by clerics against laymen—for non-payment of church rates. It had been held by the Court of Queen's Benoh, in a considered judgment, to be no objection to the writ that it did not appear to have been "opened" in court. B it, adds the reporter, in a note, " the prisoner in the same vacation sued out a habeas corpus, returnable in the Court of Chancery, .... on the ground that the writ did not appear to have been opened according to statute 5 Eiiz. o. 23, s. 2. The points discussed (December 8, 9, and I5r 1840) were nearly the same. . . . Lord Cottesham, C, overruled all the objections; and the prisoner remanded (Zn re Baines, 1 Cr. & Ph. 31)."
It Was Assumed by Mr. Justice Manisty in Mr. Dale's case that an appeal lay from the judgment of the Queen's Bench Division refusing the writ of habeas corpus, and, although no such appeal lay before the Judicature Act, it seems to be clear from the 19th section of that Act, that the prisoner, and not only the prisoner, but also the party at whose suit the prisoner was imprisoned, has such right of appeal. The words of the section in question are very explicit: "The Court of Appeal shall have jurisdiction and power to hear and determine appeals from any judgment or order, save as hereinafter mentioned, of her Majesty's High Court of Justice." We believe that we are correct in stating that, as a matter of fact, no case of habeat corpus has come before the Court of Appeal since the Judicature Act, but the House of Lords, in Walsall Overseers v. London and North- Western Railway Company (L. B. 4 App. Cas. 30), has given so liberal a construction to section 19 that, unless a respondent can bring his case clearly within the exceptions of that section, the right of appeal cannot be controverted. The exceptions are appeals from inferior courts, determination of criminal matters, and orders as to costs, and under none of these exceptions can habeas corpus be fairly said to come. There is a new right of appeal, therefore, given to either party; but it would seem, at the same time, that the right of indirect appeal, which only the prisoner bad, is taken away. The Judicature Act, by conaolidat
The Farmers Of Kent have recently taken up as a special grievance the "extraordinary tithe" on hops, fruit, and market gardens, and it cannot be denied that this tax operates as a serious impediment toagriculture. The extraordinary tithe is a charge levied, in addition to the ordinary tithe, upon lands newly cultivated with hops, or fruit, orV6getables. It varies in amount in different parishes, i occasionally being as high as £1 per acre; but in some parishes it is not levied at all. Mr. Inderwick proposes to redress this grievance by a Bill to be introduced' during the next session, which will embody two principles. First, that no land in the future, when first cultivated with hops, fruit, or vegetables, shall become liable to extraordinary tithe; and, second, that extraordinary tithes, wherever now existing, shall be redeemable upon certain terms. For the former of these proposals he finds a precedent in a statute passed in1873 (36 & 37 Vict. c. 42), which relieved newly-formed market-gardens from extraordinary tithe in all parishes where such extraordinary tithe was not distinguished at the date of commutation. With regard to the latter proposal, it must be remarked that the existing Tithe Commutation Acts expressly reserve extraordinary tithes from the benefit of their operation, so that some amendment, at least, in the law seems to be incumbent. Mr.. Inderwick.'s suggestion is that the tithepayer, or rather the landlord, should be empowered to enforce against the tithe-owner (whether parson or lay impropriator) a compulsory redemption, just as the copyholder is nowentitled to compel enfranchisement from his lord. The terms of redemption which Mr. Inderwick specifies— either continued payment for nine years at the existingrate, or a lump sum paid down equivalent to the present value of the unexpired period of nine years, treated as an annuity at three per cent.—may seem unduly hard upon the tithe-owner. But, on the other hand, it must be remembered that the extraordinary tithe, even now, is not in the nature of an annual payment fixed and certain, but is lost altogether if the laud be brought under cultivation with ordinary farm produce.
The Current Number of the Irish Law Reports contains a report of the judgment of the Queen's Bench Division upon the demurrer in the action brought against Mr. Macdonooh, Q.C., by a client, for breach of contract to act as his counsel, the arguments upon which, we reported ante, p. 35. It will be remembered that the defendant demurred to two paragraphs in the statement of claim. The 7th paragraph stated that the plaintiff, having been committed for trial at the Commission of Oyer and Terminer held in the city of Dublin,
had, by "a special and express contract," agreed with the defendant that if the defendant would promise and agree to attend and assist, with the aid of two other counsel, in the plaintiff's defence during the continuance of his trial, he would pay to the defendant, instead of an ordinary honorarium, a special fee to be named by the defendant; that the defendant thereupon agreed that if he should be paid as a special fee a sum of fifty guineas with his brief, and a sum of twenty-five guineas for each day after the first day of the trial, and also a sum of five guineas instead of the ordinary fee of two guineas for such consultations as he should direct and require, he would attend throughout the said trial with all due and reasonable diligence, and without wilful or unreasonable absence, to defond the plaintiff throughout the trial; that the plaintiff thereupon, and upon the faith of the defendant's promise, paid him fifty guineas on his brief which he delivered to him, and the defendant received the brief and accepted the money upon the terms aforesaid; that the plaintiff, in further pursuance of the agreement, paid the defendant three further sums of five guineas each for three consultations, and the said sums were accepted by the defendant under the terms and in pursuance of the said contract; and that the trial of the plaintiff occupied three days, and all conditions were fulfilled necessary to entitle the plaintiff to have the agreement performed by the defendant; yet the defendant, although he was tendered the sum of twenty-five guineas to attend on the second day of the trial, refused, without reasonable cause, to attend < on the second or third day, whereby the plaintiff was greatly injured. The eighth count alleged, by way of alternative, the breach of a special contract by the defendant that he would, in consideration of a special fee of fifty guineas to be paid on his brief, and of twentyfive guineas a day while the trial should last, attend throughout the trial and defend the plaintiff. These paragraphs had been introduced into the statement of claim in the hope of distinguishing the case from Kennedy v. Brown (11 W. R. 284, 13 C. B. N. S. 677), by setting up a special contract on the defendant's part to give exclusive attention to the plaintiff's case in consideration of the payment of special fees, to be fixed by the plaintiff, and of amounts in excess of the fees ordinarily paid in similar cases; and the plaintiff relied upon the dictum of Fioot, C.B., in Hobart v. Butler (9 Ir. Bep. 0. L. 157), that an express contract for the requital of the services of a barrister is not prohibited by law. The court hold that the case could not be distinguished from Kennedy v. Brown, since Sir William Erlb there laid it down that " the relation of counsel and client renders the parties mutually incapable of making any contract of hiring and service concerning advocacy in litigation," and the principle laid down by the Court of Common Fleas in England was "absolute, completely excluding any contract, either express or implied, between the parties." May, C.J., added that it was "wholly immaterial whether the fee or honorarium was named by the counsel or the client, or whether the duties were to be performed in an ordinary or exceptional court."
JUDGES FOR GREAT CASES.
We have received from Messrs. Fartridge & Cooper several specimens of their diaries for 1881. The folio scribbling diary and the octavo scribbling diary are marvels of cheapness, and their Handy-book and pocket diary is convenient in size. All these publications, besides a diary, contain a good deal of information. Partridge & Cooper's diary and blottingpad combined is an ingenious idea, and ought to be successful. The remembrancer or date-block for 1881 has the day of the month in most legible figures, and saves the trouble of arranging cards in a case.
As we announced would be the oase, the Lord Chancellor msde a tour of inspection of the various buildings comprising the new Law Courts in the Strand on Saturday after
An article in the Times of Thursday last draws attention to a point connected with the position and duties of judges of the High Court of Justice which deserves careful consideration; for the difficulties and objections which it states and raises are such as might escape the notice of lawyers, but strike the minds, and vitally affect the interests, of the public for whose benefit the whole machinery of law exists.
The difficulty suggested is that the severanoe of the Appeal Court from the High Court, rendered more complete by the abolition of the two offices of Chief Justice of the Common Fleas and Chief Baron of the Exchequer, which formed connecting links between the two, will affect and lower the position and dignity of the judges of the court; and that the public will no longer have the same security and confidence as formerly with regard to the trial of those great and important causes, criminal and civil, on which universal attention is fixed. It is no sufficient answer to this objection to say that judges of the Court of Appeal do in fact act as judges of first instance, because they do not so act in the metropolis, where the majority of these cases occur. It must therefore bo examined and dealt with on other grounds; and, admitting at once that there is force and weight in the view expressed by the Times, it must be considered how far the objection really goes, and by what means it may be met most easily, and without unnecessary disturbance of the present arrangements.
Now, it must be observed, in the first place, that all the five great cases enumerated by the Times were criminal cases, of which three were State trials; of these three, two were trials at bar, and one was a trial under a special commission. But though trials at bar in the old sense may no longer exist (though we know of nothing to prevent them), it is not, nor we believe can be, shown that the Crown does not possess ample power to nominate a commission for the trial of important matters. If, however, it is (and it well may be) desirable, it is also easy, to provide in express terms for the constitution from time to time of commissions performing the same functions, and which may consist either wholly of judges of the Court of Appeal, or of judges of the High Court, or of both combined. The other two cases mentioned by the Times were cases of murder, extraordinary only in the sense that the circumstances were no doubt complicated and diffloult, and the public interest excited was great and general; and other cases might no doubt be added of the like rank and character. Now, as to the trial of such cases the same method may be applied ; or if the case is not deemed a proper one for a commission to two or more judges, a very Blight extension of the present duties of judges of the Court of Appeal would place at the service of the Crown and the country, when occasion required it, the best talent and experience which the bench has to afford.
In dealing with the only classes of cases referred to by the Times, it might, perhaps, if the matter was to be dealt with in an argumentative spirit, seem that enough had been said. But the point raised is a real and important one, and the objection should be considered broadly, and, so considered, it embraces also the trial of civil causes; and we will, therefore, proceed to suggest an innovation which seems at least worthy of attention, and which has in its favour the analogy of existing practice. There are civil, as there are criminal, causes in which the issue is of unusual importance, and the investigation of unusual difficulty, and in which, therefore, the demand on knowledge, experience, and care is unusually great. It seem., not unreasonable that in such cases it should be in the power of the court, whether on the application of both parties, or of one only, and under such limitations as may be thought right, to direct that the trial should take place before two or more judges of the High Court. To work out a plan of this kind in detail is not suitable to the
.present opportunity; but we venture to think '(and' the recent experience of the trial of elec■ tion petitions warrants the belief) that, while such a plan would be free from the objections which lie against the hearing of appeal business by a court of two, it would give to the parties great confidence in the tribunal; that it would, by raising the importance of the court, raise at the same time the importance of its members; that the confidence so created • would produce a corresponding acquiescence in the result; and that, while in the first instance it would apparently absorb unduly the services of the judges, it would, in the end, create a saving of labour, and materially lighten the duties of the Court of Appeal.
ARE WOMEN "MEN"?
The annual meeting of the Women's Suffrage Association, held last week, reminds us of a pamphlet, which was forwarded to us some time ago, containing a considerable amount of argument in support of the proposition that, by the law of England, women now have the right to vote; asserting that the law of England is with the supporters of the Women's Suffrage movement, though the lawyers are not; that it is not St. Stephen's 'that has shut its doors against women, but Westminster 1 Hall; and in fact that women are electors by the law of > the land, and are disfranchised only by the casuistry of the courts.
But for the fact that questions of this sort—questions which give rise to a kind of political crusade among enthusiastic adherents—sometimes throw very able minds off their balance, so far a* the particularquestion is ooncerned, we could hardly have supposed that any sensible man -wculd waste time over the argument of so hopeless and futile a proposition as this. According to the author's own dictum, we, a legal journal, written by lawyers for lawyers, cannot regard this as a question open for discussion. In any practical sense of the word "law," the law of England is determined by the tribunals. If the final tribunal, whatever that may be, in this particular case has declared the law to be such and such, for all practical purposes the law is as declared. If the argument is intended to influence Parliament, it seems to be superfluous. Surely the right argument to present to Parliament is that the extension of the franchise is expedient. The cause is not advanced one whit, in any sensible man's estimation, by the fact that "Dame Dorathie Packyngton (tenant in dower of the towne of Aylesburye) chose and appointed Thomas Lichfield and Oeorge Burden, Esquires, to be her burgesses of her said towne of Aylesburye." Wo should think it very probable that there were instances in which women exercised, in former times, the right of returning members, but any one who has had any wide experience in legal matters of A similar nature will at once feel the fallacy of endeavouring to determine such a question by isolated authorities and precedents. We think it not unlikely that if any industrious person anxious to prove that it was still the legal right of a husband to sell his wife at Smithfield, were to search with sufficient diligence in the various year-books, and grand abridgments, and similar treasuries of obsolete learning, he would find instances for the purpose of supporting his theory. According to the kind of reasoning used by the author of this pamphlet, if any one could find in Rolle's Graunde Abrege•roent a case in which it was held that "par coulume de London home poet vendresa feme a Smxthfielde," the uniform practice of a great length of time to the contrary ought to be disregarded. Any one who has had occasion to go at all deeply into the historical origin, as it appears from ancient legal authorities, of many other political and social arrangements than those which govern the franchise, must frequently have been surprised at the irregularity and uncertainty which, in more undeveloped
periods, seem to have existed with regard to various matters forming part of the political and social constitution of the country. The result of this irregularity and uncertainty was that in various places customs sprang up differing from the common law; or perhaps in many cases it may be that the common law was a generalization from more or less divergent local practices effected by the action of the law courts and other causes. To anyone who has sufficient experience of ancient precedents to appreciate the way in which, in our law, moa becomes lex, the reliance placed upon isolated instances of the sort above referred to by the author of this pamphlet must seem absurd when opposed to the uniformity of practice in all recent times.
But the author of this pamphlet seems to be of opinion that, quite apart from the ancient practice, upon the construction of the Representation of the People Act, the Common Pleas ought to have held that women were entitled to be registered as voters. He relies on the change of language from "male person " used in the Reform Act to " man," in the later Act, and also on the provision of the 13 & 14 Vict. c. 21, which provides that words importing the masculine gender shall include females unless the contrary as to gender is expressly provided. The author says with regard to this latter provision, in language of a bombastic character not very complimentary to the lawyers, "It permits no casuistic exception through which forensic ingenuity may carp its sinuous way." This is intended to be very biting, but, for ourselves, we see little difficulty in carping our sinuous way through the supposed dilemma. Provisions of the nature alluded to are general provisions intended to obviate the necessity of specifying females in every section of particular enactments which are obviously applicable and intended to apply to females as well as males. One would have thought the author could never have heard of the maxim "generdlia apecialibus non derogant." Unless such general enactments are read with regard to some such qualification the greatest absurdities might be produced. The author vehemently argues that the words of the Act necessarily exclude a mere implication to the contrary. The fallacy of this reasoning is too transparent to need much discussion. No such enactment can possibly be construed upon the bare phraseology without reference to the obvious intention of the Legislature and the history of the law on the subject. The question whether there is an express provision to the contrary must depend on the circumstances under which the words importing the masculine gender are used. To take an illustration, suppose an Act provided that boys under fourteen on being convicted of larceny might be ordered to be whipped or sent to a training ship. To follow out the author's train, of reasoning, the word "boy" imports the masculine gender, and using the word " express" in the sense for which he contends, there is no express provision that it shall not import the feminine gender. There is no inherent impossibility in whipping a girl or sending her to a training-ship. So that, according to the argument out of which, according to the author, no forensic ingenuity can carp its sinuous way, a conclusion must follow which, having regard to the whole current of previous legislation and feeling in the one case, and to the usual avocations of the sexes in the other, is absurd.
Again, with regard to the argument derived from the use of the word "man" in the Representation of the People Act, as contrasted with " male person " in the Itsform Act, can any rational person suppose, having regard to the universal practice existing at the time of the later Act, that the Legislature really iutended by such, language to introduce woman suffrage p The author of this pamphlet seriously contends that it did. He says, "It is a palpable inference incapable of avoidanee that this marked deviation from the terminology of the leading and principal Act had an object. And what other object could it be designed to secure than that for which I contend f" It is, no doubt, a rule of construct ion that the judge must not seek to ascertain the intention of the Legislature by reference to what took place when an Act was passed. If it were admissible to do Bo, the observation is obvious that no question of the admission of women to the franchise was put forward when the Representation of the People Act was passed. Bat, in construing an Act, it is clear you may look to the circumstances under which it was passed, and the txKting state of the law. If the Legislature had meant to introduce such a change as this, it is absurd to suppose they would not have done so in distinct terms.
THE JUDICIAL STATISTICS.
There is a small increase in the number of persons sent for trial in 1879 in England and Wales as compared with the number in 1878. In 1879 the number was 16,388, and the increase was only 16. The number for 1879 compared with that for the year 1875, which was the lowest in any one year for more than twenty years past, exhibits an increase of 1,674; but when compared with the average of the preceding five years, an increase of 739. Under the class "Offences against the person," the decrease in 1879 is 198. The number of commitments for murder in 1879 was 60, of whom 34 were acquitted and 26 convicted. The number of commitments for murder was 1 more in 1879 than in 1878. There is an increase in the class of " Offences against property with violence " amounting to 306. The commitments for burglary show an increase of 96, the numbers being 420 in 1879, and 324 in 1878. Commit, ments for receiving stolen poods numbered 524 in 1879, as against 480 in 1878. Of the 16,388 persons committed for trial, we find that 6,853 were tried at county quarter sessions, 2,182 at Middlesex Sessions, 3,500 at borough sessions courts, 2,678 at the assizes, and 1,175 at the Central Criminal Court. As a result of the proceedings against these 16,388 persons, 3,835 were not prosecuted or no bill was found against them, or they were found not guilty on trial and were therefore acquitted and discharged, 9 were acquitted on the ground of insanity and 19 were found insane, 34 were sentenced to death, 1,502 to penal servitude, and 10,440 to imprisonment; 195 were sent to reformatories, and 354 were fined or discharged on bail; making a total of 12,525 convictions. In 1878 the convictions numbered 12,473 out of a total of 16,372 committed for trial. The proportion of those acquitted is 23'4 per cent, of the number committed, which is a very little below the average of the previous five years. The number of persons sentenced to death in 1879 was 34; in 1878 there were only 20 so sentenced. Those sentenced to penal servitude for life were 10 in 1879 and 14 in 1878. Of the 34 persons sentenced to death in 1879, 8 were females. Of these, 13 males and 3 females were executed. The remaining 18 sentences were commuted to terms of penal servitude and confinement. Of those commuted to penal servitude for life, 9 were males and 4 females; there were 5 other cases—namely, 4 males to confinement in Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum during her Majesty's pleasure, and 1 female to one year's imprisonment with hard labour.
Crown Cases Reserved. During the year 1879 there were 19 cases reserved for the consideration of the Court of Criminal Appeal ; in 16 of these cases the decision was affirmed, and in 3 reversed. Fifteen cases were submitted for the decision of the court in 1878 (in one of which thirteen persons were concerned), as against 21 cases in 1877.
Costs Op Criminal Prosecutions. The returns given of the sums paid by her Majesty's Treasury on account of criminal prosecutions being, as
usual, a year in arrear, relate to the year ending the 31st of December, 1878. These show that the payments on account of criminal prosecutions in 14,454 indictments amounted to £128,455 19s. 6d., or an average of £8 17s. 4d. each. The amount paid in respect of 14,501 indictments in 1877 was £129,519 lis., being au average of £8 18s. 7d. each, so that the average cost of each indictment was lid. less than in 1877. The payments from the same source in respect of 21,103 summary proceedings under the Criminal Justice and Juvenile Offenders Acts amounted to £19,744 Is. 2d., being an average of 18s. 8d. in each case. The amount so paid in respect of 19,827 summary proceedings in 1877 was £18,468 0s. 2d., being an average of 18s. 7d. each. The total number of Mint cases prosecuted and concluded in the year 1879 was 210, and tho total costs paid by the department of the Solicitor to the Treasury amounted to £1,227 14s. Id. Tho number of criminal cases other than Mint cases prosecuted upon indictment or otherwise, by the Solicitor of the Treasury, and brought to a conclusion within the year 1879, was 173, and the costs incurred in respect of the same amounted to £10,102 9s. In the previous year the number of Mint cases was 184, and the costs were £1,416 2s.; the number of other prosecutions was 134, the costs of which amounted to £10,807 19s. Id.
Government Local Prisons. Under the heading of Prisons it appears that, at the commencement of the Prison Act, 1877—namely, the 1st of April, 1878—there were 113 local prisons; that during the year ending the 31st of March, 1879, 45 local prisons were closed or abolished, leaving 68 still in operation. By the Prison Act, 1877, these prisons are now vested in the Secretary of State, who is thereby authorized to appoint commissioners, not exceeding five in number, to aid him in carrying into effect its provisions. From these returns it appears that there were during the year ending the 31st of March, 1880, 192,235 persons committed to prison, being 6,175 more than in the previous year. The following table shows the different classes committed, aud the number under each class:—
Remanded and discharged . . 11,533
previously in custody) . . . 1,024
In the total number of persons re-committed there is a decrease of 629, or 0-9 per cent., as compared with the number for the previous year. Among the persons committed there were 69,237 who had been previously committed, 24,636 of whom had been previously committed once, 11,350 twice, 6,820 thrice, 4,876 four times, 3,208 five times, 4,623 six or seven times, 4,233 eight or nine times, and 9,491 above ten times. As is always the case, by far the largest number of criminals committed to prison are between the ages of twenty-one aud thirty. The proportion which the criminal under sixteen years of age committed to prison bears to the total number of criminals committed is 4'2 per cent. Of the total number of criminals committed, 33-3 per cent, could neither read nor write; 63'0 per cent, could read, or read and write, imperfectly; 3'2 per cent, could read and write well, and 0'2 per cent, had received superior instruction. The state of education of the remaining 0'3 per cent, could not be ascertained.
In addition to the 192,235 prisoners, including criminals, debtors, and naval and military offenders committed during the year, there were 19,168 in prison at the commencement of the year, and 8,179 were removed between local prisons, making a total of 219,582. Out