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LONDON, JUNE 25, 1881.

of which only one-half are English, there being six cases from Scotland, and one from Ireland. The list does not include either of the ecclesiastical appeals, or the appeal relative to the new trial in the Hampstead Smallpox Hospital case.



WE UNDERSTAND that the list, required by rule 91 of
OUT NOTICE .................... ...........................
THE NEWSPAPER BILL ....... ........ ...

639 | the Chancery Funds Rules, 1874, of causes and matters CASES OF THE WEEK

in the books of the Chancery Pay Office, to the credit Durrant v. Stoner.... Farrow V. Austin ........

of which securities or money exceeding $50 are standing Davidson v. Kimpton ....................................... 6440

640 / which have not been dealt with for fifteen years, is Cheaton v. Sea go............................................ 6-10

now in course of preparation, and will be published in an Harlock v. Ashbury ........ ................................. Thomas v. Hounsell...

early issue of the London Gazette.

641 .............. 041

The last list (which Barkshire v. Grubb ............

.................. 611

611 is now several years old) occupied over thirty pages of the CASES BEFORE THE BANKRUPTCY REGISTRARS:Ex parte Lindsay, R9 Thornton ............................. 641

Gazette, and the present list is expected to occupy over Re Ferris ................................................... 642 fifty pages. Re Stevens .................................................. 642 SOCIETIES ......................................


617 COMPANIES ...............


A DECISION of the Court of Appeal on Tuesday in a LEGISLATION OF THE WEEK..



case of Farrow v. Austin, which will be found noted in COURT PAPERS ............................................... 649 another column, seems to conflict with a previous LONDON GAZETTES, &., &C........


decision of the same court in In re Hoskins' Trusts (25

W. R. 779, L. R. 6 Ch. D. 281). In Farrow V. Austin CASES REPORTED IN THE WEEKLY REPORTER.

the preliminary objection was raised that the appeal was Baines v. Bromley (App)...............

for costs only, and could not, therefore, be entertained. British Seamless Paper Box Company (Limited), The, In re (App.) .............

The action was brought by an executrix for administraCaledonian Railway Company, The, y. The North British Rail. tion; an administration decree was made; and, on further way Company (H. L.).

............. 685

685 Coleman, Appellant; The Overseers of Birmingham, Respond

consideration, MALINS, V.C., on the ground that the ents (Q.B. Div.): ........

action was unnecessary, declined to allow the plaintiff Dawes v. Tredwell (Ch. Div. Fry, J.).

714 any costs, and ordered her to pay the costs of one of the Electric and Magnetic Company (Limited), in re (Ch. Div. Fry, J.)...............................

inquiries which had been directed. 714

The Court of Appeal Grange v. White (Ch.Div. V.C.H.)

............... 713 overruled the objection. Now, in In re Hoskins' Trusts Inman Steamship Company v. Bischoff (App.) ................ 697 Keate v. Phillips (Ch. Div. V.C.B.) ........

JAMES, L.J., laid it down that Taylor v. Dowden (17

710 Long v. Ovenden (Ch.Div. M.R.) .............................. 709

W. R. 779, L. R. 4 Ch. 697) “ decides that the case Lyon v. Tweddell (App.) ...........

......... 689

where a trustee has been ordered to pay the costs of a Metropolitah Board of Works v. London and North-Western Railway Company (App.)..........


suit personally, formed, in general, no exception to the New Zealand and Australian Land Company y. Watson (Ap

rule that an appeal will not be allowed for costs only. Patman v. Harland (Ch.Div. M.R.).

707 Singer Manufacturing Company v. Loog (App.)................

The rule that no such appeal is allowed has been, more.

699 Sparrow v. Hill (App.) ......

705 over, recognized by the Legislature by passing section 49

................ Williams v. Brisco (Ch. Div. v. Brisco (Ch. Div. V.C.H.) .......................... 713 of the Judicature Act, 1873." We understand that

neither Taylor v. Dowden nor In re Hoskins' Trusts were cited in the recent case, and it will be well, therefore, to act upon the decision with caution.










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THE ARCHITECT of the Royal Courts of Justice is, we understand, sanguine that the whole of the building, in

REFERRING TO THE DIFFERENCE between the Bristol cluding the new courts, will be ready for occupation by

Urban Sanitary Authority and the solicitors there Easter, 1882, in accordance with the urgent desire of

relative to the restrictive conditions of sale under which the Lord Chancellor.

the Authority were from time to time selling the city salvages or surplus lands, to which we recently drew

attention (ante, p. 609), we learn that on Wednesday, WHEN THE Royal Courts of Justice are completed, the 8th inst., the Authority issued a writ out of the the building will contain upwards of 700 rooms and 21 Chancery Division in the Master of the Rolls' Court for courts. There will be 42 staircases and 28 entrances, and an injunction against the President, Vice-President, the corridors will extend to the length of 3,600 yards, or and hon. secretary of the Bristol Incorporated Law over 2 miles.

Society, and other gentlemen named in the adver

tisement, and next day obtained, ex parte, an order WE REGRET to learn that Mr. WILLIAM BARBER, of tho

probibiting the defendants from attending at the equity bar, Professor of Real and Personal Property to

sale by auction on Friday, the 10th inst., "for the the Council of Legal Education, met with a severe ac.

purpose of drawing attention to certain resolutions cident on Tuesday last, and that up to Wednesday

alleged to have been passed at a meeting of solicitors held evening his medical attendants could not pronounce him

at Bristol on the 3rd of June, 1881, and from drawing out of danger.

attention to such sale, and until after the 14th of June, 1881, from inserting, or causing to be inserted, in any

public newspaper any advertisement or notice relating THE HOUSE OF LORDS did not begin their last appellate or referring to such resolutions or any of them, and from sitting in the present session until Tuesday last, when doing any other act to disparage the title of the plainthe law lords commenced a list of fourteen appeals, tiffs to any of their property.” The sale by auction

accordingly was beld without any interference by the as to the implied conditions on the letting of furnished solicitors referred to, and, on Thursday, the 16th ingt., the and of unfurnished houses, than intending lesgees of the Authority served the defendants with a notice that they, latter class of houses began to protect themselves by the plaintiffs, thereby discontinued their action. Thus the requiring express warranties or statements by housematter is so far ended for the present, but we are in. owners that the drains were in good order and the formed that at the meeting of the Streets Improvement houses fit for habitation. No one who has watched the Committee of the Authority, held on Tuesday week, reports of cases in the daily papers can have failed to notice was given of intention to move at their next | observe the number of cases which have arisen of late meeting that the existing resolution, under the authority upon these express warranties or statements. In the of which the Sanitary Authority have hitherto acted in case of Muspratt v. Hussey, tried before Mr. Justice the matter complained of, be rescinded, and that & sub. HAWKINS on the 17th inst., the plaintiff relied both upon committee be appointed to inquire into and report on the an alleged statement by the houseowner, and also upon subject. Thus we hope some good will come of the an express agreement by him. The statement does not action taken by the Bristol solicitors in the matter. appear to have been clearly proved, but the agreement

for a lease provided that the house should be " complete and fit for habitation in all respects" by a specified

date, and, if it was not, that no rent should be payable THE SUMMARY JURISDICTION (Process) Bill has already

until the house was complete and fit for habitation. been read a third time in the House of Commons,

This would seem to be a reasonable condition, but es. and may reasonably be expected to pass in the press reference should be made to the drains, and it present session. It may be described as a measure might be well, in order to avoid litigation, to provide applying to English and Scotch Courts of Summary

that the question whether the drains were in order and Jurisdiction interchangeably that power of “ backing

the house fit for habitation should be decided, in case of warrants ” which Jervis' Act (11 & 12 Vict. c. 42), ss. 14, dispute, by somu independent surveyor to be named in the 15, gives to England, Scotland, and Ireland inter.

agreement. changeably, but in relation to indictable offences only. Jervis' Act, it will be remembered, is merely con. solidating in this respect, repeating with amendments 13 Geo. c. 1, and 54 Geo. 3, c. 186, 8. 2, as to Scotland, WE DO NOT UNDERSTAND Mr. Justice Fry's decision, and 45 Geo. 3, c. 92, s. 3, and 54 Geo. 3, c. 186, s. 6, noted elsewhere, that, because objection had not been as to Ireland. As the present Bill applies to England and taken to an unstamped document on its being tendered Scotland only, it is to be regretted that the exact extent in evidence, it could not afterwards be objected to on of the local application does not appear from the short this ground, on the judge's discovering, during the hearing title, which is to be the “Summary Jurisdiction of the case, that it was unstamped. We have alwaya (Process) Act, 1881." This might perhaps be changed

been under the impression that the judge is, as the to the "Summary Process (England and Scotland) Act,

Master of the Rolls is fond of saying, an officer of the 1881." The Bill itself contains nine clauses only, which Revenue, bound to prevent unstamped documents from are not many considering the large powers which it gives, being admitted in evidence. We presume, however, that bat there is a large amount of incorporation by reference. the learned judge must have relied on the registrar's reThe fourth and principal clause enacts that "any fusing to draw up the order until the document had process issued uvder the Summary Jurisdiction Acts been duly stamped. may, if issued by a court of summary jurisdiction in England and indorsed by a court of summary jurisdiction in Scotland, or issued by a court of summary jurisdiction in Scotland, be served and executed within the

Referring to the statement made by the Chancellor of the jurisdiction of the indorsing court in like manner as it Exchequer to the House of Commons in Committee on the may be served and executed within the jurisdiction of Customs and Inland Revenue Bill with regard to proposals the issuing court, and that by the officer either of the made for " the remission of the Income-tax on Land (under issuing court or of the indorsing court.” Another Schedule A.) whioh had fallen into the owner's possession, clause, the sixth, of nearly equal importance, allows pro and from which he derived no profit whatever," that he ceedings in bastardy to be enforced in England and

“meant to meet the present distress where farms had been Scotland interchangeably, notwithstanding that the

thrown on the hands of the landlords, which they were putative father“ ordinarily resides, or the child has been

endeavouring to turn to the best account they could, but on born, or the mother of it ordinarily resides, where the

which this year they could not make any profit"-the

Board of Inland Revenue bave presented a report to the court is English, in Scotland, or where the court is

Lords Commissioners of the Treasury, dated June 13, Scotch, in England, in like manner as the court has

1881:-"That we apprehend the concession of relief jurisdiction in any other case." Not only do not the

from the Income-tax under Schedale A. is to be confined to present Bastardy Acts apply to Scotland or Ireland, but

Cases where the farms are thrown on the owners' hands by it bas been held that in a purely English affiliation case,

reason of their not being able to find tenants at fair and a service upon a putative father in Scotland is insufficient reasonable rents, and not to cases where farms are occupied (Reg. v. Lightfoot, 6 E. & B. 822); so that here we have habitually by the owners either for purposes of husbandry or two important, and we think desirable, alterations of the enjoyment." In reply, Sir R. R. W. Lingen, op the part of law. The Bill is, we think, a good one both in form and | the Treasury, is directed, June 14, to approve of the rules substance. But surely it should be made to appear proposed in the report for the grant of such relief- viz., more clearly than at present (see clause 4, sub-section 1)

“(i) That farms or lands habitaally held in hand, for whether the indorsement is to be a ministerial act,

| whatever purpose, be excluded from the concession ; (?? enforceable by mandamus, or whether the indorsing court

that the dutý assessed under Schedule A, be accounted is to have any judicial discretion in the matter.

for to the Revenue before any claim for repayment of any

The words are, that the process may be indorsed upon proof

portion thereof be admitted ; (3) that the claim for repay.

ment of duty be established to the satisfaction of the alone of the handwriting of the person issuing it, &c. General Commissioner of Income-tax for the district in

which the property is situate within twelve months after the

expiration of the year of agsessment ; (4) that the owner R IT IS INTERESTING to observe how rapidly people find

prove, as a condition precedent to relief, that he has their way out of an inconvenient rule of law. No sooner

made & bona fide, though unsuccessful, attempt to ob.

tain & tenant or tenants for the farms for the year on did the public become generally aware, by the comments

| reasonable terms and conditions as to rent and tenancy: of the press on the case of Wilson v. Finch-Hatton (25 (5) that this concession, be limited to the current years W. R. 537, L, R. 2 Ex. D. 336), that a difference exists | 1881-2."


substantial distinction of a tangible kind between the THE FUSION OF LAW AND two systems which still so largely continue unfused is,

that in one division the vast majority of trials are with EQUITY AND TRIAL BY JURY.

juries, and in the other without. There are certain cases NOTWITHSTANDING all that has been written and said for determining the facts of

for determining the facts of which & jury may be a very about fusion, for practical purposes the dual system of 1 proper tribunal. Breaches of promise, malicious prosecu. common law and chancery to a very great extent con. tion, libels, &c., are cases of this sort. Again, there are tinues to exist untouched. It is no doubt true that the certain administrative matters for which juries ar; doctrines of equity are now applicable in the Queen's

entirely unfitted, and in which the same tribunal must Bench Division, and so far there is no conflict in the necessarily determine the law and the facts. But there theory of the law as administered by the courts, but to are cases of a substantially similar nature which, under any person who looked at the administration of justice the present system, are sometimes tried by a jury and from a materialistic point of view, it would appear as if sometimes not, for the most part merely according as the things were, in most tangible respects, much the same as

plaintiff may have preferred to issue his writ in the ever. It is no doubt true that the working of the courts Chancery or the Common Law Division, as, for instance, at Westminster bas been considerably altered. There is cases of obstruction of easements, trespass to land, and only one chief, and the whole is called the Queen's

other cases in which, in addition to damges, relief by way Bench Division. There is more flexibility of arrange of injunction is required. If it is right that all the ment, and instead of three papers for each class of busi

issues of fact in cases such as these should be ness, one in each court, there is only one. But notwith

tried by a judge without a jury, because standing all this change (much of which is change of claim

claim for an injunction is appende

for an injunction is appended to the rest of name rather than of substance) the broad features of the claim, the question must occur to every reasonable things remain very largely unaltered. There is still a | mind, why should not many other civil actions be tried distinct line of demarcation between chancery and

before a judge alone ś common law judges and chancery and common law It is customary among common law judges to barristers; a certain class of cases for the most part go lay great stress on the advantages of & special to Lincoln's-inn and a certain class of cases to Westmin. jury in mercantile cases, on the assumption that ster.

mercantile men will be found among them. In the We doubt very much whether it is not better present state of the law as to juries it seems doubtful that it should always be so to a great extent. With whether this advantage is now to be relied upon, and regard to certain kinds of judicial work, particularly 1 it is worthy of consideration whether by means of those of an admipistrative nature, it seems to us that assessors the same advantage could not be secured. The the principle of division of labour is applicable, and absurdity of acting at the same time on the two incom. that loss of time and uncertainty of practice are very patible views, one of which lays such stress on the poorly compensated for by any theoretical considerations. I popular nature of the lay tribunal, while the other holds As far as we can see, there cannot be any objection, that a trained professional intellect is the better tribunal, even in theory, to appropriating special classes of busi. will, we feel sure, force itself much more on the public ness, such as winding-up of companies, the administra when the two systems are at work in the same building. tion of trusts, matters relating to elections, Crown If the conclusion may be arrived at that the supposed business, and so forth, to particular divisions of the advantages in favour of the jury system are fanciful one court. It may be very well for newspaper articles and unsubstantial, then it is obvious that there are a to imagine a system by which the same judge is to great many points in favour of the trial by a judge do everything indiscriminately, but it seems to us as without a jury. Assuming even that, as tribunals for foolish a conception as to suppose that it would really the purpose of arriving at the truth, their substantial be better if every man was a Jack-of-all-trades. / advantages are equal, it is at once obvious that in point There is no doubt that Jacks-of-all-trades have their of practical convenience the judge without the jury has merits and their advantages under certain circumstances many advantages of detail. In the event of any defect and in certain stages of development, and too great or failure of evidence, or temporary accident, which might division of labour tends to narrowness, but the facility affect the justice of the case, he can adjourn the case and accuracy that are derived from special experience and take it up from where it was left off at any conare of very great value. The body of English law and venient time. He can very much shorten matters by practice are really already, and are daily becoming in a pointing out on what points he wishes to hear counsel, greater degree, too large for one and the same judge and on what he is satisfied; he can ask questions of the to have the whole at his fingers' ends. In a court of witness which jurymen cannot do to the same extent: in appeal we believe that there is a considerable advan- | too many ways for enumeration he constitutes a more tage in dealing with all subjects, as it tends to preserve flexible and convenient tribunal than a jury, and is, on a certain breadth of view and harmony between the the whole, more likely to be free from prejudice. different branches of the law, but in a court of first With regard to the question of the balance of sub. instance it is otherwise. To our mind the present sys- | stantial merit between the two tribunals, considered as tem of sending Vice-Chancellors (for that is what chan engines for ascertaining the truth, we do not at present cery judges really are) to try murders, and common law feel disposed to pronounce an opinion. It is, to our judges to do administrative work with the details of mind, a grave question. The old common law system which they are entirely unfamiliar, and in respect of of pleading and trial was based on the idea of the which they probably know less than the youngest separability of questions of law and fact; that certain counsel in court, is deplorably reckless.

facts being asoertained as premisses by the findings of When both divisions of the court are housed in one the jury, the law deduced therefrom a distinct uniform building, the time will come when the question how far, result by way of legal consequence or conclusion. The and to what extent, fusion is expedient and possible will idea is incapable of being fully carried out: law and develop itself more rapidly, and will be more easily and fact cannot be thus separated; and, so, many issues that naturally solved" ambulando." We cannot help thinking on the pleadings seemed to be issues of fact really in

at one of the questions which, as this comes about, { volved issues of law, such as non assumpsit, and judges must come to the front and press for a solution, is how | necessarily constituted themselves judges of many facts.

the system of trial by jury is to be retained for the Again, it is obvious that a system of law based upon this this

Dose of civil actions. It certainly appears to us that distinction would probably have the merit of clearness This is a crucial question in relation to fusion, and when and definiteness, while it necessarily, as a correlative of

whole administration of justice takes place in one such clearness and definiteness, would have the dedivg it will be seen to be so. Perhaps the greatest merit of rigidity. Flexibility of legal doctrine, a lapte




ing itself to nice gradations of circumstances and of title deeds, accompanied by a memorandum of charge human conduct, it is obvious a system of this sort can- made by Moore after that he had acquired the legal not have. It seems to us one of the most puzzling estate. Being forced to decide between these claims, the things to balance these advantages. Certain judges of Vice-Chancellor held that the equitable mortgage of great power are notorious for their hostility to the McStephens & Co. was entitled to rank first; and, as the equity system. It does undoubtedly seem to us that value of the lands was insufficient in full to satisfy this in trial by jury there is involved a very great safe | charge, it was unnecessary to pronounce any formal guard for clearness and definiteness of legal doc. decision between the respective claims of the plaintiffs trines. A good common law judge, both by his training and Phillips. as a pleader and for the purpose of summing up We find no difficulty whatever in following the Viceto the jury, was constantly obliged to be throwing Chancellor in the strictures which he passed upon the the law into definite formula or propositions. This claim of the plaintiffs, the first claimants. No doubt is not so much the case when the law and the facts their contention was unanswerable, as against Dimsdale, can be blended together, and reliance is rather supposing Tait to have been Dimsdale's agent; but they placed on precedent than principle. We believe equity were urging it, not against Dimsdale, but against somepractitioners have of late come to a better frame

body else who had nothing to do with him. As the Viceof mind, but we remember some years ago reading dis

Chancellor put it, Dimsdale's fraud might give rise to a quisitions on the nature of equity in which it was com personal claim against him, but did not touch the estatepared to the aroma of choice wines-a thing to be | i.e., bind the land in whosesoever hands it might be. apprehended by a sort of subtle instinct, but not to be | Butin respect of the claim made by the defendant Phillips, confined within the four walls of a proposition. The we find much greater difficulty in following the judgment drawback on the one side is uncertainty and vagueness ; of the Vice-Chancellor. Phillips claimed that, by the on the other, a rigidity which sacrifices everything for strict rules of law, which ecc vi termini must settle the clearness and certainty, and will not adapt itself suffi

whereabouts of the legal estate, he was actually possessed ciently to the more subtle exigencies of a complicated of a legal estate for a term of years in the land, which and constantly-changing civilization.

he had purchased without fraud or notice of fraud and We cannot help thinking that trial by jury, and the for valuable consideration ; and he contended that uo essential characteristics of the common law way of one had a right to disturb his possession. Granting his looking at things, are more essentially connected than

are more essentially connected than | premisses, we do not know how to avoid his conclusion. perhaps at first sight might appear. The question how For it is impossible at law to disturb the true owner of far the advantages of either system preponderate, and to the legal estate; and it is equally impossible in equity what extent they may concurrently exist, or which should to disturb a purchaser for value without notice. The chiefly obtain, are questions time must solve; but we learned counsel for the other claimants did, indeed, concannot help thinking that when the new law courts are tend at great length that the doctrine of estates by open the solution of these questions will receive a con estoppel was inapplicable to the case; and if the Vicesiderable impetus.

Chancellor had rested his judgment upon this ground, we might perhaps have found nothing to urge against it. But, without precisely deciding that Phillips

had got the legal estate (though his language ESTOPPEL AS A PROTECTION

suits that hypothesis much better than the other),

he laid it down in the plainest terms that, FOR A PURCHASER FOR under such circumstances, the possession of the legal VALUE WITHOUT NOTICE.

estate would be no defence to his title. “The common

law doctrine of estoppel," he said, “was a device to In deciding an intricate case of Keate v. Phillips, which the Common Law courts resorted at a very early arising out of the Dimsdale forgeries, ViceChancellor period to strengthen and lengthen their arm; and, not Bacon seems to have taken a somewhat novel view of venturing to exercise an equitable jurisdiction over the the application of the doctrine that innocent parties with subject before them, they converted their own special conflicting claims have a right, as among themselves, to pleading tactics into an instrument by which they could insist upon any legal advantage which they may re. l obtain an end which the Court of Chancery at all times spectively have the luck to possess. Three innocent | put into force in order to do justice. But the doctrine parties, who had all been cheated, brought forward con. l of estoppel is purely legal. There is no case in which & flicting claims to the same parcel of land. (1) The trustee, having made a fraudulent representation by plaintiffs, whose claim was foremost in order of time, which he was bound, or even a fraudulent conveyance, claimed under a fraudulent mortgage of a fictitious lease when he got his legal estate confirmed (he still remaining for years of the land ; and they claimed upon the ground a trustee) was so estopped as to deprive the persons that Tait, the maker of the fraudulent mortgage, was an | beneficially entitled to the estate which was theirs and of agent and accomplice of Dimsdale; and that, at the time which he was the trustee and the trustee only. The of bringing the action, the legal estate in the lands had doctrine of estoppel has, therefore, in my opiniou, no got into the hands of one Moore upon trust for Dimsdale. place whatever in the case before me.” They therefore contended that Dimsddle was bound, on But, in the first place, we humbly submit that, acquiring the power so to do, to give effect to the even granting all this, Phillips was not attempte pretended assurance of his agent. (2) The defendanting to do anything of the kind supposed; the Phillips, whose claim came second in order of time, also parallel drawn by the Vice-Chancellor would require claimed under a fraudulent mortgage of a fictitious lease that the innocent cestui que trust, Dimsdale, should of the land ; but his claim differed from that of the be in peril of losing his land by the fraud of big plaintiffs in this, that Phillips' mortgage was an under- | wicked trustee Moore- a picture which does not at 8 lease purporting to be made by Moore, who, as above suit the circumstances of the case. And, in the second mentioned, afterwards did actually acquire the legal | place, as to the general doctrine that an estate origin estate, thus enabling Phillips to contend that he had, by ally acquired by estoppel and afterwards fed by accruer Moore's underlease, acquired an estate by estoppel, will not, in a court of equity, protect a purcbaser which was " fed" and turned to an estate in interest as value without notice, we humbly submit that it is very soon as the true legal estate got into Moore's hands. / hard to reconcile this doctrine with the judgment on (3) The claim of the defendants McStephens & Co. came Lord Chancellor and Lords Justices in Heath v. Cream last in order of time, but it had the great advantage of (23 W, R. 95, L. R. 10 Oh. 22). It is true that some resting upon no fictions. They claimed under an expressions used by the Lord Justice James are suscel equitable mortgage created by deposit of the genuine tible of the interpretation that, when an interesi sa


r for

been acquired by fraud, this interest will not be allowed (if rules they may be called) is very unreasonable, and to feed an estoppel, even for the purpose of protecting a we are glad to see that it is proposed to apply a reason. purchaser for value without notice. But, granting this able remedy. But could not the enactment be made to have been his meaning, it has no application to the more comprehensive by consolidating with it the enact. circumstances of Keate v. Phillips. There is nothing to ments of Lord Campbell's Act as to the plea of apology, show that Moore had acquired the legal estate by fraud ; and by codifying, as far as newspapers are concerned, and therefore, granting for the sake of argument (what the few undoubted rules of privilege which exist? If we should not be quite prepared to grant absolutely) that the Bill passes, we shall still have to consult Davis v. an interest acquired by fraud cannot, under any circum- Duncan for the privilege of comments on a public meetstances, feed an estate by estoppel, this is no bar to the | ing, and Wason v. Walter (L. R. 4 Q. B. 73), and Camp. contention of Phillips. And if he had actually acquired | bell v. Spottiswoode (32 L.J. Q. B. 185), for other branches the legal estate, some other words of Lord Justice of privilege. At any rate, effect might be given to Davis James, which he styles a “rule without exception," seem v. Duncan by adding after the words “any report” the to be peculiarly applicable to his position—namely, words “ with or without comment." Again, what is the " that from a purchaser for value without notice this use of requiring that the meeting should be “lawfully court takes away nothing which he has honestly ac convened," so long as the purpose must be lawful ? An quired.”

accidental defect of notices, &c., ought not to deprive a newspaper proprietor of the benefit of the section.

To the clause (3) that no prosecution of a newspaper

“proprietor, publisher, or editor," shall be instituted THE NEWSPAPER BILL.

without the fiat of the Attorney-General, there can be no

reasonable objection, and the sooner it passes the better. The Bill which it is proposed to style the Newspaper We have had enough, and more than enough, of criminal Libel and Registration Act, 1881, is a measure of con- prosecutions, and rules for criminal informations, in siderable importance to the press and the public, and from matters of this kind. the fairness with which it is drawn, and the unanimity | Passing, lastly, to the clauses for registration, we ob. of opinion as to the present unsatisfactory state of the serve that in substance, but with much greater neatness law, it will, in all probability, pass. Shortly put, the Bill and precision, they propose to bring back a state of the relieves the press in respect of reports of public meet- law which existed for the first sixty or seventy years of ings and criminal prosecutions, and relieves the public in the present century, and the repeal of which, by the Tespect of “proof of publication." Reports of public Newspapers, Printers, and Reading Rooms Repeal Act, meetings are made “privileged," and the fiat of the 1869 (32 & 33 Vict. c. 24), has long been universally reAttorney-General is interposed between a prosecutor and gretted by the advisers of plaintiffs in actions for newshis prosecution. On the other hand, there is to be so paper libel (see Roscoe on Evidence, 11th ed., p. 511; complete a system of registration, that anyone will be 13th ed., p. 827). It seems that the Act 6 & 7 Will. 4, able to discover in a few hours, if not minutes, who the c. 76, repealing but re-enacting 38 Geo. 3, c. 78, obliged proprietor of any particular newspaper is.

declarations specifying names of publishers, &c., to be The definition of “newspaper," which has hitherto delivered to the Stamp Commissioners, and provided that a had no statutory definition, is

certified copy should be evidence of the contents of such “Any paper containiog public news, intelligence, or oc

declaration upon the production of any newspaper corcurrences, or any remarks or observations therein (sic), responding with the description in the declaration. See printed for sale and published in England or Ireland peri Mayne v. Fletcher (9 B. & C. 382), in which it was vainly odically, or in parts or numbers at intervals not exceeding contended that it was necessary to produce the particular twenty-six days between the publication of soy two such newspaper lodged with the Stamp Commissioners. The papers, parts, or numbers.

repeal of 6 & 7 Will. 4, c. 76, by the repealing Act of “Also any paper printed in order to be dispersed and made

1869 --which preserved section 19 only, compelling public weekly or ottener, or at intervals not exceeding

"discovery'-no doubt has thrown great difficulty in twenty-six days, containing only or principally advertise

the way of “ proof of publication," and occasioned not a

few unexpected nonsuits in actions for libel. We do not wish to be hypercritical, but we must say The clauses by which registration is enforced are well that this definition strikes us as very fussy, and quite and simply drawn, but we think that the penalties of ten unnecessary, except as regards the intervals of publica and twenty pounds for non-registration and false regis tion. Why not be satisfied with the “any public news tration are far too low, and might well be altered to £100 paper or other periodical publication" of Lord Campbell's and £500 respectively, with an additional penalty of £50 Act (6 & 7 Vict. c. 86), s. 2, upon the meaning of which a month for every month's orcission to register. The there has never been any doubt raised ?

particulars which are to be placed upon the register are The clause protecting reports of public meetings is

(1) the title of the newspaper, and (2) the names of all this :

the proprietors of such newspaper, together with their

respective occupations, places of business (if any), and Any report published in any newspaper of the proceed. ings of a public meeting shall be privileged, if such meeting

places of residence. The necessity of publishing these was lawfully convened for a lawful purpose, and open to the

particulars to the world will no doubt weigh rather public, and if such report was fair and accurate, and pub

heavily upon those gentlemen who like to carry on a lished without malice, and if the publication of the matter

newspaper business anonymously, but we see no reason complained of was for the public benefit ; provided always, | why they should be allowed to escape from their just that the protection intended to be afforded by this section respousibilities. shall not be available as a defence in any proceedings, if the We observe, with some little surprise, that it does not plaintiff or prosecutor can show that the defendant has re- appear to be made compulsory to enter transmissions or fused to insert in the newspaper in which the report ... transfers upon the register. New proprietors, it is pro. appeared a reasonable letier or statement or explanation or posed, “may” (not must), by clause 7, make entries of contradiction by, or on behalf of, such plaintiff or pro their succession in interest. secutor."

By clause 11 every extract from the register duly The present law seems to be that comments upon the certified is conclusive evidence of the contents of the Conduct of persons at a parliamentary election meeting

register, and "sufficient prima facie evidence of all the are privileged (Davis v. Duncan, L. R. 9 C. P. 396); matters and things (why “things” ?] thereby appearing, but that a true report of a public meeting "held under a unless and until the contrary thereof be proved." Local Act for the improvement of a town" is not (Davison 9. Duncan, 7 E. & B. 229). This combination of rules


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