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have yet in England to find a means of punishing children as well as parents, and it may be questioned whether a few days in a school of discipline with its severe training would not make a child appreciate the more mild and genial teaching of our public elementary schools.
It not infrequently happens that witnesses who inform the police immediately on the commission of an offence, will give no further information subsequently. Considering the inconvenience to which witnesses are subjected at our criminal courts, the utter want of accommodation for decent women or respectable men, and the miserable remuneration granted for loss of time, the reluctance is not surprising. Still we think the difficulty might be lessened if police constables were permitted, as in Edinburgh, to serve witnesses with notices which have the force of summonses, and with which each officer is always provided. We believe also that the police in that city can give notice to small misdemeanants, under the local Act, to attend the police court without any summons from the judge of the court.
While it would be very undesirable wholly to abolish the grand jury system, especially in political offences, yet the plan suggested in the Metropolitan Police Bill, 1839, would in large towns where there are stipendiary magistrates, considerably lessen the duties of grand jurors. It was proposed that the committing magistrate should certify that he had carefully inquired into the case, and that in his opinion it was a fit case to go to a jury, and that this certficate should have the same effect as the finding the bill by the grand jury. Any objection to this course might be removed by permitting the accused to be allowed the opportunity of going before the grand jury upon his application being granted by a judge in chambers, as in bail cases.
Frauds in trade should be made the subject of special enactment, and adulteration, false trade marks, selling goods unfit for food, and fraudulent description of goods should be placed on one footing as misdemeanours.
Appoals from the decisions of magistrates should, it ap
pears to us, be more frequently permitted. “No precautions against the abuse of power can be too strict, or too many that do not impede the use of it: and these or whatever precautions may be taken, are taken not against this or that individual but against human nature.' Upon grounds such as these, no magistrate should object to the defendant having an opportunity of appeal in any case. In these days, when every small case may be reported in the public press, the amount of the penalty is not so much felt, as the publicity. A restriction, therefore, which will not permit a defendant to appeal because he has not been fined more than two pounds may be an utter denial of justice, and the mere will of one magistrate, utterly unjustified by law, may affix an indelible stigma on an innocent man.
The obsolete system of requiring that the prosecution of brothels and disorderly houses should be undertaken by the parishes should at once be amended. These prosecutions should be handed over to the police, and the offenders be punishable on summary conviction. This is no new suggestion. “ The difficulty and expense of indicting these houses (said the Third Report of the Committee of the House of Commons on the Police of the Metropolis, 1818) and the impediments in the way of discovering the real occupiers, have frequently deterred the parish officers from proceeding against them; and even when they have obtained a verdict the same profligate conduct has been carried on under different names in the very same house. Your committee have to suggest a more summary mode of procedure.”
While, on the subject of procedure, it would be well that any new legislation should give distinct directness as to the manner of taking depositions. The evils of the present system have been well exposed by Sir George Stephen, in his letter on Magisterial Reform," addressed to Lord Palmerston, in 1854.
“Never yet,” he says, “ have I been able to enforce the rule of taking down examinations and cross-examinations
* Bentham, Vol. x. p. 338.
word for word, though clearly intended by the Act, and often desired by the judge of Assize. In taking evidence, where no attorney is retained, it is the rule, and not the exception, to put leading questions, less, perhaps, because the magistrate is unconscious of the irregularity, than to ma ke short work of the case."
A considerable amount of labour might fairly be saved by the adoption in the Schedule of the Act of the very shortest form of summonses, commitments, convictions, and other processes of the courts. No business man would think it necessary, in one document, to give the name of a person seven or eight times over. Yet this is frequently done in commitments. In the Metropolitan Police Act permission has been given to state informations shortly, and to use abbreviated forms.
We have offered these somewhat disjointed remarks to our readers, more as suggestions than with the view of forming any scheme of a complete code of procedure. That a comprehensive enactment is most desirable, all practical men will agree, and we trust that before the close of the ensuing Session some steps nearer to that end will be attained.
A. H. S.
IV.-REFORM AND CODIFICATION OF THE LAW
for the formation of a Code of Law and Procedure for all Nations, was read in the Jurisprudence Department of the Glasgow Congress, by MR. THOMAS WEBSTER, Q.C.
The Jurisprudence Department of the Social Science Association includes amongst its objects the Amendment and Codification of the Law of Nations. The subject of such codification has from time to time been brought before the
Association, in the addresses of its president Lord Brougham, and by various persons on other occasions.
At the Manchester Congress, in 1866, Mr. David Dudley Field suggested the appointment of a Committee to prepare a report on the outlines of an International Code with the view of having formed after careful revision and amendment, a complete code, to be presented to different Governments in the hope of its receiving their sanction. A Committee was accordingly appointed consisting of jurists of different nations. The separation and distances of the members of the committee from each other made it difficult for them to take note of each "progress,” to interchange with advantage their respective contributions for revision previous to a general meeting; but the proposer of the Committee, Mr. David Dudley Field, submitted to the Congress of the Association at Norwich, in 1873, “Draft outlines of an International Code," as his contribution to the general design. The outlines so submitted embraced not only a codification of existing rules constituting the Law of Nations, but contained suggestions of such modifications and improvements as the more matured civilization of the present age requires.
In the course of 1873 two Associations were formed, the one, the “Ghent Institute of International Law," held its first meeting at Ghent; the other, the “ Association for the Reform and Codification of the Law of Nations," held its first meeting at Brussels, in the autumn of that year. The Institute of Ghent is limited to 50 members, men of eminence in special departments and well qualified to interpret the law; the Association assigns no limit to the number of its members: it consists of jurists, legislators, and publicists, and others taking an interest in the Law of Nations, public and private. The objects of the two Societies bear a relation to each somewhat similar to the relations of the Juridical and Law Amendment Societies, meeting in London.
The two Societies held conferences at Geneva, in the autumn of the present year; the Institute of Ghent was occupied principally in discussing the three Rules of Wash
ington; and the Association, in receiving and discussing papers bearing on Arbitration and the Codification of the Law of Nations, with a view to the extinction of the conflict of laws.
The Association passed a resolution to the effect, that the "Draft Outlines of an International Code,” already referred to, a translation of which, in Italian, was presented to the Conference, should be dealt with in sections, by being submitted to competent persons for examination, revision, and addition, with a view to the formation of a complete Code. The Council of this Association has passed, at this Congress, a resolution to the same effect. It may then be hoped that by the united action and co-operation of competent persons some progress may be made towards the great end in view. Let it ever be borne in mind that any successful effort in this direction is in the interest of peace, that the assimilation of law and procedure and the extinction of the conflict of laws is one step towards the realization of the idea of the unity of mankind to which history and progress point : not a unity breaking down the limits and levelling the distinctions between the different nations of the earth, but a unity founded on, and as it were, the result of their natural varieties.
The foundation of such unity is the recognition of the absolute equality of nations and of persons, not in respect of position or physical or intellectual power, but in respect of the recognition of those duties, claims and rights on which civilization is based. In illustration of the way in which it it is proposed to proceed, it may be mentioned that at the Geneva Conference communications were read, and discussions took place on the assimilation of Law and Procedure, and the extinction of the conflict of the Law of Nations in respect of property in intellectual labour and contracts, bills of exchange, and other negotiable instruments, subjects having no nationality, but of world-wide interest. The claims of the author of a book or other product in literature, or the fine arts, a painting, a picture, or sculpture, is personal and individual, and should be recognized as property through