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witness stated it
New York. The prosecution at once sent out and brought the captain of the New Bedford Osprey to prove that he picked up no
Luie was not called until two months later in October, near the close of the case for ths defence, and then he swore that the ship came from New York. Thus the prosecution had been, by a trick, prevented from bringing the right witness, and the court, upon that ground, granted the prosecution time to make enquiries in America, which resulted in contradictory evidence being obtained, and ultimately the evidence of Luie was found to be false Had it not been for the adjournment, this would not have been discovered, and the fraud might have succeeded. But the adjournment certainly would have vitiated the trial, on a writ of error, had it not been for the trick played the prosecution. For, beyond a doubt, there is no power to adjourn a criminal trial in order to enable the prosecution to obtain further evidence, unless the necessity for it is caused by some act of the prisoner, or others in collusion with him. In ancient times the object was attained by discharging the jury, a course which was held legal if the prisoner, or others in collusion with him, had kept away witnesses, but Lord Hale said that in other cases it was wrong, and Foster was of the same opinion. In the time of Lord Kenyon, it was laid down by all the judges that an adjournment—adverse to the prisoner, and not on account of any fault of his-can only be justified on the ground of “ actual physical necessity (Stone's case, 6 Term Reports), and a special entry on the record was directed to be made, to prevent a Court of Error. In Winsor's case, however, which arose in 1866, and went to a Court of Error, it was held that any urgent need would justify the discharge of a jury, and it was fully recognized that the act of the prisoner might justify it as if he or his friends obstructed the trial. That which would justify the stronger measure of discharging the jury, would, of course, justify the mere adjournment. And fraud, as in this case, would be as strong a justification as force.
It is not likely that the case will arise again, and as the court expressly said, if the course taken was unprecedented, so, in this respect, was the case itself.
LIBELS IN CRITICISMS.—The Law Times says that “ The case of Gilbert v. Enoch, recently tried before Mr. Justice Brett, seemed to have attracted a somewhat undue amount of attention, as if some novel principle had been established, or the old principles applied in some new manner. The alleged libel was contained in a criticism on a comedy, the criticism amounting to this : That the play was course, vulgar, and indecent. What did Mr. Justice Brett tell the jury? First, that however hostile in spirit and wrong as a criticism, rather a loose expression, we think-if it does not travel away from the work to slander the author, it is no libel. If the criticism goes beyond the work, and attributes to the composer some conduct or motive which, if truly imputed, would in the eyes of reasonable persons of right sentiment, cause a feeling of hatred, ridicule, and contempt for him, it is a libel. Bona fides and honest belief in its truth are then immaterial. What is there in this which was not already established law ? We do not, however, wish to detract from the admirable clearness and conciseness of Mr. Justice Brett's direction, which gives us the law applicable to the case under consideration in terms not to be misunderstood."
But our contemporary has missed the point, which is whether there may not be a libel on an author in a criticism, even though confined to his work, and to his character as an author. This point was waived in the authorities cited, which are, therefore, now obsolete. The authorities on the point are to be found in cases quite recent, in which the criticism has been confined to the work, but has been complained of as unfair and malicious, and as affixing an unjust stigma to the plaintiff's character as an author.
Such was the case of Dixon v. Enoch, and such was the case of Gilbert v. Enoch. And the merit of Mr. Justice Brett's summing up was in a clear expression of the legal principle applicable to that question, an unfair and malicious attack upon a work.
THE INNS OF COURT AND LEGAL EDUCATION.- Attention has been awakened, in more ways than one, to the subject of legal education. There are two rival plans or principles;
one, that of Lord Cairns, carried some years ago at Lincoln's Inn, for developing the Collegiate system in the Inns of Court with a view to founding thereon a legal university ; the other, that of Lord Selborne, for founding a School of Law on the ruins of the Inns of Court. Those who are impressed with the truth of Dr. Arnold's idea that nothing great can be done except by building upon ancient foundations, will feel rather in favour of Lord Cairn's plan. Either plan however, will necessarily involve considerable interference with the Inns of Court. For the proceedings either of the Inns, or of the Legal Council of Education, have certainly failed to satisfy the public or the profession on the subject. The Legal Education Association therefore sent a deputation to the Lord Chancellor, formerly President of the Association, and he avowed his unabated interest in their object, and though he could not at present promise to take active measures to promote it, he promised to circulate a Bill drawn with a view at some future period, to carry it out.
Action For Seduction.—The Law Times, commenting on one of these cases observed :
“ The case illustrates in a very forcible manner the anomalous condition of the English law on the subject of seduction. In that case there had been a previous trial for breach of promise of marriage brought by the daughter of the plaintiff, but as there was not sufficient evidence of a promise by the defendant the action failed. On this the father, in accordance with suggestions made at the former trial, brought an action for seduction against the defendant. Thus owing to the rule of law that no action lies against the seducer at the suit of the party immediately interested, but that the only right of action is founded on the loss of the girl's services to her father, reducing the question to a case of master and servant, all the parties in this case were put to the trouble and cost of two trials, when the whole matter might have been very well settled on the first occasion, but for the rule in question. If the woman who was seduced, and to whose father the jury awarded damages in the second action, could have brought an action for seduction in her own right, the two causes might have been joined, and all further trouble have been avoided. On what grounds such an anomaly is perpetuated it would be difficult to say, except that it has become
venerable by age. It has been commented on over and over again, and nothing but the aversion of the Profession from all changes in what they have become accustomed to could have kept such a rule in force. The rule amounts to this, that the party really injured has suffered no injury sufficient for the law to notice, but that her father, or master, who has lost her services, can bring an action for such secondary and inferior loss.
This loss of service may be of the most trifling description. In one case, indeed, tried by Chief Justice Abbott, his Lordship held that the loss by a father of his daughter's services in making tea was a sufficient loss to enable him to maintain this action. But when the loss of service has once been established, then damages are heaped up on other grounds, and this practice had become so inveterate in Lord Ellenborough's time, that he said it could not be shaken. So that the damages given frequently include an appraisement by the jury of the moral delinquency of the defendant, and the injury and dishonour sustained by the real plaintiff and her family. Is it not time that a rule of law, which places a father's inconvenience in having to make his own tea above the loss of his daughter's virtue, and the dishonour they both suffer, should be abrogated, and the seduction itself be made the ground of action, if any such actions are to be allowed ? There are some who think, however, that such actions should not be maintainable, the consent of the woman taking away the right of action. Whichever opinion prevails, it is very desirable that the law should be placed on a reasonable footing, and that juries should not import into their verdicts damages for injuries quite distinct from the ostensible one on which the verdict is founded."
The law could not be altered as regards rights of action. How could a woman be allowed to sue for an act done with her own consent and without a promise of marriage ? And, on the other hand, how would the law deprive a person-parent or employer-of a right of action for loss of service? The evil complained of is in the administration of the law; in judges admitting nominal evidence, or allowing juries to give moral damages. To do either of these things is simply to abuse the law. If it is considered proper to render seduction a penal offence-punishable by fine-let it be done directly, it ought not to be done indirectly under colour of a civil action, that is the real mischief.
COMMISSION OF INQUIRY INTO THE COURTS OF LAW.The appointment of a Royal Commission to inquire into the
Administrative Departments of the Courts of Justices has recently taken place. The Commissioners-Lord Lisgar, Baron Bramwell, Mr. William Law, of the Treasury; Mr. Trevelyan, M.P.; Mr. Alderman West, and Mr. Rowsellhave been chosen to represent the Parliamentary, the legal, and the official interests concerned. The issue of the Commission, says the Times, is the result of inquiries conducted by a Select Committee of the House of Commons on the public expenditure for Civil Services, which has been ably presided over by Mr. Childers. The outlay of the country upon legal establishments is, like the rest of the Civil Service expenditure, nominally subject, with some uaimportant exceptions, to the control of the Treasury. But the amount of actual control exerciset varies greatly, according to the differences in the power possessed by the judicial officers in different Courts to determine the number and emoluments of the persons employed under them, and according to the statutory authority reserved, under a number of Acts of Parliament, to the Treasury. It is believed that large amounts of public money have been wasted on pensions and compensations which might have been spared by the adoption of economical arrangements in the abolition of offices, by sound rules of superannuation, and by a just distribution of labour. It is believed that, in spite of the reforms which have been effected in recent times, there are still many unnecessary places in existence, that some officials are overpaid, and that others give a very imperfect return in the shape of work done for the salaries they receive. It has been urged on the part of the treasury that if that department had possessed the same powers of control over the expenditure on judicial establishments which it has been permitted to exercise over other departments of the Civil Service, the alleged instances of extravagance which we have mentioned would have been effectually corrected. rate, Mr. Childer's Committee, although its inquiries have not yet terminated, has satisfied itself that a primâ facie case against the existing outlay upon the Courts of Law has been established, and it recommended, in a special and separate report, the immediate appointment of the Royal Commission which has now been sitting. The Commissioners are empowered to inquire generally into the numbers, salaries, superannuations, and cost, and the alministration, regulation, organization, and manner of appointment and of promotion for each judicial establishment. They are charged further to ascertain where the responsibility for the organization for each establishment should rest, and what should be the relation of the persons so responsible to the Treasury. Mr. Childers's Committee,