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ON BUILDING CONTRACTS.-By E: Jenkins and JOHN RAYMOND, Esqrs.--This book comes before the public under singularly favourable auspices. It is not only dedicated “ by permission " to the Royal Institute of British Architects, but has been revised before publication by the Professional Practice Committee of the Institution of whose suggestions in various particulars the authors have not been unmindful, The work, therefore, may be said to have received an official sanction at the hands of those most competent to form an opinion as to the practical utility of a work of this nature, and its acceptance by the Institute, after such examination, is a pretty plain indication that it really addresses itself to the requirements of the intelligent profession for which it is written, and is not defective in the special knowledge without which the subject could not be successfully handled. The authors in our opinion are entitled to take credit to them. selves for their praiseworthy attempt to supply what must be admitted to have been a want in legal literature. The work, as will be seen by the title, is the joint production of Mr. Edward Jenkins and Mr. John Raymond; but while Mr. Jenkins admits his liability for its contents, he informs us in the preface that owing to pressing engagements he was prevented from writing himself, and awards to his coadjutor the merits of his performance.
In his neat preface, Mr. Jenkins says: the work is specially intended for “the man who wishes to build, the man who designs, and the man who erects the building." Our examination of the book, however, convinces us, that though doubtless excellently adapted for its admitted purposes, it will prove a serviceable book to lawyers as well. It would be doing it an injustice to class it with the rank and file of legal hand-books. In tone and style it resembles Lord St. Leonard's well-known popular treatise on the law of real property. The writer conceives his subject clearly, and writes in a manner that is pleasant, forcible, and lucid. He has fortunately perceived that a mere collection of cases with comments appended thereto, and references to abstract rules of law and legal maxims would not suffice to convey to the minds of architects and builders a clear and comprehensive view o their legal position in respect of their daily engagements in the
regular practice of their profession or business. On the contrary, his aim throughout is to look at the matter from the reader's point of view, anl address himself to the questions which he is likely to ask, and which a book can be reasonably expected to answer; for with regard to questions of any unusual perplexity, the author very properly cautions the layman that his only safe and prudent course will be to take counsel of the legal profession, and not to seek in his pages a final solution of his difficulties. But every intelligent man, whatever his vocations, finds it his interest, and indeed, a matter of necessity to know as much as he conveniently can of the law which affects his daily business pursuits, and to such this book will in its proper sphere be found. of the greatest assistance. The legal relations of architects, builders, and employers in general, are pointed out in a methodical and intelligible manner. After a few preliminary remarks on the nature of contracts in general, the writer takes us through the various stages involved in what are called Builder's contracts, from the preliminary drawings to the certificate, and each step is sensibly discussed in connexion with its legal incidents. In the appendix we find a collection of statutes and extracts from statutes that concern builders; a collection of " forms" which will probably be found useful for guidance, and what seems to us to add greatly to the value of the book, for purpose of reference, the schedule of rules authorized by the Institute, for regulating professional practice and the charges of architects. We are bound then to state in conclusion our opinion that the book before us is a work of remarkable merit, and we anticipate for it a career of considerable usefulness.
INSANITY IN ITS RELATION TO Crime. By Wm. A. HamMOND, M.D., Professor of Diseases of the Mind, &c. (New York.)—This is another work upon the test of insanity, or rather the test of responsibility in the insane. We have recently had various works upon the same subject published in this country brought under our notice. Some of those by medical men have claimed the irresponsibility of the insane; others, written by lawyers, have laid down a more rational test of the irresponsibility of those persons who labour under mental disease. Dr. Russell Reynold, in his “ Legal Test of Insanity," was in favour of the former view; and Mr. Balfour Browne, in his “ Medical Juris. prudence of Insanity," “Responsibility of Diseases," has expressed himself in favour of the existing legal tests. Strange to siy, Dr. Hammond has followed very closely in the steps of Mr. Browne, and argues that “the knowledge of right and wrong is a test of responsibility." Again, he says, "the only
form of insanity which in my opinion should absolve from responsibility and, therefore, from any other punishment except sequestration, are such a degree of idiocy, dementia, or mania, as prevents the individual from understanding the consequences of his act, and the existence of a delusion in regard to a matter of fact which, if true, would justify his act.” Now this is precisely the opinion of the judges expressed in the answer to the questions submitted to them after the trial of M‘Naughton, and which has been defended against Dr. Reynolds by Mr. Browne. Dr. Hammond very probably repudiates the common alienist. view of irresistible impulse, and says :-" The doctrine that an individual can be entirely sane immediately before or after any particular act, and yet insane at the instant the act was committed, is contrary to every principle of sound psychological science.” We have all along been confident that medical men would in time come to see the correctness of the jurists' view of crime in relation to insanity, and it is, therefore, satisfactory for us to find that Dr. Hammond, one of the most distinguished of American psychologists, stating this belief in the correctness of these principles. It is an interesting work, well written, with well written and illustrative cases; but we cannot see that he has advanced in any one particular upon the principles stated in Mr. Browne's work already referred to. Its chief interest is that it comes from a medical man, and a distinguished one; and that he admits that insanity is not to be regarded as a ground for exemption from punishment, and that right or wrong is a good enough test of responsibility. He remarks, with truth, and it would be well if medical men would remember the past, that the attempt by man to reconcile the principles of abstract right with the customs, the obligations, and the securities of society will always be a vain effort."
A TREATISE ON THE LAW OF SCOTLAND RELATING TO LAND Agents. By John Henderson Begg, Advocate.-The agitation which had for some time existed in regard to the distinction between attornies, or agents as they are called in Scotland, practising in the Supreme or Inferior Courts, was recently ended by the passing of the Statute 36 and 37 Vict., cap. 63; and Mr. Begg, who had been diligently preparing this work for some time prior to the passing of that statute, was in the favourable position of being able to publish at the very time when it was sure to be in the greatest demand. The Statute mentioned has introduced a possible revolution into the conduct of legal business in Scotland. Now, every solicitor may practice in any court of law,
while formerly no solicitor was allowed to practice except in the court by which he had been specially admitted. In future we shall have one general body of solicitors with equal rights and privileges. Many of the gentlemen who practised in remote country places have thus important privileges conferred on them, but it follows that these privileges bring with them graver duties and wider responsibilities. A book capable of keeping them right in this new state of matters is certain to be anxiously sought for, and Mr. Begg's book is well calculated to satisfy their consciences and solve their doubts. But we are bound to say a great deal more than that in praise of Mr. Begg's labours. His book is precise, accurate, and methodical, is an excellent exposition of a very complicated branch of the law of Scotland. It is not too much to say of it that one can think of it as being entitled on account of the research learning and power of exposition displayed by the author, to be placed almost the same class with Mr. Fraser's great work on the “ Personal and Domestic Rela. tions," and Mr. McLaren's work on the “ Law of Trusts,”books whose praises are in all the courts. Altogether the book will be found to be both useful and interesting, and will not fail to extend the high repute in which the author in held by all who know him.
THE INDIAN LAW EXAMINATION MANUAL.
By Fendall Currie, Esq., (of Lincoln's-inn,) City Magistrate of Lucknow.Such a publication as the present has, we are sure, been much wished for among students and others intending to pass examin. ations in the various branches of Indian Law, as well in England as in India. The form of the work, namely, that of Question and Answer, seems to us peculiarly fitted for the object which the author has in view, of providing students with the subjects in which they have to be examined, in a shape easy to commit to memory. But the greatest merit of the work in our opinion is, that it is so exhausted, comprising, as it does, besides the subjects of the Hindu and Mohamedan laws, all Codes and Acts now in force in India, namely, the Criminal Procedure Code, Indian Penal Code, the Code of Civil Procedure, the Evidence Act, the Limitation Act, the Succession, Contract, Registration and Stamp Acts, concluding with the Law of Mortgage as applied in India. Of course the student who is anxious more thoroughly to master the Hindu and Mahommedan laws than by reading a bare outline of those subjects, such as Mr. Currie's book necessarily is, must consult the learned works of Strange and MacNaghten on Hindu law, and MacNaghten and Baillie on
Mahommedan law. We notice, however, with satisfaction that the author relies largely on text books of the latest date, such as Cowell's Tagore Law Lectures, and Grady's books on Hindu and Mahommedan Law; and we are especially glad to see that as regards Hindu law the principles are supported by numerous cases. We notice, too, that the author treats the Hindu marriage as a purely civil contract. He forgets to look at it in its far truer character of a sacred and solemn sacrament which every Hindu is indispensably bound to receive alike for spiritual as for temporal purposes.
THE INTERMEDIATE EXAMINATION GUIDE: Vol. 2, Addendum to Equity. (By E. H. Bedford.)— The author is well known by his useful publications in aid of Students, and the present one well supports his reputation. The book appointed by the examiners on the subject for 1874 is Haynes' Outlines of Equity, and the nine sections are devoted to the subject, with reference both to the principles and the practice; the latter, with reference to Hunter's Suit in Equity, under the first division, the various heads of equity are clearly and succinctly set forth under their different titles-accident, power, or mistake, or set off, or specific performance, c&. Under the other branch the various steps and stages in a Chancery suit are set forth with great clearness and distinctness, in the usual way, by means of question and answer We observe that the work has been perused and revised by Mr. Ernest Witt, a gentleman of scholarship and of some promise in the profession.
CONTEMPORARY LEGAL JOURNALISM. - Our contemporaries, the Law Fournal and Law Times, have commenced the year with all their usual vigour and ability. Every week some one or more legal topics are treated of, with reasoning and ability in their columns, and their contributions must greatly aid in the discus. sion of legal questions. They have both of them given some attention lately to the questions on the law of husband and wife, arising under the Married Women's Property Act of 1870. The great question it has given rise to, is whether married women, whose earnings are protected, are liable to be sued by their creditors. County Court judges have, held that they are not, and our contemporaries approve of their decision. Our contem. poraries, also, have of course their attention directed to the approaching operation of the New Judicature Act, and from time to time correspondence, articles, or observations appear in their columns on the subject, which is naturally one of great profesional interest.