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So, too, the succinct statement of a few items relating to Bankruptcy, will convey certain information to the law reformer not without value.
Assets received by the official assignees • £1,785,263
409,862 Thus, the special charges and deductions amount to 17.8 per cent. on the assets; the debts paid in full, and dividend ordered, to 53.8 per cent. The expenses of the bankruptcy 22 9 per cent.
. Passing over some curious details unfolded with respect to the insolvency jurisdiction, we come to the returns appertaining to the Court of Chancery. The following returns comprise only the half-year ending 1st November, 1858:Summonses to originate proceedings :For the administration of estate
secution (including 9 for winding up
8729 Amount of debts proved
£3,973,696 Accounts passed (other than receiver's accounts): Number of accounts
413 Receipts therein
£2,544,094 Disbursements and allowances therein
£2,274,592 Receiver's accounts passed :Number of accounts
183 Receipts therein
£449,326 Disbursements and allowances therein
f344,542 Sales of Estates under orders of Court:Number of sales
262 Amount realized
£1,075,263 Purchases of Estates under order of Court :Number of purchases
We have next an interesting return of the comparative particulars for the whole of the year 1858, with those of the five previous years :
1858 1857 1856 1855 1854 1853 Summons originating proceedings in Chambers 650 654 518
463 475 Other Summons
15,427 14,528 13,896 11,639 10,974 6,862 The number of all matters disposed of in each of the years ending 1st November :
1857 1856 1855 1854 1853 Appeal motions and special motions
1,315 1,235 1,309 1,374 1,672 1,888 Petitions
2,346 2,549 2,574 2,730 3,046 3,180 General paper
1,777 1,653 1,923 1,848 1,763 1,456 Appeals and rehearings 80 99 109 120 70 80 Claims
79 112 130 211 265 383 Orders on Sunnmonses drawn by the Registrars
5,322 4,991 4,457 3,993 3,325 1,632 Total
10,919 10,639 10,502 10,276 10,141 8,619 The yearly amount of fees collected by stamps in 1858 was upwards of £13,000. The number of petitions set down for hearing Before the Lord Chancellor
8 the Lords Justices (on App.) 34 Kindersley, V.C.
194 Stuart, V.C.
285 Wood, V.C.
727 Master of Rolls
The explanation of the favour in which the court of Stuart, V.C., is held, can easily be explained by the practitioner in equity. With the Accountant-general's return and the Fee fund we will not now meddle, as we purpose to consider the subject in greater detail ere long.
In the Divorce and Matrimonial Causes Court we find there were 352 petitions filed; those for dissolution of marriage were to those for judicial separation as 244 to 82. The causes tried amounted to 58 ; judgments given, to 52. There were about 600 summonses and motions heard and disposed of.
The proceedings of the Court of Probate and Principal Regis
try, may briefly be stated as including about 1300 probates and administrations. Trials prosecuted in the court were eight in number, and causes heard by the judge only nineteen. Probates and administrations were granted :On hearing of causes
24 On motion
253 On summons
67 In forty district registries about 17,000 probates and administrations were granted in common form, and nineteen under direction of a judge. The amount, however, of duty stamps was in these courts a little more than half of that paid in the principal registries.
In the Court of Admiralty there were given 130 final judgments, 105 of which were for the plaintiff, and 25 for the defendant.
The number of appeals before the Judicial Committee of Privy Council in the year 1858, were 58 ; 26 being from the Admiralty courts, 1 from the Ecclesiastical courts, 4 from the Channel Islands, 12 from the Colonial courts, and 15 from the courts in India. On 36 appeals judgment was affirmed, on 4 varied, and on 28 reversed.
And lastly, in the House of Lords the number of appeals and causes in error presented were 47, of which 25 were heard, 16 were affirmed, 2 affirmed with declarations, 1 reversed, and 6 reversed with declarations. There were still 69 remaining for hearing
Such is a brief abstract of the elaborate tables entitled Judicial Statistics, which henceforth must be consulted by every one who seeks to promote amendment in legal procedure, or to discover the principles by which litigation is governed, and protection extended to society in the enjoyment of legal rights by the enforcement of legal remedies. We may be assured that, by reading aright the results of "judicial statistics,” our means of measuring the advancement and retrogression of the civilization of the country will be obtained. They indicate to some extent the course which the national mind is pursuing, and which veritable
history must record. When we observe in legal procedure an excess of technicality, we know that it indicates a mixture of refinement with barbarism; that the misdirected acuteness of the professional and educated few, is addressed to subtle methods, not understood or valued by the many, and which do not exist for their benefit. A tedious and complicated system may be maintained while the law exists for the rich man only; but when the interests of the public in general are duly consulted, we find in its place the greatest simplicity consistent with the habits and constitution of society. Whilst the merits of a judicial system mark truly the civilization of a particular epoch, and the character and habits of the population, the success of that system is best tested by the careful collection and comparison of facts, such as have been brought together and marshalled by Mr. Redgrave.
The criminal statistics contain confessedly the most important revelations of the past and present moral condition of large classes of society, and must be henceforth the best guide for future legislation with respect to crime and its repression; and we prophesy that regular and perfect returns relating to civil suits, will likewise prove an essential guide to all future reforms, and a sure protection against mere speculative innovation.
VOL. VIII. NO. XV.
ART. XIV.-CONVEYANCING IN SOUTH AUSTRALIA
BY REGISTRATION OF TITLE.
1. Speeches of ROBERT R. TORRENS, Esq., explanatory of his
Measure for Reform of the Law of Real Property: to which is appended a Copy of the Act, as passed by the Parliament of South Australia.
2. South Australia.-Lands Titles Registration Office Returns.
Ordered by the House of Assembly to be printed, December 14, 1858.
3. The South Australian System of Conveyancing by Registra
tion of Title, with Instructions for the Guidance of Parties dealing, illustrated by Copies of the Books and Forms in Use in the Lands Titles Office, by ROBERT R. TORRENS : to which is added the South Australian Real Property Act as amended, with a Copious Index, by HENRY GAWLER, Esq., Barrister, Solicitor to the Lands Titles Commissioners. Adelaide : and
London : Butterworths, 1859. IN N a recent number of this Magazine? we commented at con
siderable length upon the ambitious but abortive schemes of Lord Derby's government, for the reform of the law affecting conveyancing in England. We pointed out the utter incapacity of those by whom the measures were prepared and introduced, either to appreciate the inherent difficulties of the question, or to apply appropriate remedies for the existing evil. There were not wanting those who could talk eloquently upon the subject; but there, providentially, their power ceased, for they were incapable of conceiving or carrying out a practical and useful reform.
Whilst in England we are holding debate, making reports, sketching bills, and altering them again and again in the imbe
1 See L. M. and R., vol. 7, p. 187, (No. 13, May, 1859.)