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to have simplified the procedure, and to have materially abridged the proceedings in suits in the court. But the court being then closed to the general world, as having a select bar and practitioners of its own, there was then little or no occasion to elevate the forms of proceeding up to the level of the capacity of the general attorney. But on the passing of the act of last session, there instantly arose a necessity that something of this kind should be done--that rules should be made constituting a practice for the court that should be really intelligent; for the admission of the whole legal profession within the pale of the court had altered the very conditions of its existence. What was cramped in the old procedure, but had become easy of application to gentlemen who had passed their lives in acquiring this knowledge, threatened to become as noxious as it was imperfect, if it were made compulsory upon those who had not given to it the steady and enduring affection of the practitioner of the older school. New rules, therefore, were imperatively required, and out of this necessity have arisen those which are now before us.
The jurisdiction of the Admiralty is both real and personal; the former (which must be understood in a peculiar sense) is the most resorted to, and is the specialty, and perhaps the greatest forensic excellence of the court, apart from its refined and enlightened principles of law; the other is much like the personal jurisdiction of other courts, except that the Admiralty cannot issue execution against a person's goods. Of the two forms of jurisdiction the new rules grapple most with the cause or action in rem. Our readers know that the hypothecal lien upon
which this action is founded is no lien at all in the sense of its common law namesake ; and whilst it is something different, it is also something more-it is the implied or tacit hypothecation of a res arising out of some previous act either of the plaintiff or of the defendant. Salvors save a vessel and its cargo from the jaws of breakers or the luring caresses of a lee shore; and the benefit which they have conferred upon the owners becomes, without spoken words or written characters, a charge and hypothecation upon the whole and every part of the res ipse ; for who have a better right to pay themselves ex re than its own preservers or benefactors? This is one of the modes in which a plaintiff may create in his own favour a lien : on the other hand, a defendant will find that the delictum of his own servants in running down another vessel, has stamped his own vessel with a preferential charge to the extent of the wrong done. This hypothecal lien can only be enforced by the court, which, in the interest of the plaintiff, arrests the res, sells it, and pays the creditor his debt out of its purchase-money, unless the defendant renders such a course unnecessary, by giving bail to the action.
Upon this interesting portion of the jurisdiction of the Admiralty there are several new rules, which appear to be a real improvement of practice, and evince consummate penetration and judgment. Here the reform has been trenchant, for on these points there hung many remnants of antiquity, savouring of the days when Titius sued and Seius pleaded ; for on the matters to which we now more particularly allude, viz., the procedure by default, the court, in former days, showed in its forms a timidity which was unworthy of its high position, at the same time that it was prejudicial to the interests of the plaintiff. For when the court sold a res, it craved the forbearance of the public, by asserting that the res was perishable—that it deteriorated in matter or in value by being kept; in fact, the forms of the court stated every thing but the truth, for they never openly avowed that the court sold the res because the plaintiff had a right to require the sale at its hands. Before selling, the court gave notice to the whole world to show cause against the sale; and when the world (or at least that section of it which frequents the Royal Exchange) took no notice of their summons, the court reluctantly and timidly sold the res. But after this bold act it shrunk back in alarm, and declined to pay the plaintiff until he had indemnified the court and its officers against latent claims and demands. All these appliances and preliminaries have been ruthlessly swept away by the new rules; and
the court now stands erect, in the full possession of all the powers and means which should appertain to so high a judicature.
Wherever the procedure could be wholesomely assimilated to that of common law, the assimilation has been made by these rules; that other portion which did not admit of it, has been improved upon principles appropriate to itself. By this crowning reform of the Admiralty, the practices of the superior courts have been brought so near to each other, that we may apply to them the charming words of the poet
“ Facies non omnibus una, Nec diversa tamen, qualem decet esse sororum." Of the rules themselves we have only to express our unqualified admiration. They are exact, complete, and, in the words of Lord Bacon, “a chain confederate and linked together."
A new book of practice of the Court of Admiralty was required, and Mr. Coote has supplied the demand. This gentleman is already well known to the legal world by his “ Practice of the New Court of Probate," and his “Practice of the Ecclesiastical Courts." His well-practised hand has furnished the professional man with what he is daily wanting. In the ample appendix will be found, amongst other necessary matter,
forms of great utility in pleading, preparing affidavits, and bills of costs. The serjeants, barristers, attorneys, and solicitors, to whom 22 & 23 Vict., c. 6, has opened the gates of the Admiralty
& Court, and who desire to use the privilege, will do well to possess themselves of Mr. Coote's book.
It has been indeed very difficult, both for the student and the practitioner, to become acquainted with the Court of Admiralty in its present revived shape. Pritchard's “ Admiralty Digest,” the most recent compendium of authorities, has not been reprinted since its appearance in 1847, though a great number of important cases have since been decided.
The treatises are much older; the second edition of Dr. Browne's, the last and best professed English treatise on the subject, dating even from 1802. And yet, during the present reign, the Admiralty practice
has been improved by successive statutes and rules, at least as much as the jurisdiction has been amplified ; and has been further improved and codified by the new rules which have just come into operation.
Mr. Morris, the author of the “Lectures" above mentioned, has accordingly also seized the occasion furnished by the opening of the Admiralty Court, to give, though in an unpretending form, as thorough and broad an elementary view of its jurisdiction and practice as can be found in our library for any department of English law. There is no gate through which the first entrance into this branch of study may be better made; and, by steadily keeping the end in view, Mr. Morris has managed not to leave his readers at the gate, but to conduct them by a short walk some distance along the path; and, if the extended jurisdiction of the Admiralty is not soon brought into fuller play, there will not be the excuses which a close court, and an almost unknown region of law, have hitherto furnished with more or less of legitimacy.
In fact, we have now realized that competition between the Admiralty and the superior courts of common law and equity, which Sir Leoline Jenkins declared to be his desire, and contended for with very imperfect success. To attract suitors by the balance of convenience is a noble rivalry; and we agree with Mr. Morris in thinking, that the competition should be allowed on a still larger number of points; and particularly that so much concurrent jurisdiction should be given to the Admiralty, as to enable it to do complete justice in every matter of which it may now become partially possessed, without sending the parties to a second litigation elsewhere. We draw attention to Mr. Morris's suggestions on this point at p. 34, to which we will add this remark in conclusion :- We are altogether at sea upon the relative merits of judges and juries, of written and oral evidence, and on many other questions. Every commission, every opinion of high professional authorities, has so far only worse confounded the confusion. Probably different treatments are best adapted to different kinds of causes. But
whether this is so or not, only the public can decide; therefore, even those who could not consent to a competition of courts as a permanent system, may reasonably desire it as a means of eliciting the public judgment on each several class of legal business.
ART. IX.--LORD ST. LEONARDS LAW OF PRO
PERTY, AND TRUSTEE RELIEF ACT.
The Act to Amend the Law of Property and to Relieve Trustees
(22 & 23 Vict. c. 35); with Introductions and Practical Notes. By SYLVESTER J. HUNTER, Esq., of Lincoln's Inn, Barrister-atLaw. London: Butterworths, 1859.
UR readers have no doubt long before this made themselves
acquainted with the contents of this Act, which they must have found to work a greater alteration in the law of real property, and the practice of conveyancing, than any that has received the sanction of the Legislature for several years. We propose in this article to treat briefly of the policy which dictated the enactments contained in each group of sections, and of the particular forın adopted to carry out the intended amendments.
Two courses of procedure appear to be open to the jurist who seeks to remove defects admitted to exist in a system so vast and complicated as the English law of property. He may, if he please, propose to abolish the whole, or an important part of the existing law, and enact a series of provisions which will not be obnoxious to the charges whereby the old system has been brought into disrepute. Instances of the successful adoption of this course are not wanting in the history of jurisprudence; but in England it has been more usual to search out the principles of the existing law, whence spring the evil results, and to apply a remedy by removing or modifying just so much as may be absolutely necessary to effect the contemplated purpose. We