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354

Observations on the Effect of the Law Amendment Act.

as may be reasonably expected to arise out | verse defence and actual trial, need occupy of the provisions of this Act.. . only from twenty-five to thirty days, though

One of the greatest abuses and sources of affording the most ample time either for perpetual complaint arose from the power settlement, compromise, or bona fide depossessed by a Debtor, having no real de- fence, and giving the means of appeal to fence, to avail himself of forms (which were the highest authority, on any possible quesintended to protect rights), in order to har- tion which can fairly arise. rass and delay his Creditor. All measures If the Sheriff, for the purpose of trying which go safely and directly to deprive a the causes arising in the County Court, or Debtor of this advantage, and at the same otherwise, should send his Deputy or an time to preserve a protection for cases of Assessor, (as is done to some extent in Lanfair contest, must obviously tend directly cashire,) to visit statedly the principal to abolish this evil at the root, and to effect towns, not having already officers compethe most important judicial reform, without tent to try causes,- or if the Sheriff, when violence, and in fact almost without obser- required, should appoint a special Deputy vation,

for a more convenient trial than at his own In this point of view it will be seen that usual place of business ;- there seems noproceedings in the Upper Courts, coupled thing more wanted in order to mature a with the above statutory provision, will en-cheap, summary, and efficacious system for able a Plaintiff to obtain judgment in and recovery of debts ;-without prejudice to within a convenient distance of all towns, existing Courts of Requests and other Locities, and boroughs, where the Sheriff or cal or County Courts, as applied to the very a Recorder or other Judge can be resorted smallest classes of demands. to, in a space of time far shorter than even An adaptation of such stated sittings to à new District Court could effect, inasmuch those of the Sessions, would enable the as the District Judge could probably only parties, in suitable cases, to have the assis

visit each town, at the utmost, four times tance of the Bar, where there is not a local : in the year. In all such towns, cities, &c. one. justice can now be obtained under this Sta-| It has been already observed that the tuté every week, and in most cases every official fees will, no doubt, be greatly reday. To London tradesmen and wholesale duced, as regards small actions. In the dealers, it will furnish obvious and peculiar late adjustment of Attorneys' Fees, the advantages.

Judges have already provided for a lower

rate as applicable to small debts; and there The following statement will shew the is no doubt that the total expense of these working of the system in future :

actions may thus be set at as low a scale as Eight days after the service of process, can apply to any system which professes to the plaintiff (if his debt be not paid or arran-provide for 'respectable professional assistged for) may declare in debt. At the end lance. of eight days, where no defence is made, Power is given to the Sheriff or Judge he will obtain final judgment, and except to amend in like manner as a Judge of Asin proper cases, á defence will become rare, size, and the provisions of the 1 G. 4. c. 7, and will bring the defendant but little ad- are extended to these cases. vantage in point of time. If the defendant) plead, an order for Trial will be immediately obtained. This application will ordinarily lead to a settlement; and if not, a

NOTICES OF NEW BOOKS. trial may be had in ten days, and final judgment, will immediately follow. The An Answer to a Pamphlet, entitled, Obser. order for trial will in general, in cases of

vations on the Rejected Local Courts Juwritten instruments, direct their admission.

risdiction Bill, addressed to the Trading T'he Plaintiff will try without any expense

Interests. Richards, 1833. of Courisel, if he please; and as the time of trial will be certain and fixed, no extra ex- We have already noticed the pamphlet to penses of detaining witnesses will arise. which this publication is an answer (see p.

It will of course be the interest of the 289). The present writer has ably refuted Undersheriff, &c. to give every facility and his predecessor “ the Trader," and concise

encouragement to the parties resorting to ly stated all the leading objections to the • this mode of proceeding.

project of Local Courts. We need not at The whole proceeding, with the most ad" (present travel over the ground with which Notices of New Books : On the Local Court Bill. - Composition Deeds by Insolvents.

355

our readers have been so recently made fa- The Pamphlet is embellished with a picmiliar. We extract, however, the follow-ture of“ a Local Court,” by George Cruiking passages, which contain some useful shank. The Judge in Ordinary is throwsuggestions for diminishing the expense of ing his inkstand at the leading Counsel, who recovering small debts, and hastening the returns the fire with a huge law book. The trial of petty actions...

other Counsel exhibits his contempt for the « If the proposer of Local Courts, or the Court in a manner more expressive than eleAuthor of the Pamphlet, be desirous of learn. gant. Two of the Jury are deliberating ing what makes law expensive, they will con- with clenched fists on the best means of sult some person who understands the practice, knocking each other down. The other ten and they will be told, that the same fees are

[there ought to have been four only, the

there payable in the offices of the respective Law Courts for an action for a small sum as for al,

full complement being six] are occupied in large sum. The same fees to counsel, the backing the combatants, or witnessing the same expenses to witnesses, and the same fight. One of the suitors, a woman, has Court fees on the trial, as in actions for large seized the nose of her opponent, and he sums.

takes possession of a handful of her head“If the advocates for cheap law are desirous dress." The usher brandishes his mace over of lessening the expenses in actions brought the hustan for small sums, let all office and court fees be

the by-standers, and they exhibit their taken off-lighten the expenses of small causescud

cudgels. Two of the witnesses are engaged —and remunerate the practitioners in a cor. in mortal combat, whilst a woman, half responding extent, by increasing the amount naked, with a squalling child, is endeavours on those brought for a larger amount. Let aing in vain to separate them. Others are graduated scale issue, and there will be no ne-escaping with broken heads and scattered cessity for any new scheme.

teeth. Aside is an animated debate between " tf expedition be necessary in the trial of two barristers, who appear on the verge of small causes, let every sheriff' have the power*** of trying all causes under 101. arising within

committing a breach of the peace. Porter his district. It will be found that the under-pots are flying in the air. The Registrar sheriff of every county is fully competent to looks astonished, and the only respectable such duty.

Counsel present is holding up his hands and "If the proposers of Law Reform are really shrugging his shoulders, with a look of reanxious to improve the same, let them regret at the disgraceful scene. model the present system of setting causes down for trial : let there be a separate list of causes for the trial of claims under 501., no

Proposal for an Act for facilitating Deeds matter where from, or from what court: let a

of Composition by Insolvent Traders; with Judge constantly sit at Westminster Hall for an Outline of the Act suggested, and an the trial of these causes, and there will be no Analysis of a Deed of Composition. By arrear; the same will be tried nearly as they Scrope Ayrton, Esq., Barrister at Law. are set down, and there will be no more talk

H. Butterworth. 1833. of delay. The whole cause of complaint is in the present system of practice, not in the want It being a part of our plan to put our read. of Courts or Judges. The system is bad; the ers in possession of all the various projects days appointed for trials in termn are nearly for the improvement or alteration of the nominal, and the sittings after term are so Law. we lay before them Mr. Ayrton's conshort, that of necessity there must always be a great arrear; besides, as before stated, the

]tribution to the stock of Law Reform. mode of setting down causes for trial is im- “ It is a fact (he says) well known to the merperfect--the petty causes are jumbled with the cantile world, that in a great majority of those great; and whilst such system continues, so cases in which merchants and traders stop paywill the cause of complaint. It is this system ment, they and their creditors would enter into which creates the delay and expense; for deeds of composition, and thereby secure a far whilst a cause is in the paper for trial, it fre- greater dividend in a much shorter time than is quently happens that witnesses are subpoenaed possible afterincurring the expense and suffering three or four times, and take as many journies the delay consequent to a commission of bankto attend the trial; refresher fees to counsel ruptcy, if they were not deterred by knowing, become necessary, besides other expenses. It is that though a great majority of the creditors this system that prevents causes of importance may be very desirous of vesting the property from being tried under a period of from nine to in the hands of trustees for the benefit of all, fifteen months: if the small causes be separated yet any one dissenting creditor can defeat from the large ones, the former will be tried as their object she may strike a docket any tiine they are set down, and will effectually lessen the within six months), or obtain his own terms delay of the latter. Keep a Judge constantly sit- for acquiescing. ting for the trial of small causes, and this simple “ Such being the case, I venture to submit, plan will confer substantial advantages on all whether it would not be expedient to enable a litigants."

majority of the creditors to bind the minority,

356.

Notices of New Books.Abstracts of Recent Statutes..

by a bill, of which the following might be an of facilitating the passing of some such Bill outline of the leading enactments :

through Parliament, has added, by way of “). That when any trader, subject to the Appendix to his Pamphlet, a sketch of the bankrupt laws, shall have stopped payment, it shall be lawful for him, with the consent of a

proposed Act, and the heads of a Deed of fifths in number and value of his creditors,

Composition; and he considers it is highly to transfer, by deed, the whole of his real and expedient that solicitors should have some personal property to two or more trustees for such form at hand, in order that they may the benefit of all his creditors, under such be enabled to draw the deed at once, withterms and conditions as shall be adopted in out waiting that long period which often such deed: and that such deed shall be bind- unavoidably elapses when deeds are drawn ing on all his creditors, and shall not be an act of bankruptcy, nor be subject to be invalidated

by counsel. hy any prior act of bankruptcy. (Quære, whether or not should a meeting of creditors be | ABSTRACTS OF RECENT STATUTES. first called by advertisement, to resolve whether such deed should be entered into? otherwise a

SEWERS. 3 & 4 W. 4, c. 22. single creditor, who might be aware of circumstances which, if known, would prevent the

This act is intituled “An Act to amend the others from acceding to such a proceeding,

Laws relating to Sewers," and was passed on might remain in ignorance of the whole trans

the 28th of June, 1833. It recites 23 Hen. 8. action till after the actual execution of the deed ]

c. 5, 3 & 4 Edw. 6. c. 8, and 13 Eliz. c. 9; and “2. That the trustees may appoint one bar

states that great difficulty, inconvenience, and rister, to whom all questions of law may be re

expense are found to arise by the laws relating ferred, and who, in any case of difficulty, may

to sewers being in many respects defective: call in aid any of the King's counsel whom

And that doubts have arisen as to the extent the trustees may select.

of the powers given to the Commissioners of “3. That against the decision of the barrister

Sewers by the recited acts, and the commisor barristers, there may be an appeal, by peti

sions issued in pursuance, and particularly as tion, to the Lord Chancellor or the Vice Chan

to the legal mode of conducting inquiries by cellor.

means of juries, and as to the legal power of “4. That all persons acting under such

Courts of Sewers to order neu works to be deed shall be under the jurisdiction of the made for the better defending, draining, sewLord Chancellor, on petition.

ing, and securing the lands within the limits of “5. That such deeds shall not be liable to

their respective commissions, and to impose any stamp duty.

rates in respect of such works, and 10 erder “It appears to me that the alteration in the the taking up and borrowing of money at inlaw here proposed is singularly important, and | terest to repay the charges of such new or any would prove one of the greatest boons that the

extraordinary or other works, so as to charge legislature could confer upon traders, both

th, and recover from the owners and occupiers those whose estates are unfortunately insolvent,

of lands, tenements, and hereditaments, the and the creditors who are to receive their di

| amount of money so borrowed, and thereby to vidends out of the assets..

distribute such charges fairly and equitably “ It should be observed, that a bill founded among the parties who shall receive benefit or upon these principles would not in the slight

| avoid damage from the same: And that it is est degree prevent or interfere with taking out expedi

expedient to increase the amount of qualificaa fiat in bankruptcy, where the majority of the tion of Commissioners of Sewers, and that creditors shall determine to have recourse to |

other provisions should be made for the better one; its only effect would be to render the

execution of the powers by law vested or to be deed sure when a majority have resolved upon

| vested in Commissioners of Sewers. It is a composition. In such cases it would become therefore enacted as follows: unnecessary to have recourse to the present

Qualification of Commissioners. compulsory method of distributing the estates of insolvent traders by means of the complex

| 1. No person who has not already acted as a machinery of a court of justice: it would re- Commissioner of Sewers shall be capable of lieve merchants from the vexation of being torn acting as a commissioner unless he shall be, away from their immediate arocations, to have in his own right or in right of his wife, in the recourse to law and lawyers in such matters actual possession or receipt for life or for a of private business as, it is notorious, could be larger estate of the rents and profits of lands, more easily, more cheaply, and more expedi

&c. situated in the county in which he shall tiously wound up by themselves. It would / act as a commissioner, or in any adjoining also avoid the absurdity and injustice of exact

county, of freehold or copyhold tenure, or ing heavy fees for the support of a court of law

held for a term of not less than sixty years out of insolvent estates, already insufficient to

| absolute, or determinable with a life or lives, meet existing demands, but which are often so

of the clear yearly value of 1001., or leaseholds reduced by law expenses, as to make the divi. of 2001. a year, or the heir apparent of a freedend a matter of indifference to the creditors.” | holder or copybolder of 20

holder or copyholder of 2007. a year, or the

agent of a body corporate holding lands, &c. Mr. Ayrton, in order still further to ex- of 3001. a year: Provided that where commisplain his meaning and plan, and in the hope , sions of sewers run into more than one county,

[blocks in formation]

the qualification may be situated either partly Courts of Sessions of the Peace; and the jury in each of the counties, or wholly in any one being impanelled, sworn, and charged, shall of such counties.

I proceed in their inquiry before and in the pre2. Quakers may act as commissioners, upon sence of the Court, upon the evidence of one making an affirmation.

or more credible witness or witnesses, deliver3. The form of oath to be taken by other ed upon oath or affirmation, in the same mancommissioners before acting, is given in this ner and form, and subject to the like rules of section.

| taking and receiving evidence, as is usual in 4. A penalty of 1001. is imposed on persons his Majesty's Courts of Common Law; and acting who are not qualified. But the pro- the said commissioners may cause to be sumceedings of the commissioners are not to be moned to appear before them at the time and impeached on account of such disqualification. place of holding their respective Courts of

5. Mayors, bailiffs, or other ex officio com Sewers aforesaid, and at every adjournment of missioners, are not required to qualify. any Court, all clerks, keepers, bailiffs, engi. Duration of Commission, and Mode of Pro

neers, surveyors, collectors, expenditors, and

other their ministers and officers of sewers, and ceeding. 6. The commission to continue for ten years,

such other persons as in the judgment of such unless renewed or repealed by writ of super

commissioners shall be competent to give pro

per evidence and information to the Court and sedeas. • 7. The laws, decrees, and ordinances, to

jury in the premises; and notice of the time

to and place of taking such inquisition shall be continue in force notwithstanding the expira. tion of the commission, and although not in

given by affixing to the principal door of each

and every of the churches and chapels in the grossed in parchment, or nut certified into the Court of Chancery.

several parishes, townships, or places in which

the rivers, streams, ditches, sewers, water8. The meetings of commissioners and mode

courses, walls, banks, culverts, and other of proceeding are regulated by this section.

works, lands, tenements, and hereditaments, 9. Special meetings, on emergencies, mayo be called on ten days notice. On certain oc

common of pasture and profit of fishing, and

other matters and things to be inquired into casions special meetings may be called by order

or that may be affected thereby, shall lie, be, of two commissioners on a shorter notice.

or arise, or if there be no church, then to some Jurisdiction of Commissioners. conspicuous place within such parish, town* 10. Walls, banks, culverts, and other de- ship, or place, a printed or written paper spefences, whether natural or artificial, situate by citying such time and place of meeting, and the coasts of the sea, and all rivers, streams. / signed by the clerk to the Court before whom sewers, and watercourses wbich are navigable, such inquisition is to be taken, at least seven or in which the tide ebbs and flows, or which | days before the taking of such inquisition, and communicates with any such navigable or tide also by inserting, at least seven days before river, stream, or sewer, and all walls, banks. I the taking thereof, such notice once at the culverts, bridges, dams, foodgates, and other

least in one or more of the newspapers pubworks upon or adjoining such rivers, streams,

lished or circulated in or near to the limits of sewers, or watercourses, shall be within the

the commission of sewers under authority jurisdiction of Commissioners of Sewers: Pro..

whereof such inquisition shall be taken. vided that nothing shall authorize any Com- 12. That in any case in which a jury of a missioners of Sewers to exercise authority over county at large, and the jury of any minor any dams, floodgates, or other works erected jurisdiction, shall, in the judgment of the said for the purpose of ornament, previous to the Court, come to different conclusions concernpassing of this act, in, upon, or over any rivers, I ing any matters affecting any lands or teneistreams, ditches, gutters, sewers, or water-ments lying partly in such county at large and courses near or contiguous to any house or partly in any such city or town and county of building, or in any garden, yard. paddock, / the same, cinque port, dic. the Court of Sewers Dark. planted walk, or avenue to a house, 7 may at any time issue a warrant to impanel at without the consent in writing of the owner or such time and place (although out of the jurisproprietor thereof respectively first had and diction of the sheriff, bailiff, or other returning obtained.

officer,) as in such warrant expressed, a suffi

cient number, not exceeding eighteen nor less : Presentment of Juries.

than nine substantial and indifferent persons 11. In all cases in which any Court of within his jurisdiction, and not having comSewers shall inquire by jury concerning the posed part of the juries respectively which matters authorized by the said recited acts, shall have previously differed in respect of the and the laws of sewers of old time accustomed, matters, and out of each panel nine persons or of this act, the Commissioners of Sewers shall be drawn by the clerk of such Court of may issue a warrant to the sheriff, bailiff, or Sewers or his deputy in such manner as juries other returning officer of every county, cinque for trials or issues joined in his Majesty's port, city, town, liberty, precinct, or place Courts of Record at Westminster are by law within the limits of such commission, to im- directed to be drawn; and the said eighteen panel a jury of not exceeding forty-eight nor jurymen shall thereupon be sworn and charged less than eighteen substantial and indifferent to take their inquisition and to make and repersons, qualified to serve on grand juries in turn their presentment of and concerning the

358

Abstracts of Recent Statutes.-Selections from Correspondence.

aforesaid matters, and which presentment so and proper repair any walls, banks, sewers, &c. taken shall be conclusive.

to which he may be liable by reason of any • 13. That whenever a jury shall have pre- such tenure, &c. and shall not, after having sented that any person, body politic or cor- had seven days notice from the surveyor, dike. porate, is or are liable to and ought to main-reeve, or other officer to be appointed by the tain and repair or contribute to the mainte-Court of Sewers, proceed to put the same into nance and repair of any defence, wall, bank, good and proper repair with all reasonable and sewer, or other work within the jurisdiction of proper dispatch, such surveyor, dikereeve, or the commission of sewers, in respect of any officer may put the same into good and suffilands, tenements, or hereditaments, or com- cient repair; and the expenses to be incurred mon of pasture, or profit of fishing, it shall not thereby shall be paid by the person liable to afterwards, during the continuance of such such repair. commission, be necessary to inquire by jury

Payment of Expenses. and obtain a presentment upon any subsequent 16. That any Court shall, at its discretion, wants of amendment and reparation of the by and out of the taxes, rates, and scots to be same defences, &c. but such person, and the raised under and by virtue of the said recited owners and occupiers for the tine being of acts and this act, or any or either of them, such lands, &c. shall be liable from time to order and allow to clerks and other persons time to maintain and repair or contribute to employed by the Court, and also to witnesses, the maintenance and repair of such defences, either in support of any presentment or order &c. according to such presentment; and the of the Court, or in opposition to such present Commissioners of Sewers may order the same ment or order, such recompence, for their seto be maintained and repaired by such person, veral expenses and loss of time, as shall seem body politic or corporate, from time to time just, and also all such costs and expenses induring the continuance of such commission curred in surveying, measuring, planning, and accordingly.

valuing the lands and hereditaments, or otherSercers" Rates.

wise preparatory to or in or about the making, 14. The commissioners to make separate and collecting, and expending such taxes, &c. or distinct rates, as occasion shall require, for the hearing of objections to such taxes, &c. or every separate and distinct level, valley, or in or about the carrying on of any litigation or district, or any part of such level, &c. within controversy arising out of the duties imposed their respective commissions, and to fix and on the Courts of Sewers, and for the payment specify the limits of every such level, &c. or of of all other necessary expenses of putting the any such part of a level, &c. and to appoint recited acts and this act into execution, and surveyors, collectors, treasurers, expenditors, the contingent expenses of working the said and other officers for every such level, &c. or commissions of sewers respectively. any part thereof respectively, whenever the

[To be continued in our next.] said commissioners shall think fit so to do, and to cause separate and distinct accounts to be kept of all movies collected and received by

SELECTIONS virtue of any rate or rates which shall be made,

FROM CORRESPONDENCE. under the authority of the said recited acts relating to sewers, or of this act, upon any lands

No. XXX. or hereditaments within any such level, &c. or any part thereof respectively, and of all pay-1

ARTICLES OF CLERKSHIP. ments and disbursements in respect thereof; To the Editor of the Legal Observer. and the said commissioners are hereby also Sir, authorized to apply the monies to be collected Observing that you invite discussion upon and received from each distinct level, &c. or matters of practice in the profession, I beg to ány part thereof respectively, by virtue of any inquire of you, or of some of your numerous such rate or rates as aforesaid, to and for the readers, what the usage of the profession is with several purposes to which the same inay be respect to articled clerks placed under circumlawfully applied under the authority of the stances such as follow :said recited acts or of this act, but so never | About the middle of March last I articled theless that each level, &c. and every part of myself in an old established office in the such level, &c. shall bear its own costs, charges, country, then conducted by two partners; and and expenses; and in case any such costs, although my correspondence, previously to my charges, and expenses shall apply to or be in-being articled, was addressed to the firm, and curred in respect of two or more levels, &c. or not to either partner exclusively, it was, as a parts thereof respectively, the same shall be ap- matter of convenience to the partners themportioned and divided between such levels, &c. selves, arranged that I should be articled to or such parts thereof respectively, in such man- one of them only, but with a clear understandner as the said commissioners shall adjudge to ing that my services and my obedience were he fair and equitable.

to be given alike to both. 15. Provided that this act shall not extend The partner to whom I was articled, in conto release any person, body politic or corpo- sequence of some family arrangements, took rate, from any liability incurred before the pass-up his residence at a place about ten miles dis ing of this act by reason of tenure, frontage, tant from the seat of business. ' In consequence prescription, custom, covenant, or grant; but of this removal to so inconvenient a distance, a in case any such person shall not keep in good dissolution of partnership took place, and the

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