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THE LAW OF COSTS
ACTIONS & OTHER PROCEEDINGS
Courts of Common Law at Westminster.
BY JOHN GRAY, Esq.,
OF THE MIDDLE TEMPLE, BARRISTER-AT-LAW.
It is now upwards of forty years since the publication of the second and last edition of Mr. Baron Hullock's Treatise on Costs, and although that work is still occasionally cited as an authority on matters as to which the law has not undergone subsequent alteration or exposition, it is obvious that time alone must necessarily have so impaired its value as to render it practically obsolete.
The first idea naturally occurring to any one undertaking to deal with the Law of Costs, would be the production of a new edition of Baron Hullock's Treatise; but from the commencement, it became evident that it was impossible to treat the subject in that manner. A very large portion of that work consists of cases, the reports of which are given at great length, and which cases are either no longer law, or no longer require such lengthened notice; and by far the greater portion of the materials for a work on Costs consists at present of cases, rules, and statutes which were not in existence at the time the last edition of Baron Hullock's book was published. The intention, therefore, to publish an edition of that Treatise was very soon abandoned ; the author thought that greater justice could be done to the subject by attempting an original work, and the present is the result. At the same time it is right to state that some parts of Mr. Baron Hullock's Treatise, which were thought to be available, have been transferred to this volume, and duly acknowledged; the extent of these, however, does not exceed a few pages.
That the subject of Costs is one of sufficient importance to justify a treatise, cannot be doubted. The right and liability to them are often of much greater importance to suitors than the claims in which they originate; nor must it be imagined that questions of costs are decided upon mere abstract arbitrary provisions without reference to general principles. Formerly, indeed, principles were in some degree lost sight of, and considerable confusion was caused by the conflicting and erroneous decisions which ensued; but the Courts of late years, assisted by the Legislature, have done much to restore order and congruity. An endeavour has been accordingly made to give this work a character for something more than a repository of statutes and cases, by keeping principles ever in view, and while placing the foundation of the decisions of the Courts in an intelligible light, pointing out unreservedly where those principles appear to have been departed from.
The work was commenced many years ago, and progressed from time to time; but the author chose to delay its completion until the changes which were in progress in the Law of Costs should appear to have terminated. He thought this was the case when the Common Law Procedure Act passed;