Page images

for the appointment and arrangement of Electoral Drainage Boards, but with these we have no concern, although we will conclude our remarks with this observation of Mr. Cooke: "Like other provisions which have the effect of allowing land owners with limited estates to let their lands upon equitable terms, or to improve their cultivation, they are very beneficial in their operation, and it is well that the power should be known to exist."*

Without an appendix of forms a work is considered incomplete. We have here a copious list of forms. They are ever acceptable to the practitioner, who, if he be a practised lawyer, takes all forms, statutable or otherwise (not being imperative), as guides, not as masters.


We now take leave, for the present, of the commissioner, whose office is the reward of his knowledge and his labours. When a treatise has arrived at its fourth edition, a guarantee for its value is revealed which needs no other record than a kindly remembrance to the public of its appearance. may not agree with every sentence of the commonable discussions, but we regard the whole as a work of considerable utility, not too short, so as to raise a suspicion of want of care, but sufficiently explicit to win the watchful reader to the belief that he has found the chief points he has been looking for, well and lucidly explained.


THE object of this Bill is "to consolidate and amend the Acts regulating procedure before Justices of the Peace out of Quarter Sessions in England," and its preamble succinctly recites that "it is expedient to reduce into one Act

*P. 148.

Brought in by Mr. Paull, Mr. Richard Hodgson, and Mr. Staniland, 8th June, 1864.

[ocr errors]

the existing enactments regulating the procedure before Justices of the Peace out of Quarter Sessions in England, to simplify and amend those enactments and the forms of such procedure, and to provide uniform Tables of Fees to be taken by Clerks to Justices and Constables." It is understood to have been prepared by Mr. Oke, of the Mansion House justice room, whose works upon this extensive branch of the law are in universal use, and to be framed in accordance with the valuable paper upon the subject read by him at the annual meeting of the National Association for the Promotion of Social Science, held at the Guildhall, London, in June, 1862, and published in the Transactions of the Association for that year. In that paper we repointed out the numerous practical defects in the present procedure before justices in England, with suggestions of the fitting remedies; and after remarking that the procedure is principally regulated by Jervis's Act, 11 & 12 Vict., c. 43, passed in 1848, which, although it effected many improvements in the practice, fell very short of what it professed to be, a consolidation Act, and did not give that facility to the justices in the exercise of their increasing duties, which was expected; the author says

"It does not create a uniformity of practice, for it exempts from its operation so many offences and matters to which some, if not all, of its provisions might advantageously have been applied, and contains in every fourth or fifth section some exception or proviso as to portions of procedure supplied by other enactments, which should have been repealed, that its utility is much impaired; it being in fact and practically of limited operation, and, in many cases, only of a cumulative character, thereby creating confusion and uncertainty in the application of its provisions, as the questions submitted to the superior courts from time to time abundantly testify. It has likewise in many cases of modern legislation been referred to as the Act containing the procedure, without due consideration of the Page 146." Magisterial Procedure: Reasons for its Revision, Simplification, and Uniformity." By George C. Oke, of the Mansion House Justice Room, author of "The Magisterial Synopsis," and other legal works. Reviewed L. M. and R. August, 1862, page 367.


nature of its provisions, to many of which it was never intended to apply, and, as respects others, it provides no adequate machinery to carry out; whilst many statutes passed afterwards, to which it would have applied, have, regardless of the procedure provided by it, embodied similar clauses to those in it on procedure, and others have contained new and unnecessary enactments, applicable, in some instances only partially, to the steps taken in the same class or description of cases. As an illustration of recent date-in four of the important Criminal Law Consolidation Acts of the last session,* there were upwards of twenty clauses as to procedure which are unnecessary, or were already law and enacted in almost similar terms in the 11 & 12 Vict., c. 43, which is also specially, though unnecessarily, referred to in those statutes, and which clauses would have been more appropriate in a Consolidated Procedure Bill, and must be repealed when such a measure is brought before Parliament. In confirmation of this view, it is considered necessary in this present session, by a Bill promoted by the Government,† to amend these four Acts in regard to Ireland, by enacting that certain provisions in them as to procedure for offences punishable summarily should not extend to Ireland, which had already a better and more comprehensive code of procedure, provided eleven years since, in the 14 & 15 Vict., c. 93, which is admirably suited to the petty sessions courts in that part of the kingdom (and which the officials there do not, I understand, desire to see altered), and is three years later in point of time than our own incomplete measure, the defects in which were avoided although in England the summary jurisdiction is far more extensive and important."

The defunct Statute Law Commission, in March, 1857, gave instructions for the preparation of a Consolidation Procedure Bill, and it was partially proceeded with by Mr. Macnamara under the direction of Mr. Greaves, Q.C., but ultimately abandoned; Mr. Greaves, however, in the Introduction to his edition of the Criminal Law Acts of 1861 (pp., xxviii and xxix), expresses his regret that such a Bill had not been passed before the latter Acts were prepared, so as to simplify their procedure clauses. Ireland, as above observed, had

* 24 & 25 Vict., c. 96, 97, 99, & 100.

† Now 25 & 26 Vict., c. 50.

a general Procedure Act in 1851, the Petty Sessions Act, 14 & 15 Vict., c. 93; and during the present Session of Parliament, a similar measure has been passed for Scotland.

Mr. Oke has, in the Bill before us, carefully carried out his scheme of a comprehensive code of procedure for justices, and has, we believe, cured, in a very satisfactory manner, all the defects which have been found to exist in the present General and Special Acts, as well as afforded many facilities in the administration of the onerous and vastly increasing duties of the magistracy.

The Bill is, from the large and miscellaneous character of magisterial jurisdiction, necessarily of considerable length-115 pages, containing 145 clauses with schedule,-and is divided into fourteen parts, viz. :

Part Preliminary


I. Jurisdiction and authority of justices


II. Clerks to justices, their fees and duties
III. Preferring complaints and charges

IV. Process to enforce appearance

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]
[blocks in formation]






[ocr errors]






[merged small][ocr errors]


[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

VIII. Summary jurisdiction

IX. Indictable offences

XII. Execution of warrants

XIII. Recognizances...


[ocr errors]

XIV. Repeal of Acts and miscellaneous pro

visions ...

Schedules.-1st. Table of justices' clerks' fees.

2nd. Forms for justices and others.
3rd. Acts repealed, thirty-two in
number, either wholly or

[merged small][ocr errors]

The general enactments which the Bill proposes to repeal specifically are more than double the number of its clauses; the forms in the second schedule are not on the whole one-third of the length of those now in use; and the various and dissimilar procedure provisions, relating to upwards of 2,000 offences and divers matters of a civil character, including about eighty appeal clauses, each averaging a page of a printed Bill, will be entirely removed from the Statutebook if this Bill should pass into law; while future legislative measures conferring jurisdiction on justices, or creating summary offences, would be much shortened by the omission of all such provisions, and need only refer, if at all, to the General Procedure Act. It will also materially assist in the work of consolidating the statutes.

The Bill is prepared somewhat on the plan of the Irish Petty Sessions Act of 1851, which is much better drawn and arranged, and more complete than Jervis's Acts passed three years previously; but as the summary jurisdiction in England is far more extensive and complicated than in Ireland, this Bill is necessarily more comprehensive in its application, and is intended to apply to all cases coming before justices, except to some extent those relating to the revenue, which are already regulated by a special procedure.

The principal points or details, and the proposed new provisions, may be thus summarised:

1. A repeal of Jervis's Acts, 11 & 12 Vict., cc. 42, 43; 20 & 21 Vict., c. 43; 21 & 22 Vict., c. 73 (in part); procedure clauses in Acts creating summary jurisdiction, and special sessions procedure; procedure clauses in the Metropolitan and City Police Acts; also sections as to justices', clerks', and constables' fees (part xiv., sect. 130, and part ii., and 3rd schedule.)

2. Provisions defining jurisdiction and powers of all descriptions of justices, and when they shall be disqualified from determining cases by reason of interest, relationship to the parties, or being members of corporate bodies, &c. : (part i.)

3. Procedure provisions, in most instances similar to those in the

« PreviousContinue »