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Law Reform, And Suggested Improve-
Summarv of the Acts of the Session
Imprisonment for Debt, 194, 233, 305,
Law Offices Attendance, 64, 104, 168.
Coroners' Expenses, 22,33, £6, 77, 112,
127, 158, 304, 353.
Law of Partnership, 156.
Mergei of Terms, 149.
Price of Reversionary Interest, 427.
Shelly's case, 468.
Son's security to Father, 378.
Wife's Equity, 107.
Cancelling Wills, 253.
Revoking Wills, 442.
Insolvent Debtor, 94.
Revivor of Suit for Costs, 395.
Mother's Rights as to Children, 268.
Dissolutions Of Professional Partner-
Bankruptcies Superseded, lb.
The Editor's Letter Box. End of each
SATURDAY, MAY 6, 1837.
'"Quod maeis ad Nos Pertinet, et nescire malum est, agitamus.
PROSPECTS OF THE PROFESSION.
Th« commencement of a new volume of our work appears to us a good opportunity for making some general remarks on the present state of the Profession.
It has ever been our object to represent the feelings of the whole body of its members; we have taken our stand on the common interest, and have never taken up the cause of any branch or department against the rest. We do not profess to represent any section of the profession. The Bench, the Bar, and the general practitioner have too many interests and feelings in common not to require mutual support; and we have endeavoured so far from widening any breach between them to unite them still closer.
To support and promote the honour and respectability of the profession of the law has been our main object; but in labouring to do this, it must not be supposed that wc have professional interests alone in view: it is for the common good—the Public interest, that their professional servants should he above suspicion—should be properly remunerated— should fill an honourable station in society, and should possess ability of the first order. It is no mere professional purpose which we have tried to serve, it is in the general cause that we have laboured; and the state has, in our opinion, as much at stake in this question as the particular body whose advantage we have more immediately espoused.
The necessity for upholding the Bench n universally admitted. We have indeed occasionally heard some grumbling that the
Vol. xiv,—No, 396.
Judges are over-paid, and if it can be shewn that they are under-worked, their Balaries, wc admit, are too high; but is there any one who has seen all that a Judge of the Superior Courts has to go through in Term time or on Circuit—the learning and talents he must possess—the laborious life he must lead previous to his elevation—who can grudge him his pecuniary reward? It is true that, in very rare instances, the most judicious appointment is not made—the person selected does not always answer expectation, and political feeling cannot be altogether set aside—the great law officer of the day asserts his official prerogative—the leading advocate, tried by his own great reputation, disappoints the public as a Judge; but with all these drawbacks, it would be difficult to point to any body of public men so highly thought of,—so venerated as the Judges of the Land.
The Bar is divided notoriously into two classes; the real, and the nominal barrister. From the first, it is to be remembered, that the Bench must be chosen. How necessary then, if it were only for this reason, to preserve the integrity of this branch of the profession—to keep its character unsullied—to invite into its ranks persons having the most eminent qualities of head and of heart—to preserve its independence—and by every possible means to insure its competence and respectability. The second class, the nominal, barrister, is composed of persons who have no settled abiding place in the profession—who may or who may not know one word of law—who have other objects in view than to work their way quietly up to distinction— who are waiting for their fortune, or jobbing for a place.
2 The Prospects of the Profession.— On the Law of Marriage by Banns
We confess we arc for diminishing this latter class, as it really injures the first class—the working men—by taking away their fair remuneration. We are for instituting a strict examination before any law-degree is conferred — we are for increasing the real, and decreasing the nominal barristers; and for putting an end to a system in which he who has borne the heat and toil of the day too often sees the prize to which he is entitled carried off by some ignorant pretender, who is nominally entitled to take rank with himself. The smaller offices and places in the profession are now almost wholly filled up out of the second class, greatly to the injury of the fair rights of the profession and the public
The general practitioner no longer labours under the disadvantage of having no examination. This preliminary step, which has recently been established, will in time free this branch of the profession from the mere drones; and its good effect is already beginning to be felt, as well to masters as to clerks. At the same time, it must be admitted, that the solicitor and the attorney are at present not in so prosperous a state as we should be glad to see them in.4 We
* We believe the following to be a correct account of the present state of the receipts of the country attornev. We extract it from a little work just published, called Observations on the unprofitable state of Country Equity and Common Law Practice, Sfc. "It is a matter beyond dispute, that the professional receipts of country attorneys very inadequately correspond with the expenses incurred in their education and admission, the responsibility attending their practice, their superior intelligence and activity, or the extensive influence they possess through the hitter qualifications. With incomes inferior lo those made by the middle class of tradesmen, they are expected, nevertheless, to take a more elevated rank in society, and to live in a style requiring a larger expenditure. A practice yielding 'Mill, per annum, is not enjoyed by one-half of the members of the profession; a business producing the double of that income is not very frequently met with; whilst the profits of few offices exceed 1000/ a year. I speak, of course, of the sums made by individuals,—a return of two, three, or four thousand a year from one connexion, being generally, if not always, divided amongst many partners. With these slender means, provincial attorneys have to maintain the external appearance of gentlemen, and to muke a show of easy circumstances. They have, moreover, to bestow upon their families an education, and to place them in positions.suitable to their itation, unless they can smother the natural aud laudable desire of transmitting to their
think they are fairly entitled to some consideration. Being of this opinion, we would thro w open many smaller offices to this branch of the profession, which we are well satisfied wants neither integrity nor ability. A great deal of the country administration of justice might be well performed by this branch. The bankruptcy business is already very much in their hands; and we see no reason, from our experience as to this, for not placing the registration and the revision of votes under the Reform and Corporation Acts, with a certain superintendence, in this department of the profession. We are certainly for a more equal division of legal patronage than at present exists.
We shall, however, conclude these remarks by again impressing on our readers the necessity of being united among ourselves. Much may gradually be done for the reform of every grievance, if we only stand together. Much has been done already;—but if we once begin to quarrel amoug ourselves, we shall no longer be able to make head against our enemies, who are sufficiently powerful and numerous :— but the dignity of the Bench, the independence of the Bar, and the integrity and welfare of the Solicitor will fall together.
ON THE LAW OF MARRIAGE BY BANNS.
It was settled under the 26 G. 2, c. 33, that the publication of banns must be in the proper names acquired by baptism or reputation, or the marriage would be invalid, even where there was no fraud." By the 4 G. 4, c. 76, which repeals the former act, it is enacted, that if any person knowingly and wilfully shall intermarry without the due publication of banns or license, the marriage shall be void; and it has been held by the Court of King's Bench,1' that in order to invalidate a marriage under this enactment it must be contracted by both parties with a knowledge that no due publication of the banns had taken place.
This was an important rule, and it has been followed in the Ecclesiastical Courts. The first decision bearing on the point in
children the advantages of their own position in the world."
« R'x v. Billinghurst, 3 M. d S. 250; and see Rex v. Tibshel/, 1 B. & Ad. 190.
b Rex v. Inhabitants of Wroxton, 4 B. & Ad. 640; and 7 L. O. 293; and see Allen v. Wood, I Bing. 8, N. C.