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CONSOLIDATION OF THE STATUTE LAW.
would also prevent the possibility of introducing any uniformity of style in the modern consolidated statutes.
The chief object, as we conceive, of our labours is, in REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONERS.
the numerous cases where there are many acts applica
ble to one subject, often inconsistent, often ambiguous, (Continued from p. 368).
or an incomplete expression of the intention of the LeThe responsibility for alterations of the law intro- gislature, and generally verbose, to reduce as far as duced under such circumstances would of course rest possible each subject to one simple statute, so that a with the minister by whom the bill is brought into clear statement of the statute law may be found in one Parliament. A case of this kind has already occurred act, which, amongst other advantages, would be a great with reference to the bill for consolidating and amend assistance to future legislation. ing the Copyhold Commissioners' acts, which (as we With respect to the improvement of current legishave already mentioned) has been prepared by Mr. lation, little beyond the preparation of the few general Wingrove Cooke for the Copyhold Commissioners, and rules for draftsmen already mentioned has been hitherto by them referred to us for approval. We have ap. attempted; but it has been explained by the Lord proved of it, so far as it is a consolidation of the existing Chancellor that it was part of his plan, in recomInw, without expressing any opinion as to the propriety mending the issuing of the commission, that Mr. Belof the amendments introduced.
lenden Ker, in addition to his duties as a member of Another difficult question connected with the process the board, should assist the Great Seal in the House of consolidation is, how far the exact words of the of Lords in drawing such law bills as should be reexisting statutes are to be preserved ? No one can quired by the Lord Chancellor, and by generally exadoubt that mere useless repetitions are to be retrenched; mining and reporting to him as to all the law bills but to effect the complete union, in concise and uniform introduced in either House of Parliament. This duty language, of the enactments of different periods, much has been performed by Mr. Ker during the present more than that is necessary; the whole matter must be session, and he has prepared or assisted in the prepacompletely recast. It has been objected to such a pro-ration of several bills under the Lord Chancellor's direcceeding that it will disturb all the existing judicial tion, and has also reported to the Lord Chancellor on a decisions on the former statutes, and that therefore the great number of the bills which have been brought into exact words of the old acts should be reproduced-at Parliament. least, in those cases where they have been the subject of Perhaps nothing satisfactory towards the improveany judicial interpretation. On the other hand, how- ment of future legislation can be effected until either ever, it must be remembered, that as soon as there has a board or some other persons are appointed whose been a judicial decision on a statute, the law on the duty it shall be either to prepare or revise and report subject consists of the statute as expounded by the upon all bills before they are brought into Parliament, decision; and to reproduce the statute alone and un- and to watch them during their progress through the altered may lead to what is not a true representation two Houses, either as officers of the Lord Chancellor of the existing law. In this point of view it would or some other minister, or as officers of the two Houses seem that many of those enactments which have been of Parliament. made the subject of decisions may require to be altered
CRANWORTH, C., (1..s.) J. MONCREIFF, (L.s.) in their language so as to incorporate the effect of such
LYNDHURST, (L.S.) S. H. WALPOLE, (LS.) decisions. The difficulty felt seems to be, that if this
BROUGHAM, (L.S.) William Page W00D, (L.S.) is done all the cases in which the law has been pre
Wrottesley, (L.s.) William KEOGH, (... S.) viously settled by litigation will have to be settled
CAMPBELL, (L.S.) JAMES CRAUFURD, (L.S.) again by the same process. This, however, by no
John Jervis, (l.s.) WALTER Coulson, (L.s.) means follows; for if the new enactment be properly
Fred. POLLOCK, (l.s.) H. BELLENDEN KER, (L.S.) drawn, the cases will be provided for by it without
J. PARKE, (L.S.) litigation. No doubt a certain amount of inconvenience and trouble must follow on every change in the July 10, 1855. statute law; but they must be submitted to if the benefits will more than counterbalance them. Besides, as the act will be a new one, passed under new circum
The following are extracts from the Appendix to the
Commissioners' Report:stances, it would not follow, even if the exact words of the old acts were retained, that they would in all March 14, 1855.—The Attorney-General brought cases bear the meanings attached to them by past de forward some objections to the mode of proceeding cisions; at any rate, it would not be so certain that the adopted by the board. He contended that the plan of obligation of examining and testing the new statute taking at random isolated groups of statutes and concould be dispensed with.
solidating them into single acts was not likely to proThe foregoing considerations seem to lead to the con- duce valuable results, or to satisfy the expectations clusion that it is not expedient at present to deal at which the public had formed from the appointment of all with those old statutes, such as the Statute of Uses the commission. or the Statute of Frauds, which, taken in connexion Before the process of consolidation is commenced the with the great amount of judicial exposition of which whole body of the law ought to be reviewed and arthey have become the nucleus, can hardly now be ranged analytically; the parts of it which consist of termed statute law at all. Statutes of this class might statutes should next be placed under their proper indeed be put in their proper places, unaltered, in an heads; and the process of consolidation should then be analytical arrangement of the whole contents of the applied to those parts of the statute law which fall statute-book, with some explanation to the effect that together under this arrangement. The whole operation they are put there only in a declaratory way, and that would thus be performed with regularity and system, their effect is to remain the same as if they had been and should be laid before Parliament, not in detached left untouched. It appears to us, however, that such a portions, but as a complete work. He thought that if course would not be attended with any practical uti- it was shewn that it was a mere consolidation, and that lity; and so far from contributing to the completeness it was carefully executed on fixed principles, the bulk of any arrangement of the contents of the statute of the work would not be an obstacle to passing the book, it would render necessary explanations or excep: whole through Parliament at once. tions of a nature at once awkward and elaborate, and The Solicitor-General was also in favour of com
mencing with an analytical arrangement of the law; the new consolidated acts might be made applicable to but he further contended that the process to be applied all Great Britain, or be postponed till afterwards. to the statute law ought not to be a rewriting of the old statutes in a condensed form, but a digest of the
May 23, 1855.-The Attorney-General urged the imexisting statutory provisions, without alteration of lan- portance of laying down a complete and logical plan of guage, but with explanatory additions where they have the whole field to be operated upon before the work of been judicially interpreted. A digest of this kind would consolidation was commenced. 'He contended that it admit of the incorporation of the common law wherever was necessary for the satisfactory consolidation of any advisable, which could not be effected by merely pro- branch of the statute law that it should be executed ducing aggregations of old statutes in new language. with immediate reference to a methodical distribution He contended that this was the process directed by the of the whole contents of the statute-book, and that if royal commission, taken in connexion with the report any isolated consolidations of particular subjects were of the commissioners of 1835, whose suggestions were commenced without any general plan, they must all be made binding on the present board by the reference to imperfect and unsatisfactory. He therefore proposed them contained in the recitals prefixed to the com
that the analytical arrangement of the statutes should mission.
be first completed, and then a large body of draftsmen Sir W. P. Wood also thought that it would be should be employed to recompose at once the body of useful to have a general analytical arrangement of the law thus distributed into a complete and methodical subject to be dealt with, as otherwise difficulties would digest. Ile thought that Parliament would be more arise in deciding the exact parts of the existing statute ready to pass a work of this kind in its entirety than law that ought to be taken into any isolated conso- to take up bills which should only profess to consolidate lidation.
particular subjects. The Lord Chancellor explained, that by the mention
The Solicitor-General remarked on the importance of of the common law in the commission he conceived making every division of the digest proposed by the nothing more was intended than that draftsmen should Attorney-General complete in itself, so as to present a not be debarred by any rigid rule from introducing statement of the entire law on the subject comprised such portions of common law as should make a con
in it. solidated act a complete and intelligible enactment,
The Lord Chancellor observed that that would be to instead of a collection of fragments; and with regard codify the whole law—a work which was not within to the proposal of the Attorney-General, he observed, the scope of the present commission. With respect to that after the proposed analysis of the statute law was
the remarks of the Attorney-General, his Lordship made, it would still be necessary to begin the actual observed that no arrangement of the contents of the work of consolidation with some isolated group; and statute-book, however logical, would present any comhe thought there would be great practical difficulty in plete body of law, as the statute law itself was only a passing an entire consolidation of the statute law collection of alterations of, or additions to, the unthrough Parliament at once. He admitted that some
written law; and he therefore suggested that the Atimperfections might result from attempting to con. torney-General's proposal, however just it might be if solidate in partial groups, which might be avoided by a codification of the whole law of the land were the a preliminary classification of the whole subject; but object in view, was misapplied with reference to the difficulties of detail would occur under any system,
statute law alone. But his Lordship agreed that it and the most scientific arrangement was not always would be advantageous to have some preliminary arfound the most practically convenient. On the whole, rangement of the whole contents of the statute-book, his Lordship thought it advisable to commence by at- in order to settle what groups should be taken together tempting what we knew to be practicable. Well-drawn for the purpose of consolidation, according to some consolidated acts were admitted to be useful, and were uniform principle of classification, so far as any pringenerally regarded with favour; and if the board could ciple could be applied; though, owing to the fragproduce some good bills of the same nature as “ Peel's mentary nature of the subject, there must be many Acts,” and other existing specimens of consolidation, cases in which the distribution could be little better he thought it would gain the confidence of the public,
than arbitrary: and perhaps be empowered hereafter to attempt some
With regard to the disposition of Parliament, his thing on a larger and more scientific scale.
Lordship thought that it would be easier to begin by After considerable discussion, in which Lord Lynd- passing a few consolidated acts on subjects which are hurst, Lord Brougham, and others took part, it was generally admitted to require consolidation, and on finally arranged that an analytical arrangement of the which there are no differences of opinion which would contents of the statute-book, as a guide to the board in raise discussion, than to attempt to pass an entire digest the choice of subjects for consolidation, should be pre- at once, as proposed by the Attorney-General. The pared; but that meanwhile the consolidation of separate confidence of Parliament would thus be obtained, and groups of statutes should be continued according to the measures of a more extensive character, if hereafter plan already adopted by the board.
determined on, would be better received and more The Attorney-General, the Solicitor-General, Mr. easily passed. Coulson, and Mr. Ker were named the sub-committee to superintend the preparation of an analysis of the statute laws; and it was agreed that Mr. Anstey should
Proposals for a new Classification of the Statutes. be employed in the work under their direction.
The present arrangement of acts in three series, styled The Lord Advocate made some observations on the public general,” « local and personal, (public),” and operation of the commission with reference to the private," appears both inconvenient and inaccurate. statute law of Scotland. He observed that there was It is submitted that all the acts of the session ought no great necessity for consolidation of the Scotch to be pumbered in a single series, in the order in which statutes; but what was principally required was a they receive the royal assent. The following are the revision of the English statutes from which Scotland considerations which seem to justify this proposal. was excepted, with a view to the assimilation of the 1. The classification now existing is, as regards the law of the two countries wherever practicable. This subject matter of the acts, almost entirely arbitrary. was a process which must be performed sooner or later, Many acts are included in the “public general” series and the only question therefore was, whether it should which are extremely limited and local in their applicaprecede the consolidation of the English law, so that I tion; while many acts of far more public interest are
included in the “ local and personal” series. In fact, The same observations apply to the rules as to the the division is not founded on the nature or subject of number of copies of acts to be printed and circulated the acts at all, but on the parties by whom the bill is by the Queen's printers. With respect to these, it applied for, and the forms and rules of the House may be asked, what rule is to be adopted if the present respecting their introduction. Taking the acts of 1853, one is superseded? But the difficulty will be only that we find an act to enable the Commissioners of Inland which must exist in every case where a selection is to Revenue to sell the site of the Excise Office in Broad be made; and it cannot be doubted that a selection street called “general," while an act respecting the made by any person of ordinary intelligence would be Great Bedford Level is “ local ;” an act about the rights more really useful than an arrangement which, with of common over Battersea-park“ general,” and an act reference to the present question, is little better than relating to the improvement of the city of Westminster arbitrary. To have such a selection made by a compe“local;" an act to empower the sheriff of Berwickshire tent officer would only be to effect the object for which to hold county courts at Dunse“ general;” and an act the present rules were recommended by the committees regulating the civil court of record of Liverpool “local;" of 1796 and 1801-namely, to insure that the publian act about Westminster-bridge“ general,” and acts city given to acts should bear a due proportion to their about bridges at Worcester and Rochester “ local,” and importance.
The rules which govern the classification of 4. The rules as to “judicial recognition," &c., bills, with respect to fees, proof of preamble before under which the present division was instituted, no select committees, &c., are well known; but it is sub- longer exist. The clauses which used to be added to mitted that although there can be no objection to retain local and personal acts, declaring that they should be this classification as to bills so long as they continue considered to be public acts, or that copies of them bills, if it is found just and convenient, it need not be, printed by the Queen's printers should be evidence, and should not be carried on into the arrangement of have become superfluous since the 8 & 9 Vict. c. 113, the complete statutes.
s. 3, which enacts, that “all copies of private and local 2. The present classification creates and fosters an and personal acts of Parliament, not public acts, if purentirely unfounded notion that there is some difference porting to be printed by the Queen's printers, shall be as to authority and obligation between the different admitted as evidence thereof by all Courts, &c., without classes of acts. Now, the present classification is founded any proof being given that such copies were so printed;" on no statutory authority; and though it must be ad- and the 13 & 14 Vict. c. 21, s. 7, which enacts, that mitted that it has been incidentally recognised in henceforth every act“ shall be deemed and taken to be several recent statutes, it is, strictly speaking, un- a public act, and shall be judicially taken notice of known to the law. There is, or was, a known dis- as such, unless the contrary be expressly provided and tinction, both as to construction and as to "judicial declared by such act*.” recognition,” between public and private acts; but this The Queen's printers' edition of the statutes (which distinction, if not entirely abrogated, has no reference has been very negligently superintended of late) conto the classification now in question, but only to the tinues to describe the " local and personal (public)" consideration whether the acts are really public or series as “nets declared public, and to be judicially noprivate in respect of their subject-matter. There is an ticed,” and the “private" series as acts of which intelligible distinction between laws which may be copies may be given in evidence;" but this is entirely supposed to have been originated by the Legislature inaccurate, and inapplicable to the present state of itself, and with reference to public considerations alone, things. The “local and personal (public)" acts do not and laws granted on the petition of private parties for now require, and seldom, if ever, contain any declaratheir individual advantage, (privilegia). In the latter tion that they are public, and shall be judicially nocase it is reasonable to construe the terms of enactment ticed; and they even occasionally contain a declaration used by the Legislature, however absolutely expressed, that they shall not be public-for instance, the 14 & 15 not as the expression of its supreme will, but as the Vict. c. cxxviii, relating to the estates of Trinity Col. grant of the petition of the applicant, and contingent, lege, Dublin; and though the “private” acts do genetherefore, on the truth and propriety of the applicant's rally contain a declaration that a Queen's printers' copy representations, and thus admitting. modifications not shall be evidence, that declaration is now quite superapplicable to public acts. But, as has been shewn, the fluous, and should not be made the foundation of any modern threefold division of acts cannot be reconciled classification. with this distinction between public and private, many
(To be continued). of the public general” being decidedly private in their nature, while some of the “local and personal" are public.
3. Another inconvenient result to the public of The Queen has been pleased to appoint Paul Ivy the present classification is, that in editions of the statutes they get many“ public general” statutes at full Sterling, Esq., to be a Puisne Judge of the Supreme length which they do not want, while many of the
Court of Ceylon. “ local and personal,” which they are more likely to want, are omitted. It is true that this is a question of * These clauses seem to set the question as to judicial recogintelligent editorship; still editors think themselves to nition on a reasonable and proper ground, for no one can a great extent bound by the classification adopted by seriously doubt that the judges have the means of aseertaining the Legislature. It is believed that far more useful satisfactorily what acts have been passed. But there is still editions of the statutes would be published if the editors some uncertainty as to the effect of the latter enactment on had to exercise their unfettered discretion as to printing the rules as to difference of construction between public and at length or not in one single series.
private acts; for though the terms of the enactment seem There would be no difference in principle, and per- ample enough, yet Sir J. Wigram, V. C., in Dawsor v. Parer, haps not much in bulk, between editions under the (5 Hare), said that the distinctions in construction between present and under the proposed system : the principle public and private, acts depended on the nature and subnow is, and still would be, to print public statutes at considerations, such as having the clause that the act shall length, and of local and personal ones only the titles; be deemed a public act.” (See also Guthrie v. Fish, 3 B. & but there would be this difference, that under the pro-Cr., and The Trustees of the Birkenhead Docks v. The Bir. posed arrangement the really public acts would be kenhead Dock Company, before the Lords Justices, November, printed, and the really local and personal ones omitted, 1853). A doubt also occurs whether the rules as to pleading which is not now the case,
private acts (if any) are affected.
tobacconist, Sept. 28 at li, Liverpool, aud. ac.- John STARKIE'S LAW OF EVIDENCE.NEW EDITION. Dumble, Sunderland, commission agent, Oct. 9 at 11, New- A PRACTICAL TREATISE of the LAW of EVI. castle-upon-Tyne, aud. ac.; Oct. 11 at 11, div.-John Robson,
DENCE. By THOMAS STARKIE, Esq. Fourth Edition, Durham, miller, Oct. 9 at half-past 11, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Statutes and reported Cases to the time of publication. By G. M.
with very considerable alterations and additions; incorporating the aud. ac. ; Oct. 11 at half-past il, fin. div.--Thomas Flintoff, DOWDESWELL and J. G. MALCOLM, Esqrs., Barristers at Law. Newcastle-upon-Tyne, commission agent, Oct. 5 at 11, New- Just published, in 1 vol. royal 8vo., price 11. 16s. cloth. castle-upon-Tyne, aud. ac.-:--Edmund Stevens, Walsall, Staf
“ Fortunately for the Profession, the new edition has been intrusted fordshire, draper, Sept. 29 at 11, Birmingham, aud. ac.-
to gentlemen, of whom one is well known, not only as a ripe and accom
plished lawyer, (doctrinâ malidus), but as a judicious editor, knowing J. Walley, Derby, boiler maker, Oct. 9 at 10, Nottingham, aud. how to withhold as well as how to apply his hand. Amid the preseut ae. and div.-J. Chancellor, Phoenix-place, Dorrington-street, plague of reports mere industry is not sufficient
to qualify even a secondClerkenwell, and Hyde-house, Battersea, funeral carriage by their respect for the author, but have altered, corrected, and amended
rate editor. . . . . It is evident that the editors have not been blinded master, Oct. 10 at 1, London, div.- Robert Pinhorn, South-wherever they have seen occasion. Such a course could not be pursued ampton, tailor, Oct. 9 at half-past 12, London, fin. div.- safely upon a small stock of learning or of judgment; and in our opiWilliam Piggott, Great Eversden, Cambridgeshire, general- tage to the book; so that the fourth edition of Starkie is to the existing shop keeper, Oct. 9 at 12, London, div.--Robert Willmott, law what the first edition was to the law in 1824. . . . . We wish we Peterborough, Northamptonshire, tailor, Oct. 9 at half-past had some means of identifying Mr. Malcolm's portions of the work. 12, London, fin. div.-David Halket, Herne Bay, Kent, ship- As it is being hitherto unknown in authorship, he must be content with owner, Oct. 9 at 1, London, div.-Morgan Evans, Aberdare,
the praise of having borne a part where all was good."-Jurist.
“ It is also the only work of which a new edition has been brought Glamorganshire, grocer, Oct. 8 at 11, Bristol, div.
out at such a time as to render it possible that it should apply to pracCERTIFICATES.
tice, with any degree of consideration and accuracy, the modern changes
in the law. . We think the editors will have gone far towards reTo be allowed, unless Cause be shewn to the contrary on or
storing the admirable work of Mr. Starkie to its original character of
the best work on the law of evidence which has yet been produced."before the Day of Meeting.
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