Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

court. The officer leaves, not later than the next day, at the defendant's house, who must be a resident in the district, a copy of the complaint as a summons, containing amount of demand, names and addresses of parties, direction to the court, and day and hour of meeting; that on the cause being called, the plaintiff is to deposit 3s. 4d. if in the lower court, or 6s. 8d. if in the upper court, for the jurymen, at the rate they are now paid, 8d. per man per cause, which however is quite too little, and the plaintiff reads the account or the heads of it if long, and states his tale either by reading or extemporaneously in as few words as he can be induced to do it, and if he begin with any flights of fancy, he should be instantly stopped from that, though allowed to resume the simple narrative. When he has been heard out, or the judge and jury think he has been heard as much as fairness demands, the defendant is then at liberty to reply under the same restrictions as the plaintiff had been; the plaintiff then calls his witnesses to substantiate his statement or shake that of the defendant. When a witness is done with by the party calling him the other party may cross question him; the plaintiff's witnesses being done with the defendant may call his, and they are to be examined in like manner: no comments to be allowed either party after he has had his speech: of course the judge and jury would have precisely the same power to examine and cross question as in all other courts. Either may employ counsel at his own expense, but on no consideration shall he have any claim on the other for such expenses; either party may bring a friend either legal or not to speak for him, but that excludes him from speaking himself; all the payments to the court to be borne by the losing party, with this condition, that should the defendant lose the cause and complain that the plaintiff had not given him two weeks' notice of his intention to proceed by law, previous to the summons, and the plaintiff could not state that he had, the expenses should be borne equally between them; yet a two-penny post letter should be deemed good notice, and the declaration of the defendant good

[ocr errors]

evidence on his describing the particulars and circumstances in an apparently consistent and probable manner; as the expense of bringing many witnesses would partly neutralize the object of

economy. A reasonable time should be allowed for payment, which if not kept up to the day, an order for seizure of goods and chattels for the whole to issue on application of the plaintiff.

Should the stamps not be equivalent to those now used in the settlement of claims to the same amount they ought to be rated higher, for there is neither reason nor justice in trenching on the revenue at every turn because abuses exist in other bodies; and it may be recollected that the payment to the revenue would be little, compared to the saving of expense to litigants. .

Instead of title-deeds, leases, &c. being drawn by the lawyers, an office should be opened in each district (already alluded to for criminal establishments and civil law proceedings) for recording all transfers of landed property, leases, mortgages, &c. containing lists of the property in the district

in local arrangement, names, addresses, and nature of tenure of proprietors, copy and lease-holders, and all who had right in possession or expectancy, with dates of transfer by sale, lease, legacy, &c. or however intended to be effected, with index of locality, and index of names of parties.

This would show first who were the owners, and who in possession, and on what tenure, at the commencement of the system; secondly, all subsequent changes of ownership, whether by transfer by the then owners, or reversion of their claims by testamentary documents or otherwise ; thirdly, the parties who possessed right by lease, with the term, rent, and all conditions, expressed in a few words; fourthly, the amount and particulars of every mortgage of any property, whether freehold, copyhold, leasehold, or otherwise, with the date of execution and withdrawal, if withdrawn: and copies of any entry given at any time, on payment of the rate provided for that service, to be estimated according to value and length.

By which these advantages would be gained: that at first very generally, and after a few years almost universally, the goodness of titles would be unquestionable, both because the records relative thereto would be continued uniformly and consistently, proving at all subsequent periods who possessed the beneficial interest of any given estate at any given period, and because no legal blunder would ever occur ; but the simple matters of fact being invariably entered in the books, with the signatures, seals, designations, and addresses of the respective parties, and attested by a friend, to accompany and identify, if needful, and an attested copy given on payment for as often as required, the doubt of legality would be annihilated, as regarded the bargain and its contingencies.

Also all borrowing and lending would be placed on a most convenient footing for all honest intentions, because all mortgages with amounts and all particulars being attached to the account of each particular property, the borrower would have no difficulty from the doubts of the proposed lender, and the lender could incur no risks from ignorance of

« ZurückWeiter »