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the 19th Century appears in the Appendix, and among other articles are short treatises on England and the Dutch Colonies, Voters' Qualifications, and many other matters,
The Literary Year-Book and Bookman's Directory, 1901. Edited by HERBERT MORRAH. London: George Allen. This Year-Book, under the editorship of Mr. Morrah, is fast becoming an indispensable work of reference to everyone who is interested in the production of literature. As it grows in popularity the Editor's trouble increases by reason of the multitude of suggestions for its improvement with which he is assailed. The volume cannot at present be indefinitely extended, but no doubt the good ideas will be carefully sifted from the bad, and gradually the value of the Year-Book will be enhanced. The Editor is humorous at the expense of the scribblers who write to him protesting against the exclusion of their names from the "Directory of Authors." "The suggestions that reach me under this head," writes Mr. Morrah, "are curious. Many supposed that it “should be a great distinction to be included in this Directory, whereas, of course, it is no distinction at all. Were I once to select, I could not rest till I had "reduced the Directory to twenty names, or less, and my twenty or less would be "followed like 'Red Pottage' by an 'exceeding bitter cry.' I can only say that 'my own attempt to define an author would be one who has written a book. "And some have written such little books. Some are such little authors. The "test of membership of the Society of Authors (Incorporated) is, as far as I can "gather, inadequate. Some of my correspondents appear to think that such "membership is a distinction; whereas, and again of course, it is no distinction." What does the Society of Authors say to this? We think a little more care might usefully be expended in verifying names and addresses. For instance, the publishing address of this Magazine is given for a number in Fleet Street which does not now exist.
Received too late for notice in this issue:- Brooke Little's Poor Law Statutes; Brooke Little's Burial Act; Attenborough's Leading Cases in Constitutional Law; Emery's Treatise on Company Law; Freeth's Death Duty Acts; Hamilton's Manual of Company Law; Godden and Hutton's Companies Acts; The Records of the Borough of Leicester.
Other publications received:-The Journal of the Society of Comparative Legislation; The Humane Review; Words and Things; Macpherson's British Enactments in Native States (The Superintendent of Government Printing, Calcutta); Reports of the American Bar Association (The Dando Printing and Publishing Co.); The American Corporation Legal Manual (The Corporation Legal Manual Co.).
The Law Magazine and Review receives or exchanges with the following amongst other publications :-Review of Reviews, Juridical Review, Public Opinion, Law Times, Law Journal, Justice of the Peace, Law Quarterly Review, Irish Law Times, Australian Law Times, Speaker, Accountants' Journal, North American Review, Canada Law Journal, Canada Law Times, Chicago Legal News, American Law Review, American Law Register, Harvard Law Review, Case and Comment, Green Bag, Virginia Law Register, American Lawyer, Albany Law Journal, Madras Law Journal, Calcutta Weekly Notes, Law Notes, Queensland Law Journal, Law Students' Journal, Westminster Review, Bombay Law Reporter, Medico-Legal Journal, Indian Review, Kathiawar Law Reports, The Lawyer (India), Cape Law Journal, Yale Law Journal, New Jersey Law Journal.
LAW MAGAZINE AND REVIEW.
No. CCCXXI.-AUGUST, 1901.
I. IS IT EXPEDIENT TO HAVE PAID CHAIRMEN OF QUARTER SESSIONS?
HE answer to this question depends upon two things: (1) Whether the present Court of Quarter Sessions performs its duties efficiently; and (2) if not, whether, if equipped with a paid Chairman, it would perform them any better.
The first of these two questions is a somewhat delicate one to answer, and I will premise what I have to say by this that I am speaking throughout of lay Chairmen of Quarter Sessions, not of those isolated cases in which it inay and does happen that a practising barrister occupies the post of Chairman. When such a man is procurable without salary, there is obviously no need to provide him with one, but these are not the cases to which the question at the commencement of this article is directed.
What we have to see is, whether the ordinary Court of Quarter Sessions is or is not an efficient instrument for the performance of the duties with which it has been entrusted. The general consensus of opinion among lay Chairmen would appear to be that it is, and this is a perfectly natural position for them to take up. If there are any deficiencies, neither they nor their brother magistrates can very well pass judgment on them: seeing that such deficiencies, if
they exist, are due, not to the want of intelligence or business capacity of the Chairman, but solely to the fact that he has had no legal training.
Let us, however, be careful not to confuse the issue; and, therefore, we should draw a sharp line of distinction between the tribunals of Petty Sessions and Quarter Sessions.
In the former, magistrates sit as a jury to decide facts as well as to mete out punishment. Probably no better or more efficient tribunal-in country districts especially— could be devised for that purpose. Position, education, local knowledge, high character, all these combine to constitute an admirable Petty Sessional Court, and one quite as well, if not better qualified to administer substantial justice in rural districts than any stipendiary, and those who criticise the apparent discrepancies between sentences passed for different classes of offences should remember that no newspaper report ever enabled, or can enable, the reader to judge of the real merits of the case or the true effect of the evidence in the same way as if he had been present at the trial: much less can anyone reading such a report be aware of the circumstances surrounding each particular case, by which the decision and the length of the sentence is modified.
This is perhaps travelling somewhat beyond the limits of the present argument, but it is well to make this point clear.
When we consider the case of Quarter Sessions, other considerations present themselves. There the magistrate is called upon to perform the functions of a judge of assize or of a borough recorder. It is not, by the way, necessarily the Chairman elected by his brother magistrates who presides. In his not infrequent absence, any other magistrate may be called upon to sit.
Let us assume, however, that the duly-elected Ghairman
of Quarter Sessions presides. How far can he be expected to exercize his functions as efficiently as a judge or recorder?
Does not the question at once occur to one's mind: If it be considered necessary in boroughs that the Court of Quarter Sessions there should be presided over by a barrister of not less than five years' standing, why is it less necessary in the Courts of Quarter Sessions in the counties?
It will not be argued, I imagine, that the borough magistrates are persons of less intelligence and capacity than the county magistrates, nor, except perhaps in large towns where the work would take up too much of the time of men engaged in other employments, is it to be supposed that they would be less willing to undertake the duties of presiding over Quarter Sessions than their brethren in the counties.
To find the reasons for the existing distinction between boroughs and counties, we must look further back to the days before the passing of the County Councils Act of 1888. Up to that time the whole local government of the counties was in the hands of the magistrates in Quarter Sessions assembled; and as part of their general jurisdiction over the affairs of the county, they possessed the right of trying such prisoners as were committed for trial at the Quarter Sessions, and of hearing appeals.
The spirit of the age demanded an elected body to carry on the municipal government of the counties. The ancient jurisdiction of the Quarter Sessions was accordingly abolished, and the County Councils took their place; but whether to prove what an illogical nation we are, or for some other reason, the Legislature, while by that Act it deprived the magistrates of those powers which they were eminently fitted to exercise by virtue of their business capacity and other qualifications, at the same time left to them their legal jurisdiction at Quarter Sessions;
and it is no derogation of their general intelligence and capacity to say that technical work requires technical training, and that it cannot be expected of a man who has had no legal education, and who probably does not attend a Criminal Assize or Quarter Sessions Court on more than three or four days in the year, that he should be able to conduct this particular class of business as efficiently as a barrister who has made it the principal work of his life.
For what is it that is expected of him? First, he is expected to have at least a general knowledge of the Criminal law; as, in every case, even of the simplest nature, the law applying to it should be explained to the jury, and, besides this, points, and often intricate points of law crop up in the course of a case, and have to be decided by the Chairman, "tant bien que mal."
And how should he have this knowledge if he has never learnt it?
Secondly, he should be acquainted with the law of Evidence. I will appeal to the profession generally on this point, and put this question: Can a man be competent to adjudicate upon points of evidence unless he practises more or less constantly in the law courts? The points that arise are so many and various; they are so constantly brought forward in criminal cases, and no mere book-learning will give the power to decide them quickly and accurately. How, then, can it be expected that the Chairman of Quarter Sessions should do so?
The following will, to some extent, illustrate this:
A certain Chairman at Quarter Sessions had a case tried before him in which, after the evidence for the prosecution was closed, the counsel for the defence submitted that there was no case to go to the jury. After argument on both sides, the Chairman remained smiling but silent. "Well, sir," said counsel for the defence, "is there any evidence to go to the jury?"