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Judicial Reform

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It is a common reply to those who advocate Judicial Reform, "you are not a lawyer, and therefore cannot judge what alterations are necessary." Below we give an extract from a speech of J. W. Wilkinson, 'a veteran lawyer, at a reform meeting held inSyracuse last year. I have, said Mr. W., been engaged in the business of law for 25 years, and have reflected much upon the subject - and view it in a diilerent light from what 1 have formerly done. Contact with all kinds of business men has elucidated the importance of reform. Lawyers are looked upon with jealousy, sometimes uiidese:vcl. Whilè in some cases there is cause for it, vet people aro Iiable to bemistaken ia tiieir judgment upon tlu's, as upon other subjects. Man y poor men among lawyers, have grown up with inability to view tliis subject in its trae light. Their subsistente may depend upon the orthndoxy of tlieir views and pvactice. They arooften prevented from becoming refjrmers, by force of circumstanceí?. Sotné men distrust niy motives, vhonl speak thus plainly on t'ncse Rubject3. But look at the matter candidv. Where did we get the mode-1 of our From monarchicnl England,where lezs th&n 1000 men own all the land of the nntion. The pcople there, notwitlistnnding the wisdom, talent nnd research ofthelr judie'.al functionaries and [the strengthof thejndiciary sy sten, suffer I intolerabh'. One thousand men controlihe labor of the rest oí their 15,000,000' The laws of England are emplyed in the protection of property holders. We have followcd Ihc steps of England as far as possiblc in the erection of our Courts of Law and Equity - as far as our constitulion will admit. The complaints of the people are based upon the belief that there ís too much litigation - too much encouragement of it. The people do not want it - it is for the interest of lawyera to promote it. The judicial systcm requiresalarge number of public officers, and for their services they are paid out of the litigations under our laws. Few think of this. All nttorneys are ofiicers of our courts - appointed to live upon the violations, or suppo3cd vioïations of law. The courts make the business. Sweep away the Court of Chancery, and you sweep away thatwhich eats up our resourcas. I know that sorne regard th&t court as the palladium of our liberties, but it is a great delusion, and all who embark in it sooner or later find it out. Let any man who has been through it testify, if indeed hO can teil. Yery many can hardly teil how thev have cotne out.Mr. W. hero Ilústrate J the effect of :gal proceedings upon society. A man as a note to coüect - sayoffifty dollars, le takes it to a lawyer - it is sued and ollected ; and perhaps before it is paid, ríe costs may amount to half the face of lie note. Lawyers and Court oíficers jet it, and the signer of the note - períaps a poor man, and unable to pay the tiote, is made poorer ; hís fainily is made to suffer ; the friendship of the parties is brolcen up, and the lawycrs and officers are paid for it. He who instigated the legal proceeding.? escape cera iré. "What lie did was official - it was legal. No distinction oughtto existín courts. They should nll be courts oí cquity - of ustice. Right should be sought in all cases. Perhaps lawyers will say this is contrary to what has been - it is without precedent. Suppose it is? No matter what has been ; the question is, what ia right? Any of you gentlemen who have frequently been called to act as jurymen in the trial of causes, knov how often you have been shnckeled in your judgments by the rigid formalities of law. - The judge has told what was laio - and you have known what was and you have often found the law on one side, and right on the other. Why not then, reduce aU courts to the principie ot öqu:ty, as in chancery suits ? I know I am liable to be misunderstood, but I shall venture the assertion that if the Convention to revise the constitution is composed of lawyers. you will not have a system that will meet the necessitite of the case. If I could select the delegates 1 would send men who would seek the right, in the simplest way on all questions. I would divest legal proceedings of every thing that was complicated and perplexing. There is no need of any thing of the kind. is no necessary for lumbering up our Statute books with th abstruse questions of English practico.