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Judicial Reform

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In the place of our usual miscellaneous articles ou the first page, we have inserted to day the Senate Document No. 26, vvhich punports to be "A Bill to improve the Administraron of Justice." The need of a thorough reform in this department has long been feit; and knowing that a portion of our readers in every part of the State are interested m all the steps taken 1 o secure sueh a reform, we have inserted the document entire. It seems the Legislature deemed it worthy of publication at the public charge; -and from the.perusal we have given it, we judge it to be deserving of attentive consideration. From what we have observed of the administraron of justice, we think the present sy stem is susceptible of improvement in the ibllowing important pariiculars:1. By abolishing unnecessary tecknicalilies in the proceedings. Courts are constituted to redress the wrongs inflicted upon individuals. To obtain this redress, all that ought to be required is as plain a statement of the wrong as can possibly be made, and a request to the proper tribunal for the appropriate remedy. This will bring out a corresponding answer from the defendant. and thus the real point in controversy will come up at once for determination. 2. By securing a' speedy decisión. A postponement of justice is often equivalent to refusing it. "The law's delay" has been proverbial from the earliest ages. In our courts, this delay is often unnecessarily great. Delays usually operate for the advantage of the party in the wrong. Henee he who has a desperate cause gets it adjourned as frequently as possible. The dilatory nature of proceeding in Chancery is known to most business men. He who ventures his cause in that department of justice, does it. without knowing when or where he will find an issue. Every adjournment of the decisión increases the labor and cost of the parties, and tends to defeatan equiiable adjustmentment of the case.3. By diminishing the expenses of legal proceedings. The present process of the law is so expensive, and afïbrds so many ways for legal cunning and knavery to take advantage of simple ano straight-forward honesty, that individuáis find it cheaper to suffer themselves to be defrauded of small sums, rat her than lose as much in attempting to recover them, without any certainty of accomplishing it. Specially is this the case where the defendant is determined to contest the suit by every advantage the law will permit. The honest tradesman or farmer who has trusted a rascal to the amount of fifty dollars, in many cases may as well givehim the debt, as sustain the expenses of repeated adjournments and an appeal to the higher courts, without any certainty of obtaining the amount at issue. It may be said that if the suit cost the plaintiff fifty dollars, it will cost the obstinate defendant who is in the wrong at least one hundred. Suppose this to be troe, what does it prove? Why, that ïT one man wrongs another of fifty dollars, it will require the expenditure of one hundred and fifty to place it in the hands of the rightful oner. Is the public a gainer by such an administration of justice?4. By securing a decisión according to equity and jiistice. Th is, we suppose, should be the object of ali legal proceed-ings. But the ultímate decisions in our courts, as well as the previous proceedingsi are nowbased upon what legal gentlemen cali law - that is, upon the decisions of American and English courts, and' the opinions of distinguished lawyers, fór several hundred years past. These decisions often contradictory, sometimes absua'd,. often inapplicable to the case, and subversive of justice. Itpears to us that every contested queslion should be determined by the courts and juries in sueh a manner as to do jüstice to the parties in that particular cause raen pending; and in ascertaing hoiv justi'ce could best be done, any requisite amount of authorities might be cited. We would notdiscard theopinionsoreminent junsts: but we would give thetn their just influence, and no naore. They should be received as advisers, not as di rectors. The object of trying a case at all, is to do justice. Sofaras they would aid this object, they might be introduced; but the decisions of former ages should not be adduced ander the of Taw to exert any influence adverse to the rendering of n riphteous verdict.Whetherthe bilí fiere presented would secure a satisfactory reform in these pa ticulars, must be delermined by the judgment of the reader. It is obvious that a .production of this kind cannofbe properly approved or condemned merely as a whole. One section may be deservíng of much commendation, when thrc next may ■ be qufte as exceptionable. Each should stand on its own merifs. We have not had time to examine all its features; but we have no hesitation in saying tlrat the proposed method ofdisnensing justice in Justices' Courts is far preferable to that now in use. We are satisfied that a general reform in the mode of administering justice is needed, and that it will ullimately be obtainedj and ïfthe publicalion of .this bill should be the means of directingthe attention of the readers to a consideration of the subject, our object in presenting it to them will be accomplished.


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