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And his debt shall, in suing out execution, be preferred to that of any other creditor who hath not obtained judgment before the king commenced his suit.(m) The king's judgment also affects all lands which the king's debtor hath at or after the time of contracting his debt, or which any of his officers mentioned in the statute 13 Eliz. c. 4 hath at or after the time of his entering on the office; so that, if such officer of the crown aliens for a valuable consideration, the land shall be liable to the king's debt even in the hands of a bona fide purchaser; though the debt due to the king was contracted by the vendor many years after the alienation.(n) Whereas, judgment between subject and subject related, even at common law, no further back than the first day of the term in which they were recovered, in respect of the lands of the debtor, and did not bind his goods and chattels but from the date of the writ of execution; and now, by the statute of frauds, 29 Car. II. c. 3, the judgment shall not bind the land in *421]

the hands of a bona *fide purchaser, but only from the day of actually

signing the same; which is directed by the statute to be punctually en. tered on the record : nor shall the writ of execution bind the goods in the hands of a stranger or the purchaser,(0) but only from the actual delivery of the writ to the sheriff or other officer, who is therefore ordered to endorse on the back of it the day of his receiving the same.

These are the methods which the law of England has pointed out for the exe. cution of judgments: and when the plaintiff's demand is satisfied, either by the voluntary payment of the defendant or by this compulsory process or otherwise, satisfaction ought to be entered on the record, that the defendant may not be liable to be hereafter harassed a second time on the same account. But all these writs of execution must be sued out within a year and a day after the judgment is entered; otherwise the court concludes prima facie that the judg. ment is satisfied and extinct: yet, however, it will grant a writ of scire facias, in pursuance of statute Westm. 2, 13 Edw. I. c. 45, for the defendant to show cause why the judgment should not be revived, and execution had against him; to which the defendant may plead such matter as he has to allege in order to show why process of execution should not be issued; or the plaintiff may still bring an action of debt, founded on this dormant judgment, which was the only method of revival allowed by the common law.(p) 16

In this manner are the several remedies given by the English law for all sorts of injuries, either real or personal, administered by the several courts of justice, and their respective officers. In the course therefore of the present book, wo have, tirst, seen and considered the nature of remedies, by the mere act of the parties, or mere operation of law, without any suit in courts. We have next taken a review of remedies by suit or action in courts; and therein have contemplated, first, the nature and species of courts, instituted for the redress of injuries in general; and then have shown in what particular courts application must be made for the redress of particular injuries, or the doctrine of jurisdic*422]

tions and *cognizance. We afterwards proceeded to consider the nature

and distribution of wrongs and injuries affecting every species of personal and real rights, with the respective remedies by suit, which the law of the land has afforded for every possible injury. And, lastly, we have deduced and pointed out the method and progress of obtaining such remedies in the courts of justice : proceeding from the first general complaint or original writ, through all the stages of process, to compel the defendant's appearance; and of pleading, or formal allegation on the one side, and excuse or denial on the other; with the examination of the validity of such complaint or excuse, upon demurrer; or the

(n) Stat. 33 llen. VII. c. 39, 2 74.

(") 10 Rep. 55, 56.

() Skin. 257.
() Co. Litt. 290.


16 But the writ of scire facias for the ordinary purpose of reviving a judgment, now called a "writ of reviver,” is retained. During the lives of the parties to a judgment; or those of them, during whose lives execution may at present issue within a year and a day without a scire facias; and within six years from the recovery of the judgment, execution may now, however, issue without revival of the judgment. Com. Law Proc. Act, 1952, * 128.-STEWART.

truth of the facts alleged and denied, upon issue joined, and its suveral trials; to the judgment or sentence of the law, with respect to the nature ind amount of the redress to be specifically given : till, after considering the suspension of that judgment by writs in the nature of appeals, we have arrived at its final execution; which puts the party in specific possession of his right by the intervention of ministerial officers, or else gives him an ample satisfaction, either by equivalent damages, or by the confinement of his body who is guilty of the injury complained of.

This care and circumspection in the law,-in providing that no man's right shall be affected by any legal proceeding without giving him previous notice, and yet that the debtor shall not by receiving such notice take occasion to escape from justice; in requiring that every complaint be accurately and precisely ascertained in writing, and be as pointedly and exactly answered; in clearly stating the question either of law or of fact; in deliberately resolving the former after full argumentative discussion, and indisputably fixing the latter by a diligent and impartial trial; in correcting such errors as may have arisen in either of those modes of decision, from accident, mistake, or surprise; and in finally enforcing the judgment, when nothing can be alleged to impeach it ;—this anxiety to maintain and restore to every individual the enjoyment of his civil rights, without intrenching upon those of any other individual in the nation, this parental solicitude *which pervades our whole legal constitution, is

[*423 the genuine offspring of that spirit of equal liberty which is the singular felicity of Englishmen. At the same time it must be owned to have given a handle, in some degree, to those complaints of delay in the practice of the law, which are not wholly without foundation, but are greatly exaggerated beyond the truth. There may be, it is true, in this, as in all other departments of knowledge, a few unworthy professors; who study the science of chicane and sophistry rather than of truth and justice; and who, to gratify the spleen, the dishonesty and wilfulness of their clients, may endeavour to screen the guilty, by an unwarrantable use of those means which were intended to protect the innocent. But the frequent disappointments, and the constant discountenance, that they meet with in the courts of justice, have confined these men (to the honour of this age be it spoken) both in number and reputation to indeed a very despicablo compass.

Yet some delays there certainly are, and must unavoidably be, in the conduct of a suit, however desirous the parties and their agents may be to come to a speedy determination. These arise from the same original causes as were mentioned in examining a former complaint;(9) from liberty, property, civility, com. merce, and an extent of populous territory: which, whenever we are willing to exchange for tyranny, poverty, barbarism, idleness, and a barren desert, we may then enjoy the same despatch of causes that is so highly extolled in somo foreign countries. But common sense and a little experience will convince us, that more time and circumspection are requisite in causes where the suitors have valuable and permanent rights to lose, than where their property is trivial and precarious, and what the law gives them to-day may be seized by their prince to-morrow. In Turkey, says Montesquieu,(r) where little regard is shown to the lives or fortunes of the subject, all causes are quickly decided : the basha, on a summary hearing, orders which party he pleases to be bastinadoed, ani then sends them about their business. But in *free states the trouble, expense, and delays of judicial proceedings are the price that every sub

[*124 ject pays for his liberty: and in all governments, he adds, the formalities of law increase, in proportion to the value which is set on the honour, the fortune, the liberty and life of the subject.

From these principles it might reasonably follow, that the English courts hould be more subject to delays than those of other nations; as they set a greater value on life, on liberty, and on property. But it is our peculiar felicity to enjoy the advantage, and yet to be exempted from a proportionable share of the burden. For the course of the civil law, to which most other nations con

(*) Sp. L. b. 6, c. 2

() See pag. 33.

form their practice, is much more tedious than ours; for proof of which I need only appeal to the suitors of those courts in England, where the practice of the Roman law is allowed in its full extent. And particularly in France, not only our Fortescue(s) accuses (on his own knowledge) their courts of most unex. ampled delays in administering justice; but even a writer of their own(t) has not scrupled to testify, that there were in his time more causes there depending than in all Europe besides, and some of them a hundred years old. But (not to enlarge on the prodigious improvements which have been made in the celerity of justice by the disuse of real actions, by the statutes of amendment and jea fails, (u) and by other more modern regulations, which it now might be indelicate to remember, but which posterity will never forget) the time and attendance afforded by the judges in our English courts are also greater than those of many other countries. In the Roman calendar there were in the whole year but twenty-eight judicial or triverbial(w) days allowed to the prætor for deciding causes :(x) whereas, with us, one-fourth of the year is term-time, in which three courts constantly sit for the despatch of matters of law; besides the very close *425]

attendance of the court of chancery for determining *suits in equity,

and the numerous courts of assize and nisi prius that sit in vacation for the trial of matters of fact. Indeed, there is no other country in the known world, that hath an institution so commodious and so adapted to the despatch of causes, as our trial by jury in those courts for the decision of tacts; in no other nation under heaven does justice make her progress twice in each year into almost every part of the kingdom, to decide upon the spot by the voice of the people themselves the disputes of the remotest provinces.

And here this part of our commentaries, which regularly treats only of redress at the common law, would naturally draw to a conclusion. But, as the proceedings in the courts of equity are very different from those at common law, and as those courts are of a very general and extensive jurisdiction, it is in some measure a branch of the task I have undertaken, to give the student some general idea of the forms of practice adopted by those courts. These will therefore be the subject of the ensuing chapter.





*BEFORE we enter on the proposed subject of the ensuing chapter,

viz., the nature and method of proceedings in the courts of equity, it will be proper to recollect the observations which were made in the beginning of this book(a) on the principal tribunals of that kind, acknowledged by the constitution of England; and to premise a few remarks upon those particular causes, wherein any of them claims and exercises a sole jurisdiction, distinct from and exclusive of the other.! (5) De Laud. LL. c. 53.

() Otherwise called dies fasti in quibus licebat gone on ( ) Bodin. de republ. I. 6, c. 6.

fari tria verba, do, dico, addico. Calv. Lex 285. () See page 407.

(*) Spelman of the Terms, & 4, c. 2.

(*) Pages 45, 50, 78. 1 That the courts of equity and courts of law are not opposed to each other, and often concur in the exercise of their powers, to promote the ends of substantial justice, is not now disputed. It is said that matters of fact should be left to courts of law for the de cision of a jury, (1 Ridgway's Parl. Car. 9;) and issues are oftentimes directed for that purpose; yet there is no doubt,” says lord Eldon, "that according to the constitution of this court it may take upon itself the decision of every fact put in issue upon the re cord.” And again, “This court has a right (to be exercised very tenderly and sparingly) of deciding without issues.” 9 Ves. 168. The general rule is that a court of equity will never exercise jurisdiction over criminal proceedings. Yet in a case where the plaintiffs indicted defendant's agent at the sessions, where the plaintiffs themselves were judges, for a breach of the peace, lord Harri wicke made an order to restrain the prosecution till

I have already(6) attempted to trace (though very concisely) the lawry, rise, and progress of the extraordinary court, or court of equity, in chancory The samo jurisdiction is exercised, and the same system of redress pursued, in the

) Page 50, &c.



after hearing of the cause and further order; and where a bill is brought to quiet pos session, if the plaintiff afterwards prefer an indictment for forcible entry, this court will stop the proceedings upon such indictment. 2 Atk. 302. The court of chancery has no jurisdiction to prevent a crime, except in the protection of infants. Therefore it is said that the publication of a libel cannot be restrained. 2 Swan. 413. Nor will the court compel a discovery in aid of criminal proceedings, 2 Ves. 398. The court of chancery has a concurrent jurisdiction with the admiralty, (Gilb. Eq. Rep. 228,) and may repeal ietters of reprisal after a peace, though there is a clause in the patent that no treaty of peace shall prejudice it. I Vern. 54. So equity may relieve after verdict in King's Bench or Common Pleas, and even grant a perpetual injunction after fi.e trials at law on the baine point, and verdicts the same way; but equity is very tender in the exercise of this power. 2 P. W. 425. 10 Mod. 1. And a court of equity will not review the orders of the Exchequer as a court of revenue; nor interfere where that court, as a court of revenue, is competent to decide the subject-matter. 3 Ridgw. P. C. 80.

Matters arising out of England.—A question concerning the right and title to the Isle of Man may be determined in a court of chancery. 1 Ves. 202. Where the defendant is in England, though the cause of suit arose in the plantations, if the bill be brought here, the court agens in personam may, by compulsion of the person, force him to do justice; for the jurisdiction of the chancellor is not ousted, (3 Atk. 589. See 1 Jac. & W. 27;) and this although in general all questions respecting real estates belong to the country where they are situate. Elliott vs. Lord Minto, 6 Mod. 16.

Ist. It is assistant to the common law by removing legal impediments to a fair ducision of a question depending in those courts; as preventing the setting up of outstanding terms, &c. 5 Mad. 428. 2 J. & W. 391.

2d. It acts concurrently with the common law by compelling a discovery which may enable those courts to decide according to the real facts and justice of the case; as where the discovery is to ascertain whether the defendant did not promise to marry, (Forrest, Rep. 42;) or to disprove the defendant's plea, that he had made no promise within six years, and to compel him to state whether he has not promised within that time, (5 Mad. 331;) but he has a right to protect himself in equity by the statute of limitations from a discovery as to the original constitution of the debt, or whether it has since been paid. 5 Mad. 331. So he may be required to disclose whether he is an alien or not, (2 Vee. Sen. 287, 494;) but where a discovery would subject a party to penalty or forfeiture it is not to be obtained, (1 Ves. 56. 2 Ch. Rep. 68. 2 Atk. 392.2 Ves. 265. 1 Eq. Abr 131, p. 10;) except in cases under the stock-jobbing act, (7 Geo. II. c. 8, s. 1, 2 Marsh Rep; 125,) and some other particular provisions. Nor will the court compel a discovery in aid of criminal proceedings. 2 Ves. 398. Vide Mitf. Pl. 150. It exercises concurrent jurisdiction in perpetuating testimony in danger of being lost before it can be used; by preserving property during litigation; by counteracting fraudulent judgments; by setting bounds to oppressive litigation; and in cases of fraud, accident, mistake, account, partition, and dower.

3d. It claims exclusive jurisdiction in matters of trust and confidence, and whenever, upon the principles of universal justice, the interference of a court of judicature is necessary to prevent a wrong, and the positive law is silent. 1 Fonb. Eq. p. 9, n. (f.)

The matters over which the court of chancery maintains an equitable jurisdiction havu been arranged in the following alphabetical order; and, as this analysis has the recom mendation of practical utility, we shall proceed to embody the principal rules and de cisions under each head respectively.

3d. FRAUD.
5th. Specific PerrorMANCE OF AGREEMENTS.
6th. Trusts.

1st. ACCIDENT AND MISTAKE.—By accident is meant, where a case is distinguished fron others of the like nature by unusual circumstances ; for the court of chancery cannot control the maxims of the common law, because of general inconvenienco; but only where the observation of a rule is attended with some unusual and particular inconven nience. 10 Mod. 1.

1. Borils, dc.—Equity will relieve against the loss of deeds (3 V. & B. 54) or bonds, (5 Ves 235. 5 Ves. 81-,) but pot if the bond be voluntary. 1 Ch. Ca. 77. It will also se


equity court of the exchequer; with a distinction, howe rer, as to some few mat ters, peculiar to each tribunal, and in which the other cannot interfere. And, first, of those peculiar to the chancery.

up a bond so lost, or destroyed, against sureties, though the principal be out of the juris. diction. 3 Atk. 93. 1 Ch. Ca. 77. 9 Ves. 464. Bonds made joint, instead of severai, may be modified according to intent in some cases. 2 Atk. 33. 9 Ves. 118. 17 Ves. 514. 1 Meriv. 564.

Buundaries, &c.—Equity will ascertain the boundaries, or fix the value, where lands have been intermixed by unity of possession. 2 Meriv. 507. 1 Swanst. 9. So to distinguish copyhold from freehold lands within the manor. 4 Ves. 180. Nels. 14.

Penalties, Forfeitures, a :., incurred by accident, are relieved against, (2 Vern. 594. I Sira. 453. 1 Bro. C. C. 418. 2 Sch. & Lef. 685,) where the thing may be done after wards, or a compensation made for it. 1 Ch. Ca. 24. 2 Ventr. 352.9 Mod. 22. 18 Ves 63. But no relief is given in the case of a voluntary composition payable at a fixed period. Ambl. 332. See 1 Vern. 210. 2 Atk. 527. 3 Atk. 585. 16 Ves. 372. Equity will not relieve against the payment of stipulated, or, as they are sometimes called, liqui dated, damages, (2 Atk. 194. Finch. 117.2 Cha. Ca. 198. 6 Bro. P. C. 470. 1 Cox. 27 2 Bos. & P. 316.3 Atk. 395;) and forfeitures under acts of parliament, or conditions in law, which do not admit of compensation, or a forfeiture which may be considered as a limitation of an estate, which determines it when it happens, cannot be relieved against 1 Ball & Bat. 373, 478. 1 Stra. 447, 452. Prec. Ch. 574.

Mistake.--A defective conveyance to charitable uses is always aided, (1 Eden, 14. 2 Vern 755. Prec. Ch. 16. 2 Vern. 453. Hob. 136;) but neither a mistake in a fine (if after death of conusor) or in the names in a recovery is supplied, especially against a pur. chasor, (2 Vern. 3. Ambl. 102,) nor an erroneous recovery in the manorial court. 1 Vern. 367. Mistakes in a deed or contract, founded on good consideration, may be rectified. 1 Ves. 317. 2 Atk. 203. And if a bargain and sale be made and not enrolled within six months, equity will compel the vendor to make a good title by executing another bar. gain and sale which may be enrolled. 6 Ves. 745. A conveyance defective in form may be rectified, (1 Eq. Abr. 320. 1P. W. 279,) even against assignees (2 Vern. 564. 1 Atk. 162. 4 Bro. C. C. 472) or against representatives. 1 Anst. 14. So defects in surrenders of copyhold, (2 Vern. 564. Salk. 449. 2 Vern. 151,) but not the

omission of formalities required by act of parliament in conveyances. 5 Ves. 240. 3 Bro. C. C. 571. 13 Ves. 583. 15 Ves. 60. 6 Ves. 745. 11 Ves. 626. Defects in the mode of conveyance inay be remedied. 4 Bro. C. C. 382. So the execution of powers. 2 P. Wms. 623.

2d. Account.-- Mutual dealings and demands between parties, which are too complex to be accurately taken by trial at law, may be adjusted in equity, (1 Sch. & Lefroy, 309. 13 Ves. 278, 279. 1 Mad. Ch. 86, and note (i.);) but if the subject be matter of set-off at law, and capable of proof, a bill will not lie, (6 Ves. 136;) and the difficulty in adjusting the account constitutes no legal objection to an action. 5 Taunt. 481. 1 Marsh. 115. Ž Camp. 238

3d. Fraud.—Equity has so great an abhorrence of fraud that it will set aside its own decrees if founded thereupon; and a bill lies to vacate letters-patent obtained by fraud 13 Vin. Abr. 513, pl. 9. 1 Vern. 277. All deceitful practices and artful devices contrary to the plain rules of common honesty are frauds at common law, and punishable there, but for some frauds or deceits there is no remedy at law, in which cases they are cog. nizable in equity as one of the chief branches of its original jurisdiction. 2 Ch. Ca. 103. Finch, 161.2 P. Wms. 270. 2 Vern. 189. 2 Atk. 324. 3 P. Wms. 130. Bridg. Ind tit. Fraud, pl. 1. Where a person is prevented by fraud from executing a deed, equity will regard it as already done. 1 Jac. & W. 99.

1. Trustees are in no case permitted to purchase from themselves the trust estate, il Vern. 465,) nor their solicitor, (3 Mer. 200;) nor in bankruptcy are the commissioner (6 Ves. 617) or assignees, (6 Ves. 627,) nor their solicitors, (10 Ves. 381;) nor committee or keeper of a lunatic, (13 Ves. 156, ) nor an executor, (1 Ves. & B. 170. 1 Cox, 134, nor governors of charities. 17 Ves. 500.

2dly. Attorney and Client.–Fraud in transactions between attorneys and client is guarded against most watchfully. 2 Ves. Jr. 201. 1 Mad. Ch. 114, 115, 116.

3dly. Heirs, Sailors, &c.-Equity will protect improvident heirs against agreemente hinding on their future expectancies negotiated during some temporary embarrassment, provided such agreement manifest great inadequacy of consideration. 1 Vern. 169. ? Vern. 27. 1 P. Wms. 310. 1 Bro. Č. C. 1. 2 Ves. 157. It will also set aside unequa! contracts obtained from sailors respecting their prize-money, (Newl. Cont. 443. 1 Wils 229. 2 Ves. 281, 516;) and the fourth section of 20 Geo. III. c. 24 declares all bargains, &c. concerning any share of a prize taken from any of his majesty's enemies, &c. void. l'ide Newl. Cont. 414.

4thly. Guardian.-- Fraud between guardian and ward is also the subject of strict cog

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