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the natural right of every man to set what price he pleases upon
his labour. All that can be done to keep those fees from growing
exorbitant is to prevent a monopoly of law business in the hands
of a few. lawyers, who might thereby be enabled to exact un-
reasonable rewards from their clients by the necessity the people
would be under of either employing them upon the terms they
thought proper to demand, or letting their business remain undone :
and this has been already done by your Majesty's wisdom and
indulgence in permitting Canadian notaries, attornies, and advocates
to practise their respective professions notwithstanding their con-
tinuance in the profession of the Romilh religion.

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Yet when every thing is done that can be done to diminish the expence of law proceedings, it is probable they will still be more expensive than in the time of the French government; which ought not to be a matter of surprize, since the prices of corn and provisions, and of all sorts of labour, are almost double of what they were at that time.

The Aowners

ment.

The next inconvenience arising from the present establishment are conducted of the courts of judicature complained of by the Canadians is the upon the pre tedious length of law-suits. This is owing to the unfrequency of

the terms or sessions of the supreme court of judicature, and of
the court of Common Pleas, which fit only three times a year at
Quebec and twice at Montreal. In the time of the French
government there were three royal courts in the three several
districts of Quebec, Three Rivers, and Montreal, vested with full
power to determine all matters both criminal and civil: in each
of these courts a judge appointed by the French king administered
justice, and a king's attorney prosecuted on behalf of the crown:
and they used for that purpose to hold two courts in every week
throughout the year, except about six weeks in the months of
September and October, and a fortnight at Easter : and besides these
courts held regularly every week, they would fit on other days of
the week, if the business before them made it necessary. From
these courts there lay an appeal to the highest court of the province,
which was called the superiour council ; and this high court also
fat every week: so that the difference between the expeditious
methods of obtaining justice in the time of the French government,
and the flowness of the proceedings upon the present establishment,

is

is very striking in the eyes of the Canadians, and is esteemed a very considerable inconvenience.

Besides the usual ill consequences arising from the want of difpatch in law-proceedings, this unfrequency of the sessions of the superiour courts of judicature has been a principal cause of the increase of the fees of the Canadian attornies and advocates : for, as their opportunities of pleading causes happen so much seldomer than formerly, they endeavour to make up, by the value of the fees they now receive in the three sessions of the court of Common Pleas, the advantages they formerly derived from the number of them in the time that the French king's courts fat every week.

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peace, who

There is indeed in the present establishment a court of justice in each district of the province that fits every week for the dispatch of business. These are the courts of the justices of peace. This was a very judicious institution, and well suited to the circumNances and disposition of the people. Yet it is liable to some. objections. For, in the first place, the justices of the are the judges of these courts, are not much skilled in judicial proceedings ; and, secondly, the same justices not attending constantly at these sessions, it is often necessary, where a matter cannot be decided at one session, but is adjourned to the next, to repeat all the proofs and arguments before the justices at the second session, which . had been produced at the former session before the other justices. who happened not to be now upon the bench, which occasions an. increase of expence and trouble: and, lastly, their jurisdiction, extends only to such disputes as relate to sums of money that do. not exceed ten pounds. In all contests for greater sums the parties. are obliged to have recourse either to the quarterly courts of the justices of the peace, or to the courts of King's Bench and Common. Pleas, where the sessions are held but three times a year..

The next inconvenience is the severity of the present method of Imprisonmen proceeding in civil actions, by arresting and imprisoning the de- for Debt. fendant's body. This, by filling the gaols with unhappy debtors, increases the number of the poor and helpless, and makes the families of the debtors, as well as the debtors themselves, become oftentimes a burden to the publick;, and it is generally thought by the: Canadians to be an unnecessary degree of harshness.

Toa

ministration

To remedy these several inconveniencies we beg leave to recommend to your Majesty the following plan for the administration of justice in this province for the time to come; which we have formed in imitation of that which was in use in the time of the

French government. A plan for the

That this province should be again divided into the three districts of of justice in this Quebec, Three Rivers, and Montreal, as in the time of the French province.

government: which might be called the Shires of Quebec, Three Rivers, and Montreal; and each of these three districts should have separate officers of justice : that a Royal court of judicature should be established in each of the three towns of Quebec, Three Rivers,

and Montreal, which are the capital, or rather only, towns of those Three royal several shires or districts: and that each of these courts shall confift

of one able English judge, appointed by your Majesty, and invested with full powers to hear and determine all matters, both criminal and civil, arising within his jurisdiction, just as your Majesty's chief justice of the province is impowered to do upon the present establishment throughout the whole province.

judges, one to cach ihire or district of the province.

bar.

These judges to These English judges should be barristers at law, of at least five bc English bar. risters at law, years standing at the bar; and they should be such as, besides their Standing at the skill and knowledge of the law, had a competent knowledge of the

French language. And further, to enable these English judges more readily to understand the testimonies of the French witnesses, that would so often be examined before then, and likewise to comprehend the nature and extent of such of the antient laws and

customs of the country as your Majesty shall think fit to be either Each Einglith continued or revived, we conceive, that it would be convenient to have a Canadian give each of them a Canadian lawyer for an affeffor, or affiftant to alteller, sooral them in the decision of causes : but the Canadian assessors should

have no vote or authority to decide the causes in conjunction with the English judges; but should only assist them with their opinion

and advice, the whole power of finally deciding them being vested be velted in the solely in the English judges. This employment of the Canadian Englita judges. lawyers, even in this subordinate capacity of assistants and advisers,

would be thought a very gracious indulgence in your Majesty by all your Majesty's new subjects ; and many of them, to whom it has been mentioned, have expressed an entire approbation of it. If they had an equal degree of authority with the English judges in the final

decision

Gitant; but the fole power of de ciding the causes Thould

week, with a very few ex

decifion of causes, they would be much more likely than the English
judges to abuse it, by reason of their connections in the country,
and the enmities and partialities that these connections would give
birth to. And besides, there are other reasons, which would make
it inexpedient to trust your new Roman catholick subjects, fo lately
brought under your Majesty's allegiance, with so great a degree of
power.

Thefe judges and their affiftants should hold their courts The judges
every week throughout the year, excepting one month at Chrift-courts once a
mas, one week at Easter, and another at Whitsunday, which are the
three great seasons for holidays observed by Christians. And they ceptions.
fhould fit on the Tuesday or Wednesday of every week, that the
contending parties and their witnesses might not be under a necessity
of travelling on Sundays to attend them. If the use of grand juries
should be thought fit by your Majesty to be continued in criminal
prosecutions, these judges should take cognizance of criminal mat-
ters (that is, of such parts of the criminal proceedings as required
the attendance of grand juries) only once a month, that the inha-
bitants might not be too much diverted from the care of their
private affairs by their attendance in the courts as grand jurymen.
But the other steps of all criminal proceedings that do not require
the presence of grand jurymen, and, if the use of grand juries was
laid afide, the whole of those proceedings Thould be carried on
in the weekly feffions, as well as all the civil business of the
district.

1

courts.

The method of proceeding in these courts in civil actions might Method of program be as follows. The plaintiff might bring a declaration or plaint, in writing, into court, which might be either in the French or English language, as he thought proper, praying the process of the court to cause the defendant to be fummoned to answer it; but not to be arrested by his body. This plaint should be read to the judge in open court, in order that he should determine whether or no it contained a good cause of action; and, till he approved it, no summons thould be issued upon it. If he approved it, he should order it to be filed amongst the records of the court by the clerk or regifter of the court, and should award'a summons to be sent to the defendant to come and answer the plaintiff's demand, at such a time as he, the judge, should therein appoint. If he neglected to come at the time appointed by the summons, without any good reason for negled, he should be condemned to pay the plaintiff a moderate E

fum

The judge

sum of money, to be ascertained by the judge; as a compensation
to him for his expence and trouble in attending the court, at the
țime appointed by the summons, to no purpose; and he should be
summoned to come and answer the plaintiff's demand on another
day. If he then also refused to come, judgment should go against
him by default. When the defendant appeared, he should make
his answer to the plaint of the plaintiff in writing, and either in the
French or English language, as he thought proper : and this an-
swer should be filed amongst the records of the court.
should then himself interrogate the parties concerning the facts, in
their account of which the parties seemed to differ, and which
appeared to him to be material to the decision of the cause: and
these interrogatories and the answers of the parties should be reduced
to writing by the judge, or by the clerk of the court from the words
dictated to him by the judge. When the judge had thus found
out in what facts material to the decision of the cause the parties
differed, he should himself state these facts in writing, and declare
that it was necessary for him to be informed, by proper testimony;
whether they were true or false ; and fhould ask the parties whether
both, or either of them, desired that he should inquire into the
truth of these facts by means of a jury, or by examining witnesses,

or other proofs himself. If both, or either of the parties, desired Juries to the to have a jury, a jury should be summoned to attend, at such folthe parties de- lowing session as the judge should appoint. This jury Tould be

paid for their attendance by the party that desired to have a jury; They should be paid for their and if both desired it, then equally by both parties. · They should

receive five shillings sterling a man. For at present it is a subject of complaint among the Canadians that they are taken from their necessary occupations to attend upon juries (which is by no means an agreeable employment to them) without any consideration for it: and this, if it happened every week without any compensation, would be thought, and perhaps justly, a very heavy burden. But

for a reward of five Thillings they will serve with great alacrity. Manner of These juries Thould be appointed in nearly the same manner as chusing them.

special juries are in England ; that is, the ministerial officer, that executed the process of the court, should return to the court a list of four times as many persons qualified to be jurymen as were necessary to constitute a jury; that is, if a jury was to consist of twelve men, a list of forty-eight persons so qualified; and then each party should strike out twelve of the names contained in this list :

and

fired it.

attendance.

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