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responsibility, was provided in Lord Brougham's Act of 1833.
THE ABOLITION Of The EQUITY JURISDICTION OF
. the Court of ExchEQUER, 1841. On the 5th of October, 1841, an Act passed* abolishing the Equity jurisdiction of the Court of Exchequer, and transferring it to the Court of Chancery,
By this Act, two new Vice-Chancellors and many additional Officers were appointed, means being provided for a more expeditious hearing of causes.
The Lords of the Treasury were by that Act, sec. 55, empowered to award compensation to persons whose Exchequer offices might be abolished, and who might not be appointed to any other office under the new Act.
LORD LYNDHURST's New CHANCERY “REFORM"
Act of 1842. The Clerks in Court, and fortunate individuals of the Six Clerks' Office, had for years been setting their house in order, under the sagacious apprehension of the approaching suppression of their order.
A material object with them, as before shewn, was to lay the foundation of a goodly compensation.
* 5 Victoria, cap. 5.
It is notorious, that, accordingly, some officers charged fees in suits which had lain dormant for years; and that other litigations long settled and terminated, were charged "term fees” in their bills to Solicitors!
In this state of things the Act of 5 & 6 Victoria, chap. 103, was passed through Parliament, and the public and suitors have been plundered under the specious pretence of “COMPENSATION.”
By this Act the Six and Sixty Clerks were abolished, in name only,—some of the same persons being reappointed, and salaries given, and Compensations granted, which have rendered necessary the payment of an increased amount of former fees existing under the suppressed system ; and which fees were reduced by Lord Brougham in 1833.
There are 20 newly-created Officers, viz:1 Clerk of Enrolment, at a salary of £1200; 4 Record Clerks, at salaries of £1200 ; and 6 Taxing Masters, at salaries of £2000 each, all of whom have salaried Clerks.
The Compensation Clauses of the Act exhibit no consideration of the interest of the suitors and the legal profession. Indeed the pecuniary interest of the Compensated and new Officers seems to have been chiefly consulted. In fact a majority of old Officers simply changed their official names. In regard to the public, the Act “robs Peter to pay Paul.”
There appears to be a great facility in both Houses of Parliament for gross jobs not afforded in the case of little jobs. · The Act passed without a single debate. It was introduced in the Com. mons when the Bar was on Circuit. It was really unknown to the professsion at large. UNTIL THREE DAYS BEFORE THE BILL PASSED BOTH HOUSES OF PARLIAMENT, AND WITHIN EIGHT DAYS OF THE Royal Assent, The FEE AND COMPENSATION CLAUSES FORMED NO PART OF THE BILL IN THE COMMons. The 23rd section provides for payment of the expenses of preparing and passing the Act; and as the promoters of this reckless measure of compensation are not known to the public, a Commons in. quiry as to the sums paid, and the recipients of such “payment of expenses,” may throw some light on the art and mystery of the affair.
The Lord Chancellor, for the time being, is responsible for the measures of Legal Reform-of his own jurisdiction unquestionably. Lord Lyndhurst introduced this Bill of dear reform; but his Lordship could not have been aware of the extent of its unjustifiable Compensation designs,
EviLS RESULTING FROM THE Act.
The evils of the measure are,- its shameful precedent — increased fees paid by Solicitors - increased costs to the suitors—and consequent necessity for increased capital of the Solicitor by loss of credit and higher Office Fees.
It has compelled many London and Country Solicitors, who had not sufficient capital, to abandon the Equity branch of the profession, and confine themselves to the Courts of Common Law.
It has also had the effect of diminishing the business of the Court, and compelled persons to substitute Arbitrations for Chancery suits, in numerous cases, where they would have preferred the decisions of the Judges of the Court, and the increased number of which Judges, would otherwise have caused a considerable addition instead of a diminution of business. · It has the, tendency still more to establish the Court of Chancery as a court exclusively for the rich, the increased fees rendering justice more expensive to the middle classes.
If the Act had discretionally referred the decision of Compensation to the Lords of the Treasury, the adjudicators in Lord Brougham's Act of 1833, Lord Cottenham's Act of 1840, and the Bankruptcy and Lunacy Acts of 1842, the public might have been protected from excessive Compensations.....
Almost all the newly created officers are overpaid in comparison with the other officers of the Courts of Law, and the Civil Departments of the State ; indeed, JOHN BULL, as usual, has been uncompensated and sacrificed.
COMPARATIVE Duties of New OfficeRS. The officers created are Taxing Masters, Record Clerks, and one Enrolment Clerk. .
The duties of the Taxing Masters who have each £2000. per annun, consist solely of taxing Solicitors bills of costs. These duties are less arduous than those of the Masters in the Common Law Courts, and much less onerous than those of the Chief Clerks of the Masters in Ordinary. The Masters in the Common Law Courts have a salary of £1200. per annum; and in addition to taxing costs they have to draw up rules, attend the Judges, and perform other duties not required of the Taxing Masters in Chancery. The chief Clerk to each of the Masters in Chancery (who used to tax costs,) draws Reports, hears parties on Warrants, and assists the Master in his duties. Their labours are double those of the new Taxing Masters, and for which they receive a salary of only £1000. per annum. £1200. or £1500. would therefore have been amply sufficient for the new Taxing Masters, with retiring Pensions on Superannuation.
The chief Record Clerks have almost as complete a sinecure as the old Six Clerks, numerous forms being still uselessly kept up for the sake of fee gathering. The duties of the office are chiefly performed by Clerks, as under the old system. Many of the former duties of the Six Clerks are now imposed on Solicitors. The practical evil was the want of a place for safe custody and preservation