FEES OF THE UNDER SHERIFFS OF MIDDLESEX.
TO TUE EDITOR OF THE SPECTATOR.
Sin—The law of arrest has formed a leading feature of legislation during the last session of Parliament ; and the expenses, fees, &c. taken from defendants was justly reprobated, and more particulary in the ex-
ecution of writs off/v./facies. The odium in the,public mind, for such exactions, erroneously attaches to the Sheriff's officer, when in fact (as far as regards the county of Middlesex) it originates with the perpetual Under Sheriffs, Messrs. Burchell and Co. The only fee. allowed by them to the officer for levying an execution, is one guinea, although the poundage received by them on such writ may amount to hundreds. Out of this guinea, the officer is charged 2s. Gd. for the warrant ; and if for the protection of the property levied on, two men are necessary, Messrs. Burchell and Co. will only allow out of the poundage the possession mo- ney for one man. As a proof of this assertion, in a levy made by myself in"The King v. Jones," for 5901., owing to the property laying on wharfs and scattered, two men were indispensable for the safe custody of the property, and to whom I paid 17/. 10s. I handed to the Under Sheriffs 32/. for the poundage on this levy ; but Mr. Bur- chell would only allow 8/. I5s., namely, the allowance for one mail. Here, then, is a case where the officer, who alone is responsible for the amount of the levy, sustains a loss of 81. 15s., by doing his duty, while the Under Sheriffs pocket 23/. 5s. net profit for doing nothing. How for losses like these, which occur continually, is an officer to be remune- rated ? The answer to this is simple. The officer is compelled to grant accommodation to defendants, to the injury of the plaintiff's interest, in order to obtain presents and illegal fees to cover such his losses as in this instance : the officer has no remedy against the all-powerful dicta of the perpetual Under Sheriffs. The obvious and immediate remedy which I would ipoint out as applicable to this evil, would be a fair and equitable arrangement of the poundage between the Under Sheriffs and the officer levying. This being effected, the exactions and much of the complaints incidental to arrest for debt would be obviated. The Sheriffs' officers would then be enabled to forego (and they would do so willingly) the fees they are now compelled to exact from defendants for bail-bonds, civility, &c. &c. In a few days I will submit to you a full statement of the fees now levied on the public by the Under Sheriffs of Middlesex and their officers, instead of the legal fees to which they are entitled. I have no doubt by inserting this in your valuable paper, it will lead to an exposé of facts that will tend more to relieving the unfortunate debtor than all the acts that can be passed by Parliament without it. I am, sir,
Your obedient servant, HENRY BEAMO.NT,
Carey Street, Lincoln's Inn. Fourteen years Officer to the Sheriff of 10th August, 1830.