25 MAY 1850, Page 13

'Ztutt5 to elan.


Lontion,;22d May 1850. Sra—The newspaper of this morning. contains a list-Of fifty-one appeals depending before the Lord. Chancellor but does not announce when he will sit to hear them ; rumour asserts that he is more likely to go to Wim- bledon than to Westminster, and that he with be unable to give much atten- tion to business before the long vacation.

Some time ago; Sir George Grey, being interrogated on the prolonged ab- sence of the ,Chancellor, replied, that there was but one case of importance, and that it had been determined by Lord Cottenham. One is tempted to wish Sir George the expeiienoo of a Chancery suit, that he may learn how intolerable is the, ordinary course ofEqeity proceedings, and be thereby in- cluded to Compassionate thesufferiiiga of suitors whose business is further de- layed by the indisposition, of a Judge. As to the importance of Chancery suits in general,, and of the one alluded to by Sir George in particular, his -informant was strangely mistaken. The importance of that suit lay in the lude or rather M the multitude of the interests concerned : as far as ekqindividual, it was`but a:question of the delay of payment of a dividend for -slew months only;" and it is probable that the individual suitors in the fifty-one appeals above-mentioned are as much inconvenienced by the delay as any individual shareholder of the South-eastern Railway. But the un- fortunate parties to these appeals are scattered over England, have no know- ledge of. each other, no organization ; common 'action is therefore impossible to them, and they are the:bundle of sticks without the binding rope : whereas the railway company was united and under energetic leadership, and could make its Volt* ISP011 as the scream of its own engine-whistles) heard in the distant sick chamber.

Now the enteral 'public is unacquainted with the mysteries of the Court of Chancery, and probably thinks that the whole matter would be remedied by the appointment of a new Chancellor, who would hear and determine these appeals. And, no doubt, the suitors would be delighted at such a solution of their troublesi.if speedily vonchsafed them. Yet there has been great complaint of delay even when the Chancellor has been able to attend to his duties; so that even the normal state of his Court is far from perfection. Some years ngo, two Vice-Chancellors were added to the Equity Bench : at the present time, therefore, there are four subordinate judges—to wit, the .hinater of the Itolls And three Vice-Chancellors—who hear causes, and from All of whom appeals lie to the Lord Chancellor. These judges hear similar causes,. in wWh similar questions are raised' but as they are coordinate in intherith their decisions do not bind one another, and consequently they are divided iii opinion on many-paints bbth of practice and law. The Master of the' Rolls .differs.witlutheaneellors ; and in some suits it makes a difference of thousands of pounA,.ashether a cause be heard before one or another jiikg Now the chief use •Of a Chaneelleradan appellate judge is to Maintain an uiiiformity orpractice and raw •, and a judge of very moderate abilities, a star of the fourth or fifth magnitude, would be more serviceable

than the greateit legal 1 if he is to be liable to constant eclipses. It is rumoured in Lincoln's that a vacancy occurring amongst the Vice-Chase/Awn beAlled up, and that the subordinate judges will

be reducgclp,three; from wheni,,M.119*,r,M Appeal will lie to the Chan- cellor. irmay be doubted whethetitas *Add a wise economy, and whe- ther it weal:Mt be better to ',Iatelfirgaftfaellate jurisdiction to that of the Common -1.4* Courts. A' Ohief fifid ,ffii■eee Judges in Equity, who each heard original causes, ancrsat Mgetheras a court of appeal, would be a much more effigient tribunal than the present Courts of Equity. Appeals would be fewer, because the judge who heard the cause originally would feel more strongly the annoyance of be appealed from, and would frame his judgments more in accordance with the opinions of his fellow judges ; and the decisions on appeals would be more satisfactory, as those of a body of learned men, than they now can be, when they are but the opinions of one man who may owe his situation as appellate judge to his political qualifica- tions, against the opinion of another who may owe his situation to his legal proficiency. It would not, then, be worth a suitor's while to appeal, on the supposition that the decisions of one particular judge were viewed with less favour by the appellate judge (irrespective of their merits) than those of his other subordinates. The Equity bar would be relieved of the imputation, if not of the reality, of subservience to their judges, by being released from the interruptions and displays of temper,. which a single judge from his perpetual isolation is sometimes tempted to indulge in. And, to omit many other reasons in favour of such an alteration, much time would be saved to suitors, as counsel would then have no pretext for absence from the court they pro- fess to plead in ; a grievance which, having ceased with the illness of the Chancellor, will reappear on his convalescence or removal. The present is a favourable time for such a change. It is rumoured that the Master of the Rolls will resign at the end of the year, when he will have served fifteen years, and be thereby entitled to his pension; and it is impos- sible that the present Lord Chancellor can long be permitted to continue his practical denial of that maxim of the Peers " Nulli morabimur justitiam." The Vice-Chancellor of England is advanced in life, and the remaining judges are neither protegee of the Administration nor of sufficient weight with the country to make their personal resistance to a measure of reform at all formidable. The present arrangement of the court and the whole system of appeal is of modern origin, is unsymmetrical, and wanting in analogy to the Common Law tribunals ; and, lastly, the proposed alteration would be tantamount to putting the seals into perpetual commission, and would there- fore be hardly an innovation.