6 JULY 1867, Page 23

A Handy Book of the Law of Shipping. By Charles

Stuart Smyth.

(Effingham Wilson.)—Lawyers generally mistrust short cuts to law, but handy books are useful if they are not too implicitly trusted. Mr. Staylli'a little book" is all the better as it warns its readers against re- lying upon it absolutely. "The law on the subject of collisions," it says, "is very intricate, so much so as to render a reference to a com- petent lawyer a necessity before recourse is had to legal proceedings." We think the same might be said as to the law on all subjects when legal proceedings are contemplated. Some of Mr. Smyth's dicta are even more in need of being qualified. He says of harbours, " These, with their lights and signals, are chiefly regulated by statute ; and the law as to injuries occasioned by other than malicious and negligent obstructions is in a very unsettled and unsatisfactory state." Is not this disrespectful to the Statutes at large ? Again, Mr. Smyth pays a compliment to the Judges which was hardly called for. "England has no code properly so called, but her law amide in the recorded decisions of generations of learned judges. The law is therefore difficult to find, but when found is trustworthy, precious, and just." No doubt it is, but we do not go to a handy book of the law of shipping for a general maxim worthy of Coke upon Littleton."