N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 105

Tuesday, July 1, 1947 (Morning session)

1873. He had what has always seemed to me to be an ideal of what judicial organization should be. He conceived of one great court which had branches, but after all, branches of the one court. He conceived that the bottom of these branches should be called the county courts, with jurisdiction of the small courts; then a central court of general jurisdiction at law, in equity, in probate, in matrimony; and above that - still a branch of the same court - a central court of appeal.

That was too much for conservative England of the '70's, so they cut off the county courts at the bottom. The conservatives couldn't quite stand for doing away with the appellate jurisdiction of the House of Lords, so they put the House of Lords back at the top with the ultimate appellate courts. The result is that you have an intermediate of that system. You appeal from the high court to the court of appeal, but that is right in the same court; then you go to the House of Lords. That's expensive, and I don't know that it justifies itself. In fact, Sir John Hollams, who was one of the leaders among the solicitors, insisted it was one of the grievances of the layman that a litigation could not be finished until it had gone before that expensive body, with all the delay that that involved.

Now, the great advantage of the unified courts, as he saw it, was first, that it did away with wasting judicial power; where a judge was needed, you could put a judge. Where you have these separate courts, especially if they are very tightly organized - in some states you have that situation, and they still do have it - a judge in one district or circuit hasn't anything to do and can go fishing, while a judge in another has a docket which is clogged with a multiplicity of cases that can't be heard anywhere else, and he is forever wrestling with a hopeless accumulation.

As I see it, you can spare some of these things here in New Jersey. What I think is the most commendable feature of your judicial organization here is that when you have a superlative case which calls for a strong judge, you can take the best judicial talent you have in the State and put him there to try that case. That is a great advantage.

In England, when they have a superlative case of superlative importance, the Lord Chief Justice, one of their very best men of the high court of justice, can be sent to try that case. It doesn't have to be tried by the local court judge. That makes a great difference in some of these big cases which require a strong judge and one where the question is one which requires high honor on the bench. That, I say, is a pretty good feature, but it's a feature that is involved in any thorough-going unification of the judicial system.

In other words, if a judicial system is properly organized and you have a superintending power properly provided for, you have some-

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