N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 116


STATE OF NEW JERSEY CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION OF 1947
COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
Tuesday, July 1, 1947 (Morning session)

expensive because of these reforms, but more because of the English ideas about costs. In England, the fees of solicitors and the fees of counsel go into the costs. If I bring a lawsuit against you and get beaten, I would not only have to pay my own lawyer, but I'd have to pay yours, too, and that makes it pretty expensive. That is the main source of expense.

Another source of expense is, that they still have a good deal of overgrown administration in the court. They've got rid of a good deal of it, but there is still a lot of it. For example, Charles II wanted to provide for one of his natural sons, so he made him a Sealer of Writs. Everybody who got any writs had to go to Lord Cleveland to get a seal. This was farmed out to others for a consideration. It got so that he would only seal writs on certain days of the week, and at certain hours. If you wanted a writ sealed in a hurry, or at some other time, you had to pay through the nose.

Now, we haven't been troubled too much with that, but we are troubled in this country with another thing, and that is the very great multiplication of jobs in the court houses. But in England, it's the survival of those things which involve a vast amount of unnecessary court expenses, as well as the idea of making the litigant who is defeated fully compensate the man who was brought in the court room.

MR. McGRATH: Do you think that our system, whereby the county judges could be assigned by the Supreme Court on other cases, such as for instance, the Circuit Court or the Supreme Court, makes for a good system?

DEAN POUND: To a certain extent that is a good system, if you could have some way of utilizing the judicial powers. I would like to suggest this to you. Small causes do not require small judges, but good judges, big judges. The judges in England - those county court justices - are just as good judges as the judges of the higher courts, and the consequence is, the people have confidence in them, the work is well done. If you have an organization of your small causes and you put small men into the system, nobody has confidence in them, and you get this volume of appeals. You can have a smaller number of first-class men, doing the work in a first-class manner. That is infinitely better than a great number of third-class men doing it in a third-class manner.

Now, you have the same situation in Vermont, where they have more judges doing the small court business of 375,000 people than they have in England doing the small cause work of a population running pretty close to 40 million. That is simply the result of trying to deal with small causes - which are just as important to a party as the large causes - and other things, in a small way.

MR. McGRATH: You don't regard our county courts as courts


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