N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 155

Tuesday, July 1, 1947 (Afternoon session)

could well be accomplished by judges sitting in what are now county courts. I don't think it makes much difference whether the matter is in the law section or the equity section.

I'm going back to the unified court. I've left out the punch line. We proponents of a better court system in this respect make a thoroughly concrete suggestion, that cases where the major issue is legal shall be tried in the law section; that cases which are predominantly equitable, where the major relief sought is equitable, should be tried in the court of equity; and that where a case presents both equitable and legal issues, it should be disposed of by the court that hears it. There are two provisions in the 1944 section: one is that each controversy shall be decided by the court and judge who hears it; and the second, that the law section or equity section shall exercise the jurisdiction of the other, where the ends of justice require it. We think that is entirely workable. True, in some cases the Court of Chancery would have to draw a jury. Why shouldn't the Court of Chancery sit in the court houses where juries are and where jury facilities are, and jury rooms are? There is no reason at all why that shouldn't be done. It is a matter of mechanics and presents no insurmountable difficulty.

Now, the county courts - I submit to the Committee that these courts have original jurisdiction. The law section and the equity section should also exercise the jurisdiction now exercised by the county judges. You have heard that before. There is no reason to repeat it. Much is said, and rightly so - I subscribe to it thoroughly - that the county courts should have that local touch; that they should know the conditions in the county in which the judge sits; the people of the county should know the judges - therefore, that in this law section at least one judge should be appointed from and should sit in each county and should exercise this jurisdiction. It would give the local contact which is essential to the efficiency of the court system.

My predecessor at this chair spoke of prerogative writs. He is not only my predecessor, but my friend, and I have great respect for his position, for his experience, and for his legal knowledge. Nevertheless, I disagree with him respecting prerogative writs. He spoke of the difference between a tort and a contract. Chief Justice Case said that was abolished a few years ago. That is true, but tort cases and contract cases are now heard by the same judge in the same court and the litigant doesn't have to litigate any more whether a case is in tort or in contract. We think that same result should be achieved in the prerogative writs. Chief Justice Case spoke of the lawyer who applied for a writ of mandamus, and the Chief Justice had great difficulty making it clear to him that he wasn't entitled to a writ of mandamus, but should have applied for a writ

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