N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 221


STATE OF NEW JERSEY CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION OF 1947 COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
Thursday, July 3, 1947 (Morning session)

confusion, is this. Many of the witnesses here have said, and not without some reason, that an application is made to a single justice for certiorari. He denies it. It goes to the court and the court denies it. That is the end of it. It is not reviewable. The thought seems to have been - I express no opinion - that regardless, that ought to be appealable, the general theory being that the man ought to be heard. He ought to get his day in court. That is pointed to as a weakness in the prerogative writs system, so far as certiorari is concerned, at least.

MR. DIXON: Do you feel, Justice, if we set up a plan so that a man could in all cases get a review, and substitute for prerogative writs -

JUSTICE COLIE: You don't mean that he would get a review as a matter of right?

MR. DIXON: As a matter of right, yes.

JUSTICE COLIE: Regardless of whether or not there was a showing of merit?

MR. DIXON: Well, that question comes in, but the review itself would show it, and show very quickly whether it was merited. Now, there may be some cases, as has been pointed out here, where we are perhaps working an injustice if we give a review. It would be a matter of such little importance. From the witnesses who have talked here about the difficulty in regard to those prerogative writs, getting the wrong writs, matters of jurisdiction - I believe that word will probably cover it - we would have less trouble if we gave every person a right to review, as a matter of right?

JUSTICE COLIE: In every case?

MR. DIXON: In every case, yes; or perhaps you could make a suggestion for a modification of that so as to eliminate the difficulty that you might foresee in such a plan.

VICE-CHAIRMAN: May I make a comment before you answer? I note the tone of surprise. You, in effect, say: Shall we allow every person to appeal as a matter of right from these administrative determinations? Assuming he does not have a meritorious case - perhaps it is frivolous - is he any worse than a litigant who appeals as a matter of right in the District Court, or the Supreme Court, in a case involving a hundred dollars, two hundred dollars?

JUSTICE COLIE: All appeals are not a matter of right.

VICE-CHAIRMAN: Appeals from the usual judgments in the law actions and equity actions are taken as a matter of right. What we are inquiring about is, should not the losing party have an appeal as a matter of right?

JUSTICE COLIE: I misunderstood completely. Absolutely, yes.

MR. BROGAN: He does not have that under the present system. I might go to you tomorrow and I might not be able to persuade


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