N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 223


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

MR. McGRATH: Do you think that is so important that we ought to fuss about it in our Constitution?

JUSTICE COLIE: No, sir, I don't think so.

VICE-CHAIRMAN: Anything further?

(No response)

VICE-CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much, Justice Colie.

JUSTICE COLIE: It has been a great privilege. If I have been of any help at all, I feel that I have not made the trip in vain.

(Discussion off the record)

VICE-CHAIRMAN: Mr. Brennan, who appeared for the New Jersey Law Journal, said that Mr. Greene was going to supplement his remarks about one particular phase. Mr. Greene is going to give us the general presentation of the editorials as they appear in the New Jersey Law Journal.

MR. ISRAEL B. GREENE: Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen of the Committee:

The editors of the New Jersey Law Journal, which is a publication distributed among members of the legal profession, favor an independent court of appeals, an intermediate court of appeals, and a unified court of general jurisdiction, in which law, equity, probate and matrimonial matters are unified in one court, to be patterned somewhat on the modern English system, as established by the Judicature Act of 1873. It is their general view that equity and probate jurisdiction should be administered by a Chancery Division. In other words, they don't advocate, in the vernacular, the abolition of the Court of Chancery. They do advocate, however, that equity, as it has been administered in the past, plus the probate law, should be administered by a Chancery Division. I understand that that was the essence of the 1944 plan.

I should like to review briefly the arguments pro and con on this rather controversial question as to what to do with the Court of Chancery. It has been a subject that has interested me for as long as I have practiced. I'm in my 27th year. Those who want to preserve the present Chancery Court argue, in the first place, that the present separation of the courts brings about specialization, and they are afraid that that specialization would be lost by integration of the courts. In my opinion that specialization would not be jeopardized if we adopt a court system based on the modern English system. Experience with the English system since 1873 has shown that it has worked out very well, and that there has been no loss in the quality or prestige of the English Court of Chancery. Our Court of Chancery is modelled on the ancient English High Court of Chancery which, after hundreds of years of experience, was repudiated as a separate system. I do not favor the freezing of judges in


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