N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 242

STATE OF NEW JERSEY CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION OF 1947 COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY

Thursday, July 3, 1947 (Afternoon session)

(The session began at 2:00 P. M.)

PRESENT: Brogan, Dixon, Drenk, Jacobs, McGrath, McMurray, Miller, G. W., Peterson, H. W., Smith, G. F., Sommer and Winne.

VICE-CHAIRMAN NATHAN L. JACOBS: In the absence of the hearing stenographer this afternoon, will you please speak into the microphone in order that the Soundscriber may record your testimony?

MR. EDWARD J. GILHOOLY: At the close of this morning's session, I had mentioned my experiences both at law school and at the bar. My purpose was to indicate to you, sir, that during the course of that time I have met lawyers who are coming up in the law, lawyers with greater experience than my own and those with lesser experience, and it seems to me, and I have reached the conclusion, that we as lawyers have no great difficulty in obtaining appropriate relief and that the careless and indifferent lawyer usually meets with the success that his own time and effort deserve. As far as the laity not understanding our court procedure, that's understandable because the legal profession is a profession and they're not expected to understand it. No matter how simple the system you provide, it would not be wholly understandable to one who has not made a study of the subject.

From what I have read in various reports coming from the State Bar Association and my own county bar, and remarks of learned speakers and jurists, it seems to me that it is fairly well conceded that equity should be kept distinct from law in some manner, shape or form. Also, cases in which an equity decision is involved should generally be decided by jurists who have a specialized knowledge of that subject. If both the lawyer and the judge will give the subject the proper reflection. I am sure that all would agree that the power of an equity court cannot adequately be defined nor can the limit of equity power ever be defined.

Now my objection to the law judge deciding questions of equity is this: if the law judge is permitted to make these decisions in equity, it's true he'll be familiar with the usual actions in equity; he'll understand the generally accepted principles of equity; but he will not have the experience to arrive at a true decision in a case which is doubtful and which presents a new equity. This is


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