N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 252


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

a source to draw on.

VICE-CHAIRMAN: If you carry it that far, you might say, let's establish two appellate courts - one composed of high equity judges, to hear all equity appeals, and one composed of high law judges, to hear all law appeals.

MR. GILHOOLY: That won't be necessary. I just want to add that we want to have somebody on that court who would expound the equity side of the question.

MR. GEORGE F. SMITH: This morning, that is before lunch, I think you mentioned the fact that if we are really going to make any radical change in this particular Court of Chancery, the really appropriate time to have done it was in 1844 instead of in 1947. In other words, that since that time there has been such a volume of equity and law built up that we would be scrapping it, so to speak, if we made any radical change. If this were the Convention of 1844 instead of 1947, and we had no body of equity law built up such as we have today, what then would be your suggestion for the ideal court system?

MR. GILHOOLY: Well, then I would still say, it is still my argument, that we would be far better off to maintain the two jurisdictions separate and distinct, because the remedy sought is different, and it is just as different today as it was in 1844.

MR. SMITH: Well, outside of minor changes the court structure as now existing, as far as Chancery goes, is correct?

MR. GILHOOLY: Yes.

MR. SMITH: You still have that feeling, Mr. Gilhooly, despite the fact that the Vice-Chancellors, at least of late, have been drawn from among those experienced in law and not experienced in equity?

MR. GILHOOLY: Yes, and I think that they improve with their experience on the bench, and that the litigants have to await the time when the Vice-Chancellor reaches his full maturity as an equity judge.

MR. SMITH: Of course, the litigant has no choice of Vice-Chancellors, and if he is unlucky enough to get one of the younger Vice-Chancellors his decision will not be so favorable, so good?

MR. SOMMER: That is a natural result, and nothing can change it.

MR. DIXON: Do you think, Mr. Gilhooly, that the British made a mistake in abandoning the Chancery Court in 1873, and that the quality of their justice deteriorated since they abandoned their Chancery Court?

MR. GILHOOLY: Judge McGrath, rather Mr. Dixon -

VICE-CHAIRMAN: You sound more like a lawyer -

(Laughter)


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