N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 263

is submitted under this plan and given general jurisdiction.

MR. McGRATH: If you found that you needed a jury after the case was started in the Chancery Court, you would have the Chancery Court call a jury and try the law question involved in the case?

MR. LASHER: Precisely. And, may I read this one sentence that is in the plan (reading from Summary):

"Either the Law or the Chancery Division, for the more efficient administration of law and equity shall have jurisdiction to determine fully in all of its aspects any case or controversy which has been properly commenced in such Division, including the right to determine issues of fact by jury trial where the right to trial by jury exists under this Constitution."

That would be in the new Constitution. That is another thing to be borne in mind, because there are certain constitutional rights under the 1844 Constitution - a jury trial - and that, I think, is one of the differences that exists between the English system - I don't know too much about it - but it has been pointed out that in England they don't have a written constitution such as we have here, and that the percentage of jury trials in England is far smaller than here. You might think it would be the reverse, but I understand that we, in our law actions, have a far greater percentage of jury trials than they do in present-day England.

And we then have, as the result of a resolution that was offered on the floor of the meeting, a provision in this draft for the establishment of a County Court in each of the several counties, which would have all the jurisdictions now possessed by the Courts of Oyer and Terminer, Special Sessions, Common Pleas, Orphans' Courts, etc.

VICE-CHAIRMAN: Do you recommend that as a constitutional court, or do you leave that to the Legislature to create?

MR. LASHER: The Committee had submitted in its draft that the County Courts and all the inferior courts should be created by statute, and regulated by statute. At the meeting the resolution was adopted by a majority vote of all those present, that a provision be inserted in the Constitution for a constitutional County Court in each of the several counties. That is one of the differences that exist.

I would like to call your attention to one other suggestion that has been made and that is embodied in the draft -

MR. McGRATH: Pardon me, Mr. Lasher, but before you leave the County Courts, may I ask this question? Is it your thought to combine the different courts, of Common Pleas -

MR. LASHER: Yes; most of them that are statutory now, but we should not have the distinction.

MR. McGRATH: You would combine them so that we wouldn't have these Quarter Sessions and Special Sessions, Oyer and Ter-

Previous Page in Book ********* Table of Contents *********** Next Page in Book