N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 357


STATE OF NEW JERSEY CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION OF 1947
COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
Wednesday, July 9, 1947 (Morning session)

forms for the simplification and expedition of procedure. Yet when the initiative has come from practitioners or the judges, votaries of the craft, it could hardly have been as insistent or the result as effective as if the initiative had come from those who pay the price of the obstructing technicalities."

I therefore say that the public is not interested in the fascinating niceties of the law. What every client wants is a speedy decision, by an honest judge, at small expense. The question then is, which system is more likely to give this to the public? That is a question which the public - not the lawyers - should decide.

After 18 years of active practice, it seems to me that a separate Court of Chancery is not in the public interest, because it means unnecessary delay and needless expense, which would be eliminated in an integrated system such as we have in the federal court.

Our system of separate courts of law and equity often means two or more trials - with their concomitant appeals - when one trial and one appeal should suffice. It often means cases are hotly contested and thoroughly litigated at great expense of money, time and effort, only to be thrown out because the cases were in the wrong courts. It often means justice denied because long delayed or too expensive.

Permit me to give you a few examples. Some of these examples are from my own experience. The remaining cases I found by taking a very quick glance at the New Jersey and Atlantic Digest one evening. An exhaustive study would, undoubtedly, reveal many more cases in the reports.

Now, the first case I would like to take up is the case of Metropolitan Life Insurance Company v Tarnowski, decided by the Court of Errors and Appeals in 130 N. J. Eq. 1. In that case a suit had been started at law on an insurance policy for about $950 - started by the beneficiary, Mrs. Tarnowski having died. In the law court, the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company had filed a petition for a declaratory judgment in an effort to get the entire issue settled once and for all. The case was tried for two days and the judgment went for Mr. Tarnowski and against the insurance company. The insurance company thereupon went into the Court of Chancery to cancel the policy for reasons which the insurance company asserted the law court had been powerless to hear because they were equitable defenses. The case was tried all over again before a Vice-Chancellor, and the Vice-Chancellor cancelled the policy. Thereupon it was appealed to the Court of Errors and Appeals, which sustained the findings of the Vice-Chancellor. So, for a policy of approximately $950, you have a total of two full trials and an appeal before the Court of Errors and Appeals.

In the case of Kelsey v Agricultural Insurance Company - Clarence Kelsey was a well-known New Jersey lawyer. Now, Mr. Kelsey himself had occasion to sue the Agricultural Insurance Company


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