N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 377


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

dles loans come into the trust department and take care of trusts. They conduct their business efficiently by having men who devote their lives to the particular branch of the business.

Generally, the judge who tries issues of fact before a jury is not likely to be as competent to decide these equity questions which arise in the course of a legal case as a Vice-Chancellor or Chancellor who devotes his whole time to the practice of equity. In the course of my practice which has extended over a good many years, almost 40, I have seen some Vice-Chancellors, who perhaps were not skilled as equity judges when they were appointed, but who after such appointments devoted their whole lives to equity, and who shortly became excellent Vice-Chancellors. You will not get that in the case of a judge who has equity questions arising before him only incidentally. I think you never can get that.

I think the recommendations of the State Bar Committee are sounder than some of the other plans which have been submitted. But I think that they have this serious weakness - that they make it impossible for a litigant in a law action to have important equity questions which arise in that law action determined by a man who is familiar with equity principles and practice. And I think that the interest of the litigant should be paramount. He is entitled to and should have every question which arises in his cause decided by the most competent tribunal possible.

This report of the State Bar Committee was not adopted, and following the report, which was by a divided committee, a resolution was drafted providing that a questionnaire should be sent to each member of the State Bar Association asking whether they favored the retention of the Court of Chancery or whether they favored the plan suggested by the committee. The result of that questionnaire will be tabulated and submitted to you gentlemen, and to all of the members of the Convention. I don't know what the results will be; I know the bar is divided on the subject. I wouldn't suggest that you gentlemen should be controlled by that result. I think it's worthy of consideration, but I think before you have finished your job you probably will have given more thought to this entire question than most of the members of the bar have. Nevertheless, I think the result of this questionnaire will be worthy of consideration no matter which way it may turn out.

I think that if you reach the conclusion that the Court of Chancery should be abolished, which I certainly hope you will not reach, that it is much better to have judges permanently assigned to the equity division, rather than to have them alternate as they do in other places. While it is said that the system recommended by this divided committee of the State Bar Association (three or four members of it who are members of the committee) has worked well in


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