N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 378

Wednesday, July 9, 1947 (Afternoon session)

England - and I think that is true - in considering that, we should consider also the difference between the English system and ours. In England the whole bar is divided into solicitors and barristers. Only the barristers are permitted to appear in court in any litigated cause. The barristers are divided into at least two grades. The highest grade, as I recall it, is the King's Counsel. The judges in England are very much better paid than our judges in New Jersey. I think our judges in New Jersey - this is a little digression - are at present very much underpaid. The judges in England are very much better paid, and I think it may be assumed that under this special practice of England, the counsel on the average, probably are able to assist the court more than counsel in New Jersey on the average assist the court.

It seems to me that it is not quite logical to say that we should model this, our equity court system, after the English courts. It would be just as logical to say that we should have solicitors and barristers, and different grades of barristers. I think it's more important to consider how the single court with both law and equity jurisdiction has worked out in the other states of this country.

Now, in the course of my practice I have often had occasion to read equity decisions of the Supreme Court of New York. They are reported in the New York Supplement as well as in the official reports. I think that anyone who has examined those decisions will agree with me that they do not show an appreciation, an understanding of the principles of equity, to the extent that the decisions of our Court of Chancery do. I have frequently been impressed with that fact, and I know that other lawyers have. On one occasion I was unfortunate enough to cite to a New Jersey judge a case in the New York Supplement. He fixed me with his eyes and said, "Mr. Stryker, I hope you'll understand that the New York Supplement is a pond in which any kind of fish may be caught." I think he was right. It is also true that the Federal Reports, which reports the law and equity decisions of the federal courts, now the Federal Supplement, is a pond in which any kind of a fish may be caught. If you fish long enough, you will find some case that supports your position, no matter how wrong you may be.

I think that if we would come to balance the possible gain and the possible loss of abolishing the Court of Chancery, it would shape up something like this. First, what is the gain? I can see no gain, except that litigants in law actions wouldn't be obliged to go into the Court of Chancery when some equitable defense is raised. Aside from that, I can see no gain, and I think that is not actually a gain, although it is considered as such. Now, the loss centers right there - if the plan of the committee of the State Bar Association is to be adopted - the loss is that equity questions which are of appreciably

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