N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 397

Thursday, July 10, 1947 (Morning session)

did not know the Court of Chancery as I now do. I have a broader perspective. Then again, it was a question of taking some things that I did not approve of in order to procure others of which I was heartily in favor. And, of course, we are all entitled to change our minds, as some of the strongest advocates of change in our judicial system have done.

It might not be amiss, as this Committee is composed in large part of laymen, to tell you something of the various and multitudinous jurisdiction exercised by the Court of Chancery, which must repose somewhere in any court structure. The types of litigation handled by the court reach at times into all homes. It has jurisdiction of all matters arising out of the maritial relations: divorce, nullity, maintenance, custody of children, property actions and accounting between husband and wife, rights and value of dower and curtesy. The Chancellor is the guardian and protector of all infants, insane persons, habitual drunkards and incompetents, all of whom are his wards, and no action can be taken with respect to their personal or property rights unless he so orders after a hearing on all the facts and circumstances, and he is satisfied that it is for the best interest and welfare of the wards of the court.

The Court of Chancery has jurisdiction of all actions where a number of different persons assert a lien or a right against a specific fund of money. Thus, it handles the foreclosure of mortgages, mechanic's lien proceedings, tax foreclosures, the assets and liquidation of insolvent corporations, banks, insurance companies and building and loan associations, bills of interpleader where several persons claim rights in a sum of money, bills to quiet claims of title, bills of partition of real estate, and partnership relations and accounts and the enforcement of liens of all types.

It can prevent wrongdoers from continuing to commit wrongs for which there is no adequate remedy at law. Thus, it handles bills of peace, injunction proceedings of all types, i.e., abates nuisances; bills to correct mistakes in contracts and deeds, cancels contracts and deeds where there is a mutual mistake or fraud, bills to relieve forfeiture of property or legal penalties, bills to restrain infringement of easements, boundaries, copyrights, the use of business trade names, and restrictive covenants in deeds for the protection of a neighborhood scheme.

It handles all matters where the beneficial interest is in one or more persons but the legal title in another. It handles all the actions of accountings and fiduciaries, trustees and of some executors; trust matters of all kinds, stockholders suits against corporate directors, bills to impress a constructive trust on moneys or properties, title to which was gained by fraud or deception; and it has jurisdiction of the construction of wills and the duties of executors and trustees under the terms of a will.

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