N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 522

Wednesday, July 30, 1947 (Morning session)

intimation or general statement is unfair and unjustified.

Speaking for the Ocean County group, I would like to repeat the statement that I made here on July 24, that more than 75 per cent of the practicing lawyers of Ocean County attended our joint meeting on July 10, and that our action in adopting a resolution favoring the retention of the Court of Chancery, as presently constituted, a certified copy of which was sent to each of you members, was by a unanimous vote without a single dissent. I can't speak for any other particular county bar association, but I am told that the action of the Camden County Bar Association was by a very heavy majority along the same line with but few dissents, so that I think that rather than take the general statement of any speaker, you inquire particularly on that subject.

I want to confine my remarks to as brief a space as I can and reiterate for the record, if I may, the points I endeavored to make here on July 24. The Ocean County group - and I am expressing the views of the group and not my own, although they are both in harmony - favors leaving the justice of the peace court out of the present proposed Constitution, and let that subject be dealt with by the Legislature. I think there are few practicing lawyers in this State who would not agree with the statement that the handling of small cause courts by justices of the peace is and has been entirely unsatisfactory. It constitutes a waste of time, a waste of money, a waste of effort, and in many sections of the State - I say this particularly for the members of the Committee who are not members of the bar - the practice when you are employed by a man to defend his rights before a justice of the peace, the practice of many of the lawyers is to say, "Well, why waste your time and money in going to trial? Let them take a judgment and we will take the appeal and have it heard by the Common Pleas Court." So much for justices of the peace.

There is a strong feeling in Ocean County that we should retain our county courts having, generally, criminal and probate jurisdiction and jurisdiction in domestic relations and things of that sort. I think I may fairly state that there is no opposition in Ocean County to depriving the Common Pleas Court of the jurisdiction that has heretofore been exercised in civil cases. There is also no objection to putting that jurisdiction into the General Court, if that is to be the name of the new statewide court.

Our group also was unanimously in favor of an independent court of appeals, which we think is badly needed in this State, composed of a comparatively small number - the number of seven, I think, is suggested in this draft, and we are in agreement with that. We do feel, however, that there should be adequate representation of the Chancery bench on that independent court of ap-

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