N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 590



SECTION IV The Supreme Court

Chancery or the Prerogative Court will go to the Chancery Division. If we turn to paragraph 7 we find that "Without prejudice to the provisions of this Constitution relative to the distribution of business in the Supreme Court, all jurisdiction vested in the Supreme Court shall belong to each division alike." That of course means that if in an ordinary action at law in the Law Division the defendant wishes to raise an equitable defense, which today he could raise only by filing a bill in Chancery for an injunction, he can present that defense as a defense in the Law Division where the trial judge would determine the whole controversy. Conversely, if in a cause assigned to the Chancery Division there arose a matter now determinable only upon a prerogative writ, the judge of the Chancery Division could decide that question along with the other questions in the cause and grant full relief.

(12) It might be well to provide here for a minimum number, say ten, the present number of Vice-Chancellors, in the Chancery Division.

(13) When you read this in connection with Section II, paragraph 2, as discussed in notes (3) and (4), you find appeals from tribunals inferior to the Supreme Court going before three Justices of the Supreme Court. By appeals we mean to include certiorari and writs of error. You also find that the Legislature may empower the Court of Appeals to review decisions of those appellate courts only by its leave. The Legislature may also provide for appeals from inferior tribunals direct to the Court of Appeals in such cases as it chooses. There will not have to be double appeals as of right, the way there are at present. The reviewability by an appellate court, as distinguished from the Court of Appeals, of any decision of a single Justice of the Supreme Court is left fluid, in the Legislature's hands.

(14) The permanent appointment of Justices to the Chancery Division and vice versa will assure specialists in each. A rotation of Justices between divisions has nothing to recommend it. Some judges excel in the kind of litigation to be expected in the Chancery Division and would not be much good presiding over a jury trial. On the other hand, any lawyer of experience has known judges who are conspicuously successful in handling juries, more so than some of their more scholarly colleagues. The field in either division is broad enough to prevent a judge assigned to either from becoming narrow-minded. The expertness needed is that in the day-to-day handling of cases under trial. The ultimate content of the law will be settled by the Court of Appeals.

Pressure of business of one division, or some other cause not now apparent, might make it advisable for a judge belonging to

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