N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 654


Double Litigation

Nor should this in the slightest prevent the handling of matters, which are mainly equitable, by courts and judges generally accustomed thereto, or the handling of matters, mainly of common law character, by courts and judges generally accustomed thereto. This can be accomplished by mere rule of court, as in New York, if these law and equity judges are assigned to different divisions of the same over-all court. What is essential for the benefit of our citizens is that our Constitution should vest our courts with power to do complete justice in each situation. Then, if the Constitution vests each of the appropriate branches of this over-all court with full power to settle all merely incidental questions, regardless of the mere accident of their origin, "the law will be made for man, not man for the law."

In taking this practical step to save the time and money of all the citizens of New Jersey, it should give assurance to know that, in doing so, New Jersey is not embarking on some untried experiment, but is, in fact, following in the footsteps of almost everyone of our sister states, and of England, which, though the mother of our present system, has long since discarded such system as ineffective and wasteful.

Nay, more, New Jersey in its present Constitution, has already taken this step itself, in a limited proceeding, but to an extent far greater than is necessary to cure the hardship to our citizens presently alluded to. For, under the present Constitution (Art. IV, Sec. VII, par. 10), "the legislature may vest in the Circuit Courts or the Courts of Common Pleas within the several counties of this State Chancery powers so far as relates to the foreclosure of mortgages, and sale of mortgaged premises." The Legislature has so enacted (R. S. 2:65-35), and the heavens have not yet fallen. Note, too, that this transfers full Chancery powers in such matters. No such broad action would seem essential for the welfare of our citizens. It may well be desirable to retain matters, mainly of an equitable nature, in the hands of equity judges, and vice versa. What is needed is to supplement the powers of an equity court, or an equity branch of a court, with law powers, as to merely incidental matters, and vice versa. Thus, and thus alone, will our citizens be able to obtain justice in one court, and at one time.

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