N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 679

Editorials from the New Jersey Law Journal, April 17 to June 12, 1950

(New Jersey Law Journal, June 12, 1947)

I The Court of Last Resort

can reach the Court of Appeals. Five judges ought to be able to handle the thus curtailed volume.

If, on the other hand, an Appellate Division is devised which will have a more limited field of operation, and if (as will be discussed hereinafter) direct appeals from the Law and Chancery Divisions to the Court of Appeals are to be ordered, then a seven-member court would seem more advisable.

II Appellate Divisions

Here again practically no dissention exists among informed members of the bar about the necessity for Appellate Divisions. The real problem centers about the form that such divisions shall take and the extent of their review jurisdiction. The question agitated is whether they should have intermediate appellate jurisdiction in all causes or whether certain causes, such as appeals from the Law and Chancery Sections of the Supreme Court, should be excluded.

The primary objective here is one appeal for a litigant as a matter of right. The secondary objective is to make certain that the Court of Appeals, because of restriction, by the Constitution and its own rules, on the causes which may be presented to it from the Appellate Divisions, does not become a court without a calendar. The safest and most practicable solution is that set forth generally in the Journal editorial of April 24, 1947.1 See pages 658 to 662, supra. There it was proposed, first, that appeals from the Law and Chancery Divisions of the Supreme Court go directly to the Court of Appeals. This would assure a constant source of review work for the court. Second, that all other matters of appeal or review (as by the prerogative writs) be assigned to Appellate Parts or Divisions. Such jurisdiction would encompass District Court appeals, workmen's compensation appeals, review of the action of administrative agencies, review of the action of municipalities and like branches of government, review of police court convictions, regulation of the admission to the bar, etc. (As an aside in this connection, an aim to be sought is the making of the prerogative writs issuable as of right, or the refusal of the writ reviewable, or the granting to the Legislature of power to create remedies which will operate concurrently with such writs).

No one need doubt that such Appellate Parts or Divisions would have enough to do. There are literally hundreds of workmen's compensation appeals annually, to say nothing of the other review burdens referred to above. The number of parts and the composition thereof necessary to handle the task must be a matter for thorough study by the Convention.

Appeals from these Parts should not be permitted as a matter of right except where the proceedings involve the constitutionality

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