N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 707

LETTER OF SHERWOOD K. PLATT, Esq.

(Copy of letter sent to Governor Alfred E. Driscoll and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary)

Mayer, Meyer, Austrian & Platt Continental Illinois Bank Building Chicago 4 

May 17, 1947
 Mr. Ward J. Herbert 11 Commerce Street Newark, New Jersey

Dear Ward:

In connection with your recent letter relative to the revision of the judiciary in New Jersey, I would state that generally we have found that the changes we made by means of our Practice Act of 1933 are satisfactory and assist in the disposition of legal proceedings. Of course, during the transition period there have been many cases endeavoring to interpret the changes effected by that act, and there seems to be a somewhat general tendency, in spite of radical changes in the statute, to construe some of the provisions along the lines of former practice. In general, the act simplified procedure and eliminated cumbersome pre-existing forms of action and technical distinctions and errors of pleading, so that the courts now proceed to permit counsel to try the merits of the case regardless of technical deficiencies in pleading, and to a considerable extent assist the plaintiff in making necessary amendments and revisions to properly try any proper cause of action which he may have.

With respect to the distinctions between law and equity, these still very definitely exist, and here in Cook County we have approximately one-half of the judges sitting as chancery judges and others presiding over law cases. Where the law question is purely incidental, the Chancellor often disposes of the same by his decree and the trial of the law issue is unnecessary. Where the two issues are definitely distinct, the Chancellor disposes of the equity questions, and if this does not dispose of the suit the case is then transferred to the law side.

Juries are available in both courts in Cook County but very seldom are they used on the chancery side. If the case is tried on the chancery side, ordinarily a jury is waived, but if a jury is definitely demanded, either the Chancellor transfers the case to the law side or somewhat reluctantly calls in a jury to his own court.

Actually in personal practice, most of my cases have been on


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