N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 90

Wednesday, June 25, 1947 (Morning session)

MR. CONFORD: That's right -

MR. PETERSON: ... and therefore you would get away from all of this transfer from one court to another.

MR. CONFORD: There won't be any transfer from one court to another, to any appreciable extent, if the modification which we recommend is adopted, because the bulk of transfers that happen arise because of the fact that the law courts cannot entertain equitable defenses or replies or counter-claims. If, by the adoption of our suggestion that the law courts be permitted to do that, and by the further suggestion that the Chancery Court be compelled to decide legal issues - for example, title to land, which they usually don't do - in a case which starts in Chancery court, the vast percentage, the great percentage of these conflicts of jurisdiction will be eliminated, and you will have both what really amounts to integrated disposition of litigations, which we are all in favor of, and at the same time have the benefit of specialized administration of particular causes. We are very much in favor of integrated disposition of particular litigations, but not of complete integration of courts. That's the distinction that we make.

MR. BROGAN: Mr. Conford, the only point on which you differ with Mr. Schnitzer, as I understand, is that you want what you call an Equity Division, which division or court would be manned by the same equity judges, who would have no other duties except the incidental ones where law questions would creep in, and there they would have the jurisdiction to decide those.

MR. CONFORD: Now, that's my second choice. My first choice would be that the Court of Chancery, or the equity court, or whatever you may want to call it, be a separate court, separately administered under the supervision of a chief equity judge.

MR. BROGAN: As now?

MR. CONFORD: Yes, except that the chief judge would be on the same par, so far as deciding cases, as the other judges - the same as the relationship of the Chief Justice now is to the Associate Justices of the Supreme Court. I mean, a matter might be referred to a Vice-Chancellor, or an equity judge, and he would decide the case, not merely advise the decision.

MR. BROGAN: Would you have each of these equity judges be a constituent part of the court of equity so that it might make its own decrees.

MR. CONFORD: Absolutely.

MR. BROGAN: Then what function would the chief equity judge have other than another equity judge?

MR. CONFORD: He would be another equity judge so far as judicial business is concerned, but he would be the chief administrative head from the standpoint of organization and administration of

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