N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 92


STATE OF NEW JERSEY CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION OF 1947
COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
Wednesday, June 25, 1947 (Morning session)

to become a competent equity judge than it does for a lawyer, let us say, who is appointed to the Circuit Court to become a reasonably good law judge?

MR. CONFORD: That is not a fair statement of my position.

MR. BROGAN: Well, will you tell me what is a fair statement?

MR. CONFORD: Both the average equity judge and the average law judge will each become competent more quickly and more completely if each of them is confined to less than the entire body of the law.

MR. BROGAN: Well, then, you would want a separate Law Division too, where Circuit Court judges would be Circuit Court judges.

MR. CONFORD: Well, there would be a separate organization of the law courts.

MR. BROGAN: Your idea would be, then, that a circuit judge should stay in the circuit and try the ordinary civil cases that come before him, and that a probate judge would do probate work?

MR. CONFORD: Exactly.

MR. BROGAN: Like the Surrogate's Court in New York?

MR. CONFORD: Yes. The Surrogate's Court of New York, incidentally, is a completely and absolutely independent court. That is one respect in which New York does not have integration. The Surrogate's Court is not a part of the Supreme Court, and I would -

MR. BROGAN: Would there be enough business in this State for a separate probate court?

MR. CONFORD: There might be for one court for the entire State, sitting in different parts of the State.

MR. McGRATH: What are you in favor of - leaving the Court of Chancery as is, or that it be amended according to your ideas, retaining the other courts practically as they are?

MR. CONFORD: No, I would put all of the law courts in one court, with separate parts or sections for handling of -

MR. McGRATH: Well, suppose a man up in Sussex County wanted to get administration of a $200 estate, what would you do?

MR. CONFORD: Well, so far as probate is concerned, I think that there should be a distinction taken between uncontested routine matters and contested matters.

MR. McGRATH: This matter is contested.

MR. CONFORD: Well, that would be - if it were a contest over a will, it should be referred to the probate court which would sit in parts of the State that would be convenient to the litigant.

MR. McGRATH: Well, what would be more convenient for that litigant than to go to somebody who is sitting in a county court?

MR. CONFORD: That would be very convenient for that litigant, but I think it would be inconvenient for the handling of the


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