« PreviousContinue »
LA W BOOK:
A Practical Compendium
THE GENERAL PRINCIPLES OF
COMPRISING UPWARDS OF
THIRTEEN THOUSAND STATEMENTS OF THE LAW,
SEPARATELY NUMBERED, AND WITH NUMEROUS Cross REFERENCES ;
Forms of Documents; Decisions of the Courts; Explanations and
all kinds of copious Information in Relation to
PROPERTY, REAL AND PERSONAL.
CONVEYANCE, TRAVELLERS, & INNKEEPERS.
&c. &c. &c.
WITH A FULL INDEX, Containing 25,000 References.
1. AY 1872.
Ema, A. 13. E.18
It is an axiom, That everybody is supposed to know the law. It is a legal maxim, That he who acts as his own lawyer has a fool for his client. The axiom suggests the necessity of some severe duty, not improbably ending in hopeless bewilderment. The masim, in consequence of the nature of its origin, may be accepted under certain protests and with modifications imposed by circumstances. Still, there is much in favour of the lawyer's argument; and the following pages, while intended to increase people's knowledge concerning our laws, are by no means designed to supersede such legal advice and assistance as every wise man would seek for in cases of doubt and difficulty.
The usefulness of our Law Book will consist in its serving as a prevention rather than as a cure for law perplexities and law costs. Much of the law appears to arise spontaneously out of such self-evident propositions that any record of or reference to it seems superfluous; but the perpetual cross purposes and cross efforts of men and women create wrongs and emergencies which are not easily remedied or provided against
Thousands of illegal things are done every day, partly from design. but oftener by accident. And not only are illegal things done : they are submitted to ; and there are countless instances of men having suffered under considerable grievances for many years through sheer ignorance or misconception of their rights. Still more numerous are the cases of those who have drifted into ruinous legal proceedings through some apparently unimportant act or omission of their own, the precise consequences of which did not at first appear. Upon a great number of legal questions, a careful perusal of our pages and an occasional reference to our index will Dield needed information, may set at rest many a doubt, and prevent years of trouble hereafter.
A timely caution, however, is necessary with reference to ineviTable uncertainties. Nothing can be more erroneous than to rely upon current decisions, either within personal experience or as published in the newspaper. Very many of those decisions are directly in
the teeth of the principles and axioms of the law. The mistakes of judges, the shortcomings of counsel, the idleness or neglect or incompetency of solicitors, the utter ignorance or convenient compromises of juries, all in their turn contribute to verdicts and judgments which would never stand, if appealed against. These appeals remain frequently unmade, for it too often happens that the victims submit, either through ignorance of their true position, or because they are totally unprepared to meet the expenses of further proceedings. More especially is this the case with respect to the decisions of County Courts. Juries, in these cases, are apt to be more intent upon saving their time than considering the matter before them. County Court Judges, it is not unknown, are sometimes appointed for personal or political reasons, their legal qualifications not being the first consideration. As a body they are doubtless able and estimable men, but many of their judgments can only be accounted for upon the supposition of incompetence or caprice. Appeal from County Court decisions being relatively so costly as to be practically prohibitory, and most of the cases the judges deal with being too unimportant to come under the criticism of the press, the Courts are becoming more and more an uncontrolled power, the growth and extension of which should be watched with extreme jealousy.
Again : in judging of particular cases, it is essentially necessary to be extremely careful in making comparisons. There are so many subtle distinctions possible between one case and another, although they may at first appear to be exactly parallel, that hasty generalizations cannot be too much deprecated. Unless, therefore, it is clear beyond all possibility of mistake that the case on which advice is wanted runs completely on all fours with a similar case reported in this Law Book, the precise particulars should be submitted for a solicitor's opinion before arriving at definite conclusions, or taking any action in the matter. Let it be, moreover, understood that, above all things, à man in stating his own case should take care to state the whole circumstances with the utmost candour, and without a particle of reservation. Many a lawyer has been unjustly blamed for advice which he would never have given had he been made acquainted with certain facts which his client had omitted to state, either mistakenly imagining that they “made no difference," or, although adverse to his interests, would not be taken advantage of by his opponents.
S. O. B.
1. HAY 1872 )
EPITOME OF CONTENTS.
Final extinction of services,89. Absolute ownership, 1590. Paraphernalia of widows,2397
Impediments to marriage. Tenants by curtesy, 2510.
'Legal capacity for marriage, SETTLEMENTS, 2518.
Wife's separate use, 2703.
Solemnization of marriage, Post-nuptial settlements, 2831.
HUSBAND AND WIFE, 2022. Child stealing, 3007.
Leases for years, 1998.
carelessness of, Testimony of minors, 3098.
Restraint of trade, 1327. Joint and several liabilities of Earnings of minors, 3201.
husbands and wives,2176. , Property of minors, 3211,
rty of wives, 227 wives, Personeds of separation 1.295-