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Such a person will plainly understand that many Acts have been passed for the benefit and advancement of English interests, which would be wholly inapplicable to Ireland; and in like manner, that those Acts which have reference to this country, would become totally valueless as a treatment for the social necessities of Englishmen. Such being the case, we think that this difference between the laws in both countries operates as an argument in favour of our being entitled to a separate institution for their study, practice, and administration.

We think further, that without such a separate institution, as our Courts of Law are at present, the administration of justice in this country could not be carried on with advantage, and that, leaving out of consideration the inconvenience which would manifestly occur.

If the quantity of business which engages the attention of the English bar is such, that the members of the profession in that country have, by a tacit understanding between themselves, voluntarily agreed to select different branches of law for their study and particular courts for their practice, it is not, we would imagine, too much to say, that the peculiarities of Irish law, in its practice and administration, also requires cultivation by a distinct and separate body; and if this be so, what object could be gained by the removal of our Courts of Law from Dublin to Westminster? No benefit whatsoever, as far as Ireland is concerned-a step would merely have been taken towards the goal of centralization; a policy which however men may doubt its advantage, when applied to England, no one can deny to be fatal in its effects as regards Ireland. It may be said, however, that we are assuming that this dissimilarity between the laws of the two countries must continue, and it may be urged that such might be easily removed by the sweeping process of an Act of Parliament-that the Gordian-knot which baffled the ingenuity of successive generations was severed by the sword of the Grecian conqueror. True, but to effect such a change, more than an Act of Parliament would be requisite a long lapse of years can alone reconcile a people to changes in their social polity; and however energetically those changes might be carried out and administered, the more rigidly the laws might be enforced, the greater would be the opposition, and the less satisfactory the result.

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"An over-busy meddling," (says Lord Chief Justice Hale) alteration of lawes, though under the plausible name and pretence of reformation, doth necessarily introduce a great fluidness, lubricity, and unsteadiness in the law, and renders it, upon every little occasion, subject to perpetual fluxes, vicissitudes, and mutations; when once this law is changed, why may not that which is introduced be changed, and so on in perpetual motion? so that possibly in the period of an age or two, the law of a kingdom, and with it its government, may have as many shapes as a silkworm hath in the period of a year; so that they that now live, cannot project under what lawes their children shall live, nor the child or grandchild understand by what lawes the kingdom was governed in the time of the father or grandfather; and thereby the constitution of the government, the rules of property, and all things that are concerned to have the greatest fixedness that may be, shall become as lax and unstable as if every age underwent a conquest from a foreign state. And therefore in all times the wisest lawgivers and counsellors have been ever careful to keep the settled lawes of a kingdom as steady and fast as might be, and hence it was, that not so much to gain observance as firmness in their lawes, they were always styled sacred, and the people induced into a venerable esteem of them, by a pretence that their lawes were given from heaven, and therefore not to be changed by any inferior authority."

It would be well if that class of law-reformers, at the head of which stands Lord Glengall, would devote a portion of their time to the study of Hale's "Considerations touching the Amendment of Lawes." Some important information on this subject may also be gathered from the report of the Select Committee on Legal Education, published in the year 1846. In reply to quære 1663, Mr. M. Barry, a member of the Irish Bar, speaks as follows:

"There are a great many principles, particularly as regards real property law, having operation in Ireland, that have none whatsoever in England; suits in Ireland in the Court of Equity are principally confined to the administration of the real estates. In Ireland there is, as the Committee are aware, a peculiar equity, arising in connection with the tenure of leases for lives renewable for ever. Our redemption law under the Ejectment statutes, and the mode of administering the assets of deceased persons, and of administering the real and personal estate of deceased persons, differs so considerably, that a student whose attention has been confined to the subject of patents and the infringement of patents, and suits for the purchase and transfer of estates, and all those subjects that generally absorb the attention in England; that a student, although very well qualified in the principles of law, would find himself very frequently, when he undertook the practice of our country, at a great loss."

(1664) "That is to say, that instruction and practice in England would not necessarily qualify a man for the administration of the Courts of Equity or the practice at the Equity bar in Ireland, without previous instruction and practice in that department also in Ireland?—Certainly it would not."

The question numbered 1667 is also deserving of attention:

"That embarrassment can scarcely be removed without a greater assimilation of the laws of the country as well as of the practice of the courts? It would be exceedingly difficult to dispense with a knowledge of the laws and equities peculiar to Ireland.”

After stating some reasons for holding this opinion, Mr. Barry proceeds:

"It would be, I should say, exceedingly injurious upon that ground to assimilate the laws so as to dispense with the necessity of such a class in the country-in fact, I think it would be impracticable."

We take it then to be quite plain, that until the Irish character is so altered as to become essentially English, and Irish customs are supplanted by English habits, the laws of the two countries cannot be assimilated in such respects as to render their exclusive administration in England, advisable.

But if our Courts of Law and Equity were removed, and if the attempt to assimilate the laws of the two countries was abandoned, what would the result be then? Can one who has spent his life in the study of English laws, English customs, English habits, and English prejudices, be as competent, cæteris paribus, to undertake the administration of the law in Ireland, as one who has lived in this country, who has studied the peculiarities of our law, and understands the manners, habits, and feelings of our people? We think not. A judge, to be a good one, requires other qualifications than a mere acquaintance with law. He may be read in all the legal lore of Lyttleton and Coke, he may have learned by heart the pages of the Year-Books, he may have wasted the midnight oil in acquiring an intimate knowledge of Bracton and the other sources of our jurisprudence, he may have studied the Institutes of Justinian and the principles of the civil law, and nevertheless be an incompetent judge. Submit to him a question connected with the law of vested or contingent remainders, and he may answer you with the learning

and clearness of a Fearne; but let a case arise where it is necessary to unravel the intricacies of fraud, where it is necessary to detect and present in a clear and concise view to the minds of a jury (not always the most astute) the tricks and crafty ingenuities of designing men, and he will in vain look to his Coke and his Lyttleton for help. In the argument of a demurrer such a man would be in his element: he would see at a glance the gist of an action, he would silence a dexterous pleader, and distinguish cases and authorities with the greatest nicety; but let an unprincipled witness ascend the witness-box, and he would become, if he had only his knowledge of law to refer to, a cipher, a "thing of quiddities and doubts." There is no royal road to the attainment of this most necessary quality in a judge; he must be a man of general information and versed in general literature; he must have carefully noted the passions which influence men's actions; he must have mingled amongst those to whom he is presently about to administer justice; he must have observed, and that too, carefully, their peculiar habits and customs, and the conventional modes of expression in use. Without these acquirements he is incapable of filling with advantage to the public or honour to himself the high office of judge.

How often does an Englishman come over to this country, and leave as ignorant as when he first landed on our shores-he places reliance where none should be reposed; he forgets that our national character is different from that, from which his experience is derived, or he is totally ignorant of it; he returns accordingly, with notions hastily taken up and obstinately adhered to, and forthwith prepares to put his extravagant ideas into the shape of an Act of Parliament; he legislates for evils that he does not understand, and imagines himself a statesman. Thus laws are manufactured for Irish wants, and thus they always fail in effecting the objects for which they were passed. What comparison can then, be instituted between an English and Irish barrister presiding in our Courts of Justice and administering our Laws?

Nor, does the fact of an English judge presiding over the Court of Chancery in Ireland, and earning for himself the high character which our late Chancellor, Sir E. Sugden, has so deservedly obtained, negative our conclusions. The decisions of the Court of

Chancery are grounded on principles of equity, which, from its very nature, must be unchangeable and alike in all countries. It is one thing to interpret the intentions of a testator, and gather his wishes and inclinations from a written document; it is quite another to balance and give its proper weight to evidence delivered viva voce, where the manner of the witness and the most trivial expression made use of, may be of the utmost importance in discovering the truth, and afford a means of testing his knowledge and accuracy.

We hardly imagine that it will be contended that gentlemen of the Irish bar are incompetent to perform the duties or incapable of filling the office of a judge. Was incompetency the fault of Lord Plunket was incompetency the ground, upon which his appointment to the office of Master of the Rolls in England, was cancelled? But we are not without evidence on this matter also: we have at the present day the authority of Sir E. Sugden for saying, that "the lawyers of the Irish bar and the Irish judges are very accomplished lawyers; they have not probably full justice done them in this country."

We feel unwilling, Irish barristers as we are, to dwell upon the talents or virtues of the Irish bench; but we have no hesitation in saying, and that notwithstanding a recent publication, that the gentlemen who at present preside over our courts of justice are fully competent to their task, and enjoy the confidence of the suitors in their respective courts.

It appears also, and that on the most satisfactory evidence, that the amount of business is such in both countries as to negative the idea, that by removing the Irish Law Courts, and transferring them to Westminster Hall, the same number of judges at present appointed in England, would be sufficient to get through the business, thereby much increased in amount, in a satisfactory manner; and if the carrying out of the measure at present under our consideration, would result in the necessary appointment of an additional number of judges, (who would, no doubt, be selected from among the members of the English bar, after the present Irish judges had departed from the stage of judicial life), it is quite manifest that the grand object in view, is merely to promote centralization, to increase absenteeism, and to destroy a class in Ireland

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