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that the defendants had exceeded their jurisdiction; and, for the purpose of enabling him to be prepared with this defence, the plaintiff seems to have been entitled, at least after issue joined, to an inspection of such proceedings as had been instituted against himself.

In the other case, before referred to, of Abery v. Dickenson (1), which was an action of trespass against the defendant for taking a distress for a penalty under an order of certain commissioners, the court of King's Bench is reported to have refused the rule, on the ground that the commissioners were not parties to the suit. The same objection might have been made in the other cases, which have been before cited (2); but the court there allowed an inspection, (although the persons, who had the custody of !he goods, were not parties to the suit,) because the plaintiff, who applied for the rule, was the object of the proceedings, under which the defendants had acted. The authorities before cited seem, therefore, to establish the principle, that, if proceedings have been instituted by an inferior jurisdiction, the party affected by them ought to be allowed to take a copy of such as relate to himself, in any subsequent suit, in which the regularity of those proceedings may be disputed.

Books of Parish registers, books of the India Company relating puMic of- t0 the transter Df books of the Bank, &c. are for

some purposes considered as public books; and persons, interested in them, have a right to inspect and take copies of such parts as relate to their interest (3). So the books of the commissioners of the lottery, and their numerical lists, are of a public nature; and kept by the commissioners in trust lor the ticket-holders, who are entitled to an inspection, by rule of court (4). But access is not al

(1) Say. 15o. Mayor of London v. Suinland, I Bar

fa) See cases cited in p. 326. nardist. 455.

(3) Geery v. Hopkins, z l,d. Raym. (4) Schinotti v. Bumstead and other*. t$l. Wuriner v. Giles, iStra. 954. 36 G. 3.. cited from a MS. case in


lowed lowed to such parish books, as are kept only for the private use of the parish, and relate to their private interests. An inspection was for that reason refused, in an action of ejectment by an impropriator against the churchwardens of a parish, where a rule was applied for, on the part of the plaintiff, suggesting, that the parish books would make the tides appear, and that they were the common books belonging to the parish at large; but the court were of opinion, that, when the person claims a distinct interest from that of the parish, it is not reasonable to compel the parish to discover their title by shewing their books, which are kept only for their own use(1). For the same reason a public company will not be compelled to produce any books relating to their private transactions. (2)

Nor will access be granted to the books of public offices, in collateral actions brought by persons, who have no interest in the books; therefore, in a qui tam action for penalties against a clerk in the post-office for interfering in the election of a member of parliament, the prosecutor was not allowed to have a rule for inspecting the books of the post-office, as the cause did not relate to any transaction in the post-office, for which transactions alone those books are kept (3). Nor will the court grant a rule for inspecting the custom-house books, for the purpose of furnishing evidence in an action between two persons, who have no interest in the subject-matter, concerning the amount of a particular branch of the public revenue. (4)

The court rolls of a manor are kept in the custody of court roiu. the lord or his steward, not for the use of the lord alone, but as the common evidence of the manorial rights, to which evidence all the tenants of the manor, whether copy

(1) Cox v. Copping, 5 Mud. .195. (3) Crew q. t. v. Blackhurn, cited

1 Ld.Raym. 337. Lewis v. Baker, 1 Wils. 140. i S'.ra. 1005. S. V.

1 Barnardist. 100. Turner v. Gethin, (4) Atberfold v. Beard, % T. R. 614.

Via. Ab. tit. Evidence, (F. b) pi. II. $46.

(1) Shelling v. Farmer, 1 Sira. 646. Murray v.Thornhill, 2 Sua. 717.


hold or freehold, have an undoubted right of access, as well in actions between the tenants and the lord, as between the tenants themselves (1); and it is now a matter of course to grant a rule for the inspection of the court rolls and ancient writings of a manor, on the application of a tenant, who has been refused by the lord. But this privilege is confined to the tenants of the manor, and cannot extend to third persons who have no concern or connection with the manor court or the court rolls. Thus in an action of trespass, where the question was, whether the place, in which the trespass was alleged to have been committed, was within the manor of the plaintiff, or part of a manor claimed by the defendant, the court held, that the defendant, who, as it appeared from his affidavit, was not a tenant of the plaintiff's manor, nor claimed any interest under him, could not be entitled to an inspection (2). And it may be laid down as a general rule, that where the question is on the custom of a manor between the lord and a stranger, the lord shall not be obliged to let him have an inspection of the rolls, because, in any dispute with a stranger, they may be considered as his private evidence; but if the dispute is between tenants of the manor, or between the lord and a tenant, the lord shall produce the roll, and permit copies to be taken.

Corporation books are open to the members of the corporation, as court rolls arc to the tenants of a manor •.

(1) Roe v. Aylmcr, Barnes, 236. (a) Talbot T. Villcboys, cited from Hobson v. Parker,ib. 237. Aldington MS. by Buller J. 3 T. R. 14.2. Smith v. Clode, 1 Black. Rep. 1030. Folkard v. Davies, I Wils. IO.|. Bp. of Herev. Hcmet, ib. 1061. R v. Shelley,3 T. ford v. Duke of Bridgwater, Bunb. 269. R. 141. Attorney-General v. City of Coventry,

Bunb. 290.

* By stat. 32 C. 3. c 58.1.4, a penalty of a hundred pounds is incurred bv any officer of the corporation, having the custody of the- corporation records, who shall refuse to allow any other officer or member to inspect books and papers, wherein are entered the admission orsweaiing in of the freemen, burgesses, or members of the corporation, and to take copies or minutes of such admission, be.

Thus, where a mandamus had been granted to admit a person into a corporation, and by the return it appeared to be a question, whether the master, under whom he had served, had been admitted to his freedom in the corporation, a rule was moved for, on the part of the person claiming admission, to inspect the books of the corporation; and the court held that every member has a right to inspect and take copies of corporation-books for any matter that concerns himself, even in a dispute with strangers; but, as the return had pointed out the necessity of inspecting them for a particular purpose, the rule should be confined to such books as contained the admissions of freemen (1). So, where an information in the nature of a quo warranto had been obtained, at the relation of corporators, against a person charged with unlawfully holding a corporationoffice, the court held that these relators were entitled to inspect the books, and that the rule should be limited to the inspection of such papers as related to the subjectmatter in discussion. (2)

This right of inspecting the muniments of a corporation is confined to the members of the corporate body. A stranger has no better right to inspect corporation-books, than to inspect the books of any private person. On a prosecution against a person for practising physic, (not being a member of the college of physicians, nor having a licence, nor being a graduate of either university,) the defendant moved for leave to inspect the books of the college of physicians, but the court refused to grant the rule, as the defendant, who was not a mcn)ber, had no right to see the books (3). Ami in an action of trespass, where the defendant justified under a corporation for distraining for a toll, the court refused a similar rule to the plaintiff, who

(1) Per Cur. in R. v. Fraternity of lion of Barnstaple v. Larhcy, 3T. R. Hostmen in Newcastle, 2 Stra. 1221. 303.

(2) R. v. Babb, 3 T.R. .579. Ciew (3) Dr. West's case, cited 1 WJs. cj. t. v. Saunders, 2 Sua 1005. Corpora- 24.5.

was was a stranger to the corporation (1). A different practice was at one time introduced in courts of law{2), upon the ground, that, on filing a bill for disclosure in a court of equity, an inspection would be granted as a matter of course, and that it would only cause unnecessary expence to send them into that court. But this practice, which was not warranted by earlier authorities (3), nor conformable to the practice of courts of equity, has been long discontinued; and the rule of law, now established, is, that in disputes between several members of a corporation an inspection of the corporation-books will be granted, because each has a right to see them; but an inspection will not be granted in the case of a corporation, when a similar inspection would be refused, if the suit were between private persons. No distinction is to be made, in this respect, between a corporation aggregate and a corporation sole, nor between a corporation sole and a private person suing in his individual capacity. (4)

The rule for inspecting court-rolls, corporation-books, and other public writings, will not be allowed, where the party who has them in his custody, would, by producing them for inspection, disclose any evidence of a criminal nature, or expose himself to a prosecution. On an information, therefore, against several persons, for executing an office of trust without taking the oaths, the court refused a motion for leave to inspect some books kept by the defendants, in which they had entered their elections, receipts, and disbursements, as it would have compelled them to give evidence against themselves in a criminal prosecution (5): and a similar motion was refused, on an information against two overseers for making a rate without the

(1) Cited by De Grey C.J. in (3) Dr. Wen's esse, cited 1 Wils. Hodges v. Atkis 3 Wils 398., and per 140. R.v. Dr. Bridfeman, 1 Mra.1103. Lawrence J. in 8 T. R. 594. Mayor Mayor of Exeter v. Coleman, Barnes, ol Southampton v. Graves, 8T. R.590. 138. Hodges v. Atkis. 3Wili. 398.

(1) M.i) or of Lynn v.Denton, 1 T. (4) 8T. R.593. R. 689. Corporation of Baxnstajile v. (5) R. v. Mead, 1 Ld. Uaym. 9i7. Lathes,3 T.R.303. R-v.Worsenham, lLd. Rajra! 705 R.

v, Cweliu*, iSui. laic.


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