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und to and with the plaintiffs. The court held that this was primâ facie a joint covenant with the subscribers and the plaintiffs, and not a several covenant with the plaintiffs alone. Secondly, that it did not appear from the deed that the plaintiffs had a separate interest, and that the subscribers and the plaintiffs ought to have sued jointly. Parke, B., adding, “ The
terms of this instrument being a contract primâ facie with “ the plaintiffs and the other subscribers jointly, there appears “ to me to be no expression of interest in the deed to enable us “to construe its terms otherwise, and consequently they ought « all to have sued jointly.”.
The very recent case of Keightley v. Watson? (Exch. East. T. 12 Vict.), in which it was held that the plaintiff might properly sue alone, proves on examination, as we have already intimated, to belong to another class of cases, essentially different from those we have examined. There the action was by Keightley on an indenture executed by Dobbs of the first part, the plaintiff Keightley of the second part, and the defendants of the third part. The deed, after reciting that Dobbs had agreed to purchase certain land of the plaintiff
, which same land Dobbs had agreed to sell to the defendants, contained a covenant by each party thereto, that Dobbs should sell and the defendants should purchase the land at 7335l., 9001. to be paid on the execution of the deed, and 6435l. on the 27th November, 1851. Then followed the covenants upon which the action was brought, which was a covenant by the defendants “ with Keightley, his executors, administrators and assigns, and as a separate covenant with Dobbs, his executors, administrators and assigns, on the performance of the covenant thereinbefore contained on the part of Dobbs, to pay to Keightley, or to Dobbs in case Keightley should then have been paid his purchase-money, the sum of 64351. on or before the 27th of November, 1851. And further, that the defendants should in the mean time pay to Keightley interest on so much of the purchase-money as should from time to time remain unpaid.
It is needless to transfer to our pages the reasons for which the court held that, under these circumstances, there were two distinct and separate interests, and that the case was clearly distinguishable from that of Hopkinson v. Lee, because on the face of the instrument before the court the parties had separate interests, so that the court was called upon to construe a separate covenant according to the precise words of it.
It should be added that, while, as we have endeavoured to
13 Exch. 716.
show, the Court of Exchequer has delivered no judgment at variance with the principle to which we have so often
referred, more than one case might be cited in addition to that of Sorsbie v. Park, in which that court has held that where the deed containing the covenant has disclosed a joint interest, and no separate interest, one of two or more covenantees can not sue alone. It will suffice here to refer to the cases of Lane v. Drinkwater, and Bradburne v. Botfield, in the latter of which the covenant was in form a separate covenant.
Although the subject of this paper confines our attention to actions of covenant, by covenantees having a joint interest, it may not be improper to add that, where the deed containing the covenant discloses an interest in the covenantees which is clearly several, a covenant which is joint in form may be sued upon by one covenantee alone. It follows, therefore, à fortiori, that under the like circumstances the same liberty will be allowed where, as in Keightley v. Watson, the covenant is as clearly separate in form. For the convenience of our readers we may refer to the following cases in illustration of the rule which obtains where the interest of the covenantees is several. James v. Emery, 8 Taunt. 245; Withers v. Bircham, 3 B. & C. 254; Story v. Richardson, 6 Bing. N. C. 123, 129; Poole v. Hill, 6 M. & W. 835; Palmer v. Sparshott, 4 Scott, N. R. 743; Owston v. Ogle, 13 East, 538; Servante v. James, 10 B. & C. 410; Mills v. Ladbrooke, 7 M. & G. 218; Harrold v. Whitaker, 11 Q. B. 161.
ART. IX.-THE LAW AMENDMENT SOCIETY.
E take some blame to ourselves for not having ere this
made “ The Law Amendment Society” the subject of special notice. Our omission to do so was in the first place designed; inasmuch as it seemed expedient that a society aiming at ends of no limited compass, and of boundless importance to the jurisprudential interests of all civilized nations, should be put to the test of time and actual experience in its working, ere any fitting or safe judgment could be passed upon it. If it failed (as many certainly prognosticated it would), its promoters would have deserved, besides the expression of mere pity at their failure, some degree of censure for the magnitude of an enterprise they had no adequate power to work and to sustain, inasmuch as to fail therein would have seriously impeded other and better efforts for the same good objects. A notice which should have been too premature to anticipate either failure or success with any sufficient certainty, would have done no good, and might, had it said anything, have done mischief; either by exciting undue expectations in the public mind, and thus heightening the ill effects of disappointment; or on the other, by discouraging the germs of success with such faint praise as incipient efforts, in the infancy of the experiment, could alone have warranted. The interests at stake were too catholic and important to admit of other feelings being thrown into the scale.
The Society has now far outlived its probationary noviciate. “ It is,” in the words of its last Report,“no longer a speculation.”. It has grown into a degree of efficient and acknowledged utility, such as render praise a public duty rather than a mere act of justice; and though we have long since accorded our humble meed of approval to its labours, we have deferred any detailed notice of them, until we were enabled to attest and fortify our opinion by the best of all proofs of success; namely, the actual fruits the Society has brought to bear.
Before doing this, let us briefly set forth what are the objects and sphere of operation which the Society has prescribed to itself:
Its purpose, to use the terms of its Report, is to collect and diffuse all information which can tend to the simplification and improvement of the Law-to suggest the means by which, it believes, that the administration of justice may be rendered less
dilatory, less expensive, and less uncertain— to add to the value and security of real property, by facilitating its transfer-to aid personal rights, and to defend from personal wrong. Thus when a subject is suggested, being approved for discussion by the council, and investigated by a committee, it is debated in general meeting of the whole Society. It is designed that nothing be done hastily, without publicity, or without opportunity for deliberation. The result has been the printing of reports on many most important subjects, of which several have attracted the attention of the legislature, and some have become the foundation of legislative enactment. It is on this faculty of suggestion that the Society affirms that it mainly relies for its success-petimusque damusque vicissim; it asks hints, not from the learned only, but from all who suppose they see an evil with its remedy or improvement. On these hints they work, and present the results to those who hold such station as may render them effective.
Thus, therefore, the results of individual reflection and experience are gathered in and sifted and made of practical utility by the collective judgment of the whole body.
We apprehend that a better system of reaping, winnowing and harvesting the scattered fruits of a practical science could not be devised, and it reflects infinite credit on the skill and discretion of its originators. It appears to us to have been attended already by a very encouraging amount of success.
We are glad to find the Court of Chancery has especially engaged the attention of the Society, and has, in their estimation, “the unenviable pre-eminence of suggesting itself to popular opinion as the first object of Law Reform,” whilst there is another and a “ higher tribunal well entitled to dispute its precedence-the High Court of Parliament—not in its political, but in its legislative, capacity--not in any question of the purity of its intentions, but in respect of its incapacity to convey those intentions in reasonable language.”
“ The Court of Chancery (well observes the Report), inaccessible to the poor, vexatious to the rich, dilatory and expensive to all, with a theory almost perfect in its equities, with a practice almost unequalled in its imperfections, was almost, as of course, the first to receive their attention. That any private Society should have attempted to grapple with this monster evil may be held as no inconsiderable degree of presumption. Royal and parliamentary commissions have failed; new rules and orders, and again new rules and orders, framed with all the skill, experience, diligence and astuteness which judicial talent and 'integrity of purpose could bring to their consideration, have not yet produced the desired certainty of practice, the desired speed of procedure, the much-desired cheapness of relief. And yet the Society hopes to succeed, because in addition to competent knowledge they have members who bring to the work of renovation minds unfettered by ancient habit; not working in a groove, worn deep by continual use; minds in which respect has not become veneration; new minds, active in discovering the sources of evil, though as yet immature for the suggestion of remedy.”
The modest “ hopes” of the Society that it will succeed, have been already crowned with practical proofs of its utility. Here is a list of the actual effects produced by it in this one branch of its labours, which, for greater clearness, we have thus tabularised :
LAW OF PROPERTY.
Acts of Parliament under which the Recom
mendations have been carried into Effect, or other Results which have attended these Reports.
1. Recommends the July 31st, 1844 13 & 14 Vict. c. 60, s. 34.
vesting of trust property in trustees, on their appointment,
without conveyance 2. Recommends the fa- Feb. 5th, 1845 .. 13 & 14 Vict. c. 60, s. 38, and passim.
cilitating the appointment of new trustees, where the existing power for that purpose
is imperfect. 3. Shortening deeds. April 9th, 1845 8 & 9 Vict. c. 119, c. 124.
4. Merging attendant July 9th, 1845
8 & 9 Vict. c. 112.
5. Uses and trusts-re-Feb. 4th, 1846
commends the assimilation of legal and equitable estates.
6. Law of mortgages- April 8th, 1846 ..
recommends a more satisfactory mode of reconveying mortgage estates.
7. General register of May 6th, 1846
A plan nearly similar to this recom
mended by the Conveyancing and Registration Commissioners in their First Report, 1st July, 1850.