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26. POUNSETT V. FULLER. 17 Com. B. 660. Vendor and Purchaser-Measure of Damages where the Vendor fails (without fraud) to make a good Title.
This was an action to recover damages for the non-performance of a contract by the defendant to sell to the plaintiff the right of shooting over a manor, the defendant having failed to make a good title, pursuant to his contract of sale. There was no imputation of fraud or misrepresentation on the part of the vendor, and the Court of Common Pleas held that the plaintiff was not entitled to damages for the loss of his bargain, but only nominal damages, and the expenses incurred in the investigation of the defendant's title; no damages being recoverable for the loss of his bargain, or expenses incurred in obtaining shooting elsewhere, or in fruitless endeavours to substitute a new contract, on the failure of the original bargain.
Short Notes of New Books.
All Law Books and works of interest to the Legal Profession, forwarded to the Editor of the LAW MAGAZINE AND LAW REVIEW, will henceforth be noticed-either shortly, or at length-in its pages.]
A Compendium of the Law and Practice of Vendors and Purchasers of Real Estate. By J. Henry Dart, of Exeter College, Oxford, M.A., and of Lincoln's-Inn, Esq., Barrister-at-Law. Third Edition. London: Stevens and Norton. 1856.
MR. DART'S Compendium of the Law of Vendors and Purchasers of Real Estate having taken its place amongst the standard works which a lawyer admits, without special reference or inquiry concerning their merits, into his library, we might well satisfy ourselves with barely notifying the fact of its reappearance in a revised and perfected shape to the Profession. We have pleasure, however, in stating our belief that this new edition has been very well executed, and carefully prepared; and whilst we fully agree with the author in estimating the labour and difficulty of the task which he has, by the success of his former efforts, been induced to undertake, we think that he need not be over-anxious or over-diffident as to the result. So far as we have examined the volume, the new cases seem to have been assiduously noted up, and the enactments subsequently to the year 1852 well digested and explained.
A Book of Costs in the Courts of Queen's Bench, Common Pleas, and Exchequer, the Crown and Queen's Remembrancer's Offices, in Bankruptcy, and the Court for Relief of Insolvent Debtors, Conveyancing, and Miscellaneous Matters, in conformity with the general scale of charges allowed on Taxation, and with the Common Law Procedure Acts, 1852 and 1854, and Bills of Exchange Act, 1855. By Richard G. Dax, Esq., of the Middle Temple, Barristerat-Law. London: Maxwell. 1856.
MR. DAX, who for many years was Senior Master of the Court of Exchequer, and was recognized as an authority in all matters relating to taxation of costs-to whose courtesy and ability we can moreover of our own knowledge bear testimony-had, it appears from the Preface to the work of which the title is above set out, the intention, frustrated by death, of publishing the results of his great experience for the benefit of the Profession, in a volume upon Costs. This intention, towards the accomplishment whereof some progress had been made during Mr. Dax's lifetime, has been worthily carried out by his son; and the result has been a "Book of Costs," not over bulky, and admirably
got up, which, unless we greatly err, will be in daily use and highly prized, not only by Solicitors, but by the Bar. It seems to us to contain all the information which can reasonably be looked for in such a work.
Note. The concluding portion of the Review of Mr. Dickson's Treatise on Evidence (commenced in our last No.) is unavoidably postponed until November.
Events of the Quarter.
We rejoice to see that Lord Wensleydale has at length taken his seat in the Upper House as an hereditary peer. Whatever difference of opinion may exist in regard to the power of the Crown to confer life peerages, with a right to sit and vote, all must agree-the public and the Profession alike-that the eminent lawyer who has just been raised to the dignity of a baron of the realm has, by a useful and most honourable career, well merited his advancement.
Note on the Criminal Law Consolidation Bills laid on the table of the House of Lords by the Lord Chancellor.
Parliament has been prorogued while we are going to press, and we are unable to do more than make a few observations on the Bills which the Lord Chancellor, just at the close of the session, laid on the table of the House of Lords.
It is said that the Government plumes itself upon the presentation of these eight Bills for consolidating the Criminal Statute Law, as a set-off to the loss of so many important measures, chiefly through want of a little exertion in carrying them. There can be no doubt that these eight Bills are of great importance, and we trust that they will be pressed forward next year, having only been introduced the last week but one of this session. We must also observe that the labours of Sir F. Kelly are exceedingly to be commended in respect of these Bills; but while we thus state our hopes of a good result at length attending the labours of the Statute Law Commission, we must express the melancholy feelings which arise on a retrospect of what had before been done, and how long a time has been spent in doing nothing to carry forward a work so many years ago commenced. Our readers, and especially those belonging to the Law Amendment Society, know that it is now above fifteen years
since the Commission, issued by its president when Chancellor, made its invaluable reports, and twelve years since the Criminal Law Digest, embodied by him in a Bill, was actually read a second time in the Lords. After some discussion, at the suggestion of Lord Lyndhurst, when Chancellor, it was referred back to the Commission, to which additional members were added, to examine its details. In 1848, Lord Brougham again brought it forward greatly improved by the suggestions of these Commissioners, and of the Profession. In 1850, he a third time presented it, and it was referred to a Committee, who circulated copies of it among the judges of the three kingdoms. From those of Ireland and Scotland, suggestions were received by the Committee; from those of England, none. But Lord Campbell stated, on one occasion, that those learned persons carried the Digest with them, and privately used it, although it could not be cited, as it had not passed into a law. A Digest of Criminal Procedure had in like manner been carefully prepared by the Commissioners; but it never was reduced into the shape of a Bill, and unfortunately the Commission was allowed to expire. When, in 1852, a change of ministry took place, the suggestion, which was favourably received by all who marked the slow progress of the important measure, was acted upon by the Conservative Government, and Lord St. Leonards as Chancellor, though averse to codification, most candidly and diligently superintended the division of the Digest into heads, and different Bills were prepared, one comprising offences against the person being ready when the Government was again changed. His successor, Lord Cranworth, took charge of it, and a Select Committee, with the able assistance of Messrs. Greaves and Lonsdale, the draftsmen of this as well as of the former Digest, examined the whole provisions minutely, and reported it; but too late to pass that session (1853). Next year it was, by an unhappy mistake of Lord Cranworth, submitted to the judges, who consulted not only upon its details, but on the general question of codification (in favour of which the House of Lords had at least three several times decided), and gave those celebrated opinions, which, all readers of both the Bill and their answers, and also all readers of our pages, and of the Edinburgh and Quarterly Reviews, know full well, proved that the learned judges had given their decisions without taking the ordinary precaution of carefully reading the Bill submitted to them. The grossest blunders were committed by them, and it is hard to say that any persons in a high station ever covered themselves with less honour than these eminent individuals did,-partly from the short time taken to give their opinions, and partly from their strong prejudices against codification. Whoever reads the Quarterly Review (vol. xciv. p. 461, et seq.), and the Edinburgh Review (vol. xcix. p. 581, et seq.), will at once perceive how much less than the truth is our statement.
But the fact unhappily remains that it is now twelve years since a Digest of the Criminal Law, not only Statute, but unwritten, was read a second time in the House of Lords; that all the legal authorities in that House approved of its provisions; that it might either
have been passed entire, and followed by a Digest of the Law of Procedure, or divided into parts, and those parts passed successively; and that now, after all this time has elapsed, we are thankful to have only a chance of carrying a Digest of the Statute portion of it, leaving the Common or unwritten Law untouched.
Surely this melancholy fact speaks trumpet-tongued in support of Mr. Napier's motion for a responsible Minister or department of Justice. He has on more than one occasion ably defined the object of his proposal, and has now announced his determination to renew it at the very beginning of the next session. All friends to the improvement of the law must heartily wish him success.
The Queen has been pleased to appoint the Right Hon. M. T. Baines to be the Fourth Charity Commissioner for England and Wales, in place of the Right Hon. Lord John Russell, resigned.
COUNTY COURT JUDGES.-Charles Saunders, Esq., Recorder of Plymouth and Devonport, has been appointed Judge of the Somersetshire County Court (Circuit No. 57), in the room of Graham Willmore, Esq., Q.C., deceased, and John Worlledge, Esq., of the Norfolk Circuit, has been appointed to the Judgeship of that district, rendered vacant by the death of Mr. Eagle.
Thomas Smith Badger, Esq., has been appointed by the Benchers of the Hon. Society of Gray's Inn Reader in Real Property, &c., in the place of R. R. Walpole, Esq., who recently resigned that office.
Thomas Chisholm Anstey, Esq., her Majesty's Attorney-General for Hong-Kong, has been appointed a Member of the Legislative Council of that colony.
C. Temple, Esq., has been appointed a puisne Judge of the Supreme Court of Ceylon; John T. Gilbert, Esq., to be Solicitor-General for the colony of British Guiana; Henry Tudor Davies, Esq., to be Chief Magistrate for Hong-Kong; and William Gillespie Dickson, Esq., of the Scotch Bar, and author of "A Treatise on the Law of Evidence in Scotland," has been appointed Attorney-General for the Mauritius.
Alan Ker, Esq., lately Chief Justice of the island of Nevis, has been appointed Chief Justice of the island of Dominica; and David Cameron, Esq., to be Chief Justice of Vancouver's Island.
VOL. I. NO. II.