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may we not say the invention, of the expression Specialty Contract.' It neither belongs to good English intelligible to ordinary laymen, nor is it in this form a technical term known to English lawyers. We are well aware, to take another point, of the difficulty of dealing in a satisfactory manner, especially since the decision or misdecision of the so-called Coronation Cases, with the legal effect on the validity of a contract of impossibility of performance. But we hesitate to give implicit assent to the doctrine of Art. 294, that a contract is necessarily void if the performance of it is contrary to the course of nature. Can it be said that the pretended proof by Mr. Hampden that the earth was flat rather than round was not contrary to the course of nature? But can it be denied that, had it not been for the existence of the Gaming Act, 1845, Mr. Hampden would have been legally compellable to pay Mr. Wallace £500 because of Mr. Hampden's failure to prove the flatness of the earth ? Let us, as a last criticism, add that the authors of the Digest are more successful in the statement of legal principles than in the arrangement or distribution of the topics with which they deal.
Criticism is as different from censure as a judgment from a condemnation, and none of the objections taken to isolated points in this Digest of the Law of Contract are meant even to imply that the publication of which Book II, Part I, forms a portion does not promise to turn out a very remarkable achievement, or that the instalment on the Law of Contract is specially open to criticism. No one can study the Digest without seeing that the attempt to summarize the principles of English civil law promises to be a great success. Of course you cannot look, in a work intended to lay down only the most general legal principles, and that too in broad and intelligible terms, for anything like the minuteness of detail to be found even in the Indian Contract Act or the absolute accuracy of expression which characterizes Leake's Law of Contracts. But the second instalment of the Digest of English Civil Law will prove of great value to any intelligent student. The book is pre-eminently one suited to arrest attention and to excite discussion. English law cannot be learned by mere reading; still no more fruitful course of reading can be suggested to a student than to take the book under review, for which we gather Mr. Lee is specially responsible, and study with care each one of the 371 rules of which it consists. Even in the cases, rare we suspect, in which the rule may be somewhat too wide, a reader will find that it has conveyed to him a substantially true impression, the whole meaning of which is brought out by the mere attempt to examine how far the rule is or is not precisely accurate.
(We are not prepared to follow our learned contributor in dissenting from the Coronation cases, though we doubt whether they were put altogether on the right grounds. See L. Q. R. XX. 3.-Ed.]
A Treatise on the Law of Sale of Personal Property, fc. By JUDAH
Judah Philip BENJAMIN. Fifth Edition, by Walter CHARLES ALAN KER and ARTHUR REGINALD BUTTERWORTH. London : Sweet & Maxwell, Lim.; Toronto: The Carswell Co., Lim.; Boston, U.S.A. :
Boston Book Co. 1906. La. 8vo.clv and 1160 pp. (£2 28.) This is not a mere posting up of the work done by Benjamin and his former editors, but a thoroughly revised edition incorporating the Sale of Goods Act; moreover the present learned editors do not hesitate to express opinions different from Benjamin's when they find, after full consideration,
that they cannot agree with him. Notably they do so on the question, knowingly left open to some extent by the Sale of Goods Act, what conditions will justify an unpaid seller in re-selling the goods. Mr. Benjamin's exposition, however, is preserved, so that the reader may take his choice.
One editorial addition which we are unable to commend is a note on the history of the law of gifts (p. 7). The subject is not strictly relevant to the law of sale, and it is difficult; therefore an excursus on it should be justified by making some real contribution to knowledge or criticism. We do not believe that these learned editors have never looked at the Year Books, or have not heard of the difficulties felt by very learned persons about Irons v. Smallpiece, or think that all “the barbarian invaders of the Roman empire' were just alike, or cannot read the French codes in the original, or accept Canciani's 'Leges Barbarorum' at this time of day as an ultimate and sufficient authority on Lombard custom, or hold Charles Kingsley a proper person to vouch to warrant in matters of legal antiquity. But this note is so slight in matter and perfunctory in manner that on the face of it all these things might be laid to the writers' charge. And must we really seek the law as to equity refusing to aid imperfect gifts in a case reported only by the Law Times? If anything was to be said about gifts at all, the work should have been done much more thoroughly. Another note on the application of the Statute of Frauds, or equivalent enactinents, in British possessions beyond seas, is much more satisfactory.
The learned editors do not approve the decision of the Supreme Court of the U. S. in Norrington v. Wright, 115 U.S. 188, as to the breach of a contract to deliver goods by instalments, and cite a good many decisions of State Courts to the contrary; but nearly all these are of earlier date. We can certify that the late Mr. Phelps, who then represented the United States at St. James's, and was as good a lawyer as an ambassador, thought the judgment of the Supreme Court correct.
The 'Introductory Observations, relating partly to Mr. Benjamin and his work and partly to the Sale of Goods Act, are new and interesting.
There is a small mistake which has run through all the editions of Benjamin, and which it may possibly be still material to correct in some jurisdictions. New v. Swain, reported in Danson and Lloyd's rare volume
v of mercantile cases, was not a Nisi Prius Case as stated by Benjamin, who seems to have followed Blackburn, and was, in turn, followed by Mr. Chalmers. The law there laid down is confirmed by the Sale of Goods Act, but until 1893 it was supposed not to have the authority of a decision in Banc. In 1898 the editors of the Revised Reports, in reprint
. ing the case from Danson and Lloyd, called attention to the slip (34 R. R. 767). The scarcity of the original report may account for the want of recent verification. Of Blackburn, a most careful writer, we can only say that for once he nodded.
The Law of Torts. By J. F. CLERK and W. H. B. LINDSELL. Fourth Edition, by WYATT PAINE. London: Sweet & Maxwell, Lim.
. 1906. La. 8vo. xcviïi and 880 pp. (308.) ALTHOUGH we formed a favourable opinion respecting the merits of the third edition, we little thought that within eighteen months from the appearance of our review in January, 1905, we should be invited to express our opinion upon a new edition. Success of this character materially shortens the task of the reviewer. We have compared the two
editions with a view to discover the added matter, and to estimate the value of the editor's work by the result of the comparison. In the result we must express our opinion that the learned editor has scarcely maintained the high standard which was the distinguishing feature of the earlier editions. Thus the paragraphs introduced at p. 470 relating to implied warranties seem to us to be out of place in a book on torts, not because the reference could be avoided, but on account of the manner in which the subject is presented. No doubt Frost v. Aylesbury Dairy Co. (1905) 1 K. B. 608, and Clarke v. Army and Navy Co-operative Society (1903) i K. B. 155, have this in common, that a retailer was held liable for damage sustained by reason of the nature of the goods supplied, but the ground of liability was different in each case. In Clarke v. Army and Navy Co-operative Society it is based upon a breach of duty. In Frost v. Aylesbury Dairy Co. it is based upon the breach of a condition implied in a contract.
The principle of Clarke's case is that adverted to by Lord Esher in Heaven v. Pender (1883) 11 Q. B. D. 503, at p. 510, and quoted by Mr. Paine at p. 466. Indeed, from the manner in which he has referred to Clarke v, Army and Navy Co-operative Society, at p. 470, n. (6), and p. 471, n. (e), and the more detailed, but insufficient, reference at p. 528, one is almost driven to the conclusion that he has failed to grasp what was actually decided in the case. It is also difficult to appreciate what bearing Kaufman v. Gerson (1904] • K. B. 591, Embiricos V. Anglo-Austrian Bank (1905) 1 K. B. 677, and Harris v. Flower  91 L. T. 816, can have on the law of torts. Again, the abstract (at p. 68) of Hambro v. Burnand (1904] 2 K. B. 10, is none too clear.
The editor has also, as it seems to us, proceeded upon the assumption that the text of the third edition could be accepted without revision. This was not so, and in the result much is reproduced that should have been modified or omitted. A really important case like Earle v. K’ingscote  2 Ch. 585, appears at p. 50 in a footnote with the words and see' prefixed. Then again his analysis of Christie v. Davey (1893) 1 Ch. 316, is hardly justified by the report. Playing a musical instrument' does not properly describe what were some of the causes of complaint, pamely, blowing whistles, knocking on trays and boards, and hammering on a party wall. Indeed, upon the counter claim, North J, held that practising upon the violoncello until past u o'clock at night, the practice being bona fide undertaken by the player, to perfect bimself, was a lawful act : see (1893] 1 Ch. 328. We may also point out that Savigny's view of possession in Roman law has been repeatedly challenged, and is not generally accepted at the present day.
Turning to more general matters, it is obvious that the proofs have not been read with the same care as on previous occasions. We must repeat the protest that we made against the lengthy footnotes, many of them containing qualifications of what appears in the text. If the matter is not important enough to appear in the text, it is generally the better course to omit it. If, on the other hand, the matter cannot be omitted, it is extremely inconvenient to have to read with one eye on the text and the other on the footnotes. We are sorry to see the editor quoting decisions from the Times newspaper. As is well known, the courts do not accept a report, unless its accuracy is vouched for by a member of the bar. Unless the case also appears in the Times Law Reports this requisition is not complied with. Nor do the conditions under which newspaper reports are prepared inspire confidence in those who have been behind the scenes. In addition to this, if the case does not subsequently appear in the Times
Law Reports, it is invariably due to the fact that there exist excellent reasons why the case should be suppressed. It would take a great deal more than we have referred to to depose this book from its position, but at the same time those who are responsible for future editions will do well to bear in mind that there are rivals with established reputations as competitors for public favour.
A Treatise on Deeds. By ROBERT F. NORTON, K.C., assisted by R. H.
Dunn and Digby L. F. Kor. London: Sweet & Maxwell, Lim.
1906. La. 8vo. Ixx and 694 pp. (308.) This work is founded upon and is issued in lieu of a second edition of the well-known book upon *Rules for the interpretation of Deeds' by Elphinstone, Norton & Clark, which was originally published in 1885, and is now re-arranged and in a great measure re-written and reproduced with much additional matter in its present enlarged form.
The book contains about the same number of pages, but by omitting the glossary, which occupied about seventy-five pages in the original work, and by closer printing, space has been made for extensive additions which greatly increase the usefulness of the book, and justify the author's claim to describe it as resembling a new work rather than a new edition.
It is, however, probable that many of those who are familiar with the original book may question the sufficiency of the reason given by the author for omitting the glossary, namely that the meaning of the words there explained can be ascertained by referring to a Judicial Dictionary.
The book retains the method of treatment adopted in the original work, namely stating carefully and accurately the rules or principles of law and then illustrating and explaining the application of those rules by reference to leading authorities upon the points under consideration.
Many of these rules, and much of the learning thus set forth, may be found scattered about in other books, but the collection of the rules bearing upon the interpretation of deeds cannot fail to be of great value to the large class of lawyers, and particularly conveyancers, whose business requires a thorough knowledge of the meaning and interpretation of deeds, and a convenient reference to the latest authorities bearing upon any point which may arise for consideration.
A Treatise on the Law relating to Ownership and Incumbrance of
Registered Land, and interests therein; together with the Land Transfer Acts, 1875 and 1897, and Land Transfer Rules, 1903, arranged in a consolidated form. By JAMES EDWARD HOGG. London: William Clowes & Sons, Lim. 1906. 8vo. xix and 474 pp. (208. net.)
PP The preface to this book states that it is, 'so far as it covers the same ground as preceding publications, intended to state the objects, scope, general methods and difficulties of the new system in a somewhat fuller and more convenient manner than has yet been done. The book is also intended to supplement other works by endeavouring to explain the origin of and the reasons for the principal features of the Land Transfer Acts, 1875 and 1897, and by offering solutions of some of the gravest difficulties of the new system.'
At p. 2 will be found an explanation of what is meant by registration of title, and of the distinction between registration of title and registration of assurances. There is a very interesting account of the history of registration of title in England, commencing with the Report of 1832, being the second report of the Real Property Commissioners, and ending with the last Land Transfer Rules'. The discussion at p. 38 et seq. of the changes in the substantive law made by the Land Transfer Acts is well worth reading.
The second chapter explains what is meant by first registration, what land may be registered, and by what person, the provisions as to compulsory registration, and the procedure on first registration. ... In this and in many other parts of the book the incidental remarks are full of interest. For example (at p. 47) the author says, ' With respect to title acquired by long possession and rectification of the register, the proprietorship of the new owner will be the proprietorship of the owner who has been removed from the register notwithstanding that under the general law the fee simple of an owner barred by Limitation Acts is not actually transferred to the person entitled by long possession.'
The author objects (at p. 60) to the permission to register an undivided share of land on the ground that it seems to offer an opportunity for avoiding the compulsory registration provisions; and he points out a manner in which this might possibly be done. We cannot say that we agree with him. If registration is to be compulsory, every man who holds an undivided share of land ought to be able to be registered, and if this will enable compulsion to be evaded, the law should be altered in this respect.
The author suggests (p. 73) that as the Act has expressly recognized the possibility of registration with possessory title in the face of adverse possession, proceedings to register the land or to rectify the register might be made use of to try the substantial question of ownership. This appears to be a very valuable suggestion; but the question whether it will work well in practice requires some consideration. If the dispute is merely as to the construction of documents, and there is no dispute about the facts, probably a procedure under L. T. R. 297 will be an easy manner of obtaining the decision of the Court. But the question whether it is advisable to follow this procedure where facts are in dispute is not so clear. Rule 300 says, ' Upon any application to the Court on reference by or appeal from the registrar a statement shall be prepared and signed by the registrar and forwarded to the Court by him. ... Facts in dispute shall be proved by evidence as the Court shall direct.'
It will be seen that this rule throws two difficulties in the way of a man seeking to have a question of fact determined ; first, he has not the advantage of stating his case in his own words; and second, as the facts are to be proved as the Court shall direct, it is by no means clear that he will be able to obtain the same discovery that he could obtain in an action to recover the land. For these reasons it appears somewbat doubtful whether the suggested procedure would be advisable where the facts are in dispute. We may say that a practice of this kind was introduced some time ago in Trinidad and Tobago, where the Torrens system is in force, and gave rise to some dissatisfaction, though perhaps for extraneous reasons.
The discussion in chapter iii of the nature of the registered estate in land is of great interest, and will repay perusal. The author says (p. 86), * That the registered estate is not the ordinary legal estate is clear from the fact that an equitable owner, a tenant for life, or even the donee of
1 A short account of some of the different schemes of registration contained in articles in 30 Solicitors' Journal, entitled The Council of the Incorporated Law Society on the Land Laws.'