THE JUDICATURE COMMISSION.
New Zealand Code of Civil Procedure. (New Zealand Herald.) Tho Commissioners have made their report, and the new code has issued from the hands of the printer. It embraces every stage and form of legal practice, and will be found to contain some radical changes. As was the case with the English Judicature Act, the New Zealand, code abolishes the old system of pleading. It establishes local Courts with a jurisdiction limited tc LSO, in places where the Supreme Court holds its sittings, but where there is no Supreme Court the local Courts will have jurisdiction to the extent of L2OO. The Suprema Court will have jurisdiction over L6O, but up to LSOO it may decide without the intervention of a jury, except where a wish is expressed by the parties to the cau£e, that verdict should proceed from a jury rather than the Court decide. Even beyond the jurisdiction of LSOO the Supreme Court shall try the cause with a jury of four. The writ of summons, the form of writ, the issue of writ, service of writ, substituted ser-, vice, and renewal of writs, are provided for . by specific clauses. In framing the code the following considerations operated upon the mind ef the Commissioners(o) That the laws of the colony shall he administered as one organic whole, irrespective of any division into law and equity. (6) That in every case such relief shall be given to the parties bfore the Court as they shall prove themselves entitled, irrespective of defects in the form in which they have invoked the assistance of the Court, (c) That the mode of approaching the Court should be simplified as much as : possible, (d) To secure uniformity in the practice of all Courts. («) To lessee delay and cost of proceedings. For the pleadings heretofore used the Commission ; have substituted upon the model of the English Judicature Act concise and simple statements of claim and defence. This does away with complicated rules as to periods intervening between the various steps of pleading and process in an action. On applying for a writ of summons the plaintiff shall file in Court a concise statement of his claim ; this statement shall be annexed to the writ and every duplicate of the writ. The defendant, -, within a given number of days, shall file a ' simple statement of the facte upon which .. he relies. It is to boa “ plain and concise . statement.” The defendant may'file a ‘ counter claim. The judge may, if he , pleases, order the plaintiff’s claim and the t .,_ defendant’s counter claim to be triea together. “ Each paragraph of the claim or defence shall contain one separate allegation, and dates, sums, and numbers may be expressed in figures, and not in words.” It is provided that the same facts shall not be stated in an altered form so as to constitute a separate cause of action. The Commissioners, in compiling the code, have had regard to Courts of civil judicature in other countries, and have accepted suggestions from the New York Code of Civil Procedure, from the Indian Code of Civil Procedure, from the English County Courts, and the Old District Court of New Zealand. . The simplification of procedure is secured by; following the English mode, and its cost
is reduced by the abolition of most qf those forms which were as so many traps for the unwary suitor. The drawing up _ of this code would appear to be preliminary to the consolidation of the statutes upon any extensive scale. They state this very plainly as follows :—“ When the code is brought into force,” say the, Commissioners, “it will be necessary, either at once, or as soon as possible, to pass a Consolidation Act, dealing with all. _ the Courts of civil jurisdiction in the colony, for the purpose of defining their jurisdiction, and other matters not properly coming within a code of procedure.” The sub-committee haVe' ‘ given as much attention to this matter as the time at their disposal would allow, and expect to have the scheme, if not the actual draft of such an Act, ready by the time " the Commission meets. The code deals with the means of evidence, discovery and inspection, admission of documentary evidence, evidence generally, witnesses’ affidavits and consolidations of actions, payments into Court, judgment by default, trial, nonsuit, new trial, stay of proceedings, executions, incidental proceedings, special procedure in probate, and matrimonial causes. The code will be laid before Parliament on the first day of next ■ ' ’ session. The final sitting of the Commission will be held in Auckland on Monday or Tuesday next. It will be presented to Parliament for adoption in globo. Should the House in Committee see fit to alter auy of the clauses, the Commission stipulate that such alteration shall be referred to them. It is not probable, how*« , ever, that any member of the: House of Representatives would presume to alter a clause recommended by the whole of the law practitioners in the colony, for the Commission lias really a representative capacity ip matters of this kind. The effect of this code and the consolidation of the statutes cannot fail to have the best affect upon the administration of justice. Only those who have had experience of the law’s delay, its cost, its worry, and its disappointments, can thoroughly appreciate the advantage of reform in thiq direction.
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THE JUDICATURE COMMISSION., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 372, 16 June 1881
THE JUDICATURE COMMISSION. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 372, 16 June 1881
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