Interim Report Of The Committee On Supreme Court Practice And Procedure (Cmd. 7764)

DOIhttp://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2230.1949.tb00142.x
AuthorL. C. B. Gower
Publication Date01 Oct 1949
REPORTS
OF
COMMITTEES
INTERIM
REPORT
OF
TEE
COMMITTEE
ON
SUPREME
COURT
PBACTXCE
AND
PROCEDUBE
(Cmd.
7764)
TEE
Evershed Committee have been at work
on
their Herculean
labour for over two years and have,
as
they say, been reluctant
to
present
an
Interim Report feeling that the dificult question of
the cost
of
litigation must be approached and judged
as
a
whole.
The recent report
of
the corresponding Committee
on
County
Court
Procedure (reviewed above at p.
854)
has, however, encouraged
them to present
a
very valuable Report dealing with two
of
the
most vital aspects of their subject-extension of county court juris-
diction, and fixed dates for trial.
It
is here only possible to draw
attention to the main outlines of their proposals, but the whole
Report well repays study in detail and throws
a
fascinating light
on
various aspects
of
our legal organisation. For example,
an
Appendix gives statistics which show that although the population
has almost doubled itself since
1871,
the number of judges of the
King’s Bench Division has merely increased from eighteen to twenty
while the number of county court judges has remained constant at
sixty.
It
is
also interesting
to
note that evidence was given to the
Committee by the Bar Council, Law Society
and
by the newly-
formed Standing Joint Committee
of
these two bodies and that the
Joint Committee sometimes disagreed with its parent bodies (see
paras.
121, 127
and
128).
Judging from such information
as
has
leaked into the Press the evidence tendered by these and other
organisations should be of absorbing interest and
it
is to
be
hoped
that in due course
it
will be published in full.
1.
On
the question whether costs
of
litigation could and should
be saved by increasing the jurisdiction of county courts, the Report
points out that county court scales are much lower than those
allowed in the High Court and are
on
a
party and party basis only.
Prima facie therefore the more the county court jurisdiction is
increased the greater the saving in costs.
This,
however, has not
been the result in practice because of the reluctance
of
litigants
and their advisers to have their cases tried in the county court.
This
reluctance the Committee attribute mainly to three factors
:
(1)
the fact that litigants like to have their cases tried by
a
High
Court Judge especially
as
there is
no
appeal from
a
county court’s
findings of fact;
(2)
the more expeditious recovery of judgment in
default of appearance or defence or under
0.
XIV, and the more
expeditious arrangements for execution
;
and
(8)
especially, the
inadequacy
of
county court scales
of
costs which induces solicitors
483

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