REVIEWS

DOIhttp://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2230.1973.tb01385.x
Publication Date01 September 1973
REVIEWS
FINAL APPEAL-A STUDY OF
THE
HOUSE
OF
LORDS
IN
ITS
JUDICIAL
CAPACITY. By LOUIS BLOM-COOPER
AND
GAVIN
DREWRY.
[London
:
Oxford University Press.
1972.
588
and (indices)
IN
Fhal
Appeal” its joint authors,
Mr.
Blom-Cmper
Q.C.
and Mr. Drewry,
have produced a whale of
a
book. Its
680
pages
or
so
of reading matter,
which include six Appendices and fifty-four Tables of analytical matter, are
a
formidable proposition
even
for the eager and the cunious:
I
have some
fear that they will prove too much altogether for the ordinary interested
reader. Their book
is
in some danger of suffering the whale’s occupational
ldsk
:
it may get stranded. This would be
a
pity, for
a
great deal has gone into
its making for which not lawyers only but the general public
also
should be
grateful-assiduity of study,
a
wide range of research and above all
a
genuine
solicitude and respect for the institution of Law and
its
good name. These
are fine qualities in legal writers, and they deserve acknowledgment.
Mere volume is no defect in
a
bonk that is designed
as
a
book of reference.
But then
such
a
compilation neither presents
a
coherent argument nor invites
a
reasoned conclusion. There are legal judgments, we know, which seem to be
composed in ignorance of this distinction. Yet
I‘
Final Appeal
deserves more
than the soft compliment that
it
contains
an
assembly of interesting information
about the House
of
Lords appeal which will always be valuable to future
inquirers. That would do less than justice
to
the intention of its authors.
They have set themselves to compose
a
study of
a
legal institution, not to
compile
a
telephone directory; and the quality of their achievement must be
measured accordingly.
It
is
not that they have made the going easy for their readers. There seems
to be some failure
to
envisage who the reader
.is
to
be. There
is
much historical
and explanatory matter which the spedlist can only skip: while the reader
impelled by
a
more general interest (whose main concern,
I
fancy, will be with
the final question, should the
House
of
Lords appeal be continued
or
put an
end to?) may fmd himself sinking far from shore under
a
weight of esoteric
learning and teasing legal conundrums.
Altogether there is too much material included; and not
so
much because
the subject itself is complicated-I doubt if it
is-as
because of that fatal
egalitarian belief which we owe
to
the mysteries of
soaiology,
that every
ascertainable fad has the same right
as
any other
to
a
place in the sun.
Of course an author is not
to
be examined strictly upon his choice of significant
material-it cis his book. But, after
all,
a
collocation of facts must illustrate
or
illuminate something.
It
is not an imperium in its own right. What use
then are we to make of the following in the instant case
:
fifty-eight pages of
text in Appendix
2
(a)
supplying
a
complete list
of
appeals between
1962
and
1968,
four pages of Appendix
2
(b) listing all appeals withdrawn
or
abandoned
over the same period, and nine pages of Appendix
2
(c) giving the names of
cases in which petitions for leave to appeal were rejected
or
the leave obtained
was not taken up?
Nor
is
it only Appendices which overflow with matter. Chapter VII (The
fight of Appeal) has nine separate tables attached
to
it analysing in great
detail
statistics
about the granting of leave
to
appeal: yet from
them
no
conclusion of value is offered by the authors
or
obtainable by the reader.
Chapter
XV
(Rating and Revenue Appeals)
is
lengthened to the extent
of
thirty pages by an Annex listing with brief particulars all the
133
appeals in
that class which were decided between
1922
and
1968.
One reader
at
least
559
46
pp.
E10.1

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