REVIEWS

Publication Date01 Jan 1970
DOIhttp://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2230.1970.tb01256.x
REVIEWS
PRECEDENT
IN
ENGLISH LAW
AND
OTHER
ESSAYS. By JAMES LOUIS
MONTROSE.
Edited by H.
G.
HANBURY. [Dublin: the
Irish
University Press.
1968.
v
and
868
pp.
68s.I
THE
late Professor Montrose’s friends
at
Queen’s University, Belfast, deserve
the gratitude of lawyers generally, and particularly of law students and
teachers, for having made possible the publication in this handsome volume
of
a
well-chosen selection from his writings-particularly from
his
contri-
butions to periodical literature where they were spread over
a
very wide
field, and would to
a
substantial extent have been inevitably lost but for this
admirable salvage operation. Having mentioned
the
appearance of the book
I
will add that it is splendidly printed, and sells at
a
very moderate price
for such
a
volume. The Irish University Press are certainly to be congratu-
lated on the production, though one could wish that the misprints were fewer,
and even more that an index had been provided.
The selection of articles to be reprinted was made and the editing done
by Professor
H.
G.
Hanbury who is very much to be thanked for his work.
At the end of
the
volume
a
useful list of Montrose’s writings is appended
which adds up to no less than ninety-one items; of which eighteen appeared
in this Review to which Montrose was
a
contributor from very early days
(1938).
While many of these were shortish book reviews and case notes the
number of substantial articles listed, most of them of high quality,
is
large,
and choice of one rather than another must often have been difficult. Students
who wish to avail themselves further of Montrose’s thought on legal matters
will at any rate know where to look for it.
Montrose was
a
remarkable man. Something about his career will be
found in Professor Hanbury’s Introduction which is far from the perfunctory
couple of pages
or
so
which is
so
often provided on this kind of occasion. He
makes indeed
a
useful, if too flattering, estimation of the Montrose
oeuvre.
Having been largely responsible for building up two university law schools
one might think of him
as
being primarily an administrator; indeed his abilities
in that direction were shown in his work for the Society of Public Teachers
of Law of which he was
a
successful President: possibly his most valuable
effort in that organisation was in connection with law libraries. Those of
us
who remember the dismal condition of these before
the
1939-41
War will
always feel grateful for the work he did there. Parallel to the
S.P.T.L.
and
largely contemporaneous was the Association of University Teachers where
he was a leading member for many years, chairman of important sub-com-
mittees, and also President.
But he was far from being just an administrator in the law schools
which he ran. The testimony
of
his students shows that he was
a
particularly
successful teacher: indeed Professor Hanbury regards him
as
having been
a
teacher of genius. His deep interest in “the teaching” of law is continually
evident in these essays, and this in some ways is their chief value: no good
law student could fail to profit from
a
careful study of the volume.
With the heavy load on his shoulders above indicated it is surprising that
his literary output was
so
large, and it is no doubt significant that the
list of writings shows that more than half of his output, and that much the
most important part, came from the last ten years of his life. He left his
beloved Queen’s University, Belfast, where he was dean for some thirty years,
in
1964,
and in circumstances which caused him emotional anguish, though
this did not affect the quality of his writing, and he spent the few years left
103

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