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PREAMBLE. - Jeremy Bentham, The Works of Jeremy Bentham, vol. 3 
The Works of Jeremy Bentham, published under the Superintendence of his Executor, John Bowring (Edinburgh: William Tait, 1838-1843). 11 vols. Vol. 3.
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Considerations on which this Act is grounded are the following:—
Art. 1. In the early times of this Monarchy, when money was scarce, and the revenues of the crown not yet established on any settled footing,—remuneration, in the shape of fixed salaries, for the functionaries of government employed in the several departments, not being capable of being provided in sufficient quantity, recourse was had of necessity to the expedient of suffering them to extract payment for themselves at the expense of such of the King’s subjects as stood in need of their respective services. In which state of things, by giving increase to the number of the occasions on which the suitors to their respective offices have need of such their services, these same functionaries having it unavoidably in their power to give increase to the aggregate amount of the emoluments thus extracted, the interest of the possessor of each such power is placed in a state of opposition to such his duty, of which opposition the abuse of such power is to a considerable degree a necessary consequence.
Art. 2. Of this opposition of interest to duty in judicial hands, the result has been the undue increase of expense in the shape of fees, as also the undue increase of delay for the purpose of giving time for and bringing into existence incidents whereby the demand for fresh operations and legal instruments, and thereby addition made to the number of fees exacted, and thereby to the aggregate of expense.
Art. 3. Of these additions, again, sale, denial, and delay of justice, are the necessary consequences;—that is to say, sale of justice to all those who having wherewithal do accordingly thereby disburse the amount of the expense; denial of justice to all who by inability stand excluded from the capacity of purchasing it; delay of justice by the amount of all such retardation as had for its effect the augmentation of the expense.
Art. 4. In and by the statute entitled Magna Charta, which has in all times been regarded as the stock, root, or foundation of all those liberties whereby the condition of the subjects of this realm stands distinguished to its advantage from that of the subjects of other monarchies, is contained a declaration expressed in these memorable words: “Nulli differemus, nulli vendemus, neque negabimus justitiam;”—to no one will we delay, to no one will we make sale, to no one will we make denial of justice:—to none of which promises was it perhaps at that same time in the power of the monarch of this realm to give fulfilment by constant, or even at any time by adequate, performance.
Art. 5. By the operation of this cause, the grievances by which at all times the subjects of this realm have been afflicted, and which in the natural course of things have at all times been in a course of continual augmentation, have at length arrived at such a pitch as to threaten the dissolution of all government, and to cause men to look for security in powers and safeguards other than those provided by the law.
Art. 6. The system of procedure, which is styled the regular, has, by the causes hereinabove mentioned, been swollen to such a pitch of dilatoriness and expensiveness as to have been by the continually repeated recognition of Parliament itself acknowledged to be incapable of fulfilling its intended purposes: in consequence of which a mode of procedure, styled by comparison the summary, has on each such occasion been substituted to it.
Art. 7. If the course so pursued be well adapted to the elicitation of the truth in any one case, it can scarcely be otherwise in any other.
Art. 8. In the course so styled the regular in courts of various descriptions, but more especially in the courts called Equity Courts, the length of the proceedings in any the most simple case is not unfrequently spun out to as many years, as under the summary course of procedure it would occupy minutes.
Art. 9. It is accordingly greatly to be desired, that if not incompetent in other respects, the course styled summary should, with such improvements as the continually increasing stock of experience shall be found to have suggested, be throughout substituted to the regular.
Art. 10. The summary mode or course of procedure necessitates and supposes (special and unavoidable exceptions excepted,) the attendance of the parties in the presence of each other and of the Judge, and in particular that the mode of giving commencement to a suit be by the attendance of the individual who desires to be admitted plaintiff, or of some other person on his behalf.
Art. 11. To render the burthen of such attendance as light as may be, it is necessary that every individual so attending should have the faculty of doing so without passing the night elsewhere than at his own home.
Art. 12. The giving universal establishment to this faculty could no otherwise be affected than by the re-establishing, with improvements suited to the present state of society, the system of Local Judicatories, which having had place in the Saxon times, became gradually extinguished after, and by means of, the Norman Conquest.
Art. 13. By and in proportion to the narrowness of the bounds within which the local field of jurisdiction of each such judicatory would necessarily have to be confined; the necessary number of such judicatories would unavoidably be to be increased.
Art. 14. By the erection of edifices for this purpose, as well as by the all-comprehensive substitution of remuneration in the shape of salary, to remuneration in the shape of fees—remuneration at the expense of the public, to remuneration at the expense of the suitors—a proportionably large addition would unavoidably be made to the present amount of the regularly recurrent national expense. It is desirable that before the correspondent expenditure has been incurred, and the correspondent burthen imposed upon his Majesty’s subjects, the aptitude of the here-proposed plan should be subjected to trial, previous to its being extended, in case of success demonstrated by experiment and experience, to the proposed judicatories throughout the whole country.
Art. 15. Two modes of procedure, the regular and the summary, are both of them in use: the regular having had for its authors the members of the judiciary establishment acting under the influence of particular and sinister interests, as above; the summary, having Parliament itself as the sole authority by which law is acknowledged to be made. As often as cognizance of any case has been given to a Justice of the Peace acting singly, or to Justices in numbers acting otherwise than in general sessions, declaration has, impliedly indeed, but not the less decidedly, been made of the inaptitude of the regular mode, in each such case, and of the aptitude of the summary mode in that same case. The exclusive aptitude of the summary mode being so repeatedly and continually recognized in relation to all those cases, can there be any case in which it has not place? If there be no other case in which it has not place, insomuch that in such case the regular mode ought, as at present, to be employed, and the proposed summary mode not,—this considered, it is hereby declared, that it is in the contemplation of the Legislature to make application of the summary mode to all cases.
Art. 16. The appointing, on the occasion of a legal demand made, an arbitrator or arbitrators more than one chosen by mutual consent of his Majesty’s subjects, to exercise, without any appointment from the Crown, the functions of Judge, is a practice which has received the sanction of Parliament;—that is to say, by a statute of the 10th year of King William the Third, chapter 15.
Art. 17. It continually happens that cases, which by their complexity are essentially incapable of being determined by jury-trial, are nevertheless entered in the Assizes Court, for the declared purpose of being so determined: on which occasion, such complexity being in open court declared by counsel on the one side, and assented to by counsel on the other side, the case is thereupon, under the authority of the Judge, consigned to arbitrators in some such form as is thereupon agreed: that is to say, subjected to the determination, either of one single person learned in the law, or not so learned, chosen on both sides at the suggestion or with the approbation of the Judge; or else to the determination, of two persons, under the name of arbitrators, chosen in like manner, the one by the one side, the other by the other side, with power to such arbitrators, in case of disagreement, to choose by their joint assent another referee, in the character of umpire, whose determination it is thereupon agreed shall be final.
Art. 18. For want, in all such cases, of powers adequate to the purpose of securing the forthcomingness of such evidence as it has happened to the individual case to afford, the provision thus made for right decision is but precarious, while the delay and expense is swelled to an indefinite extent, by reason of the opposition between interest and duty, created by the mode of payment appointed for the remuneration of the official service rendered on this occasion by the occasional Judge or Judges so appointed and officiating.
Art. 19. Notwithstanding the inconvenience attached to this mode of judicature, yet the practice of consigning the determination of suits to persons other than such as are exclusively appointed by the Crown, has not only received the sanction of precedent, but is moreover thereby demonstrated to be in continual and all-comprehensive use.
Art. 20. For the purpose of the experience hereby endeavoured to be obtained, it is necessary that, according to the course hereby proposed, suits in large and indefinite number should in this same way be heard and determined by one and the same Judge.
Art. 21. That no reasonable ground of complaint might have place, if without consent of parties on either side, and without special and sufficient cause shown, a suit which had been commenced in one of the ordinary courts, and been there carried on according to the now established course of judicial procedure, were removed to the cognizance of the Dispatch Court Judge,—the Dispatch Court Judge should be located by the suitors, subject to the approbation of his Majesty.
Art. 22. In so far as everything is performed with consent of all parties interested, the good hereby done will be altogether pure, and all possible ground of objection to the departure thus made from the ordinary course of judicature will be obviated.
Be it, therefore, enacted as follows:—