Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAPTER IV.: DICTA OF JUDGES ON THE EXCLUSIONARY SYSTEM. - The Works of Jeremy Bentham, vol. 7 (Rationale of Judicial Evidence Part 2)
CHAPTER IV.: DICTA OF JUDGES ON THE EXCLUSIONARY SYSTEM. - Jeremy Bentham, The Works of Jeremy Bentham, vol. 7 (Rationale of Judicial Evidence Part 2) 
The Works of Jeremy Bentham, published under the Superintendence of his Executor, John Bowring (Edinburgh: William Tait, 1838-1843). 11 vols. Vol. 7.
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- Rationale of Judicial Evidence.
- Book V.: —of Circumstantial Evidence.
- Chapter I.: Circumstantial Evidence, What—how Distinguished From Direct Evidence.
- Chapter II.: Of Probabilizing, Disprobabilizing, and Infirmative Facts—examples of Principal Facts, With the Corresponding Evidentiary Facts—improbability and Impossibility, How Distinguished From the Other Kinds of Circumstantial Evidence.
- Chapter III.: Of Real Evidence, Or Evidence From Things.
- Chapter IV.: Of Preparations, Attempts, Declarations of Intention, and Thrlats, Considered As Affording Evidence of Delinquency.
- Chapter V.: Of Non-responsion, and False, Or Evasive Responsion, Considered As Affording Evidence of Delinquency.
- Chapter VI.: Of Spontaneous * Self-inculpative Testimony, Considered As Affording Evidence of Delinquency.
- Chapter VII.: Of Confessorial and Otherwise Self-disserving Evidence, Extracted By Interrogation.
- Chapter VIII.: Of Confusion of Mind, Considered As Affording Evidence of Delinquency.
- Chapter IX.: Of Fear, In So Far As Indicated By Passive Deportment, Considered As Affording Evidence of Delinquency.
- Chapter X.: Of Clandestinity, Considered As Affording Evidence of Delinquency.
- Chapter XI.: Of Suppression Or Fabrication of Evidence, Considered As Affording Evidence of Delinqufncy.
- Chapter XII.: Of Avoidance of Justiciability, Considered As Affording Evidence of Delinquency.
- Chapter XIII.: Of the Situation of the Supposed Delinquent In Respect of Motives, Means, Disposition, Character, and Station In Life, Considered As Affording Evidence of Delinquency.
- Chapter XIV.: Posteriora Priorum—priora Posteriorum. Fact Indicated, a Prior Event; Evidentiary Fact, a Posterior Event In the Same Series: and E Converso.
- Chapter XV.: On the Probative Force of Circumstantial Evidence.
- Chapter XVI.: Of Improbability and Impossibility. *
- Chapter XVII.: Atrocity of an Alleged Offence, How Far a Ground of Incredibility. ‡
- Book VI: Of Makeshift Evidence.
- Chapter I.: Of Makeshift Evidence In General.
- Chapter II.: Of Extrajudicially Written Evidence.
- Chapter III.: Of Unoriginal Evidence In General.
- Chapter IV.: Of Supposed Oral Evidence Transmitted Through Oral, Or Hearsay Evidence.
- Chapter V.: Instructions Concerning the Probative Force of Extrajudicially Written and Hearsay Evidence. *
- Chapter VI.: Of Supposed Written Evidence, Transmitted Through Oral; Or Memoriter Evidence. *
- Chapter VII.: Of Supposed Oral Evidence, Transmitted Through Written; Or Minuted Evidence.
- Chapter VIII.: Of Supposed Written Evidence, Transmitted Through Written; Or Transcriptitious Evidence.
- Chapter IX.: Of Reported Real Evidence: I. E. Supposed Real Evidence, Transmitted Through Oral Judicial Testimony, Or Through Casually-written Evidence.
- Chapter X.: Of Evidence Transmitted Through an Indefinite Number of Media.
- Chapter XI.: What Ought, and What Ought Not, to Be Done, to Obviate the Danger of Misdecision On the Ground of Makeshift Evidence.
- Chapter XII.: Aberrations of English Law In Regard to Makeshift Evidence.
- Book VII.: Of the Authentication of Evidence.
- Chapter I.: Authentication, What. Connexion of This Subject With That of Preappointed Evidence.
- Chapter II.: Subject-matters of Authentication, What. Modes of Authentication In the Case of Real and of Oral Evidence.
- Chapter III.: Modes of Authentication In the Case of Written Evidence.
- Chapter IV.: Modes of Deauthentication In the Case of Written Evidence.
- Chapter V.: Distinction Between Provisional and Definitive Authentication. Rules For the Legislator and the Judge, Concerning the Authentication of Written Evidence.
- Chapter VI.: Aberrations of English Law In Regard to the Authentication of Written Evidence.
- Book VIII.: On the Cause of Exclusion of Evidence—the Technical System of Procedure.
- Chapter I.: Object of This Inquiry—its Connexion With the Subject of the Present Work.
- Chapter II.: Technical Or Fee-gathering, and Natural Or Domestic, Systems of Procedure, What?
- Chapter III.: Cause of the Vices of Technical Procedure, the Sinister Interest of the Judge.
- Chapter IV.: Particular Exemplifications of the Vices Introduced By the Fee-gathering Principle Into Technical Judicature.
- Chapter V.: List of the Devices Employed Under the Fee-gathering System, For Promoting the Ends of Established Judicature, At the Expense of the Ends of Justice. *
- Chapter VI.: First Device—exclusion of the Parties From the Presence of the Judge.
- Chapter VII.: Second Device—tribunals Out of Reach: Or, Swallowing Up the Inferior Courts.
- Chapter VIII.: Third Device—bandying the Cause From Court to Court.
- Chapter IX.: Fourth Device—blind Fixation of Times For the Oplrations of Procedure.
- Chapter X.: Fifth Device—sitting At Long Intervals.
- Chapter XI.: Sixth Device—motion Business.
- Chapter XII.: Seventh Device,—decision Without Thought; Or Mechanical Judicature.
- Chapter XIII.: Eighth Device—chicaneries About Notice.
- Chapter XIV.: Ninth Device—principll of Nullification.
- Chapter XV.: Tenth Device—mendacity-licence.
- Chapter XVI.: Eleventh Device—ready Written Pleadings.
- Chapter XVII.: Twelfth Device—principle of Jargon, Or Jargonization.
- Chapter XVIII.: Thirteenth Device—fiction.
- Chapter XIX.: Fourteenth Device—entanglement of Jurisdictions.
- Chapter XX.: Fifteenth Device—means of Securing Forthcomingness, Uselessly Divfrsified.
- Chapter XXI.: Sixteenth Device—creation of Needless and Useless Offices.
- Chapter XXII.: Seventeenth Device—sham Pecuniary Checks to Delay, Vexation, and Expense.
- Chapter XXIII.: Eighteenth Device—double-fountain Principle.
- Chapter XXIV.: Nineteenth Device—laudation of Jurisprudential Law.
- Chapter XXV.: Habitual Contempt Shown By Judges to the Authority of the Legislature.
- Chapter XXVI.: Opinion-trade.
- Chapter XXVII.: Extension of the Above Devices to Substantive Law, As Far As Applicable.
- Chapter XXVIII.: Remedies Suggested For the Above Evils.
- Chapter XXIX.: Apology For the Above Exposure.
- Book IX.: On Exclusion of Evidence.
- Part I.: On the Exclusionary System In General.
- Chapter I.: Exclusion of Evidence. Its Connexion With the Ends of Justice.
- Chapter II.: Disregard Shown to the Ends of Justice Under the Exclusionary System.
- Chapter III.: General View of the Mischiefs of the Exclusionary System.
- Chapter IV.: Dicta of Judges On the Exclusionary System.
- Chapter V.: Species of Exclusion.
- Part II.: View of the Cases In Which Exclusion of Evidence Is Proper.
- Chapter I.: General View of the Cases In Which Exclusion Is Proper.
- Chapter II.: Exclusion On the Ground of Vexation, In What Cases Proper.
- Chapter III.: Exclusion On the Ground of Expense, In What Cases Proper.
- Chapter IV.: Exclusion On the Ground of Delay, In What Cases Proper.
- Chapter V.: Exclusion of Irrelevant Evidence, Proper.
- Chapter VI.: Exclusion of the Evidence of a Catholic Priest, Respecting the Confessions Intrusted to Him, Proper.
- Chapter VII.: Remedies Succedaneous to the Exclusion of Evidence.
- Part III.: View of the Cases In Which Evidence Has Improperly Been Excluded On the Ground of Danger of Deception. *
- Chapter I.: Cases Enumerated.
- Chapter II.: Danger of Deception, Not a Proper Ground For Exclusion of Evidence.
- Chapter III.: Impropriety of Exclusion On the Ground of Interest.
- Chapter IV.: Impropriety of Exclusion On the Ground of Improbity.
- Chapter V.: Impropriety of Exclusion On the Ground of Religious Opinions.
- Chapter VI.: Impropriety of Exclusion On the Ground of Mlntal Imbecility, and Particularly of Infancy and Superannuation.
- Chapter VII.: Of the Restoratives For Competency, Devised By English Lawyers.
- Part IV.: View of the Cases In Which Evidence Has Improperly Been Excluded On the Ground of Vexation.
- Chapter I.: Vexation to Individuals Arising Solely Out of the Execution of the Laws, Not a Proper Ground of Exclusion.
- Chapter II.: Enumeration of the Sorts of Evidence Improperly Excluded On This Ground By English Law.
- Chapter III.: Impropriety of the Exclusion Put Upon Self-disserving Evidence By English Law.
- Chapter IV.: Inconsistencies of English Law In Regard to Self-disserving Evidence.
- Chapter V.: Examination of the Cases In Which English Law Exempts One Person From Giving Evidence Against Another.
- Part V.: View of the Cases In Which Evidence Has Improperly Been Excluded On the Double Account of Vexation and Danger of Deception.
- Chapter I.: Impropriety of Excluding the Testimony of a Party to the Cause, For Or Against Himself.
- Chapter II.: Examination of the Course Pursued In Regard to the Plaintiff’s Testimony By English Law.
- Chapter III.: Examination of the Course Pursued In Regard to the Defendant’s Testimony By English Law.
- Chapter IV.: Impropriety of Excluding the Testimony of a Party to the Cause, For Or Against Another Party On the Same Side. Examination of the Course Pursued In This Respect By English Law.
- Chapter V.: Probable Origin of the Above Exclusionary Rules.
- Part VI.: Of Disguised Exclusions.
- Chapter I.: Exclusion of Evidence For Want of Multiplicity.
- Chapter II.: Exclusion By Limitation Put Upon the Number of Witnesses.
- Chapter III.: Exclusion Put By Blind Arrangements of Procedure Upon Indeterminate Portions of the Mass of Evidence.
- Chapter IV.: Exclusion By Rendering a Particular Species of Evidence Conclusive.
- Chapter V.: Of the Rule, That Evidence Is to Be Confined to the Points In Issue. ‡
- Chapter VI.: Of Negative Exclusions.
- Book X.: Instructions to Be Delivered From the Legislator to the Judge, For the Estimation of the Probative Force of Evidence.
- Chapter I.: Preliminary Observations.
- Chapter II.: Of Interest In General, Considered As a Ground of Untrustworthiness In Testimony.
- Chapter III.: Of Pecuniary Interest, Considered As a Ground of Untrustworthiness In Testimony. *
- Chapter IV.: Of Interest Derived From Social Connexions In General.
- Chapter V.: Of Interest Derived From Sexual Connexions.
- Chapter VI.: Of Interest Derived From Situation With Respect to the Cause Or Suit.
- Chapter VII.: Of Improbity, Considered As a Cause of Untrustworthiness In Testimony.
- Chapter VIII.: Of the Comparative Mischief In the Event of Misdecision, to the Prejudice of the Plaintiff’s Or of the Defendant’s Side.
- Chapter IX.: Ulterior Safeguards Against the Inconveniencies Which May Present Themselves As Liable to Arise From the Abolition of the Exclusionary Rules.
- Chapter X.: Recapitulation.
- Note On the Belgic Code.
DICTA OF JUDGES ON THE EXCLUSIONARY SYSTEM.
It may be a spectacle not altogether uninteresting to the reader, to see a picture of the exclusionary system, drawn by the hands of titled and official professors: especially should it happen to be a matter of interest to him to consider, that, were the entire system of jurisprudential law to be represented in the character of Hercules, this member of it might be considered as his foot: ex pede Herculem. From this one limb, no very inadequate conception may be formed of the beauty and proportion of the whole. He to whom it may be a matter of interest or curiosity to contemplate it in that character, need not fear to find himself in any such perplexity as the employer to whom the architect presented a brick as a sample of a house.
In the few specimens, which the reader will now be enlightened with, of the wisdom of English sages, he will see at one and the same time how impossible it is to know how anything is, and how certain it is that everything is, as it should be. He will see at one view a specimen of the discernment, the security, and the consistency, which shine forth with perpetual and undiminished lustre from those exalted stations: and (as in the case of the royal sun of the seventeenth century) he may propound to himself for meditation, or to his neighbour for debate,—of which of this cluster of virtues is the splendour most conspicuous.
I. Peake (Edit. 1801,) 152. Lord Kenyon, C. J. “All questions upon the rules of evidence are of vast importance to all orders and degrees of men; our lives, our liberty, and our property, are all concerned in the support of these rules, which have been matured by the wisdom of ages, and are now revered from their antiquity and the good sense in which they are founded: they are not rules depending on technical refinements, but upon good sense; and the preservation of them is the first duty of judges.” 3 Term Rep. p. 707.
II. Peake, 159. The same Lord Kenyon, C. J. “I premise with mentioning what was said by Lord Mansfield on this subject, that ‘the old cases, upon the competency of witnesses [i. e. upon the question whether they shall be admitted or not admitted,] have gone upon very subtle grounds.’ ”
III. Ashhurst, J. “There is so great a contradiction in decisions respecting the boundaries of evidence, that I rather choose to give my opinion on the particular circumstances of the case, than to lay down any general rule on the subject.” 3 Term Rep. p. 27.
IV. Buller, J. “This case involves in it the question which has been so repeatedly agitated in courts of law, what objections go to the credit, and what to the competency, of the witness:” [what objections have the effect of excluding the witness and what objections have no effect at all;] “than which no question is more perplexed.” Ib. on the same occasion.
V. Grose, J. “The distinction between competency and credit is by no means accurately settled: in many of the books, the shade between them is so light that the boundaries of either can hardly be perceived [i. e. that it can hardly be known whether the witness is to be admitted or excluded.] But in all the books which treat of evidence, there are certain technical rules laid down which are highly beneficial to the public, and ought not to be departed from.” 2 Term Rep. p. 268, anno 1788.
VI. Speaking of the question, whether, in a criminal cause, the testimony of a proposed witness, having an interest, which may be affected by his testimony, in a future contingent civil cause relative to the same transaction, shall be admitted;—“The cases on this point,” says Mr Peake, “are so contradictory, that it is impossible to attempt to reconcile them.” Thus far the institutionalist. In such provoking colours does the absurdity of this learning sometimes show itself, that the most wary and devoted votaries of the jurisprudential Thenns are sometimes off their guard.
Observe now what follows in the preface (which is always the last part printed) of the same really useful and instructive treatise, in comparison with which the performances of the two titled institutionalists sound like the drivelings of an old woman in her dotage.
VII. Peake. Preface, v. “The chapter on parol testimony also is in a great measure new: for the rules of evidence in this respect have been so much altered, and so much light has been thrown on them by decisions, that comparatively little is to be collected from ancient books that is satisfactory on the subject. It was said by Lord Mansfield (I Blac. 366,) with that force of expression peculiar to great minds, who exercise the right of thinking for themselves before they assent to the authority of others—‘We do not sit here to take our rules of evidence from Siderfin or Keble.’ Rejecting those cases which were not supported by principles, that great judge established a system for his successors to follow; and competence and credibility, so frequently confounded together, are now accurately defined and well understood.
Accurately defined and well understood!—these very objects, in the decisions concerning which, in the declared opinion of one of the noble and learned lord’s colleagues, there was “so great a contradiction;” and at that same time, in the opinion of another of those his learned colleagues, a degree of perplexity than which a greater is not to be found anywhere. Such is the sort of matter endeavoured to be passed upon mankind for accurate definition and good understanding by men of law! Thus it is, that, as far as they have their wish, every intellectual object that comes within the sphere of their activity is defined and understood.
Understood? to be what? The answer is already given—given, and by the same hand:—to be (what they are) “so contradictory that it is impossible to attempt to reconcile them.” The application of the observation has there indeed its limits: but whether any such, or any other, limits to it were necessary, the reader will soon be enabled to judge.
In those seats of learned wisdom, what should a man do, were his longing ever so anxious to escape from praise? “We do not sit here to take our rules of evidence from Siderfin or Keble,” says Lord Mansfield: “and here,” says the commentator, “we see the force of expression peculiar to great minds, who exercise the right of thinking for themselves.” But, my good lord, if not from the decisions of preceding judges, as reported by any man whom chance has raised up to report them, from whom would you take your rules? From your own secret determinations, never communicated, and impossible to be conformed to, because impossible to be known? Think for yourselves, and welcome: thinking for yourselves, you think for us: but at least render it possible for us to know what you think, before you ruin us for not having conformed to it.