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No. III. - Jeremy Bentham, The Works of Jeremy Bentham, vol. 9 (Constitutional Code) 
The Works of Jeremy Bentham, published under the Superintendence of his Executor, John Bowring (Edinburgh: William Tait, 1838-1843). 11 vols. Vol. 9.
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Collectanea relating to Book ii.—Ch. xii. Judiciary collectively.
Section 13, Justice for the Helpless.
From the Examiner of Sunday, 19th June, 1831.
“Expense of Justice for Depredations committed on the Poor.—A girl, named Sophia Chapman, was yesterday committed for trial on a charge of robbing a foreigner, named Ben Hyam, of a half-sovereign. On the prisoner being committed, the Turk said that he could not attend at the Sessions, as he got his living by travelling round the country; and he would, therefore, much rather put up with the loss of the half-sovereign.—Mr Marriott, on this, said that he must find two sureties to answer for his appearance at the Old Bailey.—The prosecutor said he could do no such thing; and he was therefore committed to jail in default. It is almost impossible to describe how astonished the poor fellow was at this specimen of English Law. Had Basil Hall been so served in a foreign country, we should have liked to have seen his comments on its institutions. Montesquieu says that in Turkey justice is thus administered:—‘The cadi hears both the plaintiff and defendant; orders both a drubbing on the spot: and there is an end of the matter.’ Ben Hyam will have time, during a protracted imprisonment, to meditate on the superior wisdom of the mode in which it is administered in his own country, and regret that he was not in a country in which he could have a drubbing at once, and the matter be thus ended.” The Morning Chronicle remarks upon the case:—“The committal of a poor Turk, by a Queen Square magistrate, for inability to find security to prosecute the person who robbed him, would almost lead one to believe that the Essex squire was not so far wrong when he said that the magistrates were they who knew least of the law. There can be no doubt that the committal is according to law: but there can be as little doubt that such a law is unjust towards the sufferer, and injurious towards the community. But, like many absurd laws, it subsists because the poor alone suffer from it. To detain a poor man who derives his subsistence by travelling about the country, in order to prosecute for a trifle, may be to him of a most serious consequence. In the case of a rich man, the case would be trifling; he could easily obtain securities, whom he could indemnify, if more than his personal recognizance should be demanded. The moral is obvious to all who may read the account of the proceedings. It is too bad to be robbed, but still worse to be sent to prison to secure the punishment of the robber. The thief, of course, calculates on this unwillingness to prosecute: and he is not far out in his calculation. Such is the dread of being obliged to prosecute, entertained by people engaged in business in London, except the loss be serious, or the thief has particularly provoked them, that they are exceedingly anxious to keep the matter quiet. We remember another case illustrative of the hardship of our lengthy and expensive penal procedure to labouring people, and persons in the middle rank of life, who are compelled to attend as prosecutors and witnesses. A labouring man, who was the occupier of a cottage in Middlesex, detected a fellow in the act of carrying away one of his geese from the common. The thief was seized, carried before a magistrate, (who will be known to many by the fees demanded,) and committed for trial. The unpaid magistrate (or the magistrate’s clerk, rather, in his name) exacted from the labourer six shillings for fees. The value of the goose attempted to be stolen was only four shillings; so that, at the outset, the administrator of the law deprived the poor man of two shillings more than the thief would have taken from him. But the sufferer was also bound over to prosecute; and, what with attendance before the Clerk of the Peace to get the bill of indictment framed; before a Grand Jury to get the bill found; and waiting until the thief was tried, and to obtain his costs,—sixteen days of his time were expended. This was before the establishment of a second court. Each day to him was worth 6s.: but he was only allowed 3s. 6d., which barely paid his expenses in coming to town. His lowest loss was 3s. 6d. a-day: so that the total loss, including the 6s. fees, which were not allowed back, (and which, in truth, were illegally exacted,) amounted to £3, 2s., or the value of fifteen geese. The thief only attempted to take one goose—the law swept away more than the whole flock. Injuries of this kind are daily perpetrated; and the expense of justice is impunity to the depredators. It is only the rich, who have nothing to do, who can prosecute without inconvenience. A thief is usually a martyr for the sake of the others of his fraternity, to protect them in the commission of crime. A prosecutor is a victim to deter other honest people who are plundered from prosecuting. The instances are not unfrequent, where persons who have once prosecuted, abscond from redress when they have been robbed a second time. The mischievous operation of our penal procedure, and the serviceable elisions that might be made in it, have already been demonstrated at full length. There are few who have had better opportunities for observing these evils than Sir Thomas Denman; there are few who are more free from the vulgar prejudices against innovation, entertained by mere technical lawyers: for he admits the inutility and mischief of Grand Juries. We trust that, after the Reform Bill is carried, he will propose reforms in penal procedure more comprehensive and efficient than the bit-by-bit reforms brought forward by Sir Robert Peel.”
“COMMON LAW REFORM.—REMANET FEES.
“Sir,—Observing the Judges have at length put their shoulder to the wheel, and promulgated some rules tending to reduce the expense of legal proceedings in the first stage of a cause, allow me, through your medium, to call their attention, as well as the common law commissioners, to the urgent necessity of devising some scheme, during the vacation, by which the remanet fees, on the untried causes in London and Middlesex, may be avoided.
“To you, sir, and the unprofessional part of the public, it may be some information to learn, that these fees, and which in the course of twelve months amount to an enormous sum, are not paid either for expediting the trial, or for the trial, but actually, and for no other reason, than the total inability of parties to get their causes tried. Allow me to go a little into detail, and to show the absurdity, as well as the necessity of an immediate alteration. In Middlesex, at the end of the late term, there were 405 untried causes in the King’s Bench alone. These are technically called remanets; 126 additional causes were placed in the list for the sittings after term, making a total of 531 causes. In London there were near 600 remanets to the sittings after term, and with the new causes for those sittings, there will no doubt be a total of 800 causes. The term ended the 13th instant, and with the exception of one day, Lord Tenterden has sat in Middlesex ever since, devoting four days for the trial of common jury causes, five days for special juries, and this day for undefended causes. The last common jury cause appointed for trial was No. 73; so that, with the exception of the undefended causes to be tried to-day, and the special juries that have been disposed of this week, there will remain 458 causes untried in Middlesex alone, and which will stand over till Michaelmas term. In London, seven days are appointed for the trial of common jury causes, and six days for special juries. Now, sir, my complaint is this, that in all human probability there will be in the King’s Bench alone, about 1000 causes standing over until Michaelmas term, and (as very few are tried in the term) there will be paid by every plaintiff at the office of the Marshal and Associate (and, I presume, for his benefit, though that is immaterial for the object of this letter) 18s. on every cause, for no other reason than as before stated, because the parties are delayed, and cannot get their causes tried. But, sir, this is not all: the fortunate officer entitled to the 18s. on each cause, is not the only one benefitted,—other fees are paid to other officers, and all for the same cogent reason. In fact, to give your unprofessional readers, and those who have the power of remedying this grievance, some idea of its extent, it will be sufficient for me to say, that 1000 causes, standing over in the way described, will, at the expiration of the next term, be a charge to the unsuccessful litigants alone of upwards of £4000. This is certain, for even if parties settle their differences without a trial, the remanet fees, down to the settlement, must be paid before the record is withdrawn, and the cause struck out of the paper.
“I am afraid, at this particular period, I have already trespassed too much on your indulgence. If, however, you think these remarks are worth noticing, I may in a few days trouble you again.—I am, sir, your obedient servant,
Section 19, Contested-interpretation-reporting Function.
From the Morning Chronicle, August 4, 1827.
. . . “One objection to the indictment, namely, that it did not state the accident to have occurred on the king’s highway, or in a public road, (and all the precedents showed that such an averment was necessary,) was overruled by the Chief-Justice, (Best,) who observed, that he had little doubt ‘the precedents would furnish instances of nonsense of all sorts.’ But it was then objected—it was alleged that the coach was drawn by two mares and two geldings, which allegation had not been supported by proof. This was a thumping objection—two mares and two geldings stated in the indictment, and no one to prove the averment!
“The Lord Chief-Justice then said—‘He feared that the objections were fatal. At first, he imagined that there was a clause in one of Mr Peel’s acts which cured the error, but he found such was not the case. However, he might observe, that when that Right Honourable Gentleman was preparing the bills for the amendment of the criminal law, he consulted all the Judges upon the clauses he proposed, and among them was one which would have been amply sufficient to meet these objections. He (the Lord Chief-Justice) had at the time expressed his opinion in favour of that clause, but Mr Peel, who, with great propriety, determined to be governed by the advice of the majority, struck it out, as the majority of the Judges certainly had thought it would be introducing too great a laxity in pleading.’ ”
Section 20, Judges’ Eventually-emendative Function.
From the Examiner of Sunday, June 5, 1831.
“bit-by-bit legal reform.
“Cranage, Gent., Attorney, against Price.—In this case the declaration, which was for slander and libel, had been referred to the Master, for such counts to be struck out, as he might think unnecessary. It appeared there were twenty counts for the slander or oral matter of complaint, and eight for the libel or written; many of which differed from one another only by a slight inversion of style, and were identical in effect and meaning. Thus, in one count the charge was, that the defendant ‘had published a libel.’ Of the counts for slander, the Master struck out twelve; and of those for the libel, he struck out four; and he curtailed the remaining. But as it appeared that the declaration had not been drawn by the plaintiff himself, but by a pleader, whether at or below the bar was not stated, and as the instructions given by the plaintiff were proper, the Master had refused the defendant the costs of the disgusting and rejected superfluity, though he would have done otherwise, and granted the costs, could he have enforced them on the pleader. Hinc illæ lachrymæ: the costs formed the substance, the words spoken the pretext only of the quarrel: and the Court and the Bar, who evinced a vivid perception of the ludicrous, at the disappointment of the complainant, in obtaining nothing more than the reduction of the declaration to orthodox dimensions, were convulsed with laughter; whilst Mr Addison, with virtuous indignation, ‘denounced the scandalous corruption of the science of pleading.’ However, the conclusion was tragic.
“Mr Baron Garrow said, that ‘such practices were the more scandalous, as the commissioners, supported by the Legislature and by the courts of justice, were devising every means which were within their power, for the abbreviation and simplifying of law proceedings; and he hoped that the present application would show, that the suitors for justice were not, with impunity, to be made the objects of oppression through the means of any occupation, however little exposed to view, however mysterious that occupation might be.’ Undoubtedly the Courts have the power to punish them without the intervention of Parliament. But it is believed that the Courts, or those Judges whose influence is predominant, instead of supporting, as Mr Baron Garrow says, have opposed alterations in special pleading. It is evident that the Courts would be glad that the mere expression of abhorrence at individual instances of abuse, should satisfy the public; but the policy, imitated from the boroughmongers, of victimizing one unlucky attorney or pleader, in order to preserve a bad system, is now too well appreciated to be successful. The day is come for the thorough reform of legal procedure; and special pleading, if retained, can be so,—not in the place of a universal instrument, but as subordinate to the preliminary examination of the parties. The result of the Master’s inquiry into the above case, must indeed convince the public of the general inaptitude of special pleading as an instrument of judicature. Urged by Mr Addison to the extreme, the Master could reduce this twenty-eight-fold declaration to only a twelve-fold one; that is, each count being considered in law as a declaration, the Master thought twelve special declarations necessary to bring fairly before the Court one cause of action. Were special pleading employed only as a supplementary process in special cases, and as subordinate to the preliminary examination, the proceeding would vary but little from the ancient system, in which the litigation was conducted ore tenus, (that is, in the presence of the Judges,) and was continued by successive imparlances, (that is, successive adjournments,) until this preliminary investigation had completely disclosed to the Judges the true issue, when not until then, the pleadings and issue were drawn and recorded.”
Section 25, Judges’ Attendance, and Section 27, Judges’, &c., Remuneration.
The following letter, giving an account of the days of sitting in the French Judicatories, was written by a French Avocat, M. Rez, (then in London,) in answer to questions propounded by Mr Bentham, in July 1826:—
“1. Si l’on excepte les Juges de Paix, à l’égard desquels la loi a cru assez important de fixer leur obligation de siéger au moins deux fois par semaine, &c. apparemment parceque c’est une magistrature nouvellement établie,—ce n’est que par des réglements émanés, tantôt du gouvernement, et tantôt des cours ou tribunaux, qu’on a fixé ce qui concerne les jours et heures de séance, les vacances, &c. La régle générale est, que les réglements du Gouvernement ont déterminé à cet égard quelques regles communes à tousles corps judiciaires du royaume:
2. Et que chacun de ces corps a le pouvoir de régler les points secondaires et surtout ceux qui dependent des circonstances particulières à chacun d’eux.
3. Or, le nombre de jours que les cours et tribunaux, (autres que les Juges de Paix,) doivent siéger chaque semaine, est laissé au réglement de chacun de ces corps.
4. Dans ceux, où il y a beaucoup d’affaires, comme à Paris, et quelques autres siéges, il y a séance tous les jours, excepté le dimanche.
5. Je parle ici des affaires civiles, ou celles de petit criminel, que nous subdivisons en correctionelles, et de simple police.
6. Quant au grand criminel, quand une affaire est commencée, elle n’ a pas d’interruption, jusqu’ à ce qu’elle soit terminée.
7. On tâche pourtant de fixer les causes de manière, à ce qu’on puisse se reposer le dimanche, c’est-à-dire, en calculant de manière à ce que, le samedi il n’y ait pas de cause assez longue, pour qu’elle ne puisse être finie le même jour.
8. Quant aux vacances, il n’y en a que pour le civil; et les affaires criminelles, correctionelles, et de simple police, vont leur train toute l’année.
9. Durant les vacances, qui durent depuis le 1er Septre, jusqu’au 1er Novbre., il y a, pour le civil, une chambre des vacations, c’est-à-dire, une des sections du tribunal, ou cour, s’il est composé de plusieurs sections, (ou tout le tribunal, s’il n’y a qu’une section, mais siégant un peu moins souvent,) qui expedie les affaires urgentes. Ceci est assez incommode pour les petits tribunaux, qui n’ont qu’une section, et qui ne peuvent guère quitter leurs siéges, que peu de jours.
10. Je dois ajouter que les réglements des tribunaux, ou cours, doivent être approuvés, par le Garde des sceaux, c’est-a-dire le ministre de la justice.
11. Il y a aussi des petites vacances de 8 jours à Pâques, mais je crois qu’elles ne sont pas légalement autorisèes; et dans beaucoup de tribunaux de province, on ne les fait pas.
12. Je ne sais si l’on a changé ces régles depuis mon exil, mais je pense qu’en substance, les régles seront restées les mêmes.
13. J’oubliais de dire, que lorsqu’on est bien pressé, l’on a deux séances par jour. En général, chaque séance, dure trois heures, au civil et au correctionnel; car au grand criminel, on siége souvent 8, ou 10 heures de suite, sauf un très petit intervalle, pour le repos des juges et des jurés.”
Mr Bentham sent a copy of the above remarks to his friend, the late Jean Baptiste Say, in order that they might be submitted to the consideration of some practising advocate, and received the following reply:—
“Paris, 18me d’Août, 1826.
“Mon Chèr Maitre,—
J’ai consulté sur votre papier M. Girod de l’Ain, Conseiller à la Cour Royale, Paris. Je vous envoie sa réponse avec la seule observation qu’il ait ajoutée à vos notes, qui sont très exactes. Nul n’en pouvait mieux juger, puisqu’il fait partie de nos tribunaux. Notre grand mal n’est pas là. Il est dans l’influence que le gouvernement s’est reservée sur les tribunaux en nommant et en avançant les juges, qui peuvent à son gré passer d’un tribunal inférieur à un tribunal supérieur, d’une petite ville, dans une plus considérable, du grade de simple Conseiller à celui de Président, de Premier Président, de Procureur Général, de Membre de la Cour de Cassation, de Pair, avec ou sans héréditè, avec ou sans pension, sans compter les autres faveurs de Cour. Aussi en matières où le gouvernement est interessé, les jugements sont détestables. La presque totalité de nos juges sont absolutistes et dévots. S’ils ont dans deux ou trois occasions contrarié les vues du pouvoir, c’était par esprit de secte. Tous les restes de nos anciens parlemens sont Jansénistes et animés d’une haine inextinguible contre les Jesuites. À ce tître ils protègent la liberté des journaux, qui les vexe. Nous ne sommes pas plus avancés que du tems de Voltaire, qui disait quand les Jesuites furent détruits: ‘Nous sommes débarrassés des renards, mais nous n’en serons que mieux la proie des loups.’ Nous ne respirons que lorsqu’ils se battent. Au reste ce débat n’aura malheureusement pas, de suites serieuses. Our King est de la congrégation, c’est à dire Jesuite de robe courte, Jesuite civil, et l’on assure qu’il a dit dernièrement, ‘Je saurai bien arrêter toutes poursuites; mon prédécesseur a donné des lois à la France; je lui donnerai une religion.’ En attendant, le pouvoir s’est arrogé le monopole de l’instruction de l’enfance, même dans les pensions particulières, et l’on déprave le bon sens des Français, à la journée.
“J. B. S.”
Reply of M. Girod de l’Ain to M. Say.
“17 Août, 1826.
“Monsieur et respectable Ami,—
Je suis bien flatté de la confiance que vous m’avez temoignée en me consultant sur la note de M. Jérémie Bentham; je vous la renvoye avec très peu d’observations sur son contenu, qui ne m’a pas paru en exiger davantage. Veuillez, je vous prie, en offrant à ce vénérable publiciste l’expression de ma très haute estime, et du cas particulier que je fais de ses ouvrages, l’assurer que je mettrai toujours un sincère empressement à lui fournir, sur les matières dont il s’occupe, et qui peuvent être de mon ressort, tous documens et explications, qu’il voudrait bien désirer de moi.
“A. Girod de l’Ain.”
The only observation of M. de l’Ain’s, on the remarks of M. Rez, referred to No. 11, respecting vacation days. It is as follows:—“Pâques et Pentecôte, et même de trois ou quatre jours à Noël: elles ne sont point autorisées, mais on les prend généralement.”
In addition to M. Rez’s remarks, Mr Bentham appended the following question in French:—“Je ne trouve pas que les honoraires des Avocats, sont compris dans le Code Napoleon. Quelle est la plus petite somme qu’il est d’usage de reçevoir à ce titre?” To this question M. Girod de l’Ain sent the following indirect answer:—“Le tarif des frais de justice taxe les honoraires d’une plaidoyerie d’Avocat à une somme très modique, et c’est l’Avoué qui la perçoit à son profit. L’Avocat est payé extraordinairement par la partie, en raison de son importance à lui même, de celle de la cause, ou de sa difficulté, de la fortune du plaideur &c. L’usage interdit aux Avocats toute action en justice pour la répétition de leurs honoraires: cependant aucune loi ne la prohibe, et un jugement récent a accueilli la demande faite par un Avocat pour ses honoraires.”
Section 31, Judges’, &c., Inaugural Declaration: Art. 10, Non-electioneering.
From the Caledonian Mercury, 19th May, 1831.
“Why was the Lord Justice-Clerk absent from his duty yesterday at the Court of Session? Because, it is said, he preferred going to the Ayrshire election. So, here is a Judge receiving £4000 a-year from Government; his court is prevented from sitting, and to which he is bound to give regular attendance; yet, in defiance of that Government, and indifferent to the interests of the suitors, he has gone to give his vote and support to the candidate who is opposed to the measures of his Majesty’s Government, and the general voice of the people. We have more than once had occasion in this Journal to express a very decided opinion against the practice, which has been but too prevalent in this country, and in this city, of Judges mixing themselves up in elections of all sorts. In the course of last year, on the introduction of the new Scotch Judicature Act, we expressed our hope that it would be finally put an end to; but nothing was done at that time to remedy the abuse. The present Government, however, has had the firmness to introduce a clause into the Reform Bill, depriving their Lordships, as well as the Sheriffs of Counties, of the privilege of voting; and we suppose, that with so stanch a partyman as the Lord Justice-Clerk, this alone was a reason for making him even more than usually eager in his hostility. Of the great indecency of this practice we never heard two opinions from influential persons, for this plain reason, that the Judges of the Court of Session are the only Judges who, by Act of Parliament, have the power of determining all questions that relate to the validity of votes in counties, and the due or undue election of magistrates for burghs. Nothing can illustrate the great impropriety of such a judge as the Lord Justice-Clerk interfering in elections more strongly than the following case:—Not long ago, a vote in Lanarkshire was challenged, when the claim for enrolment was made for the freeholders (who, as most of our readers know, have the power of deciding judicially on such matters;) but the unfortunate gentleman happening to be a Whig, the Tories determined to keep him off the roll, and, among others, a Tory judge was present, and voted against the enrolment. A suit in the Court of Session was the result, and it happened, curiously enough, that the case, according to the routine of business, came before the very Tory judge in the Court of Session, who had voted against the enrolment in the Court of Freeholders. The Whig gentleman, whose vote was challenged, deemed it right to decline the jurisdiction of this judge, and the case was verbally reported to the Court, when the Lord Justice-Clerk held, that although, in his opinion, the declinature was not well founded, still, as the judge himself had that morning consented to the removal of the case to another judge, it was unnecessary to say more about the matter. Still, in the Lord Justice-Clerk’s opinion, a judge may go electioneering; and although he votes against a freeholder’s claim in the Court of Freeholders, that, nevertheless, that circumstance does not incapacitate him from determining on the validity of the appeal of the claimant against the decision of the Court of Freeholders, when it happens to come before him a few weeks afterwards sitting as a judge of the Court of Session.”
Section 34, Justice Chambers.
From the Morning Chronicle, June 4, 1824.
“Yesterday the Old Bailey New Court was opened for the first time. The Recorder presided. The form of the court is square, and without ornament. The light falls down from the ceiling; behind is a spacious gallery, admission to which is to be obtained only by tickets from the members of the Corporation, who are entitled to pass in their friends in this order:—Each sheriff passes four; each alderman four; and each common-councilman, two per diem. The box for the law students and reporters is placed opposite to that of the jury. At the table there is a double row of seats; the front for the counsel, and the back for the attorneys; an arrangement frequently wished for, in the old court. But perhaps the new court is the worst contrived court in the metropolis, or anywhere else, for sound; and the spot on which the prisoner is to stand is perhaps the worst part of the court for hearing. We regret to say, that the two new courts at Guildhall, which are nearly finished, have been built on the same plan, and, of course, must be subject to the same condemnation.”
Memorandum by the Author.—In the Morning Chronicle, 5th June, 1824, is an account of a controversy between the Aldermen and the Common-Council, about the right claimed by the Common-Council to give admission tickets. No care about admission room for the public at large on either side.
From the Morning Chronicle, Nov. 12, 1824.
“construction of the new court.
“It might have been expected, in this age of improvement, when everything was performed upon scientific principles, and when even the very stones in our roads were laid down with almost mathematical precision, that the architects of our courts of law would have deemed the convenience of the public worthy of some consideration. We do not intend to say that it has been wholly neglected; on the contrary, we give the architect every credit for the improvements with respect to the size of the court, and the freedom of admission and egress. The new court is considerably larger than the old one; and instead of there being but one door through which judges, counsel, students, jurors, attorneys, and witnesses were obliged to pass, there are now six, each of which communicates only with a particular portion of the court, so that much of the confusion and bustle incident upon the determination of one cause and the commencement of another is avoided. The bench is placed at the eastern end of the court, and the seat is elevated about six feet above the floor; the back is formed by cloth of a deep crimson, and on each side are hung curtains of the same material. Over the bench is a sounding board, supported by four Ionic scrolls, which, together with the board, are painted of an oak colour. The Associate and Marshal have seats directly under the bench; and between them and the sergeant’s table there is a space of about five feet, through which the witnesses pass when called into the box. Immediately behind the sergeants are the seats appropriated to the junior counsel, and in the rear of them, to the attorneys in waiting; while those who are engaged in the cause under discussion, have seats just below the sergeants.
“The remainder of the court is allotted to the witnesses in attendance, and to the public,—the whole rising from the sergeant’s table to the western end, in the form of an amphitheatre. The general appearance of the court is pleasing, and the result in the mind of a causal visiter, who came only to see, would undoubtedly be favourable; but appearance in a public court is not all that is required. In alluding, some time since, to the principle on which these courts were to be constructed, we declared our opinion that, unless some alteration was made in the arrangement then proposed, the echo would be so powerful as to render everything that was said indistinct, if not nearly inaudible. The suggestion was not attended to, and the result is just as might have been foreseen. The counsel endeavour to speak loudly, in order that they may be heard, but the only effect of their greater exertion is an increase of the noise, while the distinctness of sound is wholly lost. The fact is, that the roof is so high, and that space which, if smaller, might be called the lantern, so contrived, that the sound is completely dissipated. Now we by no means intend to complain of the increased size and loftiness of the court, which, indeed, we consider an advantage grossly neglected by the architects of the courts of Westminster; but what we object to is the want of attention to that proportion necessary to the proper conveyance of sound, and especially to the neglect of the architect in not having erected side galleries, which, while they increased the commodiousness of the court, would have contributed greatly to the facility of hearing. We cannot but regret that architects of the present day will not condescend to study more accurately the proportions of the rooms built by Sir Christopher Wren, who has furnished the most perfect models of the kind, so intimately was he acquainted with the effect of sound. And so minutely did he study the proportions of his buildings, necessary to render its conveyance perfect, that not one of the edifices which he has constructed for that purpose, can be altered with advantage. We have heard that some changes were recently made in one of his churches, and it being thought expedient to remove the situation of the pulpit, the attempt was made, but was afterwards abandoned, as it was found impossible to obtain the sound so well as in the precise spot on which he had fixed. The situation of the witness box, which in the new court is placed in a corner, exactly between the bench and the jury, is also liable to the strongest objections; but on this subject we need make no remark, contenting ourselves with simply relating what fell from the Chief-Justice in the course of the day. One of the witnesses was desired by a learned counsel to speak louder, as it was impossible to hear him, when the Lord Chief-Justice immediately observed:—‘From the situation in which the witness stands, he necessarily speaks to me in a whisper; that, however, is not his fault.’ Last, but not least, among the grounds of serious complaint, is the position of the students’ box. The architect, as if with the design of limiting the number of the future Vaughans and Pells of this bar, and of discouraging the study of the law in general, has allotted only three seats to the students; although it is believed that there are about three thousand who, in that character, have a prescriptive right to accommodation. The part of the court in which that seat is placed is at the right hand corner of the bench, and at such a distance from the witness and the jury, as to render every chance of hearing what passes completely impossible. This, however, is not the only objection: behind the seat is a door leading to an ante-room, appropriated, we believe, to the sergeants, and the passage to which was this day occupied by the officers and servants in attendance upon his lordship. The seat is therefore in a position which seems to indicate the propriety of devoting it to their use. The students’ box might, with much greater advantage, have been placed by the side of the jury box, and instead of being thus satirically contracted in its size, should have been constructed so as to afford the students every advantage for hearing and taking notes. This arrangement is rendered so much the more necessary, as the gentlemen connected with the press, who are also students, are, under the present system, subjected to innumerable inconveniences. The alteration of the witness box is also a point of paramount importance. The new courts in London are constructed upon the same plan as the county courts at Norwich; and during the last assizes there, the Lord Chief Baron found it necessary on every trial to have the witnesses placed on the bench, as, from their proximity to the counsel, they always pitched the voice in such a tone, as to render them inaudible to his lordship and the jury. We trust that the Committee for Improvements will, for the credit of the city, attend to these matters, and as speedily as possible make the requisite alterations.”