On delays in the administration of justice

  • Gareth Jones


This care and circumspection in the law, — in providing that no man’s right shall be affected by any legal proceeding without giving him previous notice, and yet that the debtor shall not by receiving such notice take occasion to escape from justice; in requiring that every complaint be accurately and precisely ascertained in writing, and be as pointedly and exactly answered; in clearly stating the question either of law or of fact; in deliberately resolving the former after full argumentative discussion, and indisputably fixing the latter by a diligent and impartial trial; in correcting such errors as may have arisen in either of those modes of decision, from accident, mistake, or surprise; and in finally enforcing the judgement, when nothing can be alleged to impeach it; — this anxiety to maintain and restore to every individual the enjoyment of his civil rights, without intrenching upon those of any other individual in the nation, this parental solicitude which pervades our whole legal constitution, is the genuine offspring of that spirit of equal liberty which is the singular felicity of Englishmen. At the same time it must be owned to have given an handle, in some degree, to those complaints, of delay in the practice of the law, which are not wholly without foundation, but are greatly exaggerated beyond the truth. There may be, it is true, in this, as in all other departments of knowledge, a few unworthy professors: who study the science of chicane and sophistry rather than of truth and justice; and who, to gratify the spleen, the dishonesty, and wilfulness of their clients, may endeavour to screen the guilty, by an unwarrantable use of those means which were intended to protect the innocent. But the frequent disappointments and the constant discountenance, that they meet with in the courts of justice, have confined these men (to the honour of this age be it spoken) both in number and reputation to indeed a very despicable compass.


Common Sense Foreign Country Free State Full Extent Real Action 
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  1. 4.
    J. Bodin, De Republica, Libri Sex (Paris, 1586), c. 6.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1973

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gareth Jones
    • 1
  1. 1.Trinity CollegeCambridgeUK

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