Page:The Green Bag (1889–1914), Volume 25.pdf/429

This page needs to be proofread.


The Green Bag

standards there will of necessity be some approach to realization of these ideals, and the gulf that separates the law from other intellectual interests will be narrowed if not completely bridged over. Science is never in need of champions, for it is its own defense. The sooner lawyers are animated by a genuinely scientific spirit the sooner they will cease to be on the defensive. For there will be nothing to defend. LORD HALDANE'S LAND REFORMS


THE proposed comprehensive re forms of the land laws of England, formulated by Lord Haldane, are likely to be dealt with by Parliament differ ently from the measures introduced from time to time by Lord Halsbury and others, which encountered opposi tion among lawyers. Lord Haldane has contrived to bring his own skill as a conveyancer and the experience of other expert conveyancers to bear on the problem of carefully elaborating a project which seems already to have been received with marked favor, though the profession has not yet had time to analyze its intricate details, and it is likely to call forth a large amount of discussion for the next twelve months in legal journals. The two bills have a better chance of passage because the Lord Chancellor has an nounced that they will not be pressed for enactment until next year, when he hopes they will have been molded into satisfactory shape. The American lawyer will find the simpler system of land tenure it is pro posed to set up far from simple, in com parison with his own system of real property, because in wiping out by a gradual process all the incidents of the old manorial tenures there are numerous

complicated interests to be conserved, and the transition from copyhold and leasehold tenure to freehold tenure is by no means as free from difficulty as might be imagined. In the end, when all the manorial incidents have been extinguished by the payment of proper compensation by the tenant, and all tenures have been converted into fee simple and terms of years absolute (not depending on lives), England will have a system of real property offering many advantages over the existing system, but still sharply differentiated from the American by the numerous lesser interests which are to take effect in equity by way of trust, and by the incumbrances, cautions, inhibitions, and restrictions which are to impede the proprietor's freedom in transferring title. The law of real property will continue to be highly technical, if not so technical as formerly, after the passage of these acts.1 THE FIRST DUTY OF JUDGES IF judges are to decide cases not in accord with their own notion of what the law requires, but in an attempt to give effect to a popular understanding of the law, where will the process end? Under the judicial recall, this is precisely what it is pro posed to establish. If a proposition as simple in law as the rule that two and two make four in arithmetic can not be announced from the bench with out danger of inciting a sensitive elec torate to revolt, the court must mold its law and its arithmetic alike to har monize with public opinion. This is no mere flippant suggestion; on the other hand, there is danger of that very thing happening in Colorado and other states, under the system which makes i See Law Journal (London), July 19. 1913.