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tion deems wise, be appointed, to whom shall be referred the report of the Committee on Law Reform, together with its recommendations on House Bill No. 31, with instructions to take up and consider those matters and put them in shape to present them to the next General Assembly, in an effort to secure the adoption of that measure in its modified form.
MR. MCMURDY: Mr. President, if Mr. Pendarvis would add to that motion that this Committee should co-operate with a similar Committee from the Chicago Bar Association
MR. PENDARVIS: That is perfectly agreeable, Mr. President, and if it should be the sense of this Association that such committee be appointed, there is another matter that it seems to me it would be wise to refer to that committee, and perhaps while I am speaking to the motion I might call the attention of the Association to that matter.
I have heard a great many lawyers in Chicago and throughout the State complain of the present practice before the Supreme Court, and during the last session of the General Assembly an attempt was made to change that practice. It, however, failed in the last days of the Assembly. That change was in this respect, and I can state very briefly the substance of the bill, which was stated at this meeting a year ago in this place. The bill provided substantially this: That there should be one term of the Supreme Court, commencing say the first Monday or Tuesday in October, with monthly calls thereafter mencing on the first Monday or Tuesday as might be fixed, of each month, all records of judgments from the nisi prius courts to be filed in the Supreme Court within sixty days after the rendition of the judgment, and records from the Appellate Courts to be filed within thirty days thereafter, the appellant to have thirty days to present his abstract and briefs, the appellee thirty days in which to reply, and the appellant ten days to make reply to the appellee. Then the case being at issue the clerk would serve ten days' notice upon all parties that the case would go on the next month's call and at that time it will
be argued orally. That was the substance of the bill, doing away with the present term and the return of writs or appeal to any term, but to make the records to be filed within a certain time. The contemplation of that bill was that it would keep the Court together, practically, at Springfield, for say eight or nine months from October to June or July, and make of it a really consolidated Court. I think, Mr. Chairman, if such a committee as I have made a motion for should be appointed, that the subject matter of that bill ought to be referred to it and be taken up and considered by that committee, and the advisability of the passage of such an act.
The motion was seconded.
PRESIDENT PAGE: You have heard the motion as seconded; the subject matter, as I understand it, is that the report of the Committee on Law Reform and the recommendations therein, together with the subject matter of the proposed bill to change the practice in the Supreme Court, be referred to a special committee of five for consideration and presentation by that committee to the next legislature. Are there any remarks upon the motion ?
MR. Riggs: With reference to bill 31. I have never yet discovered the need for it, and a year ago I inquired what the need was for it and I did not learn. I was told that it was needed in Chicago, and that may be, for I know nothing in the world about the practice of law in Chicago, and I might remark that I am glad of it. Now down in the country--I do not know the gentlemen here well enough to know how many are from the country and how many from Chicago
PRESIDENT PAGE: Well, about half and half.
MR. RIGGS: Then half of them never found any need for this bill then. (Applause.) I cannot conceive of any good purpose it will serve unless it is in Cook county. I do not know what we want down in Scott county, for instance, of a provision in the Practice Act that will enable the oldest and ablest lawyer
in the State, employed by the strongest railroad in the State, to devise a dozen questions that he can submit to a poor man who has been injured and compel him to answer them in advance of the time for trial for the purpose of getting at his conscience and getting at his case in advance so they can hedge against it. I am opposed to it. I am in favor of keeping these things in such shape that the poor fellow will have some show, if it is possible. I was much pleased with some of the speakers—with our friend Mr. McMurdy here, on the Municipal Court Bill, because he seemed to have some sympathy with the poor people who sometimes get into trouble. And I do wish that somebody would tell me what there is to be accomplished throughout the State generally by the passage of Bill 31. I want to know, before I vote on it, whether there is any good reason for it. I did not hear last year, I have not heard since. It is late now to raise the question, but it is better late than never. Now I will give notice that I want an opportunity before we go to vote on this motion, to move a postponement of action so far as Bill 31 is concerned, until next year. I do not care to do that now, but I want to do that before we get through.
PRESIDENT PAGE: Are there any further remarks ? Are you ready for the question ?
MR. RIGGS: Now, Mr. President, I move that so far as the subject of Bill 31, as it is known, is concerned, the matter be postponed to the next annual meeting of this Association, so that all concerned in it who have not looked into it and studied it may have an opportunity to do it. I admit now, freely and frankly, that I do not now remember very distinctly many of the provisions of it. I do remember two or three or four of the most prominent, but I make that motion, that so far as that bill is concerned, that subject, that action upon it be postponed until the next annual meeting of this Association, and that it be made unfinished business for disposition then.
MR. PENDARVIS: I do not care to take up the time of the Association with remarks upon this subject.
I'RESIDENT PAGE: Mr. Pendarvis, unless there is some second to that motion further discussion would not be in order.
MR. TAYLOR: Mr. President, I second the motion.
PRESIDENT PAGE: It is moved and seconded that action upon the original motion, so far as it embraces reference to House Bill No. 31, be postponed until the next session of this meeting. I presume that is pending now as an amendment to the original motion. Mr. Pendarvis, we will hear you if you like.
MR. PENDARVIS: House Bill 31 embraced the principal work of what was known as the Practice Commission, appointed by the Governor of this State some six years ago. Its report was submitted, I think, to the first General Assembly in which I had the honor to have a seat, and I do not know whether at that time representatives of this Association appeared before the Committee; at least the members of the Practice Commission did, including my friend here, Mr. McMurdy, who was one of the gentlemen who helped frame the subject matter of House Bill 31, after that the Commission had sittings all over this State, in the different cities of this State, and heard recommendations of the bar throughout the State. The House Committee on Judicial Departments and Practice at that session of the General Assembly, the one of four years ago last winter, considered not only this subject, but various smaller bills that had been recommended by that Commission, devoting evenings to the consideration of that question. Nothing, however, was done; I guess it was never reported out of the Committee.
At the next session of the General Assembly attention was given to the smaller bills. No attention was paid to the larger bill, which is a complete revision of the Practice Act; but at the last session of the legislature the whole attention was given to the consideration of this bill, hearings were had before the Committee on Judicial Department and Practice from various lawyers and from Judge Ricks of the Supreme Court, and after it had been fully considered and modified in some respects, the
bill was recommended to the Ilouse and brought to a vote and failed of passage. It is a matter that has been pretty thoroughly threshed out by the legislature in legislative committee and by members of the bar, and it seems to me, Mr. President, unless this thing is to be dropped completely and the work of the Practice Commission lost after they have entailed an expense of five thousand dollars upon the State, that we ought to take some action now. To postpone it until next year will mean that it cannot be presented at the next session of the legislature, and it will have to go over till two years from next winter before we get any consideration on this subject. It seems to me if the Association is to follow the matter up that we should take action now. I think three members of that Practice Commission were not residents of Chicago. The gentlemen who have signed this report, the Committee on Law Reform, are lawyers from out in the State; they are not Chicago lawyers. William B. Wright is Chairman, George D. Burroughs Secretary; and this is not a Chicago movement at all, but lawyers throughout the State have been interested in it and have taken part in the consideration of the subject as well as attorneys from Chicago.
Calls for the question.
MR. FULLERTON: As I understand it, this House Bill 31 originated in this body; it has been before two committees of this body. The Committee on Law Reform this year held an entire afternoon session and considered the bill and all the amendments, and prepared its report. It seemed to me unfortunate the other day when the report was presented, that the motion was that the report be accepted and filed. It seemed to me at that time that there should have been some action by the Bar Association on the report. I regret now that Judge Wright, Chairman of the Committee, is not present, because he is more conversant with what has been done by the Committee than I am; at the same time it seems to me that the action proposed here is not exactly the proper action. I agree with the last speaker that it would be unfortunate to postpone