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SINCE the publication of the ninth Edition of the Author's Practice, in Trinity Term 1828, many important alterations have been made in the Practice of the Superior Courts of Law at Westminster, by various Statutes, Rules of Court, and Judicial decisions. The principal Statutes, by which these alterations were effected, are the Administration of Justice act, (11 Geo. IV. & 1 W. IV. c. 70.); the Speedy Judgment and Execution Act, (1 W. IV. c. 7.); the Examination of Witnesses act, (1 W. IV. c. 22.); the Interpleader act, (1 & 2 W. IV. c. 58.); the Uniformity of Process act, (2 W. IV. c. 39.); and the Law Amendment act, (3 & 4 W. IV. c. 42).
In pursuance of the power given by the Administration of Justice act, general rules were made by all the Judges, in Trinity term 1831, and Hilary term 1832. The rules of Trinity term chiefly relate to the putting in and justifying of special bail ; the shortening of declarations in actions of assumpsit, or debt, on bills of exchange, or promissory notes, and the common counts; the delivery of particulars of the plaintiff's demand, under those counts; the time for delivering declarations de bene esse ; the service of declarations in ejectment; the time for pleading; rules to plead several matters ; and judgment of non pros, &c. The object and intent of the rules of Hilary Term appear to have been, to assimilate the practice of the different courts, and to render the proceedings therein more expeditious, and less expensive to the suitors.
consequence of the foregoing statutes and rules of court, three Supplements have been already published by the Author, to the ninth edition of his Book of Practice: The first of these Supplements, which was brought out in Michaelmas Term 1830, contained all the statutes, rules of court, and decided cases, to that time, particularly the Administration of Justice act, and also a practical treatise on the Tender of money, and the law relating to the Fees of Officers of the courts, &c. The second Supplement, which was published in Hilary vacation 1832, contained the general rules of the courts, since the Administration of Justice act, with introductory statements of the practice, as it existed before, and was affected by those rules : And, not to mention the act for the Uniformity of Process in personal actions, with the general rules of the courts thereon, which appeared in November following, the third Supplement, which was published in December 1833, and in which the Uniformity of Process act was incorporated, contained the Practice of the superior courts of law, in personal actions, and ejectment, &c. so far as it was altered or affected by the statutes for the amendment of the law, and the rules of court and decisions thereon.
These Supplements, however, were but partial; and the last of them was published more than three years ago; since which, many important alterations have been made in the Practice, by subsequent statutes, rules of court, and judicial decisions. It is therefore hoped, that the following Work, in which the Author has collected and arranged all the recent statutes and rules of court on practical subjects, including those noticed in the above Supplements, with the judicial decisions thereon, to the present time, and on other matters of frequent occurrence in practice, will not be unacceptable to the profession.
Under the Law Amendment act, general rules were made by all the judges of the superior courts of common law at Westminster, in Hilary term 1834 ; which having been laid the requisite time before both houses of parliament, came into operation on the first day of Easter term following. These rules, which may be considered as the commencement of a new eru in pleading, are of two kinds : 1st, gene
ral rules, relating to all pleadings; and, 2dly, rules relating to pleadings in the particular actions of assumpsit, covenant, debt, detinue, case, and trespass.
In treating of pleas in bar, as governed by these rules, the Author has considered, in the 27th Chapter, Ist, the several grounds of defence, and what pleas, adapted thereto, may be pleaded in actions upon contracts, and for wrongs independently of contract: 2dly, the power of the judges to make alterations in the mode of pleading, &c. and the rules made by them in pursuance thereof: 3dly, what must now, since the making of the above rules, be proved by the plaintiff, on the general issue, or common plea in denial of the contract or wrong stated in the declaration : 4thly, what might have been formerly, and may now be given in evidence thereon by the defendant, or must be pleaded specially, in actions upon contracts and for wrongs: 5thly, in what cases the special matter may be given in evidence, under the general issue, by act of parliament: 6thly, the pleas in actions by and against bankrupts, or insolvent debtors, and their respective assignees; or by and against executors or administrators, heirs or devisees : 7thly, the title, commencement, body, and conclusion of pleas: 8thly, in what cases the defendant might formerly have pleaded, and is now allowed to plead, several matters : and, lastly, the practice as regards the signing, delivering, filing, adding, amending, waiving, abiding by, striking out, or setting aside pleas, &c. And though the new rules of pleading in particular actions do not extend to replications, yet, in order to explain the different modes of replying to pleas in bar, and in what manner the replication should deny or confess and avoid the facts stated therein, the several reported cases which have been recently determined thereon, in actions upon contracts and for wrongs, are noticed in the 28th Chapter.
Some additional rules were also made by the judges, in pursuance of the law amendment act, and of the powers given them by the administration of justice act, relating to the practice of the courts, in Hilary term 1834, which took effect on the first day of Easter term following. These rules, which are introduced in their proper places,