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of earlier editions than the precedents of the fourth edition were.
The Editors have throughout preserved the terse and accurate notes of the original authors, so far as was practicable, having regard to the changes of law and practice which have supervened since the publication of the third edition.
It will be observed that the Editors have returned to the original plan of producing the work in one volume. They have done so in the hope that this will be found more convenient for practical work.
TO THE THIRD EDITION.
The Editor, to whose great experience and reputation as a pleader, may be justly attributed the favourable acceptance of two former editions of this work, having died whilst a third was passing through the press, it is right that the Profession should be informed to what extent the edition now presented to them in his name may be relied upon as having received the sanction of his authority. At the date of Mr. Bullen's death the work had been printed off to p. 480 ; the two following sheets, comprising forty-eight pages, were then in type, and a few pages more were ready for delivery to the printer. For the alterations and additions in the remainder of the work, as compared with the last edition, the surviving editor must be held responsible ; but they are, to a considerable extent, founded on notes made by the late Mr. Bullen for the preparation of the present edition.
The general plan of the work has not been altered; but the preliminary notes on pleading, with reference to declarations and pleas respectively, have been enlarged and re-arranged with the view of forming a more complete introduction to the use of the Precedents. The Forms have been revised and adapted, where necessary, to the changes in the law. The Notes on the various topics of law throughout the work have been revised and extended. The Statutes passed, and the Cases reported since the publication of the last edition will be found noted either in the body of the work or in the list of Additions and Corrections, to which the attention of the reader is particularly requested.
An acknowledgment is due to Mr. Thomas J. Bullen for the diligent care and attention with which he has assisted in the labour of carrying the work through the press.
S. M. L.
TO THE FIRST EDITION.
THIS Work was undertaken in consequence of the want, experienced in actual practice and expressed generally by the profession, of a collection of Precedents settled in conformity with the recent alterations in the System of Pleading. It was begun only when the lapse of time seemed to render it hopeless that the task would be performed by other hands; and it is now presented to the profession with sincere diffidence, but with a hope that it may serve in some degree to supply the existing want.
The system of pleading has recently passed through a period of transition, in which it has undergone most extensive and important amendments. These, for the most part, have been the result of the labours of Her Majesty's Commissioners for inquiring into the Process, Practice, and System of Pleading in the Superior Courts of Common Law, and have been framed upon the recommendations contained in their Reports. They have been effected at intervals, by the Common Law Procedure Acts of 1852 and 1854, and by the subsidiary Rules of Court made by the Judges. The Commissioners have now closed their labours and issued their final Report, in which they appear to consider that very few points affecting Pleading remain in want of amendment. The period of transition may therefore be considered to have passed; and this branch of the law is now left in a state in which it will probably rest for some years to come.
The effect of the recent alterations in Pleading has not been to destroy the system or to change its essential principles. The object proposed by the learned Commissioners and effected by the late statutes and rules has been only to prefer substance to form, and to prevent unnecessary technicality from working injustice. Although particular forms of expression are no longer indispensable, it is obviously most important that pleadings should as far as possible be uniform, and that precedents or forms which have acquired an ascertained and understood meaning should be used in preference to new modes of expression, the meaning of which must necessarily contain the elements of uncertainty and doubt. Without the
precedents it is almost impossible, particularly in pleadings of a complicated nature, for any one but an accurate lawyer and experienced draftsman to avoid overlooking some points of a case absolutely essential to the maintenance of the right or defence. This was never more apparent than it has been in some of the specimens of pleadings which have been met with since the recent changes in the law, drawn by unpractised hands without precedent or guide.*
The very learned editors of Smith's Leading Cases (Mr. Justice Willes and Mr. Justice Keating, the former of whom was a member of the Royal Commission), adverting to the effect produced on the art of pleading by the relaxation of the former rules of criticism, and by the powers of amendment given by the Common Law Procedure Act, 1852, make the following valuable remarks: “It must, however, be remembered that the accurate statement of such of the facts and circumstances of each case as are necessary to enable the plaintiff on the one hand to establish his entire cause of action, and the defendant on the other to set up his entire defence, is still an essential part of the duty of counsel; and that although a final defeat of justice upon merely formal grounds may be averted by the provisions already referred to, no legislative enactment can in all cases prevent the expense and delay which result from the necessity for amending untrue or imperfect narratives of the facts relied upon by the respective parties. Such inconveniences are to be avoided by taking care in the first instance to make the pleadings true and perspicuous, adopting the known and understood formulæ used for the sake of brevity in cases of frequent occurrence, and, where there is no such formula, stating the material facts as they can be proved to exist in intelligible language.”—1 Smith's Leading Cases, 4th ed. 103.