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4 Law Notes (Edward Thompson Co.) 1 (1900-1901)

handle is hein.journals/lawnotes4 and id is 1 raw text is: LAW NOTBS.

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APRIL, 1900.
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The Bankruptcy Law Again
Law Teaching in England
and America  ....
Law Study by Laymen .
Freak Legislation ....
The State and the Barber
.udges' Salaries .
Judicial Slang and Judicial
Humor. ........
A Protest against Legal Verse
Old Monopolies and Modern
Trusts .. ........
Service of Process under Diffi-
culties .. ........

Some Unconsecrated Falla-
cies .. .........
Legal Ethics ........
Mrg. John Austin ....
Lawyers who Have Refused
E cessive Fees ....
Spanish and Spanish-Ameri-
can Legal History .

THE discussion of the national bankruptcy law and its
workings still goes on, and it is remarkable how entirely
capable observers differ as to its effect. It has been said that
there is a large amount of dissatisfaction with the provisions
of the bankruptcy law     among   merchants.    Fraud, it is
declared, is not only not repressed but is fostered by the
measure in that it keeps open the field of business to men who
by fraud fatten upon legitimate commerce. The source of
these allegations is too vague. More important, if they are
correctly reported, are the views of Judge Addison Brown of
the United States District Court for Southern New York.
He is credited with saying that the present bankruptcy act
is distinctly a law for the debtor, not for the creditor.
Since the act went into force about $70,000,000 of debts have
been wiped out in New York City alone, and a large part of
this vast sum Judge Brown is declared to have said was sworn
off by fraud which the court was powerless to prevent. This
is a very grave allegation, and we may perhaps question the
correctness of the report of Judge Brown's observations.
The views of Representative Dolliver of Iowa, whose bill for
the repeal of the law is now pending in Congress, were com-
mented on in the February number of LAw NOTES. He has
recently reaffirmed his opinions in a debate in Chicago on the
bankruptcy law when he said: It is one thing to wipe an
old slate; it is another to put American business, for all time
to come, on the basis that nobody need pay what he owes
unless he wants to. It presents a standing invitation to the-
young men of the United States, now free from debt and
about to embark in business, to plunge into whatever specula-
tion they please, with the assurance that their country stands
ready to wipe out all their obligations if, at the end of their
exploits, they have enough money left to file an application
in bankruptcy. Transactions have been going on for nearly
two years (in the United States), possible only in prosperous
times, which, unless checked by conservative commercial in-
fluences, will prepare the way for a universal collapse of
private credit.

MR. WILLIAM A. PEINDERGAST of New York, Secretary of
the National Association of Credit Men, was Mr. Dolliver's
opponent in the Chicago debate, and his views differed radically
from that gentleman's. He said: This law has had the
effect of restricting credit to legitimate lines. The fact that
preferences, in any of their devious forms, when made within
four months, are wiped out in bankruptcy proceedings, has
rendered it imperative that the credit man indulge in no
credit gambling, but base his judgment solely on the moral
character, the mental capacity, the financial responsibility, of
the debtor. Mr. Pendergast seems to voice the sentiment of
the leading merchants and business men throughout the
country. Their position appears to be well summed up in
the following statement of the President of the Milwaukee
Credit Men's Association: The national bankruptcy law is
a step in the right direction. The credit men certainly do
not favor its repeal, as we need a law that is uniform in all
the States, but it ought to be changed and modified in many
particulars. We do not want to return to the conditions that
existed before its passage, when a man could become a bank-
rupt in Wisconsin and step across the border of the State and
become a full-fledged business man with a stock of goods that
his creditors in this State could not touch. Another repre-
sentative business man is quoted as saying, While the new
law is defective in some ways, the old way was infinitely worse.
There is conservatism and common sense in this view. Do
not surrender a solid advance, because the present law is
defective, but note the defects in actual practice and amend
the act. Some of the provisions which are pointed out as un-
satisfactory are the provision for a discharge without reference
to the percentage of his indebtedness paid by the bankrupt ;
the lack of a penal clause which may be applied to a merchant
securing a stock of goods within a short time before the
date of making an assignment and not able to explain satis-
factorily what has become of the goods. Such a penal clause
was contained in the present law as presented to Congress, but
it was struck out in deference, it is said, to th views of
Senator Nelson of Minnesota.
IN a recent paper containing the results of observations on
the teaching of law at Harvard University, Mr. A. V. Dicey,
Vinerian Professor of Law in the University of Oxford, points
out the essential difference between the conditions of study
for the bar in the United States and England. The profes-
sional teaching of English law centres around the Inns of
Court in London, and cannot under present conditions be
pursued in the uhiversities, where, however, there is admirable
instruction in law from the general educational point of view
under the direction of such men as Sir Frederick IPollock, Mr.
Maitland, and Mr. Dicey himself. Mr. Dicey observes that
while this underlying difference must be borne in mind in
applying in an English university the results achieved by the
Harvard Law School, those results are full of encouragement
for all earnest teachers of law. We learn from the experi-
ence of Harvard, he says, that, under favorable circum-
stances, English law can be taught with unlimited success by
the teachers and professors of a university. The emphasis
given to this lesson will strike most American readers as
curious. For more than half a century in the United States
competent professional and practical legal instruction has been

APRIL, 1900.1

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