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2-188 (Text)

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addressee,male author,male,Dowling, C. J.,un
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Government English
Imperial Correspondence
Bennett, 1979
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2-188-plain.txt — 3 KB

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I proceed now to the consideration of the establishments necessary for the administration of justice in Port Phillip.
For the trial of capital offences and the determination of important civil causes, I conceive that for some considerable time it will be quite sufficient that a circuit court should be holden at Melbourne for this dependency thrice in two years, or once in eight months, by one of the Judges of the Supreme Court. In order to provide for the other wants of the community in that important settlement, I would confer upon the Court of Quarter Sessions, already established there, jurisdiction for the trial of all crimes and misdemeanors not capital, although of a nature not ordinarily cognizable at Quarter Sessions, such as forgery and perjury.
The system of grand and petit juries should be established, and the Sessions should have the power of stating special cases for the opinion of the Supreme Court at Sydney, wherein questions of peculiar importance and difficulty might arise. The court should have the power of making rules of practice for the conduct and dispatch of business subject to disallowance by the Supreme Court. The Chairman of the Quarter Sessions should unite in his person the office of Commissioner of the Court of Requests, having cognizance of all causes where the amount of the debt or damages sought to be recovered does not exceed £50. Excepting cases where the title to land should actually and bona fide come in question. In the administration of this office, he should be assisted by two assessors, and in case of difference of opinion, the voices of the majority should determine the verdict which should be entered as the verdict of the whole court. The court should be holden so often as occasion might require, and power given to the Commissioner to establish a scale of fees, subject to the approval of the Governor. The Commissioner should have power to grant new trials in cases where the damages recovered exceed the amount of £10, and in such last mentioned cases he should have the power of reserving any question of law at the instance of any dissatisfied suitor, by stating a special case, setting forth the facts in a compendious manner for the decision of the court, and transmitting the same for the determination of the Supreme Court, the party praying such case to be stated, to undertake to pay the costs of the reference, if the point or points raised should be determined against him or her by the Supreme Court. The Commissioner should have the power of making rules and regulations for the conduct and dispatch of business in his court, subject to disallowance by the Supreme Court.
By reason of the distance of the settlement at Port Phillip from Sydney, which would practically shut the inhabitants out of the benefits of the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court in certain cases, I would authorize the judges to appoint the Commissioner of the Court of Requests or such other person as they might deem fit, from time to time as occasion might require, to exercise the power of issuing process in the Supreme Court for arresting a defendant under the Imprisonment for Debt Act, and subject to the provisions thereof; the power of hearing and determining insolvencies, and doing all other acts which might be done by a judge under any Insolvent Act, the power of taking depositions and examinations in all causes at common law or equity, or in the Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction, depending in the Supreme Court, the power of issuing injunctions to stay waste, the power of issuing the write ne exeat colonia, and the power of granting administration.