Wikiquote:Dictionary of Legal Quotations/Section 01

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Abduction[edit]

  • Men will not commonly steal women that are nothing worth.
    • Hobart, C.J., Bruton v. Morris (1614), Hob. Rep. 182; reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 1.

Admission[edit]

  • No admission of the party . . . can make that legal which is in its nature illegal.
    • William Henry Ashurst, Atherfold v. Beard (1788), 1 T. R. 615; reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, The Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 9.

Affidavit[edit]

  • We cannot try the merits upon affidavit.
    • Lord Mansfield, Rex v. Blooer (1760), 2 Burr. Part IV. 1045; reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, The Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 9.
  • So many affidavits, so studiously and artfully penned, to be safely sworn in one sense and read in another, are an aggravation.
    • Lord Mansfield, Rex v. Beardmore (1759), 2 Burr. Part IV. 795; reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, The Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 10.
  • We cannot suffer a person by his affidavit to arraign the whole justice of the country and its administration.
    • Abbott, C.J., Case of Edmonds and others (1821), 1 St. Tr. (N. S.) 924; reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, The Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 10.

Attorney-General[edit]

  • I wish to say a word or two about the position of the Attorney-General, because in my judgment it is of importance in this case, and his position appears likely to be lost sight of. Everybody knows that he is the head of the English Bar. We know that he has had from the earliest times to perform high judicial functions which are left to his discretion to decide. For example, where a man who is tried for his life and convicted alleges that there is error on the record, he cannot take advantage of that error unless he obtains the fiat of the Attorney-General, and no Court in the Kingdom has any controlling jurisdiction over him. That perhaps is the strongest case that can be put as to the position of the Attorney-General in exercising judicial functions. Another case in which the Attorney-General is preeminent is the power to enter a nolle prosequi in a criminal case.1 I do not say that when a case is before a Judge a prosecutor may not ask the Judge to allow the case to be withdrawn, and the Judge may do so if he is satisfied that there is no case; but the Attorney-General alone has power to enter a nolle prosequi, and that power is not subject to any control. Another case is that of a criminal information at the suit of the Attorney-General, a practice which has, I am sorry to say, fallen into disuse. The issue of such an information is entirely in the discretion of the Attorney-General, and no one can set such an information aside. There are other cases to which I could refer to be found in old and in recent statutes, but I have said enough to show the high judicial functions which the Attorney-General performs.
    • A. L. Smith, L.J., Reg. v. Comptroller-General of Patents (1899), L. R. Q. B. D.Vol. 1[1899], p. 913; reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, The Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 15-16.
  • Though the mere opinion of an Attorney- or Solicitor-General ought not to be cited, yet coupled with the fact, it may have some weight as showing the general sense of professional men.
    • William Henry Ashurst, King v. Pasmore (1789), 3 T. R. 243; reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, The Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 16.
  • At common law, the Attorney-General is, when he is exercising his functions as an officer of the Crown, in no case that I know of a Court in the ordinary sense.
    • Bowen, L.J., In the matter of Van Gelder's Patent (1888), 6 Rep. Pat. Cas. 28; reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, The Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 16.

Auditor[edit]

  • It is the duty of the auditor to see that the authority to charge is not made a pretext for extravagance or favouritism.
    • Lush, J., Queen v. Cumherlege (1877), L. R. 2 Q. B. D. 370; reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, The Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 17.

Bastardy.[edit]

  • I rejoice to think that since the days of Queen Elizabeth, our laws have been so far humanized that a bastard child is no longer a mere thing to be shunned by an overseer,—whose existence is unrecognised until it becomes a pauper, and whose only legitimate home is a workhouse, that it is no longer permissible to punish its unfortunate mother with hard labour for a year, nor its father with a whipping at the cart's tail; but that even an illegitimate child may find itself a member of some honest family, and that the sole obligation now cast upon its parents is that each may be compelled to bear his and her own fair share of the maintenance and education of the unfortunate offspring of their common failing.
    • Hawkins, J., Hardy v. Atherton (1881), L. R. 7 Q. B. 269; reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 18.

Club.[edit]

  • Clubs are very peculiar institutions. They are societies of gentlemen who meet principally for social purposes, superadded to which there are often certain other purposes, sometimes of a literary nature, sometimes to promote political objects, as in the Conservative or the Reform Club. But the principal objects for which they are designed are social, the others are only secondary. It is, therefore, necessary that there should be a good understanding between all the members, and that nothing should occur that is likely to disturb the good feeling that ought to subsist between them.
    • Lord Romilly, M.R., Hopkinson v. Marquis of Exeter (1867), L. R. 5 Eq. Ca. 67; reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 29-30.

Coercion[edit]

  • Legal coercion is a course which the law allows.
    • Rooke, J., Cox v. Morgan (1801), 1 Bos. & Pull. 410; reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 30.

Conveyance[edit]

  • There is no magical meaning in the word "conveyance"; it denotes an instrument which carries from one person to another an interest in land. Now, an instrument giving to a person a charge upon land, gives him an interest in the land—if he has a mortgage already, it gives him a further interest.
    • Lord Cairns, L.C., Credland v. Potter (1874), L.R. 10 Ch. Ap. 12; reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, The Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 48.
  • The difficulty I really feel is the danger of doing anything which may imperil what has been going on for centuries among conveyancers. Conveyancers have not always stated exactly the truth upon the face of their deeds. No doubt at the present day greater care is taken, but there are some forms which are known, and which are in common use.
    • Chitty, J., Carritt v. Real and Personal Advance Company (1889), L. R. 42 Ch. 272; reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, The Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 48.

Demurrer[edit]

  • I never did approve, when at the Bar, and I do not approve now, when on the Bench, of the practice of not deciding a substantial question when it is fairly raised between the parties and argued, simply because it is raised by demurrer. It is a great benefit to all parties to have the question in the case speedily and cheaply determined, and the practice of demurring ought, if possible, to be encouraged.
    • Sir G. Jessel, M.R., Fothergill v. Rowland (1873), L. R. 17 Eq. Ca. 139; reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 70.

Domicil[edit]

  • The question of domicil prima facie is much more a question of fact than of law. The actual place, where a person is, is prima facie to a great many given purposes his domicil. You encounter that, if you shew, it is either constrained, or from the necessity of his affairs, or transitory; that he is a sojourner, and you take from it all character of permanency. If, on the contrary, you shew that the place of his residence is the seat of his fortune; if the place of his birth, upon which I lay the least stress; but if the place of his education, where he acquired all his early habits, friends, and connexions, and all the links that attach him to society are found there; if you add to that, that he had no other fixed residence upon an establishment of his own, you answer the question.
    • Lord Loughborough, Bempde t>. Johnstone (1796), 3 Ves. jr. 201; reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 76-77.

Legal fiction[edit]

The Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904)[edit]

Quotes reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, The Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 92-93.
  • A fiction of law shall never be contradicted so as to defeat the end for which it was invented, but for every other purpose it may be contradicted.
  • Fictions of law must be consistent with justice.
  • Fictions are allowed against all the King's subjects for the furtherance, but never for the hindrance, of justice.
  • When Courts adopt a fiction they must necessarily support it.
    • Lord Alvanley, C.J., Gray v. Sidneff (1803), 3 Bos. & Pull. 399.
  • No fiction shall extend to work an injury, its proper operation being to prevent a mischief or remedy an inconvenience which might result from the general rule of law.
    • 3 Black's Commentaries (21 ed.)
  • In fictione juris semper cequitas existit: A legal fiction is always consistent with Equity.
    • 11 Rep. 51.

Highway[edit]

  • No man can make a stable-yard of the King's highway.
    • Lord Ellenborough, Rex v. Cross (1812), 3 Camp. 227; reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 100.

Honors[edit]

  • Honours ought to come from merit, and from merit alone.
    • Lord St. Leonards, Brownlow v. Egerton (1853), 23 L. J. Rep. (N. S.) 415; reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 100.

Hostility[edit]

  • Acts of hostility shall be intended matters of force.
    • Twisden, J., Errington v. Hirst (1665), Ray. (Sir Thos.) Rep. 125; reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 100.

Illegality[edit]

  • Illegality is not to be presumed; it is to be alleged and proved when it does not appear on the face of the instrument itself.
    • Tindal, CJ., Lord Howden v. Simpson (1839), 10 A. & E. 821; reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 103-104.

Infant[edit]

  • Minority is to give total impunity.
    • Sir Wm. Scott, Beauraine v. Beauraine (1808), 1 Hagg. Con. Bep. 499; reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 104.
  • If an infant commit an assault, or utter slander, God forbid that he should not be answerable for it in a Court of justice.
    • Lord Kenyon, C.J., Jennings v. Rundall (1799), 8 T.R. 337; reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 104.
  • Infants have no privilege to cheat men.
    • King, L.C., Evroy v. Nicholas (1733), 2 Eq. Ca. Ab. 489; reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 104.
  • In one sense all British Subjects who are infants are wards of Court, because they are subject to that sort of parental jurisdiction which is entrusted to the Court in this country, and which has been administered continually by the Courts of the Chancery Division.
    • Kay, L.J., Brown v. Collins (1884), L. R. 25 C. D. 60; reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 189.

Inns of Court[edit]

  • The Inns of Court are "voluntary societies, which for ages have submitted to government analogous to that of other seminaries of learning."
    • Lord Mansfield, The King v. Benchers of Gray's Inn, (1780), Doug. 354; reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 104.
  • The Templers have no Court of justice within themselves.
    • Holt, C.J., Brown v. Burlace (1697), 3 Salt. 45; reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 104.
  • I hope that the system which has prevailed satisfactorily may long continue; but if ever the Inns of Court should make arbitrary rides for the government of their members, and should enter into a contest for students, by abridging the period of study and relaxing the regulations for the exclusion of improper candidates, it will be necessary for the legislature to interpose, and to establish a uniform and efficient discipline by way of preparation for a profession of such importance to the community.
    • Lord Mansfield, The King v. Benchers of Gray's Inn (1780), Doug. 353; reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 104.

Judicial proceedings[edit]

The Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904)[edit]

Quotes reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, The Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 131-137.
  • It is upon the ground that Courts of justice are open to the public, that what passes there is public at the time, and that it is important that all persons should be able to scrutinise what is there done, that the publication of everything which there passes has been thought to be lawful.
    • Littledale, J., Stockdale v. Hansard (1840), 3 St. Tr. 923.
  • It is of great consequence that the public should know what takes place in Court; and the proceedings are under the control of the Judges. The inconvenience, therefore, arising from the chance of injury to private character is infinitesimally small as compared to the convenience of publicity.
    • Lord Campbell, Davison v. Duncan (1857), 7 E. & B. 231; 26 L.J.Q.B. 106.
  • The superior benefit of the publicity of judicial proceedings counterbalances the injury to individuals, though that at times may be great.
    • Wightman, J., Davison v. Duncan, supra.
  • Public policy requires that some hardship should be suffered by individuals rather than that judicial proceedings should be held in secret.
    • Lord Esher, M.R., Kimber v. The Press Association (1892), L.R. 1 Q.B. [1893], p. 69.
  • The general rule is an excellent one, that legal proceedings should be in public.
    • North, J., In re Martindale (1894), L. R. C. D. [1894], p. 200.
  • It is one of the essential qualities of a Court of justice, that its proceedings should be public, and that all parties who may be desirous of hearing what is going on, if there be room in the place for that purpose,—provided they do not interrupt the proceedings, and provided there is no specific reason why they should be removed,—have a right to be present for the purpose of hearing what is going on.
    • Bayley, J., Daubney v. Cooper (1829), 10 B. & C. 240.
  • Private interest must give place to a common good; the private prejudice that any man hath, is very well repaired by the public utility that comes to the kingdom.
    • Sir Ed. Littleton, Hampden's Case (1637), 3 How. St. Tr. 927.
  • Jam tun ret agttur paries cvm proximus ardet: The private must suffer for the public cause.
    • 22 Ed. IV. f. 2 b.; 26 Ed. I. f. 45.
  • It is of vast importance to the public that the proceedings of Courts of justice should be universally known. The general advantage to the country in having these proceedings made public more than counterbalances the inconveniences to the private persons whose conduct may be the subject of such proceedings. The same reasons also apply to the proceedings in Parliament: it is of advantage to the public, and even to the legislative bodies, that true accounts of their proceedings should be generally circulated.
    • Lawrence, J., The King v. Wright (1799), 8 T. R. 298.
  • The privilege which attaches to the publication of the proceedings of the Courts of justice rests on the foundation that the law of this land is administered publicly and openly, and its administration is at once subjected to, and protected by, the full and searching light of public opinion and public criticism. The openness and publicity of our Courts forms one of the excellences of our practice of the law, and admits of exception only in rare cases of such a character that public morality requires that the proceedings should be in camerd wholly or in part. This openness and publicity was at one time peculiar to the law of England. Barrington, in his observations on the statutes, and speaking of our open Courts, says : "I do not recollect to have met in any of the European laws with an injunction that all causes should be heard 'ostiis apertis,' except in those of the republic of Lucca. In Scotland, by a statute of William and Mary, all causes must be tried with open doors, rape and the like being excepted." And Mr. Emlyn, in his preface to his edition of State Trials, says : " In other countries the Courts of justice are held in secret; with us publickly and in open view; there the witnesses are examined in private, and in the prisoner's absence; with us face to face, and in the prisoner's presence."
    • Lord FitzGerald, Macdougall v. Knight (1889), L. R. 14 Ap. Ca. 206.
  • As to proceedings in Courts of justice, it is for the interest of all the public to hear what takes place in Court.
    • Lord Esher, M.R., Pittard v. Oliver (1891), L. J. 60 Q. B. D. 221.
  • The proceedings in our Courts are founded upon the law of England, and that law is again founded upon the law of nature and the revealed law of God.
    • Best, J., Forbes v. Cochrane and another (1824), 2 St. Tr. (N. S.) 167.
  • It is the excellence of our law that its Judges are illuminated and fortified by the concurrent justice and support of all other arts and sciences, and its honour that these great Courts where it is administered are public, and interfere not with immodesty or indecent subjects, as divorces and other evils of matrimony, which are more easily allayed by private conference, than healed by public discussion.
    • Per Cur., Manby v. Scott (1672), 1 Levinz, 4; 2 Sm. L. C. (8th ed.) 460.
  • Nothing can be of greater importance to the welfare of the public than to put a stop to the animadversions and censures which are so frequently made on Courts of justice in this country. They can be of no service, and may be attended with the most mischievous consequences. Cases may happen in which the Judge and the jury maybe mistaken: when they are, the law has afforded a remedy; and the party injured is entitled to pursue every method which the law allows to correct the mistake. But when a person has recourse either by a writing like the present, by publications in print, or by any other means, to calumniate the proceedings of a Court of justice, the obvious tendency of it is to weaken the administration of justice, and in consequence to sap the very foundation of the Constitution itself.
    • Buller, J., King v. Watson and others (1788), 1 T. R. 205.
  • Public notoriety is nothing here; we can only be informed of the facts relevant to the matter before us.
    • Abbott, C.J., R. v. Edmonds and others (1821), 1 St. Tr. (N. S.) 925.
  • Words used in the course of legal or judicial proceedings, however hard they might bear on the party of whom they were used, were not such as would support an action for slander.
    • Lord Eldon, C.J., Johnson v. Evans (1800), 3 Esp. Rep. 33.
  • Fama, qua suspicionem inducit, oriri debet apud bonus et graves, non quidem malevolos etmaledicos, ted providas et fide digIms pertonas, non semel sed scepius, quia clamor minuit et defamatio manifestat: Report, which induces suspicion, ought to arise from good and grave men, who indeed from malevolent and malicious men, but from cautious and credible persons, not only once, but frequently; for clamour diminishes and defamation manifests.
    • 2 Inst. 52.

Law reports[edit]

  • Do you think that a reporter has a right to supply or suppress any part of a judgment?
    • Lord Brougham, Cadell v. Palmer (1833), 1 Cl. & F. 372; reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 158.
  • 'Tis pity that reporters sometimes catch at quaint expressions that may happen to be dropped at the Bar or Bench; and mistake their meaning.
    • Lord Mansfield, Miller v. Race (1758), 1 Burr. Part IV. 457; reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 158.
  • Imperfect reports of facts and circumstances, especially in cases where every circumstance weigh something in the scale of justice, are the bane of all science that dependeth upon the precedents and examples of former times.
    • Foster, J., "Crown Law Discourse" (ed. 1762), p. 292; reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 158.

Legal profession[edit]

  • The interests of justice cannot be upholden, the administration of justice cannot go on without the aid of men skilled in jurisprudence, in the practice of the Courts, and in those matters affecting rights and obligations which form the subject of all proceedings.
    • Brougham, L.C., Greenough v. Gaskell (1833), 1 Myl. & K. 98; reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 158.
  • There is nothing which has so great a tendency to secure the due administration of justice, as having the Courts of the country frequented by gentlemen so eminently qualified by their education and principles of honour, as at this time appear to discharge the duties which they are called upon to fulfil.
    • Best, J., Morris v. Hunt (1819), 1 Chit. Rep. 555; reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 158-159.
  • Professional advice in England is confined to legal advice.
    • Jessel, M.R., Slade v. Tucker (1880), L. R. 14 C. D. 827; reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 159.

Litigation[edit]

The Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904)[edit]

Quotes reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, The Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 163.
  • Englishmen may have been law-abiding, but they have not been unlitigious.
    • Brett, L.J., Martin v. Mackonochie (1879), 4 L. R. Q. B. 749.
  • Though every attempt to shorten litigation is entitled to the favour of the Court,1 yet before we stop a party in a regular course of proceeding, we ought to be certain that we shall not deprive him of that justice which the law authorizes him to seek.
    • Lord Eldon, C.J., Martin v. Kennedy (1800), 1 Bos. & Pull. 70.
  • The law is too tenacious of private peace, to suffer litigations to be negotiable.
    • Yates, J., Millar v. Taylor (1769), 4 Burr. Part IV., p. 2385.
  • Proceedings at law are sufficiently expensive.
  • Expedit reipublicie ut sit finis litium: It is for the public good that there be an end of litigation.
    • Co. Lift. 303.
  • Debet estefinit litium: There ought to be an end of law suits.
    • Jenk. Cent. 61.

Minorities[edit]

  • Experience tells us that sometimes, when minorities insist on their rights, they ultimately prevail.
    • Kekewich, J., Young v. South African, &c. Syndicate (1896), L. R. 2 C. D. [1896], p. 278; reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 166.
  • It is impossible that bodies of men should always be brought to think alike: there is often a degree of coercion, and the majority is governed by the minority, and vice versa", according to the strength of opinions, tempers, prejudices, and even interests.
    • Eyre, C.J., Grindley v. Barker (1798), 2 Bos. & Pull. 238; reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 166-167.