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Admissions

trial, confession, admission, voluntary and authority

ADMISSIONS may be considered in two classes :—(i.) those occurring during the course of, and before the trial of an action ; (ii.) thcA arising at a trial. As to the first class. For the purposes of the general reader it will be sufficient to very briefly advert to them. An admission may arise (a) upon the face of a pleading, when the other party is entitled to obtain the advantage thereof by way of judgment or otherwise; (b) in the Commercial Court by the judge directing the parties to mutually admit all facts in the action except those the subject of the action ; (e) by a party specifically admitting the other party's claim and paying money into Court in respect thereof; (d) as a result of compliance with a notice to admit, whether of facts or documents in dispute. It will, however, be more profitable to consider the question of admissions as it may arise in the course of a trial. In civil actions, the result of admissions between the parties is generally to do away with the necessity for strict evidence as to the facts admitted. Thus a letter from one party to another making an admission, and not expressed to be written "without prejudice," saves proof of the facts in the subject thereof. But if the first letter of a series is expressed to be written " without prejudice," the remaining letters need not be so ear-marked. Again, admissions may be made in the course of conversation, and acts ; also by conduct, manner, demeanour, and acquiescence. And at the trial counsel may bind their clients by admissions; so strongly that a client can only be relieved therefrom by satisfying the Court that the admissions were made by "legal" mistake. An infant cannot make admissions ; nor, as a

rule, can his guardian or next friend do so on his behalf.

A confession is, in criminal cases, an admission made at any time by a person charged with a crime, stating or suggesting that he committed that crime. But such an admission must be voluntary, and not caused by induce ment, threat, or promise. It is not involuntary if simply caused by religious exhortation or by the inducements of a person not in authority. Authority, here, means official authority ; a master, for example, not having for this purpose au authority over his servant, or a policeman over his prisoner. Where an accomplice to a murder confessed as a consequence of a reward and pardon promised by a Secretary of State, it was held that such confession was not voluntary. On the other hand, a man was accused of murder. A magistrate tried to obtain a confession by a promise to try and obtain a pardon for him, though at the same time the magistrate, having been instructed that no pardon, would be granted, communicated this fact to the man. But the latter, notwithstanding this, made a confession, and it was held to be voluntary. So also was the confession of an accused servant girl, which was made in consequence of the inducements of her mistress. Only voluntary confessions can in criminal cases be proved at the trial in the place of the facts of the offence themselves. In prosecutions for crime, the strictest proof is required, the rules in respect to admissions in civil actions not generally applying thereto.