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COUNTY COURT. [ COUNTY COURT.

courts, each of whom must be a barrister of seven years' standing, or a barrister, attorney, or other person who has pre sided as judge in a local court ; and they are removable for inability, or their dis trict may be changed.

By a reference to section 58, it will be seen what causes of action are within the jurisdiction of the County Courts. These are all pleas of personal actions, where the debt or damage claimed is not above 201., whether on balance of ac count or otherwise ; and with the view of confining suits for small debts to the new tribunals, the 128th section enacts, that " no costs shall be awarded to a plaintiff in a superior court, excepting where the plaintiff or defendant live twenty miles apart, if the verdict be for plaintiff for less than 201. on contract, or W. on tort, unless the judge will certify that it was a proper action to be tried in a superior court." A creditor whose debtor owes him above twenty pounds is at liberty to re linquish the difference beyond twenty pounds, and commence a suit for that sum ; but if he obtain a judgment it will be a release to the defendant of all the excess that he owed to the plaintiff be yond twenty pounds ; and even should the defendant not comply with the order of the court by paying the twenty pounds and costa, the plaintiff cannot afterwards sue him in a superior court for the ori ginal larger debt, for he will have made his election to proceed in the County Court, and must abide by its decision. By the splitting of demands, the juris diction of the act has been sought to be extended to collective debts which in the whole exceed 201. ; but none of the de cisions in the County Courts yet go the length of empowering a plaintiff in an arbitrary way to divide a cause of action. For example, if a plaintiff had a running account which amounted to 1001., he could not bring an action in the County Court for every item, or more than 201., and the judgment of the court would be a bar to his recovering the remaining 801. ; but if it was stipulated between the plaintiff and defendant, prior to the commencement of the credit, that all goods delivered within tue three, or six months should be paid for at the expi ration of these respective periods, the plaintiff may enter a plaint for each cause of action, if the defendant failed to pay at the time when the credit ex pired ; but the plaintiff could only bring one action against the defendant if the credit was given unconditionally : pro hibiting splitting demands, in such a case, appears to be what was contem plated by the act. (Jagoe'a Practice of

the County Courts, p. 193.) If an account is settled by two parties, consisting of several items, each of which separately would be a sufficient cause of action, it has the effect of consolidating them into one, which, if over 201., can not be sued for in a County Court with out abandoning the excess. If there are two or more causes of action, that toge ther do not amount to 201., an action may be brought for each, the judge having no power to compel a plaintiff to consolidate causes of action ; and the act gives a right to enter a plaint for each.

The judge has no power to imprison merely for failure of payment, either of the whole debt or any instalment. Im prisonment does not satisfy or extinguish the debt, and is meant only for the punishment of a positive offence by the fraudulent concealment of property, a contempt of court, or other wilful de fault.

This important act has doubtless effected a great improvement in one branch of the debtor laws. It comprises 143 clauses, and is too long for abridg ment; but we shall endeavour to present a condensed analysis of the sections not already referred to.

The judges are not interdicted from acting as justices, if in the commission of the peace. Their salary is not to exceed 12001., nor that of a clerk 60W. A barrister or attorney who has presided as a judge in a local court is eligible to a judgeship; but any attorney appointed a judge, who is in partnership, must dissolve such partnership within twelve calendar months. Officers of the court are not allowed to act as attorney or agent in the same court.

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