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THE QUARTER SESSIONS,
SESSIONS OF THE PEACE,
ADAPTED TO THE USE OF
COMMENCEMENT OF THEIR PRACTICE.
THE SECOND EDITION,
Corrected, and much enlarged by the Addition of New Matter, and
by numerous Precedents of Indictments, Convictions, &c. &c.
WILLIAM DICKINSON, Esq.
BARRISTER AT LAW,
AND ONE OF HIS MAJESTY'S JUSTICES OF THE PEACE,
JUSTICE OF THE PEACE,” AND OTHER WORKS.
PRINTED FOR J. AND W. T. CLARKE, PORTUGAL-STREET; BALDWIN,
CRADOCK, AND JOY, PATERNOSTER-ROW; R. PHENEY, INNER-
P R E FACE
THE former edition of this work, as was observed in its preface, was not gratuitously obtruded on the Publick by its Author; having been originally compiled for personal service only, and published at the instigation of some of his Fellow Labourers in Commissions of the Peace, at a distance from the metropolis; who concurred in complaining that they were too dependent on their respective Clerks of the Peace for information sufficient to execute, with tolerable facility, the ordinary duties of Justices in Session. To comply with this their requisition, and to relieve other persons similarly circumstanced from an undignified embarrassment, was the principal, if not the only, object he had in contemplation. For the due execution of this limited purpose, he then restricted his observations to little more than elementary instruction; and if the rapid sale of a considerable edition, in a very short period of time, be any criterion, whereby to judge of the utility of such a work, he has every reason for being well satisfied, so far, at least, as respects the design.
He cannot, however, conceal from himself, nor does he wish to conceal from the Publick, that several persons of professional distinction, (doubtless from having formed expectations of finding in his work much more than he in
tended, or his advertisement indicated) have been disappointed in his execution of that design.
In conformity with their admonitions, it is, that he now trespasses on the public attention with another edition ; in which he has endeavoured, in a certain degree, to fulfil their expectations, by the admission of much additional matter, so arranged, as, without superseding his original purpose, to compose a sort of compendiuni of Sessions' Law, as well as of Practice; which he trusts may present something useful to every description of persons, whose pursuits, or duties, may invite them to attend upon Courts of Sessions of the Peace.
He feels it, however, again necessary to give a caution against any misapprehension of the purpose of his book, even in its enlarged form; by observing, that it by no means aspires to the distinction of superseding more voluminous works on the same, or similar, subjects: that he scarcely presumes to expect for it a place on the shelf of a Lawyer's library; its legitimate office, and true design, being merely that of a compendious digest, a sort of manual, or vade mecum ; principally adapted to momentary reference, during the immediate pressure of forensic discussions in the business of a Session; or, at most, for usual consultation by Country Practitioners at a distance from the great source of voluminous information, the Metropolis.
In the prosecution of this design, it has been suggested to him, by several gentlemen of the first consideration in Sessions' Practice, that a good selection of approved precedents, respectively applicable to the diversified occasions of Courts of Session, would be eminently serviceable. Of this suggestion he has availed himself, by the introduction of forms adapted to most of the ordinary occurrences in country practice.
Perhaps he may not be considered guilty of presumption in supposing, that he has even improved upon the intimation thus conveyed to him, by having, to many approved precedents, subjoined notes, explanatory, or illustrative, as the subject, and occasion, called for them respectively ; beside which, with a view of more clearly distinguishing any common errors and defects in drawing up those continual subjects of controversy, summary convictions, he has introduced some faulty precedents of those particular instruments, which have been from time to time quashed; pointing out, at the same view, in what respects they were defective, and by what alterations, or additions, the errors might have been avoided.
A few words on another subject, viz. the arrangement of the matter, may be allowed, in conclusion. Since the statute 59 Geo. 3. c. 28. giving authority to Courts of Quarter Session to divide themselves into two courts, it has been usual to separate that part of the business which requires the intervention of a jury, from that which is entrusted to a differently constituted tribunal. In conformity with this distinction of the business of the Court, has been that of the arrangements of the matter in these pages. Four chapters contain all which relates to the former of these divisions; the fifth and sixth, to that which appertains to the latter. If convenience should, therefore, suggest a separation of the work into two small volumes, in preference to one of large size, such separation may easily be made at page 486, the conclusion of the fourth chapter.
Jan. 1, 1820.