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1861.

The QUEEN

Inhabitants of

BRAMLEY.

there says:

union, officer." In Reg. v. The Inhabitants of Heaton (a) it was held that where the order of adjudication of the settlement of a pauper lunatic is obtained by the guardians of a union on behalf of a township, the proper persons to sign the statement of the grounds of adjudication and of the particulars of settlement required by 16 & 17 Vict. c. 97. s. 107. are the overseers of the township. Erle J.

“ The tenor of the decisions is to make those parties the domini litis whose money was at stake, and on whose behalf the order was obtained.” In Reg. v. The Inhabitants of Liverpool (6) it was held that the Quarter Sessions have no power, under sect. 113 of this Act, to amend an order by inserting "guardians of the poor” instead of “churchwardens and overseers of the poor." Reg. v. The Guardians of the Poor of Lambeth and Reg. v. The Inhabitants of St. Mary, Southampton (c), decided on the construction of a local Act, whereby several parishes were united for the relief of the poor, favour the decision of the Quarter Sessions in this case.

Welsby, contrà.—The true construction of the 16 & 17 Vict. c. 97. s. 97. is that the order to pay shall be made on the board of guardians of the union when the parish is in a union; on the board of guardians of the parish when, under The Poor Law Amendment Act, 4 & 5 W. 4. c. 76. s. 39., there is such a board in a parish not united to others in a union; and in all other cases on the overseers of the parish : and that section should be punctuated accordingly. The present case comes under the last of these heads; for there is no board of guardians for each parish in this union, but each parish elects

(a) 28 L. J. M. C. 181.

(b) 29 L. J. M. C. 137. (c) 5 Q. B. 513.

1861.

The QUEEN

Inhabitants of

BRAMLEY,

one guardian for the union, who, together, form the board of guardians for the union.

It is contended by the other side that this enactment does not apply to unions under the Gilbert Act; but the interpretation clause says that it shall apply to them. It is not correct to say that money in the hands of the treasurer of a Gilbert Union cannot be got at by the guardians: for the 12th section provides for that, and by the subsequent statute, 41 G. 3. c. 9. s. 3., it may be recovered before two justices of the peace. Gilbert's Act has also been modified by other subsequent statutes. The Poor Law Amendment Act, 4 & 5 W. 4. c. 76. s. 54., enacts that “the ordering, giving, and directing of all relief to the poor of any parish which, according to the provisions of any of the said recited Acts” (among which was Gilberts Act) &c., "shall be under the government and control of any guardians of the poor, or of any select vestry, and whether forming part of any union or incorporation or not, (but subject in all cases to, and saving and excepting the powers of, the said Commissioners appointed under this Act,) shall appertain and belong exclusively to such guardians of the poor or select vestry, according to the respective provisions of the Acts under which such guardians or select vestry may have been or shall be, appointed ; &c.” [He was then stopped, and J. B. Maule, who was with him, was not heard.]

COCKBURN C. J. I am satisfied that the expression “Union," in the 16 & 17 Vict. c. 97. s. 97., applies to the case of Gilbert Unions ; for, although the section does not do so in terms, the interpretation clause, sect. 132,

V.

1861. says that it shall apply to them. We do not see how The Queen any practical injustice or wrong can be done by this Inhabitants of

construction being put upon the Act, for it is plain BRAMLEY.

that if this pauper were now in his own parish, instead of that which obtained this order, he would be removed to the union workhouse, and, under the provisions of Gilbert's Act and the 41 G. 3. c. 9. s. 3., be maintained by the common fund of the union, to which his own parish would have to contribute.

BLACKBURN J. (the only other Judge present.) I am of the same opinion. It is not necessary to consider the question which has been argued as to the internal management of the Gilbert Unions, for, even supposing Mr. West and Mr. Lascelles right on that matter, the case comes literally within the words of the sections before us. If, indeed we saw that the effect of our so hold. ing would be to give validity to an order for payment of money on a party who had no means of getting at it, the case might be different; but as it is clear that, after the money is paid out of the funds of the union, the charge will, in the end come on the parish to which the pauper belongs, there is no reason for saying that the Legislature did not mean what they have said.

Order of Sessions quashed.

1861.

JACKSON and Wife and others against THOMASON. Thursday,

November 14th.

A statement to contradict the evidence of a witness under The Common Law Procedure Act, 1854 (17 & 18 Vict. c. 125.), sect. 22, may be con

Contradicting

witness. tained in a series of documents, not one of which, taken by itself, would amount to a contradiction of his evidence.

Common Law Quære, per Cockburn, C. J., whether, independent of that statute, if a 1854 (17 & 18

Procedure Act, party, in order to prove a will, calls an attesting witness,.who gives evi

Vict. c. 125.), dence invalidating the will, it is not competent to the party calling him

sect. 22. to give evidence to discredit him, as, for instance, by shewing that he has been corrupted by the heir at law?

THIS was an action of ejectment, in which the plain

tiffs claimed to recover certain premises as heirs at law of J. H., and the defendant defended as tenant to the widow of J. H., who claimed as sole devisee under his will.

On the trial, before Keating J., at the Liverpool Spring Assizes, 1861, the plaintiffs having proved their title as heirs at law, the defendant proceeded to prove the will, and for this purpose called one of the attesting witnesses, whose testimony shewed that the will had not been executed in the manner required by law. In order to contradict this, the defendant offered in evidence several letters of the witness to the widow, admitted by himself to be genuine, in which he had, as was alleged, given an account inconsistent with his testimony. This evidence was objected to, but was received by the Judge, and, the plaintiffs having given evidence in reply, the case was left to the jury, who found for the defendant. Monk, in Easter Term, obtained a rule for a new trial,

3D

B. & s.

VOL. I.

on the ground that the evidence had been improperly received.

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Edward James and R. G. Williams appeared to shew cause; but the Court called on

Monk and Milward to support the rule.- Previous to The Common Law Procedure Act, 1854 (17 & 18 Vict. c. 125.), s. 22., a party was not allowed to discredit his own witness, as was sought to be done on this occasion. That section enacts: “A party producing a witness shall not be allowed to impeach his credit by general evidence of bad character, but he may, in case the witness shall in the opinion of the Judge prove adverse, contradict him by other evidence, or, by leave of the Judge, prove that he has made at other times a statement inconsistent with his present testimony; but, before such last mentioned proof can be given, the circumstances of the supposed statement, sufficient to designate the particular occasion, must be mentioned to the witness, and he must be asked whether or not he has made such statement." Not one of the letters produced here, taken by itself, amounts to a contradiction of the testimony given by the witness. (In order to shew this, they proceeded to read and comment on the letters.)

COCKBURN C.J. Taken together, these letters amount to a contradiction of the testimony of the witness. It would frustrate a very valuable provision of this statute if we were to hold that, when a series of letters gives the required result, they may not be all taken together for that purpose because, singly, they would be insuffi

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