Sidebilder
PDF
ePub
[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

REPORT

OF THE

COMMITTEE ON UNIFORM JUDICIAL PROCEDURE.

To the American Bar Association:

The Committee on Uniform Judicial Procedure respectfully reports:

At the 1912 meeting of the Association a resolution was unanimously adopted in the following words:

"WHEREAS, Section 914 of the Revised Statutes has utterly failed to bring about a general uniformity in federal and state proceedings in civil cases; and

"WHEREAS, It is believed that the advantages of state remedies can be better obtained by a permanent uniform system, with the necessary rules of practice prepared by the United States Supreme Court;

66

Now, therefore, be it and it is hereby resolved:

"First: That a complete uniform system of law pleading should prevail in the federal and state courts;

"Second: That a system for use in the federal courts, and as a model with all necessary rules of practice or provisions therefor, should be prepared and put into effect by the Supreme Court of the United States;

"Third: That to this end, Sec. 914 and all other conflicting provisions of the Revised Statutes should be repealed and appropriate statutes enacted;

"Fourth: That for the purpose of presenting these resolutions to Congress and otherwise advocating the same in every legitimate manner, there shall be appointed a committee of five members to be selected by the President to be known as 'The Committee on Uniform Judicial Procedure.""

The Committee on "Judicial Administration and Remedial Procedure" to which the resolution was referred at the Boston meeting in 1911, in favorably reporting it, made a comment and a prediction the repetition of which will serve the end of giving brief expression to the two objects sought and the reason for the creation of the committee:

"The subject matter of the resolution is one of great impor tance. It is true that Section 914 of the Revised Statutes has failed to bring about any uniformity in proceedings in civil cases. It is true that uniformity in this respect is most desirable; and the inference drawn from the resolutions seems to your committee justifiable, namely: That if a complete uniform system of law pleading and procedure should prevail in the federal courts a system carefully modeled by the Supreme Court of the United States-it would in time induce the several states to adapt their own systems of pleading to such model."

Immediately upon the designation of the personnel by President Kellogg, an organization was perfected, a statute prepared with the advice and assistance of Judge Henry D. Clayton, Chairman of the Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives and by him introduced in the 62d Congress on December 2d, 1912, as House Bill No. 26,462 in the following words:

"A BILL

"TO AUTHORIZE THE SUPREME COURT TO PRESCRIBE FORMS AND RULES AND GENERALLY TO REGULATE PLEADING, PROCEDURE AND PRACTICE ON THE COMMON LAW SIDE OF THE FEDERAL COURTS.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the Supreme Court shall have the power to prescribe, from time to time and in any manner, the forms and manner of service of writs and all other process; the mode and manner of framing and filing proceedings and pleadings; of giving notice and serving process of all kinds; of taking and obtaining evidence; drawing up, entering, and enrolling orders; and generally to regulate and prescribe by rule the forms for the entire pleading, practice, and procedure to be used in all actions, motions, and proceedings at law of whatever nature by the district courts of the United States."

There may be some minor changes made but there is justification for the prediction that the "Clayton Bill," when it becomes a law, will unquestionably vest in the Supreme Court of the United States the necessary power, with the corresponding duty, to prepare and put into effect on the common law side of the

inferior federal courts a complete, simple, expeditious, correlated system of rules without further legislation in any respect. It will also have the right to promptly perfect the rules at the demand of justice or the call of convenience. The right to make improvements is of equal importance to the power to make the rules.

The bill and the entire program have been favorably endorsed and supported by Ex-President Taft, Vice-President Marshall, Attorney-General McReynolds, over forty Governors of states, the Conference of Commissioners of Uniform State Laws, the National Civic Federation, the members of the Executive Committee of the Association of Law Schools, the Bar Associations of the States of New York, Massachusetts, Alabama, Oregon, Maryland, Mississippi, South Dakota and many others, as well as by many county and city organizations; and by such teachers as Dr. Henry Wade Rogers, Dean Roscoe Pound, Dean Wm. M. Lile and Dean Wm. R. Vance. The National Association of Credit Men, one of the largest commercial organizations in the United States, endorsed the program and authorized the appointment of committees in each state to aid in the campaign. Committees appointed by the Governors of the states and Presidents of State Bar Associations, at the request of your committee, have been active in setting forth the merits of the bill and in pressing upon Congress and the Chief Executive the urgent necessity of prompt action. These committees make up a convenient and mobile organization. It is intended that they shall continue after Congress and the Supreme Court have acted, for the useful purpose of bringing about the adoption of the new federal system in their respective states.

A further manifestation is the passage by the legislature of the State of New York of an Act authorizing the Board of Statutory Consolidation of that state to prepare an Act to simplify the procedure of that state in accordance with a plan prepared by the Board in 1912. Code procedure will be abandoned and a system of court rules adopted.

The enactment of the bill by the 62d Congress was frustrated by an impeachment proceeding that took up the greater portion

[ocr errors]
« ForrigeFortsett »