Special Issue – 135 Years of The Law Reports and The Weekly Law Reports
The Incorporated Council’s 135 Years of Law Reporting for England and Wales
by Paul Magrath
This collection of 10 landmark cases has been published to mark the relaunch this year of The Law Reports and The Weekly Law Reports in a new format for the 21st century, and to celebrate the achievements of the Incorporated Council for Law Reporting for England and Wales since its inception, nearly 136 years ago, in the 19th. They were chosen from a long list of nearly 50 cases nominated by the Council’s own reporters. Naturally, it was impossible to include in a single issue more than a limited selection of the most popular ones, let alone to do justice to the range of subject matter and courts covered by the Council’s publications in the course of its history. But we hoped to reflect in the final choice some idea both of the continuing relevance of certain older cases and of the consistency of our approach over the last 135 years.
The publication of this special issue also offers an opportunity to stand back a little and reflect on the reasons why the Council was set up in the first place, to see how conditions in which it operates have changed, and to consider whether and to what extent it still fulfills its original purposes.
Law reporting has a venerable but occasionally chequered history. No one now would seriously dispute the need for accurate and reliable reports of legal proceedings, published promptly and at a price affordable to both students and professionals. Yet the fulfilment of such aims was, until 1865, achieved in a somewhat piecemeal, even haphazard, fashion.
Regular reporting began with the Year Books, transcribed from the Plea Rolls begun in 1189. The Year Books contained notes of cases written up in Anglo-Norman by apprentices to the law. Early commentators on the law produced authority for their propositions which was often decidedly hearsay or anecdotal. But by the 16th century individual reporters were publishing volumes or series of case reports under their own names. Often there were two of them, sounding a bit like comedy duos: Adolphus & Ellis, Meeson & Welsby, Flanagan & Kelly. There was a series called Dickens’ Reports, but they have nothing to do with the novelist, although he did do news reporting from the courts and of course from Parliament, where he was renowned for the speed of his shorthand. Dickens the law reporter published two volumes covering from 1559 to 1792: it’s unlikely he was in court for all of these cases.
These various freelance productions are now collectively known as the Nominate Reports, and were reprinted in the English Reports. Many are still cited and referred to today but the problem was that they varied enormously in coverage, accuracy and reliability. Occasionally cases reported in more than one series even appear with different holdings.
Certain reporters were the subject of astringent comments from the Bench. It was said of Espinasse, whose six volumes cover from 1793 to 1807, that he was deaf and that he “heard one half of a case and reported the other.” Lord Denman C.J. was later
“tempted to remark for the benefit of the profession that Espinasse’s Reports, in days nearer their own time, when their want of accuracy was better known than it is now, were never quoted without doubt and hesitation …”
In the Modern Reports, covering 1669 to 1732, Pollock C.B. declared, “You will find authority … for many propositions that are not law.” One report in volume 8 was described by Lord Kenyon C.J. as
“totally mistaken there, as indeed are nine cases out of ten in that book.” Lord Mansfield absolutely forbade the citing of Barnardiston’s Reports in Chancery (1726–35),
“for it would only be misleading students, to put them upon reading it. He said, it was marvellous however, to such as knew the serjeant in his manner of taking notes, that he should so often stumble upon what was right: but yet, that there was not one case in his book, which was so throughout.”
Of the same reporter’s King’s Bench Reports (1726–35), Lord Lyndhurst once exclaimed:
“I fear that is a book of no great authority; I recollect, in my younger days, it was said of Barnardiston, that he was accustomed to slumber over his notebook, and the wags in the rear took the opportunity of scribbling nonsense in it.”
It was, therefore, as much to ensure standards of accuracy, as uniformity of appearance and breadth of coverage, that the Council ultimately replaced all these freelance series with its own, judicially approved, reports.
Establishment of the Council
In 1849 a report of the Law Amendment Society complained that although the decisions of the courts and tribunals were “the formal constituents of the common law”, they were in no respect officially promulgated. The report observed that: “It has long been considered a practicable scheme for any barrister and bookseller who unite together with a view to notoriety or profit, to add to the existing list of law reports.” The result was that “even if all the reports which are published were correct and given by competent persons, they are now so numerous that they cannot be known to one tithe of the practitioners of the law. They are beyond the reach not only of the public, but of the great body of the profession.”
By 1863 it was apparent that there was widespread dissatisfaction with the system. W. T. S. Daniel Q.C., in a letter to the Solicitor-General, Sir Roundell Palmer, said that there were no fewer than 16 series of authorised reports. He complained of their “enormous expense, prolixity, delay and irregularity in publication”, and of their “imperfection as a record, for want of continuity”. The publication of five further series of reports did little to alleviate the problem. The letter was accompanied by a Paper on Legal Reports written by Nathaniel Lindley Q.C. (who went on to become Master of the Rolls and a Law Lord) in which he set out what in his view were the objects of a law report and the criteria for selection of cases.
Lindley was as insistent on what should not be included – “cases which pass without discussion or consideration, and which are valueless as precedents” or “which are substantially repetitions of what is reported already” – as he was on what should. In the latter class he put:
“1. All cases which introduce, or appear to introduce, a new principle or a new rule.
“2. All cases which materially modify an existing principle or rule.
“3. All cases which settle, or materially tend to settle, a question upon which the law is doubtful.
“4. All cases which for any reason are peculiarly instructive.”
The result of all this lobbying was the adoption, at a general meeting of the Bar held at Lincoln’s Inn on 28 November 1864, of a scheme to publish the decisions of the superior courts of law and equity under the management of a Council composed of members of the Inns of Court and of the Incorporated Law Society. Not everyone supported the scheme. According to the Council’s first annual report, the sheer novelty of the idea of publishing law reports “solely in the interest of the profession and the public” was “with some, an objection which impeded all consideration of its merits; others disbelieved that such a work could be undertaken without a latent expectation of private gain,” and so forth. Among the nay-sayers was Gray’s Inn, which “for reasons of prudence and delicacy, at first declined co-operation.” However, they soon saw the light and “signified their adhesion to the scheme” by appointing, like the other Inns, representatives to the Council.
The Council of Law Reporting was duly constituted in 1865, with Sir Fitzroy Kelly Q.C. as chairman (succeeded the following year by Sir Roundell Palmer, now Attorney-General) and W.T.S. Daniel Q.C. as Vice-Chairman. In 1867 the Council was incorporated as a company limited by guarantee. All the reporters engaged in the existing series of authorised reports were offered appointments under the new scheme. Only three refused.
The Council’s first law reports were published in November 1865. They were divided into 11 different series covering the then myriad divisions of the courts. A decade later these were reduced to six series, following the consolidation and reorganisation of the courts of law and equity effected by the Judicature Acts 1873–75. In 1891 the Council introduced the simplified arrangement of dated annual volumes in four series which still exists today, comprising Appeal Cases (covering the House of Lords and Privy Council) and separate volumes for the Chancery, Queen’s Bench and Family (formerly the Probate, Divorce and Admiralty-also known as “Will, Wives and Wrecks”) Divisions of the Supreme Court.
In 1866 the Council also began publishing the Weekly Notes, covering additional cases of interest which did not merit a full law report. As well as case summaries, it contained legal lists and notices, exam results, and advertisements (e.g. for Dickens’s novels). It was superseded in 1953 by the Weekly Law Reports, which aimed to make full-length reports available more quickly than the Law Reports and to cover additional cases.
The present day
The criteria for reporting, as explained in Lindley’s paper, have essentially remained the same ever since. Though they might be more succinctly put, they have if anything an added relevance in the present day, when the Internet and electronic media have made possible a huge increase in the speed and variety of law reporting. Once again, the student and practitioner are beset by a bewildering array of competing publications. It was precisely to avoid the chaos created by myriad rival reports of variable quality, and to ensure that only those cases which introduced, modified or clarified the law should be reported, that the Council was set up.
At a conference on Law Reporting, Legal Information and Electronic Media in the New Millennium hosted by the law faculty at Cambridge University in March 2000, Lord Bingham of Cornhill, Lord Chief Justice “broadly welcomed” the increase in available information. If justice was to be administered in public, he said, its end product should be in the public domain. It was a denial of justice if knowledge was confined to an inner circle of high priests who alone had access to its mysteries. But there was a danger of swamping the courts if counsel did not exercise restraint.
Echoing those sentiments Lord Justice Buxton, a member of the Council (which sponsored the conference), pointed out that few Court of Appeal decisions merited reporting since most turned on existing principles and merely illustrated their application. But for the few judgments which were genuinely reportable, the “added value” of edited, annotated reports, especially those including notes of argument (often very illuminating in identifying the issues), must not be overlooked.
The almost universal view among judges in England is that too much, rather than too little, is reported. The Council sets out, as it always has done, to publish only those cases that really matter. This means in practice that out of around 5,000 decisions capable of being binding precedents per year (the figure has been put as high as 8,000) the Council selects some 350 cases per year for the Weekly Law Reports. Of these, about 150 will subsequently be published in one of the four divisions of The Law Reports.
The only specialised series the Council publishes is the Industrial Cases Reports, which cover employment law and restrictive practices. But the Council’s reporters contribute full-length reports to other series, including the Local Government Reports and Road Traffic Reports, and also to The Times newspaper (which has published law reports since its inception, as the Universal Daily Register, in 1785) and in such periodicals as the Solicitors’ Journal and Law Society Gazette. Although its reporters are not involved in the process, the Council also publishes an edition of the Statutes which is regarded as definitive.
A problem frequently cited by practitioners is that of delay. One of Lindley’s desiderata was that law reports “should be published as speedily as is consistent with a conscientious discharge of the reporter’s duties.” He might have added that since it is necessary to work from (and therefore to wait for) an authorised transcript of the judgment, and since the process of reporting involves a good deal of editorial work by several hands, including the checking of all facts, quotations and references, and the reading of proofs by several eyes (including the judge's), and the whole process must be fitted into a weekly or monthly schedule of printing and distribution with its inevitable backlogs and bottlenecks, some delays are inevitable. The instant availability of “raw law” in the form of uncorrected judgment handouts, Internet databases and overnight reports such as the Council’s own Daily Law Notes (at www.lawreports.co.uk) only serves to heighten the time-lag before the “added value” of an edited, annotated law report appears. Thankfully, the Council has been able to exploit some of the benefits of new technology and electronic media to achieve a substantial decrease in reporting times over the last year; and, moreover, to provide (by licensed intermediary) a database of past reports with all the advantages of electronic search and instant access.
The Council thus finds itself at the start of a new millennium equipped with the tools of the future while providing, still, the high quality product of the past; and as innovative in its current operation as it was in its original establishment, 135 years ago. Lord Lindley M.R., in whatever Higher Court he now finds himself, must surely be looking on with quiet satisfaction. We hope he would also enjoy the present volume as a fitting way of celebrating the Council’s achievements.
The earliest of the cases chosen for this special issue is also perhaps the one most likely to appeal to a lay person as being an interesting legal dilemma. Not surprisingly, it was a cause célèbre in its day and has subsequently proved a suitable case for both book and film treatment. Some shipwrecked sailors, starving, decide to draw lots to determine which of them should be sacrificed to save the rest. In the end, even the semblance of democracy is forgotten as they fall upon the weakest of their number, a cabin boy, whom they kill and devour in the hope (justified in fact) of keeping themselves alive for just long enough to be saved. On a charge of murder, could they plead a defence of necessity? The law said, resoundingly, no. An interesting exercise might be to compare and contrast this situation with, say, the destruction of one of conjoined twins in order to save the life of the other (or, by the same token, of human life in foetal or even embryonic form in the hope of ameliorating the existence of adults suffering from or at risk of non-fatal afflictions) which may be thought to fall into the same category, though that is not the law as it stands: see In re A. (Children) (Conjoined Twins: Surgical Separation) Fam 147 and C. v. S. Q.B. 135.
On a lighter note, the case offers an example of the kind of anecdotal, hearsay (or seewrite) evidence which in days of yore passed for authoritative precedent: see the reference in the Attorney-General’s argument to “the case cited by Puffendorf” which turned out to be mentioned in a work by Tulpius, a 17th century Dutch writer, entitled Observationum Medicarum and “not a judicial decision”. Great chunks of untranslated Latin are also a thing of the past, though their appeal will linger for those recusants among us for whom meaning is secondary to hallowed mystery. (If for them “mental element” refers to the unruly part of a football crowd, no doubt for others “mens rea” sounds more like builders’ cleavage.) Prima facie, those Latin phrases which are regularly used among lawyers may be considered part of the English language; ipso facto, they need not be outlawed by the new, user-friendly regime introduced by the Civil Procedure Rules 1998.
Next in time, we have a case the facts of which are reminiscent of snake oil salesmanship in its wild western prime. These days the Carbolic Smoke Ball Company would be being sued (in a billion-dollar class action) for failing to include a health warning on the packet; but in those days the issue was one of the manufacturer not coughing up enough rather than the consumer doing so too much. If Hawkins J. at first instance knew that what he was really dealing with was a case about the formation of a contract, the law reporter in drafting the catchwords seems to have thought it was principally about gaming and whether the advertisement was some kind of bet: see  2 Q.B. 484. Although Hawkins J. did deal with the gaming and insurance issues raised by counsel, his decision, as affirmed by the Court of Appeal, rests on a question of contract, as the catchwords to the latter report (reproduced here) make clear. Indeed, the judgment of Lindley L.J. (the very same) more or less dismisses the gaming and insurance aspects of the case as hopeless (counsel no doubt making the best of the bad hand dealt to him) before rather drily scorning the idea that the advertisement for the eponymous fumigaceous remedy might have been a mere “puff”.
The case about the contaminated ginger beer has lodged itself in the mind of every generation of law students like a snail in the depths of an unguarded bottle. To the modern reader, accustomed to the notion of consumer rights and the blame-and-shame culture, the idea that a negligent manufacturer might not be liable to an injured end-user seems almost outlandish; yet two of the five Law Lords dissented from the judgment of the House in. In view of the length of the original report we have taken the exceptional step of cutting the two dissenting speeches and the two other speeches which essentially concurred with that of Lord Atkin. It was Lord Atkin who was responsible for the oft-quoted definition of legal neighbourliness and his speech is worth reading in full, not least because he wrote so well. He may have thought he was merely tidying up a principle already enunciated by Lord Esher (as Sir Baliol Brett M.R.) in Heaven v. Pender(1883) 11 Q.B.D. 503. Yet it turns out he was more or less inventing the modern law of negligence.
For some idea of the mindset of the opposition it is still worth going back to the original and reading the dissenting speech of Lord Buckmaster: he appears like some over-tweeded rambler struggling to release himself from the gorse-like thickets of common law precedent at the foot of the hill, while Lord Atkin climbs ahead towards that eminence from which a clear view of the justice of the case (and others like it) may be enjoyed.
At a time when the “golden thread”; running through the web of English criminal law – that it is for the prosecution to prove the defendant’s guilt and not for the defendant to establish his own innocence – seems to be being whittled away in the name of public order, the prevention of football hooliganism, terrorism, fraud, drug trafficking, paedophilia etc., it is useful and instructive to read the whole of the original text of Viscount Sankey L.C.’s judgment from which it was drawn. The golden thread, much beloved of Rumpole of the Bailey and other stout defenders of the virtues of liberty and good old fashioned common sense, reappears in harmonised form in article 6 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, as now scheduled to the Human Rights Act 1998. But the Convention and the “Strasbourg jurisprudence” that has mushroomed from its moist undersoil may in the end permit a level of whittling down not matched even by those statutory exceptions enacted within this jurisdiction: see, for example, Reg. v. Lambert 2 W.L.R. 212, 217 at paras. 8 et seq.
Whether a properly directed jury would have convicted Woolmington today is another matter. The use by a rural type of a shotgun to frighten someone is apparently not unusual. Woolmington said (and it is not for us to judge the logic of his tactics) that he wanted to frighten his wife into returning to the matrimonial home. In a more contemporary case, the plan was to frighten a burglar into not returning to the defendant’s home: see Reg. v. Martin (unreported – except of course, massively, in the media).
In our next case, Lord Greene M.R. found it “surprising that so fundamental a matter should at this date still remain in doubt”. The matter was whether and to what extent the Court of Appeal was bound by its own previous decisions. The judgment, a key text in any study of the English legal system, is a law reporter’s dream because Lord Greene basically sets out the headnote at the end. Of course, if all judges produced a succinct precis of their holdings in the course of their judgments, there would be little need for law reporters to exercise their often considerable skills in distilling, from a lengthy transcript, the proposition of law which justifies reporting the case. This is the high point of their art.
According to reporters’ lore, a good way to decide whether a case is reportable is to see whether one can write a holding: if not, or not easily without stating the obvious, the chances are that the case is unreportable. But the best way of deciding the question is to sit and listen to it. Indeed, as a law reporter one is often a sort of spectator in the theatre of legal history – or perhaps even a reviewer at the first night of a new drama. Instead of the making of thespian reputations one is occasionally privileged to witness at first hand a landmark decision such as one of these included here.
Yet all too often the really important cases do not appear as such until some time later when their effect, like a pebble thrown into a lake, has rippled out from the still point of impact to rock even the largest vessels at the perimeter. An example of such a “sleeper” might be the High Trees case, in which Denning J. (as he then, but not for very long, was) single-handedly created from the long-mixed genetic pools of equity and the common law a new hybrid of promissory estoppel.
This is another sleeper or depth-charge. The expression “Wednesbury unreasonable” has been so commonly used as to require no explanation among anyone with the least experience of administrative law; but to the layman encountering the expression unanchored to its full case reference (which most law reporters have by heart, a sort of mental macro) it is one of those phrases, like “Mareva injunction” or “Calderbank letter”, which seem to reinforce the idea of the law as a jungle of jargon. The problem is that there is no simple way of replacing them with the same precision in anything like the same concision. A Mareva injunction may now be called a freezing order (for a full discussion of its origins and effects see Z. Ltd. v. A.-Z. and AA.-LL. Q.B. 558); and a Calderbank letter may be described as a pretrial offer without prejudice but reserving the right to refer to the offer on the issue of costs: see Calderbank v. Calderbank Fam 93. Yet the threefold definition of Wednesbury unreasonableness to be derived from Lord Greene M.R.’s judgment – taking into account what one should not, failing to take into account what one should, or just plain irrationality-cannot be more succinctly termed. What else could one call it? Unlawful unreasonableness? Judicially reviewable unreasonableness? In the end, the useful word is the one that has stuck, and here is the case for which it was named.
To deny children the pleasures of the cinema on Sundays may no longer seem like an issue worth going down in legal history for, but no doubt the borough councillors of Wednesbury had their reasons and as always it is the principle of the thing. The huge increase over the last 20 years in the categories of administrative decision-making that have been found to be susceptible to judicial review means that from this tiny forensic acorn, planted over half a century ago, a sturdy oak has grown.
Not surprisingly, the Council’s own occasional involvement in litigation has been reported in its publications. In all three cases there were tax implications. In 1888 it had a spat with the taxman over whether it was bound to deliver an account of its property under section 15 of the Customs and Inland Revenue Act 1885. The Divisional Court of the Queen’s Bench Division held that the Council, as an association established for a trade or business within the meaning of section 11(5), was exempted from the duty imposed by that section: see In re Duty on the Estate of the Incorporated Council of Law Reporting for England and Wales(1888) 22 Q.B.D. 279. The Council had another spat with the taxman in 1913, when it resisted attempts by the Revenue to levy income tax in respect of a gratuity of 1,500 paid to a reporter on his retirement. Scrutton J., sitting in the King’s Bench Division, ruled that the question whether the payment constituted an expense deductible from the Council’s profits, thus reducing them for income tax purposes, or was an application of part of the Council’s profits after they had been earned, as the inspector contended, was a question of fact for the Commissioners. Since there was evidence on which they could find that the sum was a deductible expense, he declined to interfere with their decision to that effect: see Smith v. Incorporated Council of Law Reporting for England and Wales 3 K.B. 674.
The third appearance by the Council in its own law reports is the one included here. Once again, the issue had tax implications. This time it involved a dispute with the Charity Commissioners over the Council’s charitable status. The Court of Appeal affirmed (on slightly different grounds) the decision of Foster J.  Ch. 626 that the Council had been established for exclusively charitable purposes, namely “to further the development and administration of the law and to make it known or accessible to all members of the community”. It was undoubtedly, in Russell L.J.’s view,  Ch. 73, 85,
“beneficial to the community that reliable reports of judicial decisions of importance in the applicability of the law to varying but probably recurrent circumstances, or demonstrating development in the law, should be published; and all the more so if the publication be supervised by those who by training are best qualified to present the essence of a decision correctly and to distinguish the ephemeral from the significant.”
By a majority (Russell L.J. dissenting on this issue) their Lordships also held that the Council’s purposes were charitable “as being for the advancement of education”. We hope our student subscribers agree, and have included the case in this volume as an important example of a dispute over charitable status and the application of the Statute of Elizabeth I.
One may appreciate the significance of this next case without ever knowing or wanting to find out what a polyhydroxyacetic ester might be. To the parties, it was a dispute over patent infringement; but to the rest of us it was about interlocutory injunctions and established an approach to their grant or refusal which has had far-reaching implications. As with “Wednesbury unreasonableness”, there is no simple way of expressing the three-stage Cyanamid test other than to call it just that. It is not enough to refer to the “balance of convenience” because that is only the final stage. Accordingly, “the Cyanamid test” is another of those phrases which, to the mystification of the lay person, has passed into legal jargon.
As the opinion of the Advocate General notes, our final choice is a landmark case because it was the first time that a court of the United Kingdom (which had only recently joined the E.E.C.) made a reference to the Court of Justice of the European Communities in Luxembourg under article 177 of the Treaty of Rome (now article 234 E.C.). It concerns a principle, the free movement of workers, which lies at the very heart of what might rather romantically be termed the European dream. Whether one’s sympathies are unionist, federalist or Eurosceptic, one cannot gainsay the significance of the principle that, if economic borders are to be ignored, they should be ignored across the board. That said, the principle was made subject, in the case of the free movement of workers, to the conduct of the individual concerned. But to what extent does membership of an organisation – in this case the “Church” of Scientology, disdainfully referred to by a government minister as a “pseudo-philosophical cult” – which is not itself illegal in the excluding member state, constitute personal conduct? The reference, which sought a preliminary ruling on the interpretation of article 48 of the Treaty and article 3 of Directive 64/221/E.E.C., was made by Pennycuick V.-C.  1 W.L.R. 1107 in an action brought against the Home Office by Miss van Duyn, a Dutch national, following a refusal to allow her to enter the United Kingdom in order to take up a post with the church.
Those, then, are the 10 cases we have chosen. Among those we would like to have included but were unable to find space for, the most voted-for was the House of Lords’ decision in Hedley Byrne & Co. Ltd. v. Heller & Partners Ltd. A.C. 465, closely followed by Pepper v. Hart A.C. 593. Their Lordships’ decisions in Liversidge v. Anderson A.C. 206 and Reg. v. Secretary of State for Transport, Ex p. Factortame 2 A.C. 85 were not far behind. The decisions of the Privy Council in the two Wagon Mound cases, Overseas Tankships (U.K.) Ltd. v. Morts Dock & Engineering Co. Ltd. (The Wagon Mound (No. 1)) A.C. 388, and Overseas Tankships (U.K.) Ltd. v. Miller Steamship Co. Pty.(The Wagon Mound (No. 2)) 1 A.C. 617, were also very popular, with W.T.Ramsay Ltd. v. Inland Revenue Commissioners A.C. 300 not far behind.
Finally, the inimitable style of Lord Denning M.R. received a number of these-you-have-loved nominations, including Beswick v. Beswick Ch. 538 (“Old Peter Beswick was a coal merchant”), Hinz v. Berry 2 Q.B. 40 (“It was bluebell time in Kent”) and Reg. v. Barnsley M.B.C., Ex p. Hook 1 W.L.R. 1052 (“To some this may appear to be a small matter, but to Mr. Harry Hook it is very important”). These are colourful and interesting cases, but none of them quite matches the significance of the High Trees case which is here.
The omissions are a pity, and no doubt readers will mourn the absence of their own particular favourites. But we hope there is enough here to justify our claim to have been, as an association, a particularly diligent reviewer in the theatre of legal history. That our coverage is not only appreciated but required reading is emphasised by paragraph 3.1 of the current practice direction on citation of judgments in the Supreme Court. Although it basically reiterates what was said in Practice Direction (Court of Appeal: Citation of Authority) 1 W.L.R. 1096 and Practice Statement (Supreme Court: Judgments) 1 W.L.R. 825, para. 8, we include it here as a reminder to the profession as a whole, and in particular to all advocates, of the courts’ preferences for citations from The Law Reports.
In its first annual report, dated 17 June 1867, the Council expressed “much satisfaction in being able to state that their proceedings hitherto have been attended with success greatly beyond what was anticipated at the outset.” In other words, they’d had a good year. Well, we’d like to say we’ve had a good 135-odd years now.
The report pays tribute to three groups. First, to the reporters, editors and other staff who helped to make it all happen: the same compliment must surely be owed to all the present occupiers of those positions, whose names are listed in the opening pages of this volume.
Second, the report pays tribute to the legal profession and all those who, through their subscriptions, helped to support the new venture. Hear, hear: they’re supporting us still, and without them, of course, we’d be nothing. (We hope they enjoy this bonus bedside reading.)
Finally, the report pays tribute to the Council’s then printers, Messsrs. Clowes, who had “done their part in producing a work which, as regards paper, type, printing, style and general regularity of publication and distribution, is almost all that could be desired …” That sentiment, also, must be echoed in relation to our current typesetters and printers, respectively Tradespools Ltd. of Frome, Somerset, and Antony Rowe Ltd. of Reading, Berkshire, with particular thanks to both for their assistance in the preparation of this extraordinary issue.