Tomorrow the lawyers enter upon the Long
Vacation. From August 13 to October 24 - that is, ten weeks and two days - is in
these busy and bustling days a goodly holiday.
Since idleness brings its own punishment in
most cases, no one probably would be very much concerned with the liberal views
which the legal profession take of the "refreshers" which in one form or another
their colossal labours deserve.
But, unfortunately the lawyers make holiday in more ways than one at the expense
of the public. The "close time" which is so jealously preserved does not by any
means relieve litigants from the enormous expense that still attends any form of
Apart altogether from the mere delay and suspense which are occasioned by the
recurrence of this annual period of stagnation - and these are in themselves a
serious hardship - the fact that an action must be hung up for such a long time
involves a by no means inconsiderable addition to the bill of costs.
"Applications" and "steps" innumerable turn out to be necessary in consequence
of the Long Vacation, and these do nothing to expedite a settlement of the
matter in dispute.
It seems as if, notwithstanding the boasted reform of our legal system, the
lawyers had purposely arranged not only for a holiday of enormous length, but
that they should draw their expenses from the pockets of their luckless clients.
It is, then, not to be wondered at that every year the cry for a drastic change
should make itself heard.
Of course it is only natural that the lawyers have hitherto succeeded in
maintaining the Long Vacation in spite of the long outcry for its abolition. In
1875 it was cut down by a few weeks, and it has since been again curtailed
[from] the old three months and more.
But the question which is once more being asked is whether there is any real
necessity for any wholesale legal holiday at all. Why should all the judges go
away at the same time?
If they were granted a month or two's leave of absence in rotation, they could
recruit themselves as other people have to do, and without seriously interfering
with the progress of legal business.
To the rank and file of the bar the Long Vacation is a melancholy interval of
enforced idleness which exists for the protection of the more fortunate members
of the profession.