March 12, 1902 (9th Parliament, 2nd Session)


The MINISTER OF JUSTICE (Hon. Charles Fitzpatrick).

With what has fallen from the lips of the leader of the opposition with respect to drafting, I agree entirely.
I think it is an absolute necessity that we should endeavour to have better drafting in connection with our statutes. I firmly believe in the statement which I think was made by Lord Chief Justice Fitzjames Stephens, at the time he prepared the Evidence Act in England-that it is as impossible for a committee of men to draft a law as it is impossible for a committee of artists to paint a picture. There must be unity so far as possible, and when our statutes go through committees it is important that they should pass into the hands of a competent draftsman so as to be put in proper shape before finally becoming law.
With what has been said on the subject of codes, I cannot of course be expected to agree. I myself come from the land of codes, from the province of Quebec, where we have a civil code, and where we have a code of procedure; and I believe myself in the words of the quotation that Smith adopted in relation to his volume of leading cases. ' Melius est petere fontes quam sectare rivulos.' Now, we must bear in mind that all the laws which have ever survived in this world are those that took the form of codes. To-day the Roman empire has passed away, but the Institutes of Justinian are a living force in all civilized countries. The name of Napoleon is growing more and more to be a tradition, but the Napoleonic Code is a necessity in all civilized countries.

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