The Simplified Wealth of Nations of Adam Smith, Book 5, Chapter 1e: Government Expenses -- Fees on Justice


Chapter 1e, Part 2: Fees on Justice

55 The second period of society is the age of shepherds.   56 For a long time, the judicial authority of such a sovereign was his source of revenue .   57 This scheme of making a revenue out of the administration of justice was prone to gross abuses.   58 It was impossible to get any redress when the sovereign exercised his judicial authority in his own person and abused it.   59 Among nations of shepherds, the sovereign or chief is the only greatest shepherd.   60 The sovereign's private estate became insufficient for defraying the cost of his sovereignty chiefly because of the increasing expences of national defence.   61 "Justice never was in reality administered gratis in any country."   62 The office of judge is so very honourable that men are willing to accept it with very small emoluments.   63 The whole expence of justice might be easily defrayed by the fees of court.   64 The court fees were originally the principal support of the English courts of justice.   65 A stamp-duty on the law proceedings of each court might afford enough revenue to defray the cost of administering justice without burdening the society's revenue.   66 It is unnecessary that the executive branch should manage the fund for justice.   67 The separation of the judicial from the executive power originally arose from the increasing business of society from its increasing improvement.   68 When the judicial is united to the executive power, justice is frequently sacrificed to polities.

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