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CALIFORNIA PRACTICE ACT. .
AN ACT TO REGULATE PROCEEDINGS IN CIVIL
CASES IN THE COURTS OF JUSTICE OF THIS
AS PASSED APRIL 29TH, 1851, AND AS SUBSEQUENTLY AMENDED BY VARIOUS ACTS OF THE LEGISLATURE UP TO AND,
INCLUDING THE YEAR 1862.
1. The common law.-The common law constitutes the basis of our juris: prudence, and rights and liabilities must be determined in accordance with its principles, except so far as they are modified by statute. Van Maren v. Johnson, 15 Cal. 308. The common law having been adopted as a rule of decision in this State, it is the duty of the Court to enforce it. Johnson v. Fall, 6 Cal. 361.
2. Construction of the act.-In constructing this act, it is proper to remember that the two leading ends contemplated by the system are simplicity and economy; and it would seem, therefore, to be a just conclusion, that the Court should exercise a liberal construction, and that the main intent and spirit of the act should be fairly carried out. Adams v. Hackett, 7 Cal. 201. We adopt the New York construction of the Code where the sections are alike. Id. 203. Our system of pleading is formed upon the model of the civil law, and one of its principal objects is to discourage protracted and vexatious litigation. It is the duty of the Courts to assist, as far as possible, in the accomplishment of this object, and it should not be frittered away by the application of rules which have no legitimate connection with the system. Jones v. Steamship Cortes, 17 Cal. 497.
3. It is prospective. The Practice Act of April 29th, 1851, is prospective in its operation, and to give it a retrospect beyond the time of its passage, would be in violation of all settled rules of construction. Thorne v. San Francisco, 4 Cal, 153, 154.
4. It applies alike to legal and equitable actions. The Practice Act applies to equitable as well as to legal actions, so far as its provisions are consistent with the rights and remedies administered in Courts of Equity. Duff v. Fisher, 15 Cal. 375; Goodwin v. Hammond, 13 Cal. 168; Riddle v. Baker, 13 Cal. 302.
5. Its effect as to evidence.—The Practice Act, as to evidence at least, governs all cases, legal or equitable, by the same rules. Goodwin v. Hammond, 13 Cal. 168.
6. Stare decisis.—Though, on questions of practice, previous decisions are entitled to very great weight, still a single decision made without notice of a statate, cannot be invoked as authority on the principle of stare decisis. Duff* v. Fisher, 15 Cal. 375.
The People of the State of California, represented in Senate and
Assembly, do enact as follows :
OF CIVIL ACTIONS AND. THE PARTIES THERETO.
Sec. 1. One form of civil actions, only.
2. Parties to din action, how designated.
against. 8. If husband and wife sued together, wife may defend. 9. Infant to appear by guardian. 10. Guardian, how appointed. 11. Father or mother may maintain action for injury to
child. 12. Who may be joined as plaintiffs. 13. Who may be joined as defendants. 14. Parties in interest, when to be joined. When one or
more may sue or defend for the whole. 15. One action may include different parties to commercial
paper. 16. Action, when not to abate by death, marriage or other
disability. 17. Court, when to decide controversy, or to order other
parties to be brought in.