REPORTS. Law books, containing a statement of the facts and law of each case
which has been decided by the courts; they are generally the most certain
proof of the judicial decisions of the courts, and contain the most
satisfactory evidence, and the most authoritative and precise application of
the rules of the common law. Lit. s. 514; Co. Lit. 293 a; 4 Co. Pref.; 1 Bl.
Com. 71 Ram. on Judgm. ch. 13.
2. The number of reports has increased to an inconvenient extent, and should they multiply in the same ratio which of late they have done, they will so soon crowd our libraries as to become a serious evil. The indiscriminate report of cases of every description is deserving of censure. Cases where first principles are declared to be the law, are reported with as much care as those where the most abstruse questions are decided. But this is not all; sometimes two reporters, with the true spirit of book- making, report the same set of cases, and thereby not only unnecessarily increase the lawyer's already encumbered library, but create confusion by the discrepancies which occasionally appear in the report of the same case.
3. The modern reports are too often very diffuse and inaccurate. They seem too frequently made up for the purpose of profit and sale, much of the matter they contain being either useless or a mere repetition, while they are deficient in stating what is really important.
4. A report ought to contain, 1. The name of the case. 2. The court in which it originated; and, when it has been taken to another by appeal, certiorari, or writ of error, it ought to mention by whom it was so taken, and by what proceeding. 3. The state of the facts, including the pleadings, as far as requisite. 4. The true point before the court. 5. The manner in which that point has been determined, and by whom. 6. The date.