Agreements contravening the ends and objects of the enactments of the Legislature, or, as it is *most commonly expressed, the policy of those enactments, are void (c). And this class of illegality is properly arranged with other instances of illegality by the common law, because it does not consist in the breach of any enactment of a statute, but violates the principle of the common law, which is to carry into effect the intent and object of the Legislature. The most common instances of this illegality are afforded by agreements to give a creditor of a bankrupt or insolvent more than his equal share of the bankrupt's or insolvent's estate, which it is the object of the Bankrupt and Insolvent Acts to divide equally amongst his creditors (d). An instance may also be given from the case of Prole v. Wiggins (e) where the agreement was to evade the provisions (f) of the Apothecaries Act (55 Geo. III. c. 194, s 15), which required that a student, previously to being admitted to examination for the purpose of obtaining his certificate to practise as an apothecary, should have served an apprenticeship for

(b) Alcenius v. Nygrin, 24 L. J. (Q. B.) 19; 4 E. & B. (82 E. C. L. R.) 217.

(c) Ritchie v. Smith, 6 C. B. (GO E. C. L. R.) 462.

{d) Staines v. Wainwright, 6 Bing. N. C. (37 E. C. L. R.) 174; Davis v. Holding, 1 M. & W. 156; Tabrara v. Freeman, 2 C. & M. 451; Wilkin v. Manning, 23 L. J. (Ex ) 174; 9 Ex. 575. See Nerot v. Wallace, 3 T. R. 17, a very instructive case; Hills v. Mittson, 22 L J. (Ex.) 273; 8 Ex. 751; Murray v. Reeves, 8 B. & C. (15 E. C. L. R.) 421; Humphries v. Smith, 22 L. J. (Q. B.) 121.

(e) 3 Bing. N. C. (32 E. C. L. R.) 230.

(f) Now repealed by 37 & 38 Vict. c. 34, s. 2.

1 Condon v. Walker, 1 Yeates, 483; Cambioso v. Moffett, 2 Wash. C. C. 98; United States v. Lapene, 17 Wall, 601; Whitfield v. United States, 92 U. S. 165; Railey v. Gay, 20 La. Ann. 158; Clements v. Yturria, 14 Hun. 151; Bank of New Orleans v. Matthews, 49 N. Y. 12; Hill v. Spear, 50 N. H. 253.

17 257 five years. Here the father of a student agreed with an apothecary to take his. son as an apprentice for two years, but to antedate the *articles, so that it should seem that he had been apprenticed for the legal term of five years, in order that, at the expiration of two years only, he might be admitted to his examination, and gave the apothecary a bond to secure the payment of a premium stipulated to be given upon such apprenticeship. The Court of Common Pleas, however, held that the bond was clearly void. So, too, an agreement by a shareholder in a company which is being compulsorily wound up, that in consideration of pecuniary equivalent he will endeavour to postpone the making of a call, or will support the claim of a creditor, is illegal, as being contrary to the policy of the Winding-up Acts (g).

In the cases lately referred to, so much is said of the policy of the law and public policy, that it is desirable to add a few words in explanation of them. These terms have been used to express an important principle from very early periods (h), and one of the most important cases of very modern times has been decided upon grounds of public policy (i).1 They are, however, spirit of a law as distinguished from the letter of it; as when it is said that contracts made by a trader, giving a preference to particular creditors, although not forbidden by the letter of any enactment, violate the policy of the bankrupt laws, the first object and policy of those laws being to make a rateable distribution of the bankrupt's property amongst all his creditors (j). In this sense the words are also used, when, in construing a particular law, the Judges look at the object and policy with which it was framed, and the evil which it was apparently intended to remove (k). They use the policy of a particular law as a key to open its construction.

(g) Elliott v. Richardson, L. E. 5 C. P. 744; 39 L. J. (C. P ) 340. (h) Shep. Touch. 132; Co. Litt. 206 b. (i) Egerton v. Brownlow, 4 H. L. C. 1.

1 There is a disposition, especially in recent cases, to recognize very fully the principle that when parties of full age and in the possession of all their faculties choose to make a bargain which is not strictly illegal and does not involve consequences of positive harm to third parties or to the community generally, the true "policy of the law" is to see that they carry it out. Eminent judges have expressed dissatisfaction at the lengths to which the Courts have gone, and the tendency is, not to allow the doctrine to be pushed further. In Ricardson v. Mellish, 2 Bing. (9 E. C. L. R.) 229, Best, C. J., said : "I am not much disposed to yield to arguments of public policy. I think the Court of Westminster Hall (speaking with deference, as an humble individual like myself ought to speak) have gone much further than they were warranted in going in questions of policy: they have taken on themselves, sometimes, to used indiscriminately in many of the cases, although perhaps the phrase "policy of the law" indicates more correctly the sense in which the terms are used in law, than the words "public policy." Whichever form is *employed, two distinct classes of things are referred to by them. Sometimes they indicate the decide doubtful questions of policy; and they are always in danger of so doing, because courts of law look only at the particular case, and have not the means of bringing before them all those considerations which ought to enter into the judgment of those who decide on questions of policy." In Hilton v. Eckersley, 6 E. & B. (88 E. C. L. R.) 64, Lord Campbell said: "I enter upon such considerations with much reluctance, and with great apprehension, when I think how different generations of judges, and different judges of the same generation, have differed in opinion upon questions of political economy and other topics connected with the adjudication of such cases. And I cannot help thinking that, where there is no illegality in bonds and other instruments at common law, it would have been better that our Courts of justice had been required to give effect to them unless where they are avoided by Act of Parliament. By following a different course, the boundary between judge-made law and statute-made law is very difficult to be discovered. But there certainly is a large class of decisions which will be found collected in the report of the recent Bridgewater Case in the House of Lords (Egerton v. Earl Brownlow, 4 H. L. C. 1) to the effect that, if a contract or a will is, in the opinion of the Judges before whom it comes in suit, clearly contrary to public policy, so that by giving effect to it the interests of the public would be prejudiced, it is to be adjudged void." In Printing and Numerical Registering Co. v. Sampson, L. R. 19 Eq. 465, Jessel, M. R., said: "It must not be forgotten that you are not to extend arbitrarily those rules which say that a given contract is void as being against public policy, because if there is one thing which more than another public policy requires, it is that men of full age and competent understanding shall have the utmost liberty of contracting, and that their contracts, when entered into freely and voluntarily, shall be held sacred and shall be enforced by Courts of justice. Therefore you have this paramount public policy to consider-that you are not lightly to interfere with this freedom of contract. Now, there is no doubt public policy may say that a contract to commit a crime, or a contract to give a reward to another to commit a crime, is necessarily void. The decisions have gone further, and contracts to commit an immoral offence, or to give money or reward to another to commit an immoral offence, or to induce another to do something against the general rules of morality, though far more indefinite than the previous class, have always been held to be void. I should be sorry to extend the doctrine much further. I do not say there are no other cases to which it does apply; but I should be sorry to extend it much further." And Fry, J., ex pressed his approval of these remarks in Rousillon v. Rousillon, 14 Ch. Div. 365. See Hill v. Spear, 50 N. H. 253.