For the prosecutor, Harry Grossman.
For the defendants, Harold W. Bennett and Frank M. Lario.
Before Justice Donges, by consent.
DONGES, J. This is a certiorari to review a judgment of dispossession entered by a justice of the peace. The landlord instituted the proceeding to recover possession of the premises for non-payment of rent. The premises are located in Camden county, wherein there is a District Court, to wit, the District Court of the city of Camden, but are not located within the city of Camden.
The contention of the prosecutor is that justices of the peace have to jurisdiction under the Landlord and Tenant act in counties wherein there is located a District Court. A review of the history of the legislation is necessary in consideration of the question presented.
By Pamph. L. 1903, p. 26, as amended Pamph. L. 1910, p. 233; Comp. Stat., p. 3070, the then section 1 of the Landlord and Tenant act provided:
"Any lessee or tenant at will or at sufferance or for a part of a year, or for one or more years, of any houses, lands or tenements, and the assigns, undertenants or legal representatives of such tenant or lessee, may be removed from such premises by any district court in the county where such premises are situated, or, if such premises do not lie within a county in which there is a district court then by any justice of the peace of the county where such premises are situated in the manner hereinafter prescribed in the following cases; provided, that this act shall not be construed so as to give justices of the peace jurisdiction where district courts are established by law:"
Then follow provisions giving this right of removal where tenants hold over or after default in rent.
With the statute reading so, the Supreme Court held in Hopkins v. Lyon, 81 N.J.L. 23, "On April 8th, 1910, the amendment to the Landlord and Tenant act, already quoted, was passed and took effect immediately. By force of this amendment jurisdiction to remove tenants was conferred upon any District Court in the county where the premises were situated and deprived justices of the peace of jurisdiction where such a District Court had been established by law." The jurisdiction of the justice of the peace was there upheld because the District Court judge had not qualified
and entered upon the performance of his duties when the proceeding before the justice was commenced, and the court therefore took the view that no District Court had been established. The construction of the statute, however, stands.
By an amendment of 1913, page 743, and a further amendment of 1915, page 96, Cum. Supp. Comp. Stat., p. 1774, it was provided that the removal might be made "by any District Court in the county where such premises are situated or by any justice of the peace of the county where such premises are situated in the manner hereinafter prescribed in the following cases:" naming the two cases above mentioned. However, section 2 of the act was not made to conform with section 1 and it provided that the affidavit should be filed "with the clerk of any District Court within the limits of the county in which the premises are situated, or in case the premises do not lie within a first class county or within a city or a judicial district in which there is a ...