Time has not seemed to change much regarding lawyers and the court system. In the case of Jarndyce and Jarndyce the system seems quite proud of how long it has stretched out the case and the exorbitant amount of fees that it has managed to occupy of the estate in question. Even in today's time it seems that lawyers and probate courts will spin their wheels and delay the outcome until they have managed to sufficiently pick an estate clean.
I was not aware that the theory of spontaneous combustion dates so far back in history. Society in the 18th century was just as confused by it as we are today. The only difference that I really see is that today scientists and alleged experts will deny that people can just spontaneously combust, that there must be some other explanation. They just don't know what it is.
Dickens personifies the tragedy of good works in foreign aid at the cost of ignoring what is happening at home with the character of Mrs. Jellyby. The house is a mess, the children are dirty and run amok, the maid is always drunk, and her husband is withdrawn and without hope. But Mrs. Jellyby is so busy writing letters and campaigning for help and support to people in Africa, that she is unaware of the continuing crisis in her own home. I have often noticed that this is true today. The United States government spends billions in foreign aid while we have plenty of poor, unemployed, and homeless people right here in the U.S. The sad fact is that the people who are well off enough to adopt children from third world countries are usually the people who are the most vociferous and speak out against welfare programs and cross the street to avoid walking directly past a homeless person. I'm not saying the The United children's fund is such a horrible idea, I'm merely thinking that charity should begin at home.