« AnteriorContinuar »
The ILegal Observer, DIGEST, AND JOURNAL OF JURISPRUDENCE,
SATURDAY, MAY 15, 1847.
-“ Quod magis ad nos
THE METROPOLITAN AND PRO- I habits of business, legal knowledge, discreVINCIAL LAW ASSOCIATION. tion, activity, intelligence, and integrity.
are indispensable in transacting the con
cerns of our vast and complicated system. ADDRESS TO THE PROFESSION.
The address, in its opening, candidly We announced the formation of this admits the uscfulness of some of the modern new socicty a few weeks ago, and are now changes in the law, but animadverts on the enabled to submit to our readers the mischievousness of most of the practical Address of the Committee of Management to alterations which have taken place. It rethe Attorneys and Solicitors of England and monstrates against rejecting the aid, which .Wales. It was erroneously supposed that might have been derived from the experithe metropolitan solicitors, in their exer-ence of attorneys and solicitors, in considertions for the improvement of the profession, ing the proposed changes, and calls for due looked only to themselves, and disregarded attention to the just interests of profestheir provincial brethren." It was imagined sional men, and the improvement of their that not only was there an actual estrange- position in the scale of society. ment of professional fecling, between the It adverts briefly to the history of attown and country practitioners, but that any torneys, and sets forth concisely the nature approach to united exertions for the com- of their office and duties ;-ihe reasons mon good, was wholly incompatible with which have induced the establishment of the nature of their respective positions and the association;—the causes that embarrass interests.
the administration of justice ;-and the True indeed, it is, that occasional dif- measures proposed for remedying the exferences of opinion on the wide range of isting evils. Many of those evils are faprofessional measures will arise out of the miliarly known to our readers, though they different views taken by some, at least, of require to be again set forth, in order to the respective classes of practitioners ; but remind or inform the profession which in we doubt not they are fully convinced that, general, is too apt, in the discharge of pro-. unless they act cordially together, the ob- fessional duty, to neglect personal interests. jects of the association cannot be com- Amongst other topics, are noticed the pletely effected. The great test on all dif- taxes on administering justice;-ill-digested ferences will be the public gooil, not tem- and ill-constructed statutes;—the unjust and porary nor partial, but permanent and unequal imposts on the attorneys ;—the degeneral. This end and aim must compre- ficient construction and inconvenient situahend a due regard to the station, character, tion of the courts at Westminster, and the and interests of attorneys and solicitors, want of accommodation both there and in without whom, we verily believe, the affairs the Courts at Nisi Prius, and the sessions of the community cannot be prosperously and assizes ;-the exclusion of attorneys conducted. Their practical experience, from offices of honourable distinction, and
the encroachment on their ancient rights a See 33 L, 0. 508.
and privileges ;-the improvements in legal VOL. XXXIV, No. 1,001.
The Metropolitan and Provincial Law Association.
education ;-the promotion of fair and just consideration of the interests of suitors honourable practice; &c.
and the communi:y in general. It is mani. These and other topics have been test, indeed, that the true and enduring adagain and again discussed in these pages. vantage of the profession is identical with Here, however, they can only be pointed that of the public. out, and held up to notice. It belongs "During the short time which has been to the members of the profession to occupied in constituting the society we take effective steps for redressing their think the committee of management, or wrongs, and therefore we rejoice that a governing body, has been well chosen. At large and effective body has been formed present it consists of 24 town and 26 to whom the matter may be safely confided. country solicitors. The London members But let it be recollected that success can are as follow : only be secured by the support of thegeneral body. However intelligent and however Bailey (of the firm of Bailey, Shaw, Smith and
Richard Baynes Armstrong ; Edward S. active
may be the committee, unless they Bailey); Keith Barnes (of the firm of Lyon, are supported by their brethren at large, Barnes and Ellis); James Beaumont (of the firm they cannot fully achieve their objects. of Beaumont and Thompson); George Bower;
We would therefore follow up the re- Edward Chester (of the firm of Chester, Toulcommendations of this address by urging min and Chester); Henry C. Chilton (of the every attorney and solicitor to enrol him- firm of Chilton, Burton and Johnson); Henry self in the association without delay, and John Coverdale (of the firm of Coverdale, Lee
M. Clark (of the firm of Clark and Davidson); to promote the formation of local societies and Purvis); Charles Druce (of the firm of in all the large districts in which none at Charles, John and Claridge Druce); George present exist.
Faulkner (of the firm of Gregory, Faulkner, It is intended, it appears, to prepare the Gregory and Skirrow); Edwin W. Field (of the way for submitting the state of the profes- firm of Sharpe, field and Jackson); Harvey sion to parliament, and in the mean time Gem (of the firm of Gem, Pooley and Beisley); to circulate information on the extent to Grant and Walker); John S. Gregory of the
Alexander W. Grant (of the firm of Walker, which the public interest is affected by the firın of Gregory, Faulkner, Gregory and Skirgrievances complained of. Our pages will row); Campbell w. Ilobson (of the firm of furnish a faithful record of those grievances Austen and Hobson); Charles Jenings (of during the last sixteen years, and we shall the firm of Charles and Edmund J. Jenings); take an early opportunity of arranging Henry Karslake (of the firm of Karslake, Creunder appropriate heads the large mass of lock and Karslake); Thomas Loftus (of the information which it has been our duty F. Maples (of the firm of Maples, Pearse, Ste
firin of Holme, Loftus and Young); Thomas from year to year to collect. In this re- vens and Maples); William H. Palmer (of the spect we have advantages in aid of the firm of Palmer, France and Palmer); Barry P. objects of the association wlrich are singu. Squance of the firm of Tilson, Squance, Clarke larly fortunate, for this work was esta- and Morrice); John J. J. Sudlow (of the firm blished precisely at the time when the wild of Sudlow, Sons and Torr); John Young (of and reckless, the crude and ill-considered, the firm of Desborough and Young). projects of law reform took their rise. Step The Provincial members of the com. by step we combated them, sometimes mittee are,checking or turning their course, introduc
At Leeds : John Hope Shaw; and Robert ing palliatives to the coming evils, retard- Barr (of the firm of Barr, Lofthouse and Neling their progress, and sometimes defeat- son). At Liverpool: M. 'D. Lowndes (of the ing them.
firm of Lowndes, Robinson and Bateson); Peter We are glad to observe that the com- Wright; James 0. Watson (of the firm of mittee of the new association have had in. Watson and Webster); H. H. Statham (of the terviews with the council of the Incorpo- (of the firm of Lloyd and Waln). At Birming
firm of Curry and Statham); and J. B. Lloyd rated Law Society, and with the Com- ham: T. Eyre Lee (of the firm of Lee, Pinson mittees of many Provincial law societies. and Best); and R. W. Gem. At Folkstone : The objects to be attained being just in R. T. Brockman (of the firm of Brockman and themselves, tending to the public good in Watts). At Gloucester : John Burrup. At the due administration of justice, and cal- Lancaster : John Sharp. At Hull: Thomas
Thompson (of the firm of Thompson and MarTculated to promote the usefulness and respectability of the profession, the New So- shall). At York: Thomas Hodgson ; and G. H.
At Lincoln: E. A. Bromehead. ciety will have the cordial co-operation of Ať Oxford: J. M. Davenport. At Beverley : all the existing societies. We observe that T. F. Champney (of the firm of Bainton and Throughout the address there prevails a Champney). At Manchester : James Crossley
The Metropolitan and Provincial Law Association,
43 (of the firm of Crossley and Sudlow); R. W. port the result to a future meeting, a commit. Whitlow (of the firm of Whitlow and Radford); tee was appointed, who having, in the discharge James Street; and Thomas Taylor (of the firm of their duty, instituted various inquiries, and of Rowley and Taylor). At Wrexham: John collected a large mass of information, on the Lewis. Át Ruhint: Joseph Peers. At Den- past and present state of the profession, and bigh: Thomas Evans. At Newcastle-upon- the encroachments which have been made, Tyne: William Crighton (of the firm of Grif- especially in modern times, upon its rights and fith and Crighton).
interests, and ultimately upon the rights and The Committee, thus constituted, has
interests of their clients, made their report to a just issued an address, from which the appointed to be held on the 25th March.
general meeting, which had been previously following is extracted :
“After a full consideration of the report, it was "The attention of the public and of the legal resolved – That an Association be formed for profession has been of late years powerfully at the purpose of promoting the Interests of Suitors, tracted to the state ef the law and its adminis. and the better and more economical administra. tration, and many important changes have been tion of the Law ; of obtaining the remoral of the made in both. or 'the alterations in the law many and serious grievances to Solicitors and, itseli, some are highly beneficial, others of through them, to the Suilors, and of maintainquestionable merit; but the changes which ing the rights and increasing the usefulness of have been introduced into the administration of the Profession.' That this Association be called it, have too often been hazarded, without suffi- THE METROPOLITAN AND PROVINCIAL cient inquiry into the causes which may have Law Association, and consist of all memled tv inconvenience or injustice, and without bers of the profession who contribute to its arlequately weighing the effect of the proposed funds a donation of not less than 5l., or an remedy.
annual subscription of not less than ll. That “A course of crude and experimental legis
the business of the association be conducted lation, which unsettles the adıninistration of until the first Wednesday in Easter Term, 1819, the law, without improving it, is injurious to by the above-named committee, with power to the interests of all classes of society, and is pe
add to their number, and to appoint local subculiarly embarrassing to attorneys and solici- committees, and that future committees of tors, who have to contend with the difficulties management bo elected annually by the memof a fluctuating and defective practice. In b2r3, voting either in person or by proxy." om non, therefore, with the rest of the com. Such being the origin and constitution of munity, and indeed in a much higher degere, the Society, the Committee of Managethey are interested in promoting sound and
ment proceed to state, for the information sentatives appointed by the suitors, --charged of the professionwith the protection of their interests, -and es
1st. Some of the reasons which bave in. seritial agents in carrying out whatever in those duced the establishment of this Association, reforms, or in the general administration of the and of the objects which are sought to be law, is of public utility,—they might fairly expect attained. that their experience should be consulted, that their own position should be maintained
“If the former state of the profession of atand improved, and their rights as a profession, torney and solicitor, even within the memory
many living practitioners, be compared with “ The conviction that their just claims, as
its present condition and prospects, it will be such agents, have been neglected, or ra'her found that changes have been made, by various improperly sacrificed, and that vigilance and legislative and other measures, tending to united exertion are necessary for their defence, lower that profession in public opinion, and has long prevailed throughout their branch of degrade it from an intellectual to a inechanical the profession.
employm’nt. The solicitor has been excluded "To this conviction, the Metropolitan and from many of the avenues to distinction which Provincial Law Association owes its origin.”
were formerly open to his inlustry and talents ;
and most of those official appointments which The Address then states the course pur- call for the exercise of the higher powers of the sued in establishing the Association. mind, have been transferred, and often to the “On the 11th of February last, a meeting inguished members of the bar. Thus, attor
younger, the inexperienced, and the least diswas held in London to take this subject into neys have been gradually shut out from comconsideration. It was composed of a numerous missionerships in bankruptcy and lunacy, from depatation from various provincial Law. So- presiding in various local courts, and from adcieties, and a considerable number of solicitors vocating the rights of their clients before many resident in the metropolis; and they came to a tribunals in which they were formerly acresolution, " That, in the pres?nt state of the customed to practise ; and these changes have legal profession, measures should be adopted been, it is to be feared, too frequently made to for raising the character and position, and for promoting and supporting the interests of so
promote objects very foreign to legal qualificaLicitors.'
ons and improvement." " To deliberate upon these mpasures, and re- • The present system of taxing costs is
The Metropolitan and Provincial Law Association. .“ In the early periods of our civil history, the whole real and personal property of the United attorneys and solicitors were required, by several Kingdoin. A large portion of it, which is adRules of the Superior Courts, to become mem- ministered by courts of equity and in bank-' bers of the Inns of Court or Chancery. The ruptcy, meets the view of the community, judges of those days considered them as no un-chiefly by means of the public journals; but fit associates, and thought they saw that the the far greater residue is administered by solipublic advantage was connected with their cle- citors, away from the eye of the public. Nor vation in the ranks of society. Has that policy are his services confined merely to ihe pecuniary been continued? On the contrary, the benchers, interests of the client. An attorney has often in recent times, liave considered it expedient to to exercise his skiil and judgment to adjust exclude them. Upon what principle, unless disputes and to reconcile the differences that that which prefers the aggrandisement of a par- disturb the peace and peril the happiness of ticular body to the true interests of the public, families, and to deal with questions that touch it is difficult to conceive.
the character and reputation of a client, affect “A little reflection will prove, that the cha- his personal liberty, and endanger, it may be, racter of the profession is not a question which even life itself. In a word, the services they affects merely its members. There can be no render are co-extensive with the transactions, doubt, indeed, that the duties perforined by the the rights, the duties, and the wrongs, of all attorney and solicitor are of indispensable utility classes of civilized society; and even where the to the public—to their convenience—to their aid of counsel is called in, it is still to the sonecessities—to the wants and exigences of an licitor, and to him only, that the client confides exterided commerce, and an advanced state of his interests. civilization. The vast and complicated affairs "If this be a correct outline of the part which of the various classes of society, in a large and the solicitor is called upon to perform, are not wealthy country governed by a multiplicity of the public, it may fairly be asked, deeply in. laws, cannot be well understood, nor safely terested in the character and abilities of so immanaged, without the constant aid of an intel- portant an agent-interested, therefore, that ligent body of men, well versed in the prin- his just claims should be allowed, his rights ciples and practical application of those laws. maintained, and that the education and disEvery new complication of social growth, every cipline which are to qualify him for the skilful advancement of civilization, by the mere opera- and faithful discharge of his duties, should he tion of the principle of the division of labour, promoted and improved ? Nor are these submakes such a body more needful. The attorney jects unworthy of the serious attention and is called upon to advise as well on the expe- protecting care of the legislature.” diency as on the right of commencing or defending actions; to consider both the legal
2nd, The committee then proceed to principles involved in the case, and various mention some of the evils which enibarrass technical matters in the outset and conduct of the administration of justice, and are alike the proceedings, and to anticipate and weigh injurious to the attorney and suitor. the evidence by which the client's rights must be finally supported. So, in the institution or These are paid at every stage of a cause, and
“1. Taxes on justice in the shape of fees. defence of suits in equity, the soliciter must be fall in the first instance on the solicitor, but familiarly acquainted, not only with the intricate ultimately on the suitor. The officers of the machinery of practice, but with the nice and court who receive these fees, are not responsubtle principles which have regulated the de- sible for the accuracy of the process which they cisions of courts of equitable jurisdiction. Again, his legal knowledge, experience, and Their duty begins and ends in an operation
stamp, or of the pleading which they enter. judgment are required in framing complicated wills, conveyances, and marriage settlements, benefit whatever from the payment, and they
The suitor derives no
purely nechanical. and in the investigation of the titles to landed estates, which often involve abstruse points, and impolicy of the stamp duties on las proceed
are to him a mere dry and useless tax. The property of great magnitude. The solicitor is ings has been acknowledged, and they have notable, like the barrister, to limit his practice been swept away; the impolicy of these taxes to a single department, whether of cominon
on justice is equally obvious. Why, therefore, law, conveyancing, or equity; he must possess should they be continued ? In the administraa general, if not a profound, knowledge of every tion of the criminal law, not only are the judges branch of our complicated and extensive system and officers paid from the public revenue, but of jurisprudence.
often the costs also of the prosecutor, his wit" It is not generally considered, although the fact is unquestionable , that to the agency of so- suits respecting civil rights, to the occasional
nesses, counsel, and attorney. In actions and licitors is confided the administration of the enforcement of which all property owes its
value, it is surely enough thai a party should be equally injurious to the practitioners and the driven, in the establishment of his rights, to suitors; it gives no adequate remuneration to the necessity of a lawsuit, with its attendant extraordinary skill or labour, and really offers
expense of adducing proofs and employing atan inducement to the needless employment of torney and counsel, without being compelled to counsel, instead of encouraging the attorney to contribute, in addition, to the general admiexercise his own talents and learning.
nistration of justice.
The Metropolitan and Provincial Law Association.
45, “ 2. Crude legislation has fastened upon our has been established against the gentlemen who already overburthened legal code, many ill- have held these appointinents. Why they digested and ill-constructed statutes, the fertile should have been placed under the ban of mosource of perplexity to judges and practitioners, dern legislation, is a question more easy to ask and of litigation and expense to the suitor. than to answer. We have seen a great deal of our ancient polity “4. Solicitorships to government boards. — either altered or destroyed, and yet little sub- Amongst the offices which peculiarly belong to slantial good effected, and all recourse to the attorneys, and of which they have been wholly court is nearly as expensive, dilatory, and op- or partially deprived, may be mentioned 80pressive as ever. Among other changes, for licitorships to government boards. These were instance, the relations of debtor and creditor formerly held by attorneys and solicitors, a have been varied, and for this purpose new usage which it required an act of parliament courts have been erected, additional judges ap- to alter (9th Geo. 4, c. 25); and it may be obpointed, and a novel practice established. The served, that, whilst the statute affects to throw course of a few years has shown these altera- the office open, it has most commonly been tions to be unnecessary or inconvenient. Then filled by barristers-how unfitted for many of follow, in a regular train, the repeal of the law, the duties thus thrown upon them, the records the altered practice, the retiring pension, and of public boards, if divulged, would proclaim. compensation for offices abolished. Whether According to the ancient regulations of the the mischief is to be traced to the incompetency Inns of Court, barristers, by undertaking such of law-makers, or the overwhelming mass of offices, would have been disbarred. business which falls upon both houses of par. "5 Exclusive Regulations of the Inns of liament, and excludes too often the cautious Court.-By the rules of the superior courts, deliberation that a change in the law, and espe- attorneys and solicitors were formerly required cially in the powers and constitution of courts to be members of one of the Inns of Court or of justice, demands; or, whatever else may be Chancery. The benchers of modern times, the cause, it is surely time that some remedy however, have excluded attorueys and solicitors for the evil were sought out and applied, and and their articled clerks from 'adinission into that acts of parliament which are to operate these societies. The reason for this prohibition such important changes, were framed with seems nowhere satisfactorily stated. It surely care, foresight, and precision.
cannot promote the public advantage, that at“3. Esclusion of attorneys from offices of torneys should be debarred from advancement honourable distinction. By several inodern in their profession; for whatever raises them legislative enactments, attorneys have been ex. in the scale of intellect and honour, must, as cluded from public offices which they formerly already shown, contribute to the public good. held. Among these may be particularly men- Moreover, it is one of the first principles of a tioned bankrupt commissionerships, lunacy free state, that in whatever department of life a commissionerships, and local judgeships. man may choose to exercise his talents, his Again, by the Sinall Debts' Act (9th and both course should be free and unobstructed. The Vict. c. 95,) the judges are to be selected from question, how far any privale irresponsible a body whose only required qualification is, bodies should have the sole custody of the that they shall have been called to the bar seven key to important branches of public occupayears, such call involving no conclition of pre- tion, must ere long have serious public convious legal examination or knowledge. By sideration. No other occupation but the upper this means, contrary to the whole policy of branch of the law is placed out of all legislamodern legislation, the choice of judges is con- tive control. fined to one particular class, and the public is “6. The Right of attorneys to act as advodeprived of the services of other competent cates, though restricted much within its anpersons who have hitherto presided, and very cient limits, has, until recently, been recogably and satisfactorily, over similar courts. nised in several courts of quarter sessions, beTo innovate upon the rights of the attorney and fore bankruptcy commissioners, and in courts solicitor, and to degrade him from his former for the recovery of small debts. Owing to position, has not always been the prevailing this privilege the suitor had the power of savpolicy. Many statutes may be found which ing considerable expense; and the means of acknowledge the eligibility of attorneys for honourable distinction, conferred by intellectual those judicial situations. In particular, the 7 & 8 and legal attainments, were placed within the Vict. c. 96, and the 8 & 9 Viet. c. 127, autho- reach of the attorney. This right has been rized not only barristers but attorneys to act as gradually invaded and circumscribed within judges in the execution of those statutes; and narrower limits,-a restriction which has alnumerous bills have from time to time, from ready led to a great increase of tax upon suitors, 1827 down to the last session, been brought and, if fully carried out, will lead to its entire into parliament by members of the government, extinction. In several courts of quarter seswherein attorneys and solicitors were proposed sions, where attorneys have till recently prac, as judges of the intended local courts. Until tised as advocates, they have been superseded lately no objection was ever made to the fitness by barristers; and the legislative security for and capacity of that branch of the profession to the right of advocacy before commissioners of discharge the duties of the office, and no charge bankrupts, which is conferred on London sowhatever, either for want of character or ability, licitors by 1 & 2 W. 4, c. 56, 8, 10, has been