HC Deb 11 July 1844 vol 76 cc623-4
Mr. Christie

rose to call the attention of the right hon. Baronet to certain Civil Disabilities which affected Dissenters from the Established Church. One of these was, their exclusion from practice, as advocates in any of the Courts of Doctors' Commons. He wished to ask, whether in any future measure respecting Ecclesiastical Courts, the Government would take steps to remove this disability. The right hon. Baronet (Sir R. Peel) when he returned to office in 1834 had, in an address to his constituents at Tamworth, declared that he was opposed to the policy of continuing any Civil Disabilities on Dissenters. Bearing that in mind, he wished to ask the right hon. Baronet whether it was the intention of Government to take any steps for the removal of the Disabilities to which he had referred?

Sir R. Peel

said, that his attention had not been called to the subject to which the hon. Member referred, until he received the note apprising him of the hon. Member's intention to put his question. With respect to Gray's Inn and the Middle Temple, he was not aware that there were any regulations affecting Dissenters more than any other class of subjects. It was the practice that those who had not taken degrees, or spent a certain number of terms at one of the Universities, should be obliged to spend five years from the time of putting their names on the books of the Inn before they could be called to the bar; but this practice applied to all persons, without distinction. As to the deposit of 100l. by those who had not taken University degrees, it was also a general regulation, which was adopted because the party entering the University had to pay a sum of nearly the same amount. His (Sir R. Peel's) general opinions on this subject were those which he formerly entertained, and to which the hon. Member had referred, but his attention had not been called to the subject since. He would, however, direct his attention to it during the recess, but let him add, that it would be better for all parties that whatever was done should be done with the cordial consent of the presiding authorities, rather than be forced upon them by legislation.

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