HC Deb 10 August 1877 vol 236 cc777-80

(Mr. Attorney General.)


Order for Committee read.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair."—(Mr. Attorney General.)


appealed to his hon. and learned Friend who had charge of the Bill not to proceed with it at that late period of the Session. Its provi- sions would require a great deal of discussion, which they could not possibly now receive. It proposed to constitute a council for conducting the call to the Bar, composed of members named partly by the Inns of Court and partly by the Crown, who should control the discipline of the Bar. The mode of call was to be left, however, to the present authorities; and this practical anomaly of two controlling Bodies ought to be abolished to make the Bill satisfactory.


cordially agreed with his hon. and learned Friend opposite (Mr. Gregory) that the Bill, under present circumstances, should not be gone on with. He had given the Bill the most favourable consideration, but it did not appear to him successfully to grapple with the difficulties of the problem which it proposed to solve. The Council was the fundamental part of the Bill, and it really took from the benchers the calls to the Bar. Under these circumstances, what was to become of the Inns of Court? There was in it nothing to prevent Lincoln's Inn, for instance, or Gray's Inn from selling off their property, and disposing of the proceeds as they might think fit. They would, under this Bill, have no functions, and although the students might dine in their halls, they might as well dine at the Criterion or any other place. The Inns of Court would thus become perfectly useless; but, in his opinion, discipline would better be carried out by them than by the Council which would be created by the Bill, inasmuch as the authorities of those Inns would be likely to know much more with respect to the conduct of their members.


, as one totally unconnected with the Legal Profession, also appealed to the Government to postpone the Bill.


hoped that the Bill would not be postponed. So far as it went it was an excellent Bill, and he should be sorry to see it delayed.


, having been engaged in the preliminary discussions which had led to the Bill, and knowing the careful consideration which had been bestowed on it by the heads of the Legal Profession, thought it would be an unfortunate thing if this piece of useful legislation were postponed. It was a very important compromise, and it would merely enable the Inns of Court to do collectively what they now did individually, and would be a great boon to the rising school of lawyers.


said, that judging from the Notices which had been put upon the Paper, and what had fallen from hon. Members who had spoken, this was clearly a Bill of considerable importance and interest to the Legal Profession, and whatever interested the Legal Profession interested the community at large. It was also clear that the discussion of the Bill would take a considerable time. The measure had come down from the House of Lords, and had passed through the various stages in the House of Commons as far as the stage of Committee; and it would not be absolutely fatal to it if the Committee was not proceeded with that night. It would still be possible to dispose of the Bill by taking the Committee to - morrow, and the third reading on Monday. There were below it in the Orders one or two Bills which it was very important to proceed with, especially the Destructive Insects Bill, which it was most desirable to proceed with that night. He was afraid that if they entered at once upon the discussion of the Bar Discipline Bill they would hardly have time left at that Sitting for a satisfactory discussion of the Destructive Insects Bill; and he would, therefore, propose to let the Bar Discipline Bill stand over till to-morrow. In the meantime, he would take the opportunity of consulting his noble and learned Friend the Lord Chancellor, and to-morrow he would be able to state whether the Bill would be proceeded with or not.


hoped the Bill would not be abandoned.


pointed out that no practising Member of the Bar had expressed an opinion in favour of the postponement of the Bill till next Session, and it would be most important to have it passed immediately. The discipline of the Bar had. long been allowed to fall into abeyance. If the present Bill did nothing more than enable the benchers, or the council representing them, to swear witnesses and compel the production of documents, it would be an exceedingly useful treasure.


said, the Bill was not asked for by the public, and was brought forward in the interests of the Bar, which was nothing but a great trades union.

Motion, by leave, withdrawn.

Committee deferred till To-morrow.