HC Deb 23 July 1918 vol 108 cc1756-7

Order for Second Reading read.

The SOLICITOR-GENERAL (Sir Gordon Hewart)

I beg to move, "That the Bill be now read a second time."

This is a Bill designed for the benefit of articled clerks of solicitors. It is intended in two ways to modify in their interests the provisions of the existing Solicitors Acts. In the first place, the Bill provides that an articled clerk may reckon as time duly served under his articles any time which since the commencement of the War has been served in the forces or during which he has been detained as a prisoner or interned in an enemy or a neutral country. In the second place, the Bill provides that the Lord Chief Justice or the Master of the Rolls, in circumstances arising out of the War, may exempt an articled clerk from his intermediate examination.


I quite admit that this is made necessary to some extent by the circumstances of the War, and I fully appreciate the good objects of the Bill, but at the same time I think one might point out that in business circles similar unfortunate experiences occur for which the Government are not providing any remedy.


They do not have to pass an examination.


No; but, on the other hand, grievances just as unequal are occurring every day in business, and yet the Government are ruthlessly taking people up to fifty years of age, utterly regardless of individual hardship. I admit that that is not a valid argument against this Bill, but it is another instance of the tenderness with which the Governments of this country and the House of Commons are inclined the view any difficulties in the legal profession. Here a hardship has been pointed out, and the Government at once bring in a Bill to put it right. I am not going to vote against it, but I think we ought to point out that there are a hundred more instances of exactly the same hardship occurring in the business community, for which I, quite agree one cannot suggest a remedy. One should not play the dog in the manger, and say that because you do not find a remedy in one case you shall not in this case. But, at the same time, I think the House should realise that suffering is taking place every day in business circles which the House is passing over without any concern.

Question put, and agreed to.

Bill accordingly read a second time.

Resolved, "That this House will immediately resolve itself into the Committee on the Bill."—[Mr. Pratt.]

Bill accordingly considered in Committee.

[Sir D. MACLEAN, Deputy-Chairman, in the Chair.]