§ Major Milner
I beg to move, in page 7, line 18, at the end, to add:(11) The provisions of Sub-sections (1), (2) and (3) of this Section shall come into operation on such day as the Lord Chancellor may by order appoint after he is satisfied on a poll taken by the Council of all solicitors for the time being holding practising certificates that not less than two-thirds of those voting are in favour of the provisions coming into operation.While I am in personal disagreement with the object of the Amendment which is on the Paper in the name of my hon. Friend the Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. Silverman), I move it because it has been put down as the result of agreement to which we have all been a party. There is the proposal in this Clause for compulsory membership of all solicitors of the Law Society. Some objection has been taken, principally by those who are not members, but also by some who are, to that provision in its present form. Therefore, it has been agreed that it shall not come into force until a poll has been held of all solicitors holding practising certificates. This provision for compulsory membership of the Law Society was approved at the largest meeting ever held by members of the society two or three months ago. It was also approved by the Association of Provincial Law Societies and the City of London Solicitors' Company, and was also carried at a poll of members of the society. Therefore, the Committee will agree that there are reasonable grounds for asking for this provision to be put in the Bill. Nevertheless, as it has been agreed that the proposal shall be postponed until a further poll has been held, I beg to move the Amendment.
§ The Attorney-General
I referred to this matter in my speech on Second Reading and forecast that this Amendment would appear on the Paper to meet certain objections which have been raised in various quarters. I hope that the Committee will accept it.
§ Mr. Goldie
There is one point that puzzles me. The Amendment says that the; poll is to be taken of all solicitors holding practising certificates. I understand that if a solicitor holds an official appointment he does not hold a practising certificate. Will he be excluded from the 678 poll? I am thinking of solicitors who hold such positions as district registrars and county court registrars, and it seems to me as if under this Amendment they could hardly be described as practising solicitors. In the interests of the profession, however, they are gentlemen who ought to be consulted.
§ The Attorney-General
I hope that my hon. and learned Friend will not press the point. This proposal as to who should take part in the poll has been considered and I think it is not unreasonable. I have no doubt that a very large number of the people concerned are already members of the Law Society. The line had to be drawn somewhere, and it was agreed to draw it at solicitors holding practising certificates.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Clause, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.
§ Clauses 4 to 8 ordered to stand part of the Bill.