HL Deb 28 February 1856 vol 140 cc1445-7

presented a petition from Members of the Bar of Ireland, praying that in any measure respecting Legal Education, Ireland may be treated as an integral part of the United Kingdom, and the Irish Bar placed on a footing with the Bar of England. The noble and learned Lord said that the petition was signed by sixteen Queen's Counsel and 160 other members of the bar of Ireland. The petitioners stated that they had read with great satisfaction the Report of the Commissioners appointed to take into consideration the subject of legal education, and the recommendations contained in their Report. They considered the subject to be of great importance as connected with the administration of justice in England, India, and the Colonies. They lamented that no specific reference had been made to Ireland in the Report; but he thought that omission arose from the fact that so much had been done already in Ireland for legal education under the auspices of a right hon. and learned Friend of his for whom he entertained the most profound respect—ex-Lord Chancellor Blackburne—than whom there was not a more able, more learned, or more honest and honourable man. He (Lord Brougham) spoke not merely in reference to that learned Judge's judicial integrity, for neither against him, nor, thank God, against any other Judge in the United Kingdom, could the shadow of a suspicion rest on that ground—but he spoke in reference to this, that, having long known him with admiration though mingled with regret as supporting opinions and acting on principles opposed to his own, he knew what his conduct had been officially and individually, and he knew that no shadow of a shade of suspicion had ever been cast upon his honest and honourable bearing in all the relations of public or private life. The petitioners then submitted that the claims of the Irish bar to be placed on a footing of equality with the English bar rested on the great principles of imperial and civil equality as recognised by the Union, and prayed that, in any measure in reference to legal education, Ireland should be treated as an integral part of the United Kingdom. To such a prayer he imagined no man could offer any objection. He wag not conscious of any preference whatever having been given to the bar of the one country over the bar of the other in all the promotions in England, in Ireland, or in the Colonies; and the proposition that, on every principle of justice and equality, the Irish bar were entitled to the same consideration, was one which he was sure all their Lordships would admit. There might have been in former times, in different parts of the United Kingdom, objections to some judicial appointments, and to some appointments not judicial, but he was quite satisfied those objections could not justly be entertained now, with regard to judicial appointments especially, and he hoped and trusted they never would again prevail.


cordially concurred in every sentiment uttered by his noble and learned Friend, and in the eulogy he had pronounced on the ex-Lord Chancellor Blackburne. If it would tend to the consolidation of the Union, he should have no objection to the English Judges going the Irish circuits, and the Irish Judges the English circuits. He would just as soon be about to leave for Tipperary as for Northampton.

Petition to lie on the table.

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