HL Deb 30 June 1862 vol 167 cc1203-4

said, that since the Union the greatest desire had been shown to assimilate the law and the administration of justice in Ireland and England, and in his opinion it would be wise to allow the barristers and attorneys of one country to practise in the other. He was not prepared to make a proposition with respect to barristers, whose call was subject to regulations by the Benchers of the Inns of Court; but the admission of attorneys to the courts in England and Ireland was regulated by Act of Parliament, and he hoped their Lordships would agree with him that it was desirable to amend the existing law, so as to give the attorneys of one country permission to practise in the Superior Courts of the other. He could see no possible objection to it, and he conceived it would be of great advantage to the public. A landowner, the bulk of whose property was in England, and who resided in England, and who possessed property in Ireland, ought to be able to employ his family solicitor to manage business connected with his Irish property; and persons in Ireland who had to enforce rights in England ought to have the same power, and be able to appeal to the English courts of justice by means of their own solicitor, who was necessarily best acquainted with the circumstances and nature of their claims. Irish attorneys and solicitors were at present allowed to practise before their Lordships' House to prosecute Irish appeals. He had prepared a short Bill on the subject, which he begged to lay on the table, and he hoped the noble and learned Lords would give it their consideration.

The noble Lord then presented "A Bill to amend the Laws relating to the Attorneys and Solicitors of the Superior Courts of England and Ireland respectively."


said, he had not been aware that it was the intention of the noble Marquess to present a Bill on this subject, and he thought it would not be desirable to enter into a discussion until their Lordships had been informed of its provisions. It might be that the proposition of the noble Marquess was theoretically right, and that it was consistent with uniformity; but it was a singular fact that no single practitioner on either side of St. George's Channel had ever complained of the existing practice as a grievance, or had ever suggested any measure of the kind; nor had he ever heard of any practical injury being sustained to which it was desirable to apply a remedy. If the principle of the Bill were conceded, it must have a very wide extension, and a much larger inquiry and a further consideration of the subject in all its branches would be necessary than their Lordships would be able to give at this period of the Session. He hoped, therefore, that the noble Marquess would not now proceed with his Bill. The whole subject would be examined before a Select Committee in another Session.


agreed that it was impossible to contemplate any actual legislation during the present Session, but thought that the public were much indebted to the noble Marquess for having called attention to the subject. He could not concur with the noble Marquess in thinking, that if any reform of this sort was required, it should stop short in throwing open the courts of one country to the legal practitioners of the other at the rank of attorneys and solicitors, or even at advocates. He thought the introduction of the Bill might be very useful, as laying a foundation for the discussion of questions of wider scope. He did not see, for example, why it might not be extremely convenient for England and Ireland that the Judges of the Superior Courts of one country should preside in those of the other. He thought that in some future Session of Parliament some inquiry into the question might be made.


said, he was quite aware that such a reform, once commenced, could not stop at this stage, and it was for the purpose of calling attention to the subject that he had introduced this Bill.

After a few words from LORD WENSLEYDALE,

Bill read 1a[Bill 136].