HL Deb 25 March 1870 vol 200 cc636-7

presented a petition from the Society of Attorneys and Solicitors in Ireland, incorporated by Royal charter, complaining of certain fees exacted by the Benchers of the King's Inn, Dublin, and praying for redress. The Petitioners represented that before 1866 every attorney and solicitor in Ireland was a member of the Society of the King's Inns in Dublin, and the Benchers of that society exercised control over both branches of the profession. In 1793 they were empowered to impose a fee of £11 7s. 6d., which was called a deposit for chambers, upon the admission of every attorney and solicitor; and of the sum of £92,000, to which the funds of the Benchers had increased down to the year 1866, no less than £53,000 had been derived from these fees. In 1859 the Benchers had received £46,000 from that source, and it appeared that £30,000 of it was applied to the building of a library, chambers, and lecture-rooms for the use of the profession. When the Act of 1866 established the attorneys and solicitors as a separate society, they applied to the Benchers to transfer to them the buildings which had been erected for their accommodation, and to give them a return of the money which remained. The Benchers peremptorily refused to do this, and declined to receive a deputation from the society to consider the matter. Eminent counsel had decided that their claim was a valid one; but the difficulty which they experienced was as to the mode of redress, because, from the fact of every Judge in Ireland being a Bencher, they could not institute a suit in a court the presiding Judge of which would practically be a defendant. Under these circumstances, they had asked him to bring the matter before their Lordships' House, and he intended early next week to refer to it more fully, and to introduce a Motion which, he hoped, would have the effect desired by the Petitioners.

Petition to lie on the Table.