HL Deb 23 April 1913 vol 14 c281


Order of Day for the Second Reading read.


My Lords, this is a very modest and unpretending Bill which does not in any considerable degree alter the present law, but which I think will be very advantageous. Under the present law, if a solicitor is guilty of any misconduct his action is brought before the High Court, but the facts are inquired into by a standing committee appointed under an Act of Parliament. They make a report to the Judges, and thereupon the Judges inflict any sentence of deprivation or suspension that they may think proper. The purpose of this Bill is that when the facts have been investigated by the committee, then the committee themselves shall have the power to impose the appropriate sentence. It does not in any way interfere With the jurisdiction of the Judges, who will be able to correct, or to supersede, any orders which may be made by the committee. But the committee, instead of being merely a reporting body, are to be a body invested with some authority, subject always to an appeal.

The Bill will increase the responsibility and the authority of the committee, and cannot, I think, possibly do any harm to anybody, seeing that the jurisdiction of the Judges themselves is not at all impaired. The Bill is not only supported, as I am informed, by the Law Society themselves, but it is approved by my noble and learned friend the Lord. Chancellor. He desires, it is true, to make a reservation on one particular point, but in regard to that. I shall quite readily meet him in case he should find it necessary to persist in his criticism, It seems to me that it would be an advantage that a sense of responsibility and authority should attach to the disciplinary body of the profession. It is very much the same kind of thing as exists at the Bar at the present time, when the Inns of Court are able to disbar a man or to make an order of this kind, subject to appeal to His Majesty's Judges. Under these circumstances I hope the Bill may be read a second time. I beg to move.

Moved, That the Bill be now read 2a.—(Earl Loreburn.)

On Question, Bill read 2a, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House on Tuesday next.