HL Deb 04 July 1922 vol 51 cc208-9

Order of the Day for the Third Reading read.


My Lords, I move that this Bill be now read a third time. When the Bill was in Committee my noble and learned friend Lord Buckmaster, without moving a substantial Amendment, indicated some embryonic objection to one or other of its clauses upon the ground that it rendered compulsory a course of training which might be superfluous, and which was, in any event, unfair in the case of a solicitor who had proved himself capable of passing the examination. My noble and learned friend asked why, if a man is able to pass the examination, he should be artificially compelled to attend a certain course of lectures. I indicated some vague degree of sympathy with my noble and learned friend, but I fear it sprang from my own earlier delinquencies, in that I always extremely disliked lectures, yet on the whole found myself able to enter through the straight gate of examinations. Since then I have discussed this matter with those who have given it great consideration. My noble and learned friend, Viscount Haldane, and the official governing body of solicitors, attach very great importance to this clause. It is a very modest one, and, on the whole, I should have been hopeful, had my noble and learned friend been here, of persuading him that perhaps his objection was not worth perseverance. At any rate, I move that this Bill be now read a third time.

Moved, That the Bill be now read 3a.— (The Lord Chancellor.)


My Lords, I communicated with the noble and learned Viscount on the Woolsack, and also with my noble and learned friend, Lord Buckmaster, about this. I think the noble Lord's objections rested rather upon a misapprehension. The object of the solicitors is a very laudable one—namely, to improve the quality of mind of their articled clerks. The point is this. If you want to pass an examination, and have not done very much work, there are now abundant institutions in the neighbourhood of Chancery Lane which, for a moderate fee, will take you in hand three weeks before the examination comes on, and will so coach you, by anticipating the papers and the questions put in the examination, that you will find the passing of it not difficult. But I would point out that you have not got the training or the influence of the teacher when you pass an examination in this way. The solicitors have set up a very admirable law school; they have men like Professor Jenks, one of the first authorities on English constitutional law, and other first-rate lecturers, and they are trying, not exclusively there, but there and in other places, to level up the quality of their articled clerks. That is the. very essence and principle of the Bill, and I think we should not be doing right if we stood in the way of so laudable an object.

On Question, Bill read 3a, and passed, and sent to the Commons.