Page images

were folded by them in different ways according to their instructions. After binding or stitching the ends of the folds together in order to keep

LAW SOCIETIES. them straight the cloth was made up into parcels and labels descriptive of the contents were affixed thereon. All these processes were essential

INCORPORATED LAW SOCIETY. processes in the respondents' business and were properly called "hooking,

SPECIAL GENERAL MEETING. lapping, making up, and packing"; but none of the processes were carried on by the respondents as incidental to bleaching or dyeing. All

A special general meeting of the Incorporated Law Society was held at the processes enumerated in schedule 4, part 1, of the Act of 1878, are

the society's hall, Chancery-lane, on Friday, the 28th ult., the vicefrequently carried on together in works which are commonly called president, Mr. C. B. MARGETTS (Huntingdon), in the absence of the bleaching and dyeing works ; but some of the processes, and in particular president, Mr. Wm. Godden (London), who was unable to be present "booking, lapping, making up, and packing,' are also carried on as from illness, taking the chair. separate trades by different employers. One or more of these processes

The Vice-PRESIDENT, in opening the proceedings, expressed his regret is or are carried on in all bleach and dye works.

at the absence of the president owing to illness. THE Court (Day and LAWRANCE, JJ.) allowed the appeal, being of

THE LAND TRANSFER Act. opinion that although the respondents' premises were not bleaching and Mr. ARTHUR MIDDLETON (president of the Leeds Law Society) had given dyeing works in the ordinary sense of tha words, the premises were within notice of the following motion : "That, haviog regard to the action of the the definition given in the section and were therefore à "factory” within Council of the society during the passage of the Land Transfer Bill the meaning of the Act.-COUNSEL, The Attorney-General and H. Sutton ; through the House of Commons last year, in not only withdrawing Lazarus ; Langdon. SOLICITORS, Solicitor to the Treasury ; Pritchard, Engle- opposition to, but approving such Bill, and taking into consideration the field, f Co., for Hill & Doughty, Manchester.

unmistakable position assumed and action taken subsequently by the [Reported by F. 0. ROBINSON, Barrister-at-Law.]

Yorkshire law societies, this meeting regrets that the Council, before

sending in their reply to the circular letter of the county council REG. 1. TAYLOR AND OTHERS, JUSTICES. Ex parte VOGWILL. deprecating the first trial of the Act in London, did not first consult with Div. Court, 25th Jan.

and consider the wishes of the provincial members through their proJUSTICES-DISQUALIFICATION-BIAS.

vincial law societies." Before moving it he asked the vice-president to

request the secretary to read the list of provincial societies and the resoluIn this case a rule nisi had been obtained for a certiorari to quash a tions they had sent in supporting his motion. licence granted by two of the licensing justices for the Eastington Ward The VICE-PRESIDENT said that & number of societies had forwarded of the county of Durham, on the ground that one of the said justices resolutions in support of the motion. They were as follows: Bradford was biassed. The facts of the case are shortly as follows: Charles Incorporated Law Society, Derby Law Society, Dewsbury. Incorporated Hunting, a justice of the peace for the county of Durham, signed a Law Society, Goole and District Incorporated Law Society, Halifax petition in favour of granting a grocer's licence to a Mrs. Laidler, of Incorporated Law Society, Huddersfield Incorporated Law Society, Hull South Hatton, Durham, in which place he lived. At the licensing sessions Incorporated Law Society, Leeds Incorporated Law Society, Sheffield held at Castlé Eden on the 25th of September, 1897, Charles Hunting District Incorporated Law Society, South Durham and North Yorks and another justice constituted the court. At this sessions application Law Society, Sunderland Incorporated Law Society, and Wakefield was made for Mrs. Laidler's grocer's licence, and the petition signed by Incorporated' Law Society. If the resolution passed by each society was the said C. Hunting in favour of the licence was put in and received by to be read it would occupy & great deal of time. the bench, and the licence was granted. There was no other licensing Mr. G. G. FISHER (Huddersfield) suggested that the mover of the business transacted at this sessions. From the affidavit subsequently resolution should refer to those parts of the resolutions which he considered sworn to by the said C. Hunting it appeared that he only attended applicable to the resolution. the licensivg meeting, which was not in his usual division, because The VICE-PRESIDENT said the sense of the resolutions was much to the the clerk to the justices applied to him to do so in order to make same effect in each case. up the number required for the bench. He further stated that he signed Mr. MIDDLETON said he did not wish that the whole of the resolutions the petition for special reasons and because he thought it was desirable should be read, but the law societies mentioned had sent communications that the licence should be granted, but that he had no interest in the to the Council supporting the motion, he understood. matter. He stated that when he signed the petition he had no idea he The VICE-PRESIDENT : That is so. In substance they did so. All the would be on the bench when the application was made, and that he had societies whose names I have just read out support Mr. Middleton's no bias in the matter and would have decided in the same way on the resolution. application being made even if he had not signed the petition. In Mr. GREGORY (Liverpool): That is not so on the part of Liverpool. We showing cause against the rule it was now contended that the fact that did not pass any resolution supporting Mr. Middleton's motion. one of the justices had signed a petition in favour of the licence did not Mr. MIDDLETON then moved his resolution. In speaking to it he said affect his conduct on the bench, and that the application was heard on its that the society represented the profession of the United Kingdom... It merits ; and further, that, according to Boulter V. Justices of Kent (66 L. J. was not the Incorporated Law Society of London, and he contended that Q. B. 787), licensing justices are not a court at all (see judgment of with regard to subject matters of importance which came before the Halsbury, L.C.). In support of the rule it was contended that licensing Council the members ought to be consulted on every occasion. He did not justices must use their discretion judicially: Allinson v. General Medical think that the provinces would ever for one moment raise an objection to the Council (42 W. R. 289; 1894, 1 Q. B. 750). By signing the petition the power, influence, and position of the society being used for the benefit of magistrate bad made himself a partizan in the matter before acting as a

the London profession on proper occasions. The influence of the society judge, and therefore there was reasonable ground to suspect him of bias. was no doubt very great, and there were many occasions where that The COURT (Day and LAWRANCE, JJ.) discharged the rule.

power could be used for the benefit of the London profession without in Day, J., in delivering judgment, said that looking at the facts of the the least manner reflecting upon, or damaging the interests of, the procase, no reasonable person could suspect that the magistrate in question fession in the provinces. But his motion related to a matter which was influenced by bias. There was no reasonable ground for suspicion. affected the interests of the provinces as much as those of London, and He lived in a neighbourhood where there was sometimes a difficulty, in therefore he was present to-day. It would be necessary for him to refer forming a quorum on the bench, and on this particular occasion he had to the events of the immediate past. His resolution embodied two thingsbeen requested to assist in doing so. He did not know the particular the question of principle, and the question of policy. It was a question application was to be made then. He thought the applicant was a proper of principle as regarded the Council of the society, and it was a question person to have a licence, and be considered it was wanted in the interests of policy with regard to the subject-matter. The question of principle of the neighbourhood. No one could say there was a reasonable was simple. In the early part of March, 1897, the provinces suddenly suspicion of bias on his part, and the rule would be discharged.

became apprised of the fact that the Council had acted without taking LAWRANCE, J., concurred. Rule discharged.-COUNSEL, Danckwerts ; $. them into consultation, thus reversing the policy of the past. They G. Lushington. SOLICITORS, J. E. & H. Scott, for William Bell, Sunderland ; had abandoned their former policy with regard to the Land Transfer Bill Hyman Isaacs, for Isidore Isaacs, Sunderland.

without giving the provinces reasonable intimation of the fact, and [Reported by E. G. STILLWELL, Barrister-at-Law.]

before the provinces had had the least opportunity of informing themselves of the fact. The Associated Provincial Law Societies met in

London in March, and were asked on that occasion to p188 a resolution to At Milwaukee, Wisconsin, says the Albany Law Journal, Robert Wagner the effect " That the country law societies continue their opposition to was recently on trial, in the Criminal Court, charged with setting fire to the compulsory clauses of the Bill." To that resolution the following his warehouse When the State closed its testimony, the conviction of amendment was moved : “ That the clauses of the Land Transfer Bill the defendant appeared certain, but by the testimony introduced by the imposing compulsory registration be opposed unless the following modifidefence an alibi was established to the entire satisfaction of the court. cations can be obtained : (1) A definite restriction in the Bill itself of the The defendant's two daughters did it by means of his snore. Both area within which compulsion may be applied : (2) The (a) initiative, or (6) testified that they knew their father was at home all night of July 3, on consent of county councils as a condition of the application of com. wbich it was charged he fired the warehouse. They were certain of this pulsory registration : (3) The lapse of a definite experimental period fact, because when asleep he had a peculiar snore which was different before the area in which compulsion may have been applied is extended : from any musical production of that kind rendered by anyone else. They (4) A restriction of the power of practising in the Land Registry for had heard him snoring before they went to sleep, and therefore knew he reward to solicitors." After a discussion the resolution was withdrawn was in the house at the time, and not at the factory. If he had gone out and the amendment was carried, and was then adopted as a substantive during the right, they said, he would have had to pass their door, and motion. The Yorkshire solicitors had not complained very strongly with they would bave heard him. So convincing were their statements that regard to the matter. This was the first time he had formally uttered a when the defence ceased Judge Wallber said to the attorneys there was no remonstrance. In Yorkshire they had come to the conclusion that their use arguing the case, as it was his duty to direct the jury to bring in a county should not be the first upon which the experiment should be tried, verdict of not guilty.

and they had expressed that opinion in plain and emphatic terms. They



[ocr errors]

had expressed it not only to the Council but in their own county and in the parent society he was very commonly met with the question What the lobby of the House of Commons and in the House of Commons itself. do they do for us?" He had tried to make a statement, in reply. It was The action of the Council was in fact responsible for the statement made impossible for him to give in detail the services rendered by the parent in the House of Commons that the Bill would receive the support of the society, and naturally the solicitor had to rely upon the bald statement profession. That statement had not been made in the House twenty-four that the Council were of very great use to the profession of the whole of hours when the Yorkshire society took care absolutely to contradict it. the country. That went without saying. It was admitted everywhere. That objection was emphasized to-day by the fact that the Council, But what was he to say in future? The action of the Council in this case curiously enough, were now opposing the Act. The Yorkshire society had been adverse to the interests of the provincial members of the society, opposed the Bill and they were left to their own devices by the action of and adverse in a manner which was not to be hidden under a bushel at the Council and they concluded it was proper that they should express all. The conduct of the Council had been bruited about in the broad light their opinion. Those opinions were that there was in existence a Land of day. The act was one which the Council could not accomplish in any Transfer Act; there was a Council in London which did not oppose the secrecy. It was known throughout all England, and the result would be Bill; further than that, behind the backs of the provincial law societies that there would be increased difficulty on the part of country members the Council went a step further and actually supported the Bill. The in obtaining fresh members. record of that support appeared in the Annual Report of 1897. Therefore The VICE-PRESIDENT reminded Mr. Middleton that the fifteen minutes the Council not only withdrew their opposition but actually supported the which, under the regulations, was allotted to the mover of a resolution

With that information before them the Yorkshire society laid had expired. Mr. Middleton was a little wandering from the subject. their views before the Council to the effect that Yorkshire did not want Mr. W. MELMOTH WALTERS (London) suggested that Mr. Middleton the Act and was not going to have it, that there was a Land Transfer Act should be allowed to proceed until he had finished his remarks. which was being administered in London, and if they could make any Mr. MIDDLBTON, asked what would be the case if the provincial members thing of it they were quite at liberty to make their first trial in the South of said: “What is the use of subscribing to the parent society? We can England. The area was fixed by the Bill, and it was nothing but a fair keep our 600 guineas a year in our pockets and can take our own suggestion that there should be no attempt to bring the Bill into operation course. He did not think it would be so, and would be sorry if it were. against the wish of the lay element, and that the country solicitors should At the same time it must be admitted that there was something due to not subject London to that against which they objected to be placed the provinces, and this was one of the most important questions. He under themselves. It was accordingly left to each county to say what it could not sit down without paying a tribute to that which he knew to chose upon the subject. In November last the London County Council exist, and had represented in Yorkshire again and again-namely, that took a very important and prudent course of action. They adopted the the members had no conception of the amount of time and the intelligence policy that the laity should be appealed to as to whether they wanted the and ability devoted by the Council to the benefit of the profession at Act or not. The county council sent out a circular letter to a number of large. These were all reasons why it was a very great pity indeed that on institutions, amongst them being, unfortunately as he now thought, the the present occasion the Council had done much to injure this valuable Council of the Law Society. The Law Society's Council took that letter into representation, as the societies feared in Yorkshire. consideration, without, he believed, so much as communicating to the Mr. J. S. YOULL (honorary treasurer of the Newcastle-on-Tyne Incorprovinces the fact that they had ever received it. There was scarcely a porated Law Society) seconded the motion. He expressed his law society which would not have given explicit instructions and spoken appreciation of the work done by the Council in the interests not only of its mind about it. The Council considered the matter and appointed a the profession but of the country generally. But he asserted, in con: special sub-committee and sent in their reply. The Council discounted by nection with the acknowledgment, that they had had very material their action the very force of the opposition against the Bill which the assistance from the members of the provincial law societies hitherto, and Yorkshire law societies had been making. In Yorkshire they had always they had more than once acknowledged that assistance. They had had said that, although they were themselves very ignorant with regard to on the Council members of the Newcastle society like John Clayton, land transfer, yet the laity were still more igncrant. There was not on whose name was yet revered, and other members of the society had the West Riding County Council six men who understood the question, rendered the Council valuable assistance. On their account and on but it was of importance that the persons interested should understand it behalf of his society he regretted that he had to complain of the conduct in course of time, and in the county of York they were making an endea of the Council in this matter. So far as he knew, from the reply of the vour to educate them. He suggested that the Council could have left the Council to the county council, on the 24th of November they received a matter quite well to the county council without interfering in it.

request to give their opinion, and their reply was not sent in until the 21at Mr. CHARLES FORD, L.O.O. (London): Hear, hear. A very good of December. The Council had, therefore, nearly four weeks within suggestion.

which they might have taken the provincial societies into their counsel, Mr. MIDDLETON said the reply to the county council's circular was of and the provincial solicitors thought they ought to have done so. He such a character that he doubted very greatly indeed whether there feared the action of the Council would have the result of to some extent was anyone who would venture to say it was not made in the interest disassociating the interest of the provincial societies from the parent of London and London alone, and whether it would not injure some society. He would exceedingly regret it, but he was here only to express one or more of the provinces. That was shortly bis case. He asserted the effect of a meeting of the standing committee of the Newcastle that the Council had absolutely set aside the interests of the provinces in society. He had been asked by the Newcastle society to attend the favour of the interests of London. They had sacrificed every county in meeting and support the resolution. He hoped, in the interests of the England except London. With regard to the question of policy. If the profession, that the motion might be toned down or smoothed over, and lay element had been let alone it would have spoken as it had spoken for that they in the provinces would, as hitherto, unite in protecting the itself. The laity were 100 per cent. stronger without the assistance of the interests not only of the profession but of the public. Council. The Council had discounted the value of the position of the Mr. SYDNEY GEDGB, M.P. (London), deprecated the application of the laity, and what was the probable result? That the friends of the measure, Land Transfer Act to this part of England. He thought their answer to whoever they might be-he had not found them yet outside the Land the question put to them in the resolution must depend to a great extent Registry Office and the Government itself-whoever these friends might upon the view they took of the Act. If that Act was a blessing, and if be, and wherever they might be, would have it put into their mouths that the Council considered it an unmitigated blessing, then the provincial this powerful association had been working in London to frustrate the societies might justly claim that the Council, which was supposed to operation of the Bill by preventing its trial here, and that they had been represent the whole of the country, should not have taken any part in using their machinery for this purpose. He was not saying that this was acquiring that blessing for the benefit, not of one, but of all parts of the the fact, but it had been put into the mouths of their foes, and he country. But if, as nearly all the members of the profession considered, challenged the Council to deny it. The true policy was to have let the so far from its being a blessing the Act was a curse to their clients, question alone and to have left the lay element to deal with it. It was they should do their best to prevent its being put into operation. It was quite common for solicitors' clients when they had got an awkward Act of a curse, not perhaps to the present generation of solicitors, for he sup; Parliament, and it turned out disadvantageous, to say that it was the legal posed old men like himself, with only a few years more of work, would element in Parliament which had brought it about. They had probably make a great deal out of the Act and out of their clients than endeavoured to make it perfectly clear in Yorkshire that it was not the if it did not exist. But they should look to those who were to follow, legal element in this case. He was here simply to stand up for the and he said it was a curse to the profession, because it was taking away members of the society in the provinces. They were small individually, necessary business which had to be done by them and handing it over to but he claimed that he represented upwards of 600 solicitors who were the a body of officials appointed by the State and nominated by the Lord members of the Yorkshire societies, and there were probably an equal Chancellor. When the matter was under discussion he had said that he number in the Lancashire societies. These solicitors had spoken to the saw no reason why the Act ehould be tried on a large county, but rather Council in the resolutions which had been referred to in unmistakable terms, that the experiment should be carried out on a small county. He conand if they had had the opportunity they would have spoken on equally sidered the Act a curse, and that being the case he did not think they strong terms before the Council addressed their reply to the county ought to blame the parent society for refraining from asking for its being council's circular letter. As a matter of fact resolutions had been passed applied to London and for objecting without consulting the provincial law and had only not been sent because it had been found that the reply societies ; because if it was not applied to London the Lord Chancellor of the Council had been forwarded to the county council weeks previously. must look elsewhere. Then the provincial law societies where the Act But resolutions of the whole of the Yorkshire law societies were upon was proposed to be put in force would have the same opportunity of the minnte bocks protesting against the action of the Council. T'he bringing their reasons against it to bear upon the county councils of their minds of the Yorkshire societies were perfectly clear, and it would own districts, and the parent society would do all in their power to help be very difficult to argue their opinions away. He would admit candidly them, so that each county in its turn may pass a resolution objecting to that he had had considerable dificulty in preventing the members of those the application of the Act to it, and so, one by one, every county would societies from discontinuing membership with the parent society. He object, and the Lord Chancellor would see that when he endeavoured to looked upon it as a matter grievous to the interests of the profession that force upon the landowners and the profession what they could have had there should be any dieruption between the provincial societies and voluntarily years ago, the Act was inoperative. The resclution said: London. When he had asked Yorkshire solicitors to become members of Having regard to the action of the Council of the society during the


passage of the Land Transfer Bill through the House of Commons last arena of the county which could be affected by local influences, and

He was speaking to those who elected the Council, and he said which would deal with the question probably according to the views without fear of contradiction that the body to which they owed the pass. expressed by its constituents they acted, and the council thought they ing of the Bill into law was the Council of the Law Society. He, with were doing an advisable thing. He quite believed that opinions might the aid of Mr. Helder and others, had done his best at the fag end of the differ as to that, and as a Yorkshireman he sympathized with the action session to prevent the Bill from passing. But at every stage he had been of Mr. Middleton and others who came up to town and fought most met by the Government and by others with the statement: “Why, your ' vigorously. The Council did feel very strongly that in the course they own Council, the Council of the Law Society, have approved it!" That had taken there was no kind of desire to injure their country friends or had tied his hands and shut his mouth. How could he, ono solicitor,' any kind of desire that London should gain an advantage. The Council stand and say the Bill was bad in its operation when he was in would repudiate anything of the kind. Their hope was that this would formed both by the public and official and private members in the lobby be offered about from constituency to constituency, and that it would be that the Council were in favour of it? It was the action of the Council rejected by all. He could promise Mr. Middleton that if there was any. in supporting the Bill which had enabled it to be passed. A very little thing the Council could do in helping to prevent compulsory registration belp, and the absence of that support, would have enabled those opposed to in Yorkshire they would do it and give him every assistance. He moved it to throw out the Bill. If a resolution of censure of the Council for their as an amendment: “That in the opinion of the meeting the Council acted action bad been brought before the society he should have supported it, rightly in responding to the request of the London County Council that because he thought it a great deal too bad of the Council to desert them they should express their opinion upon the proposed application of the as they did. What reason did the Council give? It was simply a policy compulsory clauses of the Land Transfer Act, 1897, to the county of of cowardice, and that if they did not allow the Bill to pass something London.” woree would be carried. Not a bit of it. If it was a Reform Bill, or å A MEMBER said it seemed to him that the amendment was entirely Deceased Wife's Sister Bill, the position of solicitors would be different; unnecessary. but in a Bill of this kind, which clients did not understand, and for The Vice-PRESIDENT : I rule that it is in order. which there was no public cry, it was a different matter. It must be Mr. O. H. MORTON (Liverpool) seconded the amendment. He observed remembered, too, that a man could register if he chose. In the case of a that be was one of the secretaries of the Associated Provincial Law Bill of this kind, for which there was no public cry, if they had all set to Societies. It was right that he should say that on this particular question work to influence their representatives in Parliament it might have been the associated societies had not been consulted, and he did not know their thrown out. He could not support the motion.

mind. He was also one of the past presidents of the Liverpool Law Mr. JOSEPH ADDISON (London) said he did not think that any member of Society, but he did not represent that body on this occasion. He was the Council, nor did he think that any London solicitor, could have the here as a member of the society, and as such only expressed his opinion, slightest objection to the terms in which Mr. Middleton had moved the He had a very definite opinion upon the subject-matter brought forward resolution. He personally was very glad, and he thought they all were, by Mr. Middleton. He could not see how the Council could possibly have that the subject, if this was the feeling of the country members, had been done otherwise than had been the case. He knew it was very difficult to brought before the meeting. Because it would be a most unfortunate be fair and logical when one's personal interests were in danger. With thing if their friends in the country believed that they in London had a full knowledge of the possibility that the reply of the Council might have asserted their interests before those of country solicitors, and that they assisted in confining the application of the Act to London, and with a bad taken the course of action which they had thought desirable with the full knowledge that, having regard to the pledge the Attorney-General intention or with the possible result of sacrificing them. That, he was gave to Yorkshire, in could not in decency be applied there, and that the sure, was an idea which never would occur either to the Council, which, as next county which would probably be selected would be the county of Mr. Middleton truly said, represented the whole profession, nor would it Lancashire, in which he practised, he still thought that the Council could be desired by solicitors practising in London or Middlesex that anything have done nothing more than they had done. It must be remembered of the kind should take place. And he must confess that whatever might that the Council represented the metropolis, who numbered nearly onebe thought, and opinions like that of Mr. Gedge might very well differ as half the members of the society, and that the country members joined it to the course which the Council took with regard to the Land Transfer knowing that London had no law society proper and peculiar to its own Bill, he should not bave thought that two opinions could have existed as district, and that it represented London par excellence, and they did it with to the propriety of the Council, upon being asked by the constituted their eyes open and knowing at the time that the interests of the metro, authority which by the Act was appointed to determine whether or not the polis might conflict with the interests of the provinces. He had heard Act should be brought into compulsory operation in a particular area, charges made in that hall that the Council" never did anything the that the Council should have unhesitatingly expressed its opinion. The members wanted, and he ventured to think that if they had not replied to Council's opinion had from first to last been always against compulsory the county council's letter that charge would have been reasonable. It registration. When the Bill was brought forward by the Lord Chancellor was impossible to say, when matters came forward which conflicted with in the beginning of last session the question was considered whether, after different districts, that the Council must do nothing. There was seldom the increasing efforts on the part of the supporters of the measure to bring a case where some small section was not injured by some change of the it forward, it was or was not desirable that, the Lord Chancellor having law, and were the Council to be always passive in such cases, and who limited the area in which the Bill should be applied, and also allowing the was to put the test whether or not it affected the provinces or town local authority the veto whether or not the Bill should be applied, the sufficiently to say whether the Council should take action. The broad question was eeriously considered by the Council whether or not it was question underlying Mr. Middleton's resolution was that the Council could desirable to consent to the passing of the Bill. Mr. Middleton, he was never take any step which was likely to affect the provinces without the bure, absolutely spoke what was within his knowledge ; but this was not approval of the provincial law societies. Therefore, on this particular done in any hurry. The members of the Land Transfer Committee, all of question of principle, he could not vote with Mr. Middleton, them men of the greatest experience and who had maintained this fight Mr. Forn, as a member of the London County Council, had no doubt for years, had considered this very carefully. The Council, consisting that the county council would decide to decline to shut out the operation both of London and country members, considered it. The Council com of the Act from the county of London. But he also had no doubt that it municated with all the provincial law societies. He believed that the would be limited to some part of the county to begin with. He was very draft Bill was sent out to each provincial law society. A meeting of the much surprised at the amendment. He could not see that it was germane provincial societies was held in London, and the result of the resolutions to the question. It seemed to him an attempt to get rid of the real issue, passed then was to this effect : That the clauses of the Land Transfer Bill which was whether or not the Council bad exercised a wise discretion. imposing, compulsory registration be opposed unless the following Mr. Gedge had called the Bill a curse. This was not a very complimentary modifications be obtained : a definite restriction in the Bill itself of the epithet when one remembered that the measure had received the support · area within which compulsion may be applied; the initiative or consent of the Council. of county councils as a condition of the application of compulsory regis A MEMBER : No; of members of the Council. tration; the lapse of a definite experimental period before the area in which Mr. Ford said he was very often in disagreement with the Council ; but compulsion may bave been applied is extended; the restriction of the if ever the Council showed wisdom they showed it when they wished to power of practising in the land registry for reward to solicitors. Each pass the Bill. There were on the records of the London County Council and all of these conditions had been strictly and accurately complied the views of two most distinguished members of the profession. Mr. Lake with a definite area, and a definite area only, could be selected. No was in favour of the area being made to affect so much of the county as other area could be selected for three years. The county council had the lay within the geographical district of Middlesex. Against that there was absolute right of veto. Of course there were dissentients amongst the the view of Mr. Rubinstein, who did not think the Act ought to be Council as to the policy of keeping up resistance. There was a very large introduced at all. He wished to call the attention of the meeting to a majority in favour of meeting the proposition so made. That majority did most important letter which had been received from the Privy Council on not arrive at the conclusion it did without taking counsel with Members of the 18th of January. It stated that the first area, comprising one-fourth Parliament who represented the legal interests. The meetings were or less of the county, would be selected with a view to the utilization of attended by those members, and they expressed to the Couucil that they the existing offices in Lincoln's-inn-fields as a land registry, and that might possibly succeed in throwing out the Bill that session, but that was a reasonable solution of the matter. But there was on the agenda a there was a very large preponderance of opinion in favour of it in the matter relating to the Law Club, and he could tell Mr. Middleton that the House. It was supported by the Opposition because they all knew what members of the Law Club would determine his motion, and that if he Sir William Harcourt had said about it, and they all knew that his (Mr. Middleton) had only known as much as he did of their power he Government had pledged itself to support it. They all knew that the would not have taken the trouble to come up from Yorkshire. He could present Government were pledged, and they further knew that a Bill not help thinking it would be beneficial to the Council if the resolution applying compulsion to the whole of England passed the House of Lords were passed. It would touch them up, and they would be a little more in 1896, and that they could not get any opposition to the passing of that active in the future. He hoped the meeting would not adopt the Bill in the House of Lords. It was in the face of those difficulties and in ridiculous amendment. the belief that they could succeed in taking the question away from the Mr. J. S. RUBINSTEIN (London) said he was heartily in accord with a great arena in which it seemed likely to be prejudged against them to the deal that Mr. Middleton had said as to the early history of the matter.

He was bound to say, as a solicitor not exactly in the confidence of the Mr. FORD: No, no. We asked the Incorporated Law Society as repreCouncil, that he was somewhat amazed when he discovered they were senting the whole of the country. parties to the compromise. At the same time there were reasons, perhaps, Mr. B. G. LAKB (London): Read your own circular. which the members were not aware of which might have induced the Mr. HUGHES said it was stated by Mr. Rubinstein that the Council as & Council to take up the matter. As far as the Council's reply to the county London body should do this, that, or the other. His point was that there council was concerned he thought they were fully justified. The London was no question of a London body at all, but it was the representative of County Council appointed a sub-committee to consider the matter, and the United Kingdom, and that as such it was its duty to consult its this sub-committee thought it desirable before coming to a conclusion to constituents in matters of great importance. That was the point send circular letters of enquiry to some of the leading representative at issue, and why country solicitors had come up to-day. There was a bodies to ask what they thought of the measure as applicable to London, feeling, and a very strong one, which, if the Council were wise, they not as to the country. They sent it to some of the best known societies would not act again, whatever they had done in answering the county and institutions, the City Corporation, vestries, railway societies, Law Council's letter, without previously consulting the provinces. He Society, Institute of Banking, Surveyors' Institute, Auctioneers’ Institute, hoped someone in authority would tell the country solicitors that should School Board, and others. When the Council of the society received that such an occasion occur again, they would consult their constituents in letter he apprehended that it was their duty to consider it as a London the provinces, and let them have an opportunity of expressing their body as it applied to London. They were asked for an opinion upon that opinion. He did not suppose the motion would be carried, but if the question. They were not asked to go round the country and ask what Council wished to allay any feeling of discontent in the provinces they they in the country thought of it. They did perfectly right in coming to must consult the country solicitors on important points of this description. a conclusion. But Mr. Middleton seemed to have had a wholly exagger Mr. C. T. SAUNDERS (Birmingham) said he was the oldest country ated view of the influence of their reply. He did not think for a moment member of the Council present. He had always been jealous in the that the reply of the solicitors influenced one of the bodies that sent in extreme of the country interests. No one in the meeting could say he their replies. They sent them in quite independently. He had before bad not. On this occasion he was bound not to give a silent vote, but to him a list of the replies sent in. There were twelve vestries and district say that he thought the Council were justified in the course they had bodies in favour. Mr. Lake also appeared on that side, making the taken. And for this reason, that silence on their part would have been unfortunate number thirteen. On the other side there were twenty-one disastrous. It was impossible for the Council to have supposed that the vestries and local bodies far more important.

country members would object to the course they had taken when the Mr. FORD: No, no.

question was one entirely affecting London alone. He quite admitted Mr. RUBINSTEIN: I have the list.

that if there had been a body of London solicitors outside their society to

whom the county council could have appealed, that then, inasmuch as Mr. FORD: So have I.

the society was the representative of the town and country alike, it would Mr. RUBINSTEIN said that there were in addition eight railway companies, have been well for the Council to have acted otherwise. But there was no including the Great Western and the London and North-Western. There such body, as was well known, and the only organ of the London branch were also six other institutions—the Auctioneers’ Institute, the Ecclesi of the profession was the parent society. Was the London element to be astical Commissioners, the Building Societies’ Association, the Institute of entirely silent on the question when that question was as to the applicaBankers, the Incorporated Law Society, and Lord Portman. In addition, tion of the Act to its centre? He thought not, any more than that the matter seems to have created some interest and excitement outside, London should have asked that Yorkshire should have been silent if it was and other bodies, of their own initiative, bad sent in replies. Some of proposed to extend the Act to Yorkshire. They were greatly indebted to these were the Birkbeck Land Society, the Freehold Land Society, the Yorkshire for the efforts they had made in the last stages of the Bill to British Land Society, and the Property and Estates Co. Mr. Ford had ameliorate it ; and the efforts made were successful in ameliorating the Bill, told the meeting that his (Mr. Rubinstein's) name appeared on the county and even more than ameliorating it by compromise on the part of the council's records. He had interested himself in sending up some material Council. But Yorkshire should remember that it was a party to that great to the county council on which they might form a judgment. He was meeting of the societies where the terms of the compromise were very much surprised to hear Mr. Ford suggest that the county council distinctly approved of by those societies, and those terms were carried out would adopt the Act. If they did so, it would be against all the reasoning faithfully by the Council. The Council gave way at the last moment, not that could be brought forward ; because, of all the thirteen who supported because they approved of the Bill. The Council detested it, and conthe Act, only two had given reasons. One reason given by one of the sidered it a curse, and believed it would be so; but, nevertheless, in the bodies was to the effect that, having regard to the vast number of proper- exercise of that judgment which they were bound to exercise, and on the ties that would be affected, and their immenee value, they were in favour authority of men in the House of Commons of the highest position and of its application to London-the very reason given by a great number of in whom the Council had the highest confidence, they were bound to others against it. There were two pages of reasons given as to why the consider that this struggle had been going on for years and the strain had Act should not be adopted. If the Council of the society had omitted to become impossible. And the Council concluded, in the exercise of that let the county council know that they were not in favour of the applica- judgment, that this was a time in which a compromise most favourable tion of the Act to London, that would call for a vote of censure, because to the profession and the public could be obtained, and that compromise improper use had been made of the argument that the Law Society were was obtained. But they did not surrender their right to contest the in favour of the Act. He had seen inspired articles in some of the leading application of the Act when it came before any centre. And wherever journals, written obviously in Lincoln's-inn-fields, putting that forward, the Act was sought to be imposed, whether in town or country, he hoped He did not altogether fancy the amendment. It seemed to him a very that the profession, in the interests of their clients, would be ready to milk-and-water affair, and, as an independent member, if the amendment oppose it That influence was as great as in the days of Brougham, when should be withdrawn, he would like to move : " That, having regard to he said that no Registration Bill could be passed if the country solicitors the vast number of properties that would be affected, and the immense were opposed to it. If the Council had not agreed to the compromise the value, complexity, and importance of the interests involved, this meeting Bill would bave been stopped, but the Council would have for ever considers that the Council was fully justified in replying to the London alienated the good feeling of the Lord Chancellor. The Upper House and County Council, and in expressing the view that the county of London the Lower House on both sides were in favour of the Bill, and the Council was not a suitable county for trying the experiment of compulsory regis- could not hope to stop it for ever, and they thought a convenient opportration."

tunity had arrived to have the Bill tried on the terms most favourable to Mr. H. Hughes (Sheffield) said that during the debate there had ap; the profession and the public, and were not to blame in so doing. He peared some amount of feeling which might exist as between London and trusted that in the interests of the town and of the country no vote the provinces in the matter. Mr. Addison's remarks were not quite would be taken to-day. He should be sorry to see a vote either way. He apposite to the subject. Their objection to the attitude of the Council hoped the speakers would be satisfied with having aired their grievances. with reference to the measure was that it enabled their opponents to say Let there be no division between the town and the country. that the profession supported it. That was why provincial solicitors had Mr. J. W. BUDD (London) said the question was addressed by the continued their opposition, and why he had come up to London to-day. London County Council to the Council of the Incorporated Law Society Here they had, as a recognized fact, the Council of the Incorporated Law as representing the solicitors of the United Kingdom. No member of the Society withdrawing all opposition to the Bill; nay, more, saying that as Council had at any time suggested that a question of this kind was amended they were in favour of it. That state of things having existed, addressed to them as a London body. They were not a London body, he did not think the Council would be much indebted to Mr. Gedge for they had a very large representation of the country upon the Council. saying that the Council were opposing the Act in the hope that it would They had not only the permanent members of the Council, as good repre, be taken round from place to place and finally abandoned. That would sentatives as the provinces could wish to have on any body, but they had be an attitude that the council would hardly' thank anyone for putting the assistance of the presidents for the time being of certain provincial law them in, because it would be saying that they had changed their minds societies whose counsels were of the greatest assistance. The Council since last year and intended to oppose it in every district. That the claimed that they sat not specially for London or for the provinces, but Council bad changed their minds he did not believe. The Council they for the whole body of solicitors throughout the United Kingdom. When fondly hoped was the mouthpiece of the whole profession. It had been questions were addressed to the Council upon which they thought they asked by the London County Council to state its views with reference to could obtain a greater appreciation of the views of country solicitors by the adoption of the Act in the administrative county of London. Before correspondence with the provincial societies, the Council took that means taking the step of opposing it, they should have applied to the provincial of arriving at a proper decision. The question submitted to the Council solicitors, not for dictation or control, but that the provincial solicitors on the present occasion was whether a certain district in London was a might bave an opportunity of stating their views before any irrevocable suitable district in which to apply the Act. They felt, and he thought step should be taken. What he objected to was what had been said by rightly, that they required no assistance from the association of proMr. Rubinstein, when be stated that it was the duty of the Council, as the vincial societies—that was to say, from gentlemen dwelling in distant parts London body, to oppose the existence of the Act in the administrative —from beyond that afforded to them by the very ample representation the district.

country had at the Council board, and he thought they were justified, and Mr. RUBINSTEIN : I said their opinion was asked as a London body. that they had no right to delay the reply to such an important question as

this in order to obtain opinions which were amply represented at the to ask for this power, and a circular was sent round to the provincial Council board. It had never been treated by the Council as a Londou members on the subject. Four hundred answers were received, and 160 question. Of course in this much-vaunted Act they all knew that although promised to subscribe. The club then went to the Council and obtained it had been brought forward by two successive Governments in the their sanction as far as they could give it to the change. Then they supposed interests of landowners, neither the landowners nor those best found it necessary to come to the society itself, as under the rules no calculated to form a judgment thought it was the hoon it was supposed to alteration could be made without the consent of the society. be. No doubt wherever the Privy Council proposed to apply it the people Mr. V. J. CHAMBERLAIN (London) seconded the motion. The alteration of that district would think it had better be applied somewhere else. The would be of benefit to the club and to the society. meeting was discussing whether the Council had been guilty of a derelic Mr. FORD moved as an amendment to add the following words“ subtion of duty in not taking those steps which they invariably took where ject to the approval of the Council of the Incorporated Law Society, such they thought their minds could be enlightened by so doing. The Council approval to be communicated to the society at its next meeting." The did not consider it desirable and he was quite sure they were fully justified alteration would give more power than ever to the club, and he asked if it in the course they took. He appealed to the proposer to withdraw the was wise to do this. The club could then let in anybody, the officers of motion.

the High Court of Justice or anyone else without paying an entrance Mr. H. Roscoe (London) said the metting might have perfect confidence fee. that on every occasion country interests were considered by the Council Mr. J. T. ATKINSON (Selby), as a country member, supported the quite fully, and that the consideration of those interests, he might say, motion. He regretted that the committee had not taken such a step really predominated, because there was an honourable feeling amongst before. As a country member of the Council he had often felt the want of the London members of the Council that, being a majority, it would be the club. most unfair to use that majority against the country solicitors if they Mr. W. H. WINTERBOTHAM (London) said that Mr. Ford's statement as could possibly avoid it. In any question between town and country the to the committee of the club letting anyone in was incorrect, as no country was much more likely to give the vote than vice versa, and rightly persons could become members of the club who were not already members so, because the Council represented the whole of the members, and the of the society. He believed also that the club could make no alteration in bulk of the members were country members. He hoped the motion the subscriptions without the approval of the Council. would be withdrawn. If the solicitors in London had said the Act ought The VICE-PRESIDENT observed that there was no possibility of anyone to be applied to London, what chance would there have been for others being elected a member of the club who was not a member of the to have refused the Act? The time would come when the authorities would society. say, “ London did not object, what possible reason have you for doing Mr. FORD: Honorary members. so ?” The Council had fought the Act throughout, and the majority of Mr. WALTERS said that the resolution would make no alteration what. members of the Council would advise every county to object to it every ever in the class of persons who were eligible to become members of the time it was sought to be introduced.

club. Granting that that particular class remained the same the comMr. J. W. ADDYMAN (Leeds) was afraid the Council would not appreciate mittee might reduce the subscription for country members. That was the the feeling which existed not only in Yorkshire, but in surrounding only point. counties. He represented the Wakefield Incorporated Society. If the The amendment was rejected ; three votes being given in its favour and London Council persisted in following the course they had taken in the a large number against. matter he was afraid there would be a large decrease in the number of The resolution was carried with one dissentient vote. members of the Wakefield Society who were members of the Incorporated Law Society, and who would secede from the parent society.

STAMP DUTIES. The Council represented some 3,000 London solicitors and some 7,000

Mr. C. H. MORTON moved, in accordance with notice : " That the country solicitors. But there was a higher standard than that. They not present system under which retrospective regulations as to stamp duties only represented the members of the society, but of the profession as a

are issued is unsatisfactory, and should be amended.” whole, and the position they should have taken up was either to have Mr. W.O. LORD (Manchester) seconded the motion, and it was carried upheld the example of Mr. Lake, or else to have left the thing alone. without discussion. One could not help feeling that the position of the Council was not altogether an unselfish one. As to having obtained an expression of opinion from the associated law societies, if the Council considered the resolutions adopted then justified them in the course they had followed, he was exceedingly sorry for them, because, in his opinion, it was nothing more

LEGAL NEWS. than- to use an expression common in his own part of the country-a put-up job. A circular was sent out from the parent society in January

APPOINTMENTS. to each eecretary of a provincial society, asking whether they were ready to fall into line and assist the Council in formulating the opposition against the City Commission of Sewers, has been appointed Comptroller of the

Mr. EDGAR ALEXANDER BAYLIS, solicitor, until lately the solicitor to the Bil. From then until the time when the meeting of the associated City of London in the place of Mr. Brand, resigned. societies was held in London no communication was issued to the societies in the provinces. The Council had approved of the Land Transfer Act.

Mr. Harry Burton, solicitor, of High-street Burton-on-Trent, bas Mr. W. MELMOTH Walters (London) said Mr. Addyman should not been appointed a Notary Public. make incorrect statements. It was not true to say that the Council approved the Bill.

Mr. ADDYMAN said that they permitted it to p183. The In corporated

Law Society consented to the passing of the Bill.
Mr. WALTERS: On conditions.

JOHN TREVOR-Davies and DOUGLAS HERON MARRABLE, solicitors Mr. Addyman said that then they refused to have it in London. Who, (Trevor-Davies & Marrable), 8A, New-inn, London, Yeovil, and Ilchester. then, was tɔ be the victim? After consenting to the Act as a whole they Dec 31. meant to kill it in detail. He asserted that that was a dishonest action.

WILLIAM SLARK and WILLIAM MAURICE COMPTON BURNETT, solicitors The country solicitors were here to tell the Council in plain and unmis: (William Slark & Co.), 33, Southampton-street, Strand, London. Dec. 31. takeable terms that if they wished to keep the allegiance of their provincial members they had better not do it again. The country

[Gazette, Jan. 28. solicitors had been treated in the way they had because the Council thought they had the force of numbers.

INFORMATION WANTED, A MBMRER rose to order. This was not the resolution.

SARAH Alice LEIGH, deceased.- A reward of £10 will be paid for the The Vice-PRESIDENT : I rule you out of order. You have no business last will of Miss Sarab Alice Leigh, late of 90, Gordon-road, Ealing, W., to make the offensive attacks upon the Council. I will put the amend. recently deceased. Apply to Robert Leigh, 90, Gordon-road, Ealing. ment to the vote.

Mr. SAUNDERS urged Mr. Middleton to withdraw the motion in the interests of peace.

GENERAL, Mr. Middleton did not respond, and the amendment was carried, 160 It is announced that Mr. John Forbes, Q.C., has retired from 'votes being given in its favour and 28 against.

practice. The VICE-PRESIDENT then put the amendment as a substantive motion, but

The Master of the Rolls has been elected a Fellow of the Royal A MEMBER moved that the meetivg proceed to the next business.

Society. Mr. Ford rose to a point of order ; but

The list of House of Lords appeals consists of seventeen cases, of which The Vice-PRESIDENT said the next business motion took precedence of only six are English, while eleven are Scotch appeals, there being no Irish everything (Ise, and it was put and carried.

cases set down. The hearing of these appeals will be resumed about the

middle of next month. LAW SOCIETY'S CLUB.

A Practitioner," writing to the Times, says that a very considerable Mr. Walters moved an amendment of the Law Society's Club rules, to proportion of the business now blocking the Chancery Courts consists of the effect that “The committee shall have power at their discretion to actions relating to patents. These actions are, no doubt, of importance suspend or reduce the entrance fee for any period or for any claes of to the parties, but they involve no intricate questions of law, while the membere, an'l also to rednce the annual subscription payable by members trial of item frequently runs to somewhat inordinate length, and they or any clifs of members." This, he said, would have the effect of giving prove a very serious obstruction to the ordinary business of the Chancery the committee power to admit members of the society to the club without Courts. A short time ago it was arranged, by the courtesy of the Lord the payment of any entrance fee and upon payment of a small subscrip- Chief Justice, that a fair proportion of these patent cases should be transtion, say of £2 2s. The committee of the club had come to the conclusion | ferred to the Queen's Bench Division. After an experience of two or

« PreviousContinue »