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“the degree of Utter Barristers” by the Bench, but that this did not entitle the barrister to plead until the lapse of two years, during which period he was not allowed to wear a Bar Gown in Westminster Hall, or to practise the law, but was compelled to continue the exercise of “mooting" in the Inns of Chancery.*
If there were no examinations then, the course devised was far more exacting even than that which we have sketched, and that there were legal giants in those days, the direct outcome of this rigorous training, is common knowledge.
H. DRYSDALE WOODCOCK.
II. Two important articles on the subject of reform in legal education have appeared in the Law Magazine for February and May from the pen of Mr. Montague Crackanthorpe and the Lord Chief Justice respectively, in which the utilization of the proposed new teaching University for London to this end is advocated. Both these distinguished writers have purposely confined themselves to general propositions, making no attempt to work out the details of a scheme for accomplishing the desired result; but now that the London University Commission Bill has been read a second time in the House of Commons, it seems desirable to consider how the Law Faculty in the reconstituted University might be utilized for the purpose proposed.
With this view let it be assumed that the advocates of reform have proved their case, and let it be taken for granted (1) that the present system of education is defective and that a change is desirable, and (2) that the change should take the direction of combining existing institutions with the law school in the new teaching University. Before, · * Dugdale's “ Origines Juridiciales," 2nd edition, 1671, p. 203.
however, proceeding to discuss how the desired result can be brought about, we ought to go a step or two further and lay down two more general propositions, namely :—(3) that the new law school must provide for the needs of the students of both branches of the profession, and (4) that if it is to exercise any control over the education of legal practitioners it must itself be principally controlled by practitioners,
Assuming then that these premises are granted, the question arises, How are we to put theory into practice ? Now it is submitted that the first step should be the appointment of a committee, to whose hands the control of the law school of the University should be entrusted. This committee, it is suggested, should be formed of representatives of the Senate of the University, the Inns of Court, and the Incorporated Law Society, each of whom should appoint one-third of its members. The committee might, if desirable, be actually appointed by the Senate, one-third of the members, however, being nominated for that purpose by the Inns of Court and the Law Society respectively, but at any rate the two latter bodies should have between them a preponderating voice in its deliberations, and the Law Society should have an equal voice with the Inns of Court. The number of law students who enter the solicitors' branch of the legal profession is considerably larger than that of those whose objective is the Bar; and it is right, therefore, that the Law Society should have at least an equal voice in all that pertains to their education and admission.
With the committee so appointed would rest the preparation of the course of study, of the syllabus of the examinations, the appointment of the lecturers, tutors and examiners, and so forth. Then the requisite powers ought to be obtained from Parliament, if necessary, to entitle every student who conformed to the prescribed regulations not only to the law degree of the University, but also to admission to the ranks of the one or other branch of the profession as a practitioner.
The question then arises how the course of the students' preparation might be moulded, so as to make it suitable for this purpose. Now under the present system anyone intending to be admitted a solicitor is required to be articled for (generally speaking) five years to a practising solicitor, while anyone desiring to become a barrister must pass three years as a member of an Inn of Court, each being, in addition, required to pass certain examinations held by the Law Society and the Council of Legal Education respectively. Suppose that instead of this the student preparing for either branch of the profession were required to attend the new law school for a stated period-say, two years, during which he would attend the lectures or classes of the University tutors. In connection with these he would be required to pass prescribed examinations,-let us say an examination in Jurisprudence at the end of the first six months of his course, another in Constitutional Law, Legal History, and Roman Law, at the end of the first year, and a third in the Elements of English Law, at the end of the second year. Having passed through this course the student whose objective was the Bar might be required to spend a period, say, of two years, in the chambers of a practising barrister, while the student desiring admission on the Roll of Solicitors should be articled to a practising solicitor for a like time. At the expiration of this further period of practical work he might be required to pass a final examination of something the same character as the present Bar Final or Solicitors' Final, as the case may be, and after having obtained his certificate he should then be entitled, not only to his University degree in Law, but to admission as a practitioner as well.
It is not suggested that attendance at the University Law School should necessarily for some time to come at any rate be the only avenue to admission as a practitioner. Both the Inns of Court and the Law Society might, if they chose, continue to hold their examinations as at present, for those who preferred to adhere to the existing system. Modifications would also doubtless have to be made to meet the case of graduates at the older Universities, but this need occasion no very great difficulty. Nor need the University be limited to conferring its degrees only on those who passed through the suggested course. It might, as London University does now, confer its degrees on those satisfying its own requirements, but a degree unless obtained in the manner suggested above, would as now, be ornamental merely, that is to say, it would confer no right to practice. The Doctor's degree also might be left entirely in the hands of the University.
One important aspect of the matter still remains to be dealt with, namely, the financial aspect. At present the Law Society derives a large portion of its revenue from the examination fees paid by students, and it could not, or at any rate would not, consent to any scheme which would have the effect of materially diminishing its receipts in this respect. Probably also the Inns of Court would take up a similar position. Some arrangement would therefore have to be made for sharing the examination fees in the proportion in which the various bodies concerned were interested. This, however, one would think ought not to be incapable of equitable adjustment..
The foregoing does not pretend to be anything more than a rough outline, inviting discussion, and improvements will no doubt suggest themselves to others, but some attempt ought to be made before the opportunity now offered is lost, to plan out a means of carrying into practical effect a scheme of reform which, it can hardly be doubted by anyone acquainted with the subject, would greatly contribute not only to the benefit of the profession, but to that of the public at large.
WALTER G. Hart.
XI.-CURRENT NOTES ON INTERNATIONAL
LAW. The War between America and Spain. (I.) The Commencement of the War : It is a little difficult to say what constituted the actual beginning of the war. For all practical purposes the resolution of Congress (Times, 20th April) amounted to a suspension of friendly relations. On the 20th April the Spanish Ambassador at Washington after receiving an intimation of the resolution, asked for his passports. (Times, 21st April.) On the 21st April the Spanish Government formally broke off diplomatic relations by a note addressed to General Woodford virtually inviting him to leave the country. (16., 22nd April.) This step forestalled by a few hours the communication to Spain of the President's Ultimatum which comprised a “formal “ demand of the Government of the United States that the “ Government of Spain should at once relinquish its "authority and government in the island of Cuba, and “ withdraw its land and naval forces from Cuba and Cuban “Waters," and that “if by the hour of noon on Saturday “next there should not be communicated a satisfactory “response to this demand. ..the President will “proceed without further notice...to carry the “same into effect." (Times, 22nd April.)
Actual hostilities commenced on the 23rd April by the capture of the Spanish merchant vessel Buenaventura. (16., 25th April.) It was not, however, till a day or two later that the formal Declaration of War by the United