Rogers to Merivale (Permanent Under-Secretary)
Emigration Office
23 March 1859
I have to acknowledge your Letter of the 17th instant enclosing a correspondence which has taken place between the Secretary of State and the President of the Society of Solicitors before the Supreme Court in Scotland.
2. This Gentleman complains that Solicitors before the Supreme Courts of Scotland are not allowed to practice in the Courts of British Columbia. It appears on enquiry that this is a mistakeManuscript imagemistake, but that it is true that Solicitors are excluded from practice before the Supreme Court of Vancouvers Island under the Order in Council of the 4th of April 1856 which only admits to practice Attorneys—Solicitors and Proctors of the English and Irish Courts and Writers to the Signet of the Scottish Courts.
3. I have no doubt that the phraseology of the Vancouvers Island Order in Council was merely borrowed from some existing precedent
It was altered but not I think drafted by me.
and I perceive that it is identical in substance with a provision of the Charter of Justice of Gibraltar dated 1 September 1830 (Clark page 683) and of the Cape of Good Hope in May 1832Manuscript image1832 (Clark page 478).
4. But I see that the qualification usually required is that of having been admitted "Writers Attorneys or Solicitors in one of our Courts at Westminster Dublin or Edinburgh" which would I presume admit the "Solicitors before the Supreme Court of Scotland." By referring to Clarks Colonial Law it will be seen that the above phrase is used in the following documents. Charter of Justice Newfoundland 19 Septr 1825. (Clark page 427)
Ditto New South Wales 22 April 1834. (Clark page 630)
Ditto Van Diemens Land 4 March 1831. (Clark page 656) and it is used in the New Zealand Rules of Court article 7.
5. I feel no doubt that the SolicitorsManuscript imageSolicitors of the Supreme Court are fairly entitled to the privilege of practising in Van Couvers Island if it be thought worth while to make the requisite amendment in the Order in Council of the 4th of April 1836.
6. A careful scrutiny of Charters, Colonial Laws and (so far as accessable) the Rules of Court passed by Colonial Judges would possibly bring to light similar exclusions in other Colonies. But as these could not always be amended in the same ready way, and as the search would involve much labor and could not after all be relied upon for completeness it would probably be advisable to confine theManuscript imagethe amendment, if made at all, to Van Couver's Island.
I have etc.
Frederic Rogers
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Merivale
I presume therefore, that the Charter of Justice of VanCouvers Island should be amended in the manner suggested by Sir F. Rogers, and the President of the Society of Solicitors informed, with reference to the two previous letters from this Dept, that this will be done?
HT Irving 25 March
Better I think recommend the making this alteration to the local legislature, sending the correspondence to Govr Douglas. There is no doubt they possess the power, under 12 & 13 Vict. C. 48 sec. 2.
HM Mch 25
Annex draft.
C Mch 26
Other documents included in the file
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Draft, Lytton to Douglas, No. 45, 9 April 1859.
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Draft, Carnarvon to J. Morgan, 9 April 1859, advising that Douglas had been instructed to invite the Legislature to authorize the admission Scottish solicitors to practice in the courts of Vancouver Island.