Morgan to Lytton
Solicitors Hall,
Parliament Square,
8 February 1859
As President of the Society of Solicitors before the Supreme Courts of Scotland, I beg on behalf of the Society, to make the present communication.
The Society was Incorporated by Royal Charter in the Reign of his Majesty George the III, in the year 1797; and by that Charter the Members are entitled to act as Agents and Solicitors before all the Supreme Courts in Scotland.
The Entrants, after being examined, and found qualified, are admitted, and sworn in by the President of the Court of Session. At present the number of Members of the Society is upwards of Two hundred and Seventy, and they conduct more than one half of the Business before the Superior Courts of Scotland.
Hitherto the Members of the Society have been found entitled to & have acted as Attornies or Solicitors in all the Colonial Courts of Law, and it is not without suprise that they observe it stated in the Times Newspaper of the 19th ultimo, that they have been excluded from practising as Solicitors before the Supreme Court of Civil Justice of the Colony of Columbia. This surprise is encreased when they see it stated in the same Newspaper that Writers to the Signet are to be entitled to act in that Court.
In Court proceedings in Scotland the Society of Solicitors are entitled to, and enjoy the same powers and privileges as the Writers to the Signet, and on what principle they are excluded from practising in the Columbian Courts, they are at a loss to know; and therefore I have been requested to enquire if the Report in the Times Newspaper be correct; and if so, to ascertain the causeManuscript image catch of the Solicitors being excluded from acting in the Columbian Court.
I have etc.
J.A. Morgan
Minutes by CO staff
Manuscript image
Mr Merivale
I think Mr Begbie in 1072 addressed a Letter to this Office on a kindred subject to this—on which occasion I passed on to you the O. in C. for the administration of Justice in B. Columbia; to assist you in the consn of the matter. But as to the particular fact of the exclusion of Scotch Solicitors from the B. Columbian Courts, which is herein alleged, we have recd no Manuscript imagereport, or confirmation, that I am aware of, nor do I believe that the O. in C. can contain any such restriction.
ABd 9 Feby
I have not an idea on what it all rests. There are no "Courts of British Columbia" whatever, as yet. The writer must mean the Courts of Vancouver's Island. Will you let me see the Charter of Justice of that island. I think it was enacted in the form of local law.
HM F 11
Mr Merivale
Annexed is the Order in Council establishing the Supreme Court of Vancouvers Island. See the 21st & following pages empowering Attornies & Solicitors to practise.
VJ 12 Feby
I think that Sir F. Rogers drafted this Order in Council, & I cannot tell what precedent he used. It is clear it does exclude Scottish Solicitors. I should like to keep it till he returns; in the mean time I annex a dilatory answer.
HM F 16
Other documents included in the file
Manuscript image
Draft, Merivale to Morgan, 19 February 1859, stating that Lytton was unaware of any rules on the subject and would enquire into the matter.