No. 21
21 April 1863
I have the honor to acknowledge Your Grace's Despatch No 10 of the 10th of February last, transmitting for my report, a letter from Mr Charles Walkem respecting his sons claim to be admitted totheManuscript image the Bar of British Columbia, and complaining that the presiding Judge (Mr Begbie) had refused to admit him to plead in the Supreme Court of the Colony because he had not previously passed the Bar in England.
2. I beg in explanation to observe that on Mr Justice Begbie's first arrival in the Colony he adopted mutatis mutandis, the Rules of Practice of the Supreme Civil Court of Vancouvers Island framed by Mr Justice CameronstrictlyManuscript image strictly in accordance with the Order in Council, constituting that Court; from a conviction the former then entertained, that a similar practice prevailed in Her Majesty's other Colonies, and that it would not be proper for him to depart from an established precedent.
3. By that Order in Council no one could be admitted to practice in the Supreme Court of Vancouver Island, excepting Barristers and Attorneys from England, IrelandandManuscript image and Scotland. When the Court of British Columbia was constituted the practitioners of the Court of Vancouver Island were admitted to practice there also, and have since availed themselves of that privilege on behalf of any Clients, who retained their services.
4. This state of things has continued until lately, without any complaint on the part of the public; but I see no reason why ColonialBarristersManuscript image Barristers or Attorneys, provided they be of good character, and properly instructed in English Law, should be excluded from practising in the Courts of British Columbia, and I have therefore called Mr Justice Begbie's attention to the propriety of making such amendments in the Rules of his Court, as may render such persons eligible for admission, and I have no doubt that Mr Walkem on producing satisfactory credentialswillManuscript image will be admitted to practice as soon as such rules are framed.
I have the honor to be
My Lord Duke
Your Grace's most obedient
Humble Servant
James Douglas
Minutes by CO staff
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Sir F. Rogers
To my mind this is not quite a sufficient or satisfactory answer on behalf of Judge Begbie for his preference of United States over Colonial Barristers practising in the Supreme Court of B. Columbia.
It has not reached us officially but I believe there is no doubt of the fact that certain Barristers of V.C.I. who practised before Judge Begbie have refused to plead before him any more.
ABd 15/6
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Inform Mr Walkem through the Gov. Gen. of Canada that the propriety of admitting Canadian barristers to practice in B. Columbia has been pointed out to Mr Justice Begbie and that rules have probably been made upon this date authorizing such admission.
And inform Gov. D. that this has been done.
CF 19 April
N 22
Other documents included in the file
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Draft reply, Newcastle to Monck, Canada, No. 66, 27 June 1863, which informs Monck that Douglas has intimated to Begbie "the propriety of admitting Canadian Barristers to practice in British Columbia" and that measures to change the rules are likely already in place.
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Draft reply, Newcastle to Douglas, No. 27, 27 June 1863, which informs Douglas that Newcastle has informed Walkem of the proceedings related to the rules to allow Canadian barristers to practice in British Columbia.