No. 6
22 January 1870
I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your despatch No. 28 of the 26th November enclosing copies of two letters from the Attorney General of British Columbia, one addressed to me and the other to you, in the subject of the scale of fees payable to him for professional services rendered to the Crown.
YouManuscript image
You ask for instructions upon the matter.
I feel some doubt whether any large proportion of the Attorney General's emoluments should be derived from fees. But since the system of part payment by fees has been long established in British Columbia, I am not prepared, without further evidence upon the subject, to require its alteration.
I should wish to be informed however whether your experience which now embraces several different Colonies would lead you to recommend the adoption of a fixed salary and the abolitionofManuscript image of fees.
With regard to the scale of fees, I have to observe that I have no means of judging what is the amount of work imposed on Mr. Crease and what the amount of emolument he is likely to desire from either of the proposed scales.
In the following Colonies in which the Attorney General receives no fees for Government work (and in some of which the expense of living is great) the salaries of that officer are Mauritius‹‹‹‹‹ ‹‹£1350‹‹‹‹‹no private practice Ceylon‹‹‹‹‹ ‹£1500‹‹‹‹‹also an Advocate in Supreme CourtManuscript image Hong Kong‹‹‹‹‹ ‹£1000‹‹‹‹‹and private practice British Guiana‹ ‹£1125‹‹‹‹‹and private practice Straits Settlements ‹ ‹£1000‹‹‹‹ ‹" Jamaica‹‹‹‹‹ ‹£740 ‹‹‹‹‹‹‹ " St. Vincent‹ ‹ £400 ‹‹‹‹‹‹ ‹"
The proportions which these salaries bear to the salaries of Judges and other principal officers of Government will be seen from the Colonial Office List.
Subject to any local considerations which you may be able to allege it seems to me that Mr. Crease's fees should be so regulated that his whole emoluments should bear the same proportion to those of other GovernmentManuscript imagement Officers in British Columbia as the Attorney General's Salaries bear in other Colonies.
The Colonial Accounts will I presume shew what has been the annual amount of fees received by Mr. Crease, and for what kind of work, this being settled it will probably not be difficult so to adjust the rate of fees as to give him fair security for such income as he might to have from Government.
It may be desirable in matters, if any, which originate with the Attorney General to fix the fee at such a medium rateasManuscript image as to afford the least possible inducement either to make or to escape work.
I have to request you to inform Mr. Crease that I have not been able to form any judgment upon the papers sent to me as to the amount of fees properly payable to the Attorney General of British Columbia but that I have required a further report on the subject from you.
I have the honor to be
Your most obedient
humble Servant