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prevent the system from coming to the counties.
It was hopeless to expect the abolition of the large staff of registry officials, but the provincial societies thought that they should do all they could to prevent the application of the system to the country. It might be that they might have to adopt a system such as the president had suggested; it was not inevitable, but if it came it would come in the least objectionable form. He might remind the meeting that there was no party in Parliament in this connection, and that the country lawyers had to fight the whole body of Parliament, as both sides were committed on this question. The council might be relied upon to look after the great majority of the members of the society, the country solicitors, and he could assure them that the provincial members of the council had far greater weight on that body than the society was aware, and the meeting should not come to the conclusion that the council considered that their cause either in London or the country was lost.
The PRESIDENT deprecated the notion that the meeting was pledged in any way to the adoption of anything he had proposed. His proposals were simply intended to give some idea of what he thought might be done if registration became inevitable. They were perfectly agreed that registration was an evil, and he should be very glad to be told that he was unduly pessimistic in believing that it was going to be forced on the country. Here were half a dozen different propositions, and Mr. Rubinstein, who was a "last-ditcher," was not prepared to accept anything at all, but wanted to fight to the end, and if they got the worst of punishments in regard to registration they must accept it.
Mr. RUBINSTEIN: I am in favour of the establishment of deed registries.
The PRESIDENT remarked that there were other questions, such as the establishment of district registries all over the country instead of one in London, which it was impossible to discuss at the meeting. It should be borne in mind that the council, whatever they might desire, were responsible to the whole body of the society, and they could not do anything unless the society approved of their report. Then there were the associated provincial law societies, and there was more time and opportunity for discussing the matter at the committee meetings of those societies than at the meetings of the Law Society or of the associated law societies. If the society could get the advice and opinion of the associated law societies, they would be likely to get much further than was possible by any discussion at this meeting.
The motion was agreed to in the following form: "That the president's suggestions on the subject of land transfer and Mr. Rubinstein's paper and motion be referred to the council, on the understanding that they will consider them with the provincial law societies at a conference to be called after the Long Vacation.".
LABOUR AND THE LAW.
Mr. DIXON H. DAVIES (London) read the following paper :The common law, as distinguished from the statute law, has demerits of its own, no doubt, but there can be claimed for it this advantage, which must commend it to orderly minds. Having its roots in the tradition of the people, its evolution has pursued an even tenor. No jarring distortions mar the regular grain of its theory. Statute law, on the other hand, has no such nexus of principle. Its justice does not flow out in any stream of continuous development. It is constantly reversing its course, and taking novel and disjuncted departures. The dealings of the Legislature with the institutions of labour are an example of this incoherence. In the course of the last hundred years they have varied between the extremes of restriction and indulgence. Until 1824 every attempt was made to crush all societies of working men. entering into agreements for the purpose of forming such societies could, under 39 & 40 Geo. 3, c. 106, be convicted summarily and committed to prison for two months. Public opinion generally condemned the impolicy of these laws, and economists strongly supported trade unions as valuable public institutions. Smith wrote a work in 1776 with a detailed scheme for the formation of a trade union "with proper directions for the journeymen whereby they may get an advancement in their wages without hindrance of business. Their great value consists in the service they do in protecting the freedom and preserving the independence of the workman. A Greek proverb says that "a man loses half his value on the day he becomes a slave." This truth evidences the public utility of the trade union. The more one appreciates them the more one deplores the disservice which is done to trade unions by such foolish indulgence as that which exempts them from legal responsibility, and raises them to the position of an imperium in imperio. The old craft guilds very nearly attained to this position. They gained such power by monopolising the most profitable fields of employment as to create an aristocracy of labour, with the result that the residuum outside their organisation was terribly repressed and impoverished. Odium and discredit resulted to the guilds, and, powerful as they were, with great wealth and estates, and representatives of their own in Parliament, they fell. Inevitably in the wake of privilege follows parasitic decay. There are some modern provisions of the Legislature which exhibit a similar tendency to set organised labour above the law. The Trades Disputes Act 1906 contains provisions of this kind, and it may be well to refer to the sections of the statute in order. The 1st section exonerates persons acting in contemplation or furtherance of a trade dispute from liability in an action of civil conspiracy. A similar immunity in regard to criminal conspiracy had been conferred in such cases by the Conspiracy and Law of Property Act 1875, but that statute
discriminated certain acts of such conspiracy which were particularly prejudicial to society at large--for instance, those affecting a gasworks or waterworks. As to the extension of the immunity to civil conspiracy there is perhaps a good deal to be said for it. It was formerly the general opinion in the Profession that no civil action would lie against a number of persons for agreeing to do anything that one person might lawfully do, and, although doubt was thrown upon this opinion by some of the judgments in the case of Quinn v. Leatham (85 L. T. Rep. 289; (1901) A. C. 495), the decision in that case can be justified without resort to any new doctrine. Moreover, in the Mogul case (66 L. T. Rep. 1; (1892) A. C. 1) it was decided by the House of Lords that the remedy of an action for civil conspiracy is not available for those injured by a combination of trade rivalry. Having regard to the fact that it is obviously desirable that laws which concern working people should be simple and removed from uncertainty, it is submitted that the provisions of this 1st section are unobjectionable. Sect. 2 authorises what is called peaceful picketing." In its terms no very great objection can be taken to this section. Theoretically "the attending at or near a house or place of business merely for the purpose of peacefully obtaining or communicating information or of peacefully persuading any person to work or abstain from working does not violate any tenet of the common law. But, of course, this is a matter in which practice does not agree with theory. Undoubtedly under the cover of picketing all sorts of coercion and intimidation are exercised. It seems to be a case for strict police regulation. Police by-laws should be made restricting the number of picketers, and the exercise of picketing except at places where it can be kept under proper control by the authorities responsible for the peace. Sect. 3 provides that an act done by a person in contemplation or furtherance of a trade dispute shall not be actionable on the ground that it induces the breaking of a contract of employment. This is a dangerous immunity. Had it not been for this indefensible provision it is very doubtful whether the recent railway strike would ever have taken place. The trade unions by circular advised the whole of the railway servants of the country to leave their work without notice, and thus to break every one of their contracts of employment. Ever since Lumley v. Gye (22 L. J. 463, Q. B.) such an act has been well settled to be an actionable tort, and since the recent case of Taff Vale Railway Company v. Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants (85 L. T. Rep. 147; (1901) A. C. 426) it has been quite clear that a trade union, when their complicity can be established, can be made responsible in damages. The trade unions concerned in the recent strike were said to be possessed of funds to the extent of well over £250,000, the whole of which could have been rendered answerable to meet the enormous losses which were inflicted on the companies by this wanton act, an act, be it noted, which was a distinct breach of the rules of the societies themselves, which expressly forbid strikes without due notice. It is very doubtful whether these bodies would have risked bankruptcy, and, by removing this check by the section in question, the Legislature has incurred a grave responsibility. Sect. 4 in terms exempts trade unions from all actions for tort. What possible justification can there be for holding these powerful and wealthy bodies, alone amongst the subjects of the King, outside that vast structure of rights and duties, the gradual growth of a thousand years of civilised experience and juristic wisdom, which we know as the law of tort? It is said that the House of Commons would never have passed this preposterous Act had they not relied on the House of Lords throwing it out, and that the House of Lords would certainly have thrown it out had it not been for their desire in the circumstances of the moment to fasten on the House of Commons the odium rightly attaching to a thoroughly mischievous enactment. The only excuse that has been offered for the provisions of sect. 4 is that to allow a trade union to remain answerable in damages for the consequences of violence, or intimidation, or other acts committed by any official of its extended ramifications would be tantamount to its destruction, but the wellknown case of Denaby and Cadeby Main Collieries Limited v. Yorkshire Miners' Association (95 L. T. Rep. 561; (1906) A. C. 384), in which the union successfully defended an action for acts of undoubted coercion by the officers of a branch, shows that there is no presumption of agency, and that proof has to be given of distinct authorisation before the union itself can be held responsible for acts of the kind. Friends of trade unions would do well to bear in mind that there are acts which no society can permit, and that combinations, if unchecked by responsibility, are apt to be tempted to go to the length of such acts. It is doubtful whether any hostile foe could inflict on the people of England the miseries which it is in the power of a combination of railwaymen to perpetrate. When such things have happened in other countries, society has found a very short way of dealing with the offenders, and has not been particularly careful of the legality of the methods adopted. Some instances may be instructive. The great railway strike of the United States was brought to an end by an arbitrary exercise of force. "A division headed by two 12-pounder guns and a detachment of mounted police was marched out, supported by volunteers, to the headquarters of the strikers, when about ninety men were arrested without warrant and taken off to prison. The men were subsequently examined and discarged": (Report on Industrial Conflicts in the U.S., c. 1853, p. 47). The railways of Victoria are owned and worked by the State. Á strike of the employees occurred in 1903, and tied up the transportation of the colony. Similar incidents-the desertion of trains and perishable merchandise, and the endangering of life and property→→
which disgraced the English strike occurred there. The public answered this challenge to its authority by passing a strike law more drastic than any labour legislation of this country. This law imposes a penalty of £100, or twelve months' imprisonment, for engaging in a strike on the railway, and makes men liable to arrest, without warrant or bail, for advising a strike, whether orally or by publication, or for collecting funds for the support of strikers, or for attending any meeting of more than six persons for the purpose of encouraging strikers. The authority of employers generally was contemporaneously reinforced by the most comprehensive police powers the State could offer. This law was enacted by a Labour Ministry: (The Labour Movement in Australasia-Clark, p. 287). Lastly, it was a Labour Prime Minister, M. Briant, who forcibly put an end to the recent railway strike in France by a military coup d'état. When these instances are considered, it will be realised how far those who, by removing ordinary legal responsibilities, expose organised labour to the temptation to engage in conflicts with society at large are true friends either of freedom or of trade unionism. The recklessness which has granted absolute immunity from liability in tort to trade unions is the more marked when one considers that a trade union is defined to mean any combination whether temporary or permanent for regulating the relations between workman and master or between workman and workman, or between masters and masters, or for imposing restrictive conditions on the conduct of any trade or business." Could it have been realised by the Legislature that by this Act they were freeing, say, the Beef Combine or the Steel Trust from ordinary civil responsibility? Amongst the immediate consequences of the enactment has been a marked increase of the tendency of trade unions to support speculative actions by workmen against their employers, knowing that they cannot be charged with damages for the maintenance. Perhaps masters will take the hint, and substitute their trade societies as prosecutors in criminal proceedings, and so escape liability for malicious prosecution. Besides the repeal of these dangerous and demoralising immunities, it may be suggested that it is clearly expedient to add railways to the category of gasworks, waterworks, and other undertakings, breach of contract of service upon which can still be made the subject of a charge of conspiracy by force of the Act of 1875. Those who are accustomed to make a study of labour politics can hardly contemplate the recent events without a sense of disappointment. Economists have long ago pointed out that the supposed antagonism between the interests of capital and labour is in truth a great illusion. So far from the two being irreconcilable, there is virtually a partnership between all who are engaged in an industry. The master does not pay the wages out of his own pocket. He advances them, as the merchant advances the Customs duties, and charges them forward so that they are ultimately borne by the consumer in the price of the product. Neither employer, nor employee, nor capitalist has any other source from which he can benefit except the profit of the industry. The principal distinction which differentiates the position of the workman from the other partners is that he does not, and cannot, wait so long as they do for his return. He has to be paid out at the end of every week, and he has to live on the proceeds as he goes along. This circumstance would place him at a disadvantage, in settling with the others his share in the division of the profits, were it not for the provision which has been made for him by the invention of the trade union. This furnishes the workman with a large sustentation fund available on occasion, and amply sufficient to enable him to stand out in his negotiation with his moneyed partner, at all events as long as most industries can afford to do without his labour. The workman has another difficulty, vis-à-vis the master-namely, that he has not as a rule a complete knowledge of the conditions and results of the business, and for that reason it is not usually easy for him to argue his case with the employer. This difficulty was also foreseen by the inventors of the trade union. If only, they urged, the employer could be persuaded to meet his men face to face and deal with them frankly and with courtesy, a solution could generally be arrived at, for nobody denies that capital must have its just interest; adventure must have its fair profit; and, if these and other inevitable outgoings could be ascertained, the natural value of the labour could readily be arrived at. Supposing it should happen that such a conference should fail to bring the parties to an agreement, there would be no reason even then for either to rush to the extremity of strike or lock-out. So terrible in its consequence of impoverishment to all is that resort that almost any settlement would be better than none. if only the self-respect of each side could be preserved. Therefore in such a case, if the parties cannot make a bargain for themselves, surely they can agree upon some impartial and competent person to make it for them. This reasoning of the economists commended itself to the practical common sense of workmen generally long before it was accepted by the masters, and so we find that in the rules of most, if not all, trade unions the resort of a strike is forbidden until arbitration has been offered and refused by the employers, and it seems to have been generally admitted by everybody that, if only both sides would agree to conciliation and arbitration, independence would be secured, and an ideal machine set up for fixing wages. Alas for the futility of human endeavour! In Nov. 1907 there were gathered at the offices of the Board of Trade the chairmen and general managers of the great railway companies and the leaders of the great unions of railway workmen, and. under the persuasive pressure of the Minister (then Mr. Lloyd George), a formal treaty was executed by all parties providing a complete
system of Conciliation Boards, to be constituted as to one half entirely of delegates elected by ballot by the railwaymen concerned, the other equal half being representatives of the companies, and it was provided that, should these boards fail in any case to adjust a dispute, an independent arbitrator should be called in to do it. It was confidently hoped that this scheme, meeting as it did almost in terms the expressed ambition of workmen and their friends, would for all time banish, with all its unthinkable attendant horrors, the resort of a cessation of railway work as an instrument for the settlement of wages. The scheme was got to work within a very few months. On some of the lines arbitrations took place, several of the most eminent men in the country readily giving their services as arbitrators. On other lines no arbitration at all was necessary, every single difference being found to yield to the solvent of the Conciliation Board. The terms and conditions of employment thus settled were provided to apply for a period of five years, and thenceforward subject to a year's notice. Before this term had run its course by some two or three years, the unions, on a twenty-four hours' notice, withdrew the whole of the labour so far as they could influence it from most of the railways of the country. The unlooked-for suddenness of the blow added to its effect, and something like paralysis of the industrial organism ensued. A commission is now sitting to inquire into the causes of this disastrous and disappointing occurrence, and the events leading up to it will, of course, be minutely examined. But it will probably be found that chief amongst the predisposing causes was disappointment amongst the men at the result of the first application of the system of conciliation and arbitration. These tribunals did not find that the men had a just claim, in the circumstances of the industry, to any very considerable improvement in their condition, and when strikes occurred in other trades, and resulted in classes of labour, similar in some respects to those employed on the railway, receiving very material advances of pay, the rank and file of the railwaymen formed the conclusion that in the distribution of the reward of labour their share was less than it ought to be, and therefore that the new scheme was a failure. There is no reason to suppose that the leaders wished to repudiate the treaty which they had so recently and so solemnly concluded; the probability is that they could not hold their men. It is quite conceivable that weather had something to do with the outbreak. After all, the conditions of labour are settled according to climatic circumstances. Men cannot be expected to work on the equator in the same manner as they work in the temperate zone. England has been experiencing a most abnormal spell of tropical heat, and that has tended to upset everybody's calculations. But it is for those who are more trained in such investigation to see whether deeper causes cannot be detected which may have contributed to these unhappy occurrences. One of such causes has already received recognition by the Government, and some remedy for it was promised as part of the negotiations which led to the restoration of work on the railways and the appointment of the Royal Commission. To understand what this is it is necessary to take into account the circumstances leading to the establishment of the railway system, and the conditions upon which it carries on its business to-day. Prior to the great invention of Stephenson transport was difficult and costly. It cost 40s. to convey a ton of coal from Manchester to Liverpool. It took eight horses and three men three weeks to carry four tons of goods from London to Edinburgh by stage waggon. The railway makers virtually struck a bargain with the State under which they undertook to provide the country with a new set of roads and a new system of transport at their own expense, in return for a right to make charges for the use of these things on a scale assured to them at the time they agreed to spend their money. The charges were a fraction of those previously obtaining; for instance, the carriage of a ton of coal from Manchester to Liverpool costs to-day, not 40s., but 2s. 4d. On the faith of the reward thus promised, and secured to them by statute, the railway makers have spent upon these national railways the gigantic sum of upwards of 1300 millions sterling, about twice what the national debt amounted to prior to the South African War. In Robert Browning's story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin we are told how persons who do a public service are sometimes treated when the authorities think the community is no longer dependent upon them, and with what dire and unlookedfor consequences bad faith of this kind is apt to be visited. One would be loth to say that the standard of commercial morality governing the public transactions of the United Kingdom in the twentieth century is no higher than that of Brunswick in the Middle Ages, but let the facts speak for themselves. In 1888 to 1891, Parliament entered upon a revision of the scale of railway rates. They were warned by economists sitting in the House, such as Professor Thorold Rogers, of the doubtful wisdom, let alone justice, of the proceeding, but they persisted, salving their consciences with the statement that the revision would not affect the sum of the railway revenue, but that some rates would be raised to make up for others which would be reduced. The new scales came into force, whereupon those who were asked to pay the higher rates made vehement protest, and Parliament passed another Act, the Railway and Canal Traffic Act 1894, providing that none of the new rates just authorised, if they exceeded the charges being in fact made prior to the authorisation of the new scales, should be charged by the companies unless they could show that the increase of the charge was "reasonable," the circumstance of such increase having been sanctioned by Parliament, by an Act whose ink was hardly dry, not being material to its justification. The fact was Parliament was out to subsidise the traders of the country,
an influential class of voters, and they did not mean to have their electioneering policy defeated. The worst of legislation of this sort is that Governments cannot have favourites without having victims, and they are not always clever enough to see beforehand who their victims are going to be. The Hamelin Town Council thought they were injuring nobody but the Pied Piper, and, as he had no vote at the municipal elections, they lightheartedly ignored his protests, never dreaming of consequential disaster to their own friends. No doubt Parliament thought the victim of the 1894 Act would be the railway shareholder, and that he was not of sufficient voting importance to be considered. They had not economic sight sufficient to perceive behind the shareholder his partner the railway worker, equally dependent as is the shareholder upon the profits of the industry for the bettering of his position. The tendency of this stereotyping of railway earnings is obviously to render wages as well as dividends inelastic. If other trades had been hampered in this way, not even by a strike would the men have been able to exact better wages, for it is not to be supposed that any advance would have been conceded out of the private income of the employers. [Since the above was in type the successful strike of the seamen has been significantly followed by a raising of the Atlantic freights by 10 per cent.] The immediate point is attempted to be met by the promise of the Government to bring in legislation to render any additional wage expenditure conceded as the result of the present situation a legitimate ground for increasing rates, notwithstanding the provisions of the 1894 Act. But it would be far wiser to admit at once that that statute was a mistake, and repeal it altogether. So far from operating to keep down rates, it, in fact, acts as a very serious check upon the reduction of rates, for, having been once reduced, they cannot be raised again without going through the difficult and costly process of legal justification. It is not generally recognised, but it is undoubtedly the fact, that railway rates are affected, like the charges of other businesses, by the usual forces of commercial adventure. So strong is the pressure of these forces upon the railway companies of this island (where no considerable traffic centre is far distant from one or more ports, so that the competition of sea carriage coastwise is an element in the fixing of nearly every rate) that some 90 per cent. of the traffic of the country passes, not under the scale rates at all, but under rates specially negotiated, and undercutting the statutory charge often by as much as one half. The trader has already gained far more, and has far more to gain in the future, from the unhampered action of these forces than from any Parliamentary interference, however well intentioned, in his favour. From the point of view of the wage-earner, the statute in question must be injurious in more ways than one. It tends to discourage the process to which economists look as a means of enlarging profits to meet increased wages-namely, the introduction of administrative and mechanical reforms cheapening the cost of the product. Since the statute the companies have to think twice before they attempt such improvements, for they have to consider how far alterations might add to their difficulty in justifying any subsequent increase in rate. Still another indirect effect of this unfortunate statute, prejudicial to workpeople and shareholders alike, may be traced. It is necessarily a discouragement to the enlargement of the capital account. Railway companies are not disposed nowadays-indeed, in many cases are not able to undertake expansions of their system, with the result that facilities are not offered the traders which would otherwise be at their service, and the whole field of an industry, upon the sustained efficiency and continued enterprise of which the country at large is dependent, is needlessly hampered and restricted. Generally it is submitted that we should not be too disheartened at the apparent failure of the conciliation and arbitration scheme. Allowance must be made for the distrust which has been engendered in the minds of the working class by the long years of cruel repression when all society seemed to be in league to crush their just ambitions. Attempts to fix for the future scales of wages have continually failed. Workpeople may well be excused for taking in the first flush the erroneous view that the Conciliation Boards were intended to be a repetition of the vile system by which their wages were settled for them by the magistrates under the old Apprentices Act. Moreover, their suspicions on the recent occasion were fomented and stimulated by the Socialists, whose object is not to make trade unionism a success, but to spread general dissatisfaction with the present condition of things, and so aid their movement for the disruption of the existing order. Two useful proposals for the improvement of the mechanism of peaceful adjustment may be referred to: (1) Mr. Crooks' Labour Disputes Bill. Shortly this would make it illegal, as it is in New Zealand [The Industrial Conciliation and Arbitration Acts Compilation Act 1906, s. 107. A similar provision is believed to be in force in Canada], either to strike or lock-out until after the dispute had been submitted to an arbitrator. There is no compulsion on either party to accept the settlement which the arbitrator may suggest; the proposal is merely to interpose an interval before hostilities can commence, and to ensure that that interval shall be employed in a cool and impartial review of the situation. (2) Sir Charles Macara's proposal. Sir Charles Macara is urging, with all the authority of his unrivalled experience of the cotton trade, that a permanent labour tribunal should be established by the Government of a qualification and character such as to command everybody's confidence, and that the offices of this tribunal should be constantly at the service of any labour disputants. What the situation indicates is not a hasty abandonment of the system of
conciliation and arbitration, but rather a determination to persevere with it, coupled with a patient examination of its machinery and also a courageous grappling with the underlying causes of discontent. Trade union leaders have never had a harder task than that which the heads of the railway unions are faced with to-day in their endeavour to substitute in the ranks of their membership confidence for distrust, foresight for passion, and a careful interpretation of their powers in place of headlong vengeance for wrongs. Theirs is the only agency which we have to look to to do it. To expect them to achieve these great purposes while yet leaving their industry exposed to impoverishing conditions such as those to which it is subjected by the Railway and Canal Traffic Act 1894 is to ask them to make bricks without straw. A short discussion followed,
THE POOR MAN'S LAWYER.
Mr. H. GREENWOOD WRIGLEY (Manchester) [read the following paper:
The working of poor man's lawyer institutions having_been adversely criticised at meetings of this society and in the Press, and having unfortunately been spoken of in connection with socalled legal aid societies, I thought it desirable to bring before this meeting a few facts relating to the poor man's lawyer movement, its history, and the organisation and working of an existing institution of this kind. Another reason prompting me to place these facts before you is that from correspondence received from many districts I notice a desire for information regarding the poor man's lawyer movement in Manchester, and believe that such information as I am able to give may prove useful to local law societies which may not yet have instituted or approved of any scheme for giving legal assistance to the poor. I have therefore appended: (1) The regulations of the Manchester University Settlement Department, which have been approved by the Manchester Law Society. The principles embodied in these regulations have been adopted by the four other departments in Manchester and Salford, and form the basis of the Liverpool regulations. (2) The form of card used to record each case; and (3) summaries are dealt with, for 1909-10 and 1910-11, showing (a) how cases (b) the nature of matters advised upon, (c) the occuption of the applicants. It must be distinctly understood that this movement has nothing in common with any legal aid society. These societies apparently are of two kinds. One is conducted under the auspices of many leading members of our profession, has the approval of some of His Majesty's judges, and is called "The Central Legal Aid Society." The others are located in various parts of the country and are private ventures, worked for no higher object than personal gain, having canvassers amongst the working classes who persuade their victims that for the sum of 3d., 6d., or 1s. per annum they can have free legal advice. Unfortunately, there are solicitors who partially depend on the profitable working of these societies, and the Law Society does not appear to be able to prevent them. I need not enumerate the many hardships which their unfortunate members naturally must suffer and the way money for fees and supposed expenses is unmercifully drained from them. Are we to allow the poor to be victimised in this manner? If the society's powers are adequate, why is this state of affairs allowed to exist? If the society is powerless, surely the council should seek the necessary authority to cope with this abuse. Contrast with this the spirit pervading the members of the Bar and the solicitors who conduct poor man's lawyer institutions throughout the country. I have no hesitation in stating that our profession has always been willing to help the poor, but there have been no means whereby under present conditions solicitors and the poor could be brought together, and the poor have often suffered injustice by reason of not being able to obtain that advice which would have readily been afforded them. In my experience I am also frequently meeting poor people having grievances purely imaginary which, by reason of their inability to consult a solicitor, have grown into feuds, leading to disorder and causing much suffering. In England the movement dates from the spring of 1891, when a member of the Bar, interested in the work at Mansfield House Settlement in Canning Town, inaugurated a scheme for providing free legal advice for the deserving poor and attended at the settlement one evening every week. The movement spread rapidly, and now the weekly number of applicants at this centre is between sixty and seventy. There are now twenty-three other centres in London and fifteen departments in the provinces. The movement in Manchester dates from the autumn of 1898, when a solicitor attended fortnightly at the University Settlement in Ancoats. Two years later, the cases dealt with during the year numbered 131, less than three per evening; last year the average attendance per evening was sixty-one, the total cases being 2130, with total number of attendances 2627. These were dealt with by five solicitors attending every Monday evening, the number of solicitors conducting the department being twenty-nine. There are also four other departments in Manchester and Salford. The total number of barristers and solicitors in Manchester and Salford assisting in this work in the five departments is fortyeight. Having been connected for the past ten years with the Manchester University Settlement Department, I shall take this institution as an illustration of the working of a poor man's lawyer, and from my experience shall try to show how an ideal poor man's lawyer should be organised and conducted. fundamental principles must be rigidly observed; these (1) That none but the deserving poor should be advised, and
(2) that the solicitor advising should not act in such a way as to subject himself to the charge of conducting the work for the purpose of advertisement or personal gain. If these principles cannot be enforced to the letter, the poor man's lawyer had better not exist. In the absence of the first, there might be injustice to the Profession. If the second were not rigidly observed, the poor man's lawyer would be dangerous, not only to the poor, but also to the integrity of our honourable profession. In my department we have left the former to the discretion of the advising solicitor; the latter has always been a difficult question with which to deal; and, without the sanction of the local law society, it is practically impossible to control effectively. This department was, I believe, the first to seek and obtain the approval of a law society. When I undertook the hon. secretaryship in the autumn of 1908, recollecting the difficulties and failures in the working of the department under the then existing conditions, I reorganised the department and drafted stringent regulations. In drafting these regulations I felt that those who undertook the work in the true spirit would not find the strictest regulations irksome; the others I did not require. These regulations embodied the principles we had always striven to uphold. It is pleasant to recall the memory that all the solicitors loyally supported me. Having submitted the regulations for the approval of the committee of the Manchester Law Society, such approval was accorded on the 19th Jan. 1909. This was granted on the tacit understanding that I should obtain the compliance of the four other departments in Manchester with the principles embodied in the regulations. Stated shortly, these principles are: (1) That none but the deserving poor shall be advised; (2) that the solicitor must neither allow his name to be mentioned to the applicant, nor musthis name appear in any publication issued by the institution with which his department is connected; (3) that he must not act professionally in any case upon which he has advised as poor man's lawyer; (4) that correspondence must be conducted on the notepaper of the department and signed only with the initials of the solicitor, unless the communication be with a Government department, when the solicitor must sign his name; (5) that the rota of solicitors willing to accept cases should be used by the department. I shall explain this rota shortly. A conference of all the departments was accordingly held on the 2nd April 1909, at which the president of the Manchester Law Society presided, when a resolution was passed binding the departments to observe these principles. My department is conducted in the following manner: We have an inquiry office and four consulting-rooms. In the inquiry office the records of the department (kept on the card index system) and the rota of solicitors who will accept cases from the department (referred to in clause 5 of the regulations) are kept. Although the work in this office could be done by an experienced clerk, it is found convenient to have it in charge of a member of the committee, so that any of the advising solicitors may have a solicitor of experience with whom to consult if a difficulty should arise. The consulting-rooms are marked A, B, C, and D. Rooms A and B are reserved exclusively for applicants coming the first time, and rooms C and D are set apart primarily for applicants making a subsequent visit. The applicants assemble in the inquiry office, where they are attended to by the solicitor in charge. If the applicant has not previously called, his name, address, and occupation, the letter of his room, and the consecutive number of the applicant (e.g., A 5) are placed on the face of the record card upon which all notes relating to the case will afterwards be written. This card is placed in a cover, which bears the same letter and number. This shows the room where he will be advised and the rotation in which the solicitor will see him. It is then handed to the applicant. If, however, the applicant has called previously in the same case, his record card, together with any letters which may have been received in the matter, is found, and the date, letter, and number (e.g., C 7) inserted in the space provided for that purpose on the back of the card, and they are then all put into a similar cover and handed to the applicant. The applicant then proceeds to the consulting-room, and the advising solicitor investigates the case and advises accordingly. If there is no necessity for a further attendance, the solicitor writes on the card the nature of the case (e.g., workman's compensation), together with the advice given, and initials the card. If it is considered that the applicant has a good claim, and that either he is able to pay a solicitor or the case is one which a solicitor might undertake, he is given a card in the following terms:
Poor Man's Lawyer for Manchester and Salford.
Name and Address (
that he was entitled to have his name placed on that rota. It is quite different from the rota of solicitors conducting the department and must not be confused with it. If the applicant is not able to pay a solicitor or the case is one which a solicitor might not undertake, the applicant is. in such cases, carefully advised what he should do. Perhaps it is a small matter which might be settled if a letter were written. In such a case, the solicitor makes a short note of the facts on the record card and afterwards writes a letter, the applicant paying postage if he can afford. All letters are written on departmental notepaper and signed with the initials only of the solicitor writing_the same. These initials are so placed that the words The Poor Man's Lawyer, per pro. Solicitor," can be stamped at the foot of the letter. Letters written to Government departments are signed by the solicitor. The letters when written are forwarded to the hon.. secretaries' office, where the stamp I have lately mentioned is impressed, the letter copied and posted. By this means the letters remain impersonal and the replies are sent to the settlement. After each evening's work all the record cards of cases advised upon that evening are forwarded with the letters to be copied. to the hon. secretaries, so that the necessary statistics can be extracted, and the cards are then filed at the inquiry office for future reference. To facilitate reference the records are divided into two sections, both arranged in alphabetical order. Those not expected to be used again are placed at the back of the cabinet, and the cases in which we expect the applicant to call again are placed at the front. By this arrangement the solicitor in the inquiry office, when attending to an applicant making a subsequent. visit, has only a few cards to look through in order to find the one required. The advantage of keeping these records became very apparent when it was desired to place the position of the poorer classes before the Royal Commission on Divorce and. Matrimonial Causes. From a perusal of the records, I ascertained that the department had, within the previous two and a half years, advised upon 750 matrimonial and bastardy matters. These cases were reinvestigated and the result of the investigation Submitted to the Royal Commission. In this way actual facts were placed before the Royal Commission which they could investigate further, and it is obvious that such evidence will prove of more material assistance than mere generalities based upon experience,. but not supported by specific cases. Liverpool was the next district to conduct a poor man's lawyer with the approval of the local law society. Their regulations are founded upon those of my department. The Liverpool Law Society has, however, made a step further in the right direction, and has constituted the poor man's lawyer a department of the society. One feature of the Liverpool organisation, although its object is very edmirable, has a tendency to defeat the real purpose for which the department is founded. Under the Liverpool regulations, before an applicant is advised, he must be recommended or reported upon by a "competent person." In my opinion, the advice given. should be done as privately and with as little delay as possible. The result of this regulation may be that none but the deserving poor are advised, but I cannot see that it is fair to the applicant to impose such a rigid condition. It deprives him of the feeling of privacy, and I always like the applicants to feel that they are. being dealt with as ably and in the same confidence as though they were consulting a solicitor privately in the ordinary professional I prefer to leave it to the judgment of the advising solicitor whether or not the applicant should be advised. It must be remembered that under the system adopted by my departmentthe applicant has to pass a solicitor at the inquiry office, as well as the advising solicitor, and it has always been the practice of the solicitor in the inquiry office, should he have any suspicion that the applicant ought not to be advised, to inform the advising. solicitor of his suspicion and ask him to consider the matter very carefully before he advises. The majority of the matters dealt with by a poor man's lawyer are really very trivial, although they may be of considerable importance to the applicant, and these people ought not to be subjected to the interference of an outside party. Many of the most deserving applicants are very sensitive, and if there should be any publicity they would prefer to suffer their grievances in silence. În Huddersfield the local law society has approved of a system of legal assistance for the poor, suitable for the needs of the district. Having dealt with the departments, which, to my knowledge, are conducted with the express approval of a law society, I would mention a practice which, according to a pamphlet entitled "Legal Dispensaries," written by the hon. secretary of the Poor Man's Lawyer Association, obtains in some of the London departments. On page 7 of the pamphlet, after mentioning that "it happens sometimes that the client may have a good case, but no money," he says: "In such a case he" (meaning the solicitor advising) "may, it is considered, if desired by the consultant, have the matter transferred to his own office and assume the character of solicitor to the person consulting him, taking care, however, that such person understands fully the nature of the arrangement." This goes to the root of the whole question. It is too dangerous a principle to admit of general adoption, and, therefore, should not be admitted at all. It is surprising that a solicitor of the reputation of the writer of the pamphlet should have enunciated such a proposition. No wonder that the poor man's lawyer is regarded with disfavour by London solicitors, if they are led to believe that such a practice as this is at all general. I believe the poor man's lawyer, properly organised and conducted, is an excellent institution, helping the poor and also maintaining the true dignity of the Profession. I
believe it to be an absolute necessity; but if I thought the practice, as expressed in the pamphlet, could not be prevented, I would prefer to see all poor man's lawyer departments abolished. From personal experience, I know that many of the cases referred to the solicitors accepting cases from the departments are not such as would properly remunerate a solicitor, but occasionally applicants attend the departments who have interests to be protected where legal assistance is indispensable, and the solicitor's charges can be paid in the usual way. In such a case, unless there is a selfdenying ordinance, such as obtains in the Manchester and Liverpool regulations, the solicitor advising might be tempted, especially if the applicant pressed him (as very often happens in the experience of my department), to take the matter himself, and the very thing the writer of the pamphlet wishes to obviate-viz., that the consulting-room shall not become an ante-room of the advising solicitor's office "-is not only rendered possible, but also more than probable. Let the council take the matter into its hands, not forgetting that the movement was originated by a member of the Bar, and many barristers help in the work, and consequently whatever is done affects the interest of both branches of the Profession and should be approved by the General Council of the Bar. The poor man's lawyer, properly conducted, is a great protection to the poor and a source of strength to the Profession. It prevents the poor from falling into the hands of the undesirable practitioner, who has his meshes so widely spread by touts ready to ensnare anyone having a claim to be settled or other matter to be dealt with. It gives the poor the opportunity of placing his case with a solicitor in whom he can safely confide. Unless the poor man's lawyer movement, properly safeguarded in the manner I have referred to, is carried on, the experience not only of myself, but also of my colleagues, is that either the poor would not consult a solicitor or they would be in danger of becoming an easy prey of the undesirable practitioner. I appeal to the council to help this movement, and to give it their support. so that those solicitors who are gladly devoting their time and ability to the work without any thought of reward or advantage may feel that their work has the approval of the council and is not regarded as though they were conducting it from self-interested motives. I confidently look forward to the time when all poor man's lawyer departments will be conducted under regulations having the approval of the Law Society and the local law societies. Until these organisations are regulated, undesirable practices undoubtedly will exist. No department should be allowed to be conducted which has not such approval. The present departments could easily be co-ordinated, and if the council were to formulate regulations capable of being adapted to the needs of particular districts, and require the departments now in existence to conform to such regulations, it would be a source of strength to the movement-an advantage to the Profession and a protection to the poor, and abuses prevalent under existing conditions would be rendered impossible.
MANCHESTER ART MUSEUM AND UNIVERSITY SETTLEMENT.
Poor Man's Lawyer Department.
(All communications relating to this department should addressed to Hon. Sec., P.M.L. Dept., Ancoats Manchester.). Regulations (approved by the Committee of the Manchester Incorporated Law Association, 19th Jan. 1909).
1.-The management of the department shall, subject to the direction of the council of the said Manchester Art Museum and University Settlement, be vested in a committee of six (who must be solicitors), consisting of a chairman, four ordinary members (one to be selected from the solicitors attending each evening), and an honorary secretary.
2.-The arrangements for the working of each evening are under the absolute control of the member of committee attending on that evening (hereinafter called the controlling member of committee), subject to the general regulations of the department.
3. Should any solicitor be unable to attend on his evening, he must find a substitute from the occasional list not later than the preceding Friday, and notify the controlling member of committee that the substitute will attend. If by that time he cannot arrange for a substitute, he must communicate with the honorary secretary. It is necessary for a member of committee to be present each Monday, and in the event of the controlling member of committee being absent, he must provide a substitute from the committee. It is essential for the efficient working of the department that four solicitors should be in attendance to advise each Monday evening, and that they should be ready to attend to applicants not later than seven o'clock.
4. The inquiry office is open at 6.30 o'clock for the purposes (inter alia) mentioned in clause 7 hereof. This office shall remain open until eight o'clock, and shall be in charge of the honorary secretary, or one of the solicitors attending, or a clerk having experience in the working of the department.
5. The rota of solicitors who will accept matters from the department shall be in the custody of the wardens, and open for inspection by any member of the Manchester Incorporated Law Association or the council of the said settlement. The said rota shall consist exclusively of the names of solicitors practising in Manchester or Salford, who shall be members of the said law association, and any such solicitor shall upon his request be placed
upon such rota. Each evening the controlling member of committee or the honorary secretary shall, before the work of the evening is commenced, inform the wardens of the names of the solicitors attending that evening, and the wardens shall then cause a distinctive mark to be placed before the names of such solicitors or of their respective firms, and such names shall then be con sidered as deleted from the said rota for that evening, provided that the name so deleted shall have precedence on the following evening to the next name on the rota. A solicitor who has advised in a matter shall not have that matter referred to him; nor shall he act professionally in that matter. And it shall be the duty of the solicitor referring in all cases which have been previously before the department to ascertain the name or names of the solicitor or solicitors who have previously advised in the matter, and to communicate such name or names to the wardens; in which event, and for the purpose of such reference, such name or names shall be considered as deleted from the said rota.
6. Before giving advice the solicitor must satisfy himself that the applicant cannot afford to consult a solicitor. If the applicant can afford to consult a solicitor, or the matter consulted upon is one which a solicitor can profitably undertake, the applicant must be advised to consult a solicitor; and, if he has no solicitor, shall be directed to go to the warden's office (where he will be given the name of the next solicitor on the rota) and informed that the solicitor will expect payment, and, if an attendance in court is required, a fee of at least £1 1s. may be charged. Under no circumstances shall the solicitor disclose to the applicant his own name or that of his firm.
7. All applicants must first be attended to at the inquiry office, where their name, address, and occupation is inserted in the form provided for such purpose. The form is then to be handed to the applicant, and no applicant shall be seen by the solicitor advising unless he presents the official form; nor must an applicant be attended to, except in the same order as he shall have passed through the inquiry office, unless, by reason of the infirmity of the applicant, the solicitor shall deem it desirable to advise him before he ought otherwise to do. The solicitor shall then shortly ascertain the facts, and advise accordingly. If the matter is disposed of finally, he shall insert in the said form the nature of the case dealt with (e.g., "W.C.A. matter," or "Industrial Insurance"). If the matter is sent to a solicitor, that fact must also be noted. If the applicant is asked to call again, a concise note should be made of the facts of the case and the advice given. All notes must be made on the form given to the applicant at the inquiry office The forms shall then be forwarded, together with all letters (if any) written for applicants (as hereinafter mentioned), to the honorary secretary on the day following the attendance.
8. The books and files of the department are in the custody of the honorary secretary, and can be referred to by any of the solicitors attending.
9. In workmen's compensation matters, and in proceedings under any Act requiring notice of claim, the solicitor attending must not give such notice except in cases of great urgency, the sending of such notice being the duty of the solicitor to whom the applicant is sent.
10.-Correspondence on behalf of applicants must be avoided as far as possible, but where a letter is necessary, it must be written on the department's notepaper, and signed with the initials of the solicitor writing same. It must then be forwarded with a plain stamped addressed envelope, together with the notes, to the honorary secretary. The postage should be paid by the applicant. 11.-Document files are provided by the department, into which all correspondence received shall be placed under the initial of the surname of the applicant. Search should be made in these files on all second or subsequent visits of an applicant, and if there is any letter received it should be read to the applicant and handed to him.
12. The working of the department entails expense to the settlement, and if an applicant benefits financially by the advice given, and is willing to make a donation, the same should be received and handed at once to the wardens. These donations will be placed to the credit of the settlement funds.
13. Save in so far as these regulations refer to clerical detail; they shall not be altered, except by the solicitors attending the department at a meeting called for such purpose, and all alterations before they are embodied in these regulations must be approved by the committee of the said law association.