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stoutly denied; and the Benchers (who allow the other members no voice in that or any other matter) seem extremely anxious to have it thought that they are offering a boon, when they are simply proposing to pay a small instalment of a debt.
It seems that five paid Readerships are to be established for the following departments:-1. General Jurisprudence and Civil Law (already founded by the Middle Temple.) 2. Constitutional and Criminal Law. 3. Law of Real Property. 4. Law of Personal Property and Commercial Law. 5. Equity Jurisprudence as administered in the Court of Chancery. There are to be Examinations, Honours, and Prizes; but the examinations are not to be compulsory, and the only additional qualification for a call to the Bar is to be attendance on two courses of lectures, to be selected by the candidate. Why, after agreeing to construct the machinery, the Benchers should simultaneously agree to do so little with it, is beyond our comprehension. Is it fair or proper to confer the degree of Barrister without some test of competency,-knowing, as they do, that the being a Barrister is a qualification for a great number of employments, which can only be on the assumption that it implies the possession of a certain amount of legal knowledge and social respectability ? Under the new Local Court Bill, for example, the Judgeships are confined to Barristers, and Attorneys are excluded; yet an Attorney must undergo an examination as to legal knowledge, and stand the ordeal of a searching inquiry as to conduct, whilst a Barrister may get his degree for the asking; and, in point of fact, persons are at this very moment keeping Terms, with the view of being called to the Bar, who would be refused admission as Attorneys. It was the remark of the memorable Sydney Smith, that the whole internal administration of these Isles would soon be conducted by commissions of Barristers of six years' standing.
The advantages of the sociability, at all events association, enforced by the old system of keeping terms, are obvious; the students necessarily learnt something of each other's habits and connexions, and if any valid ground of objection in these respects existed, it was made known. The increase in number has effected a considerable change in this particular; but something might still be done by increasing the number of dinners to be eaten, and exacting attendance on four courses of lectures instead of two. The grand point, however, is to make an Examination indispensable; not, perhaps, a very strict examination, but such as would at least insure fitness for the ordinary duties of the profession or the magistracy. The use of such examinations is not to insure a supply of eminent members, but to protect the public from gross ignorance, and keep up the general estimate
of the calling; and we should be glad to know what argument can be used for dispensing with them in the case of the Bar, that would not equally apply to other professions. It has been said, that young men of family and fortune would be deterred and kept away by an examination; but, in our opinion, a diametrically opposite effect would be produced. They would be more likely to come where they had a chance of learning something that might be really useful to them in after life; and their parents or guardians would be more likely to send them there. The rank of Mr Amos's pupils, when (as he stated before the Committee) he opened his Chambers to embryo legislators, and enlarged his mode of teaching to suit them, is a sufficient answer to those who think that the higher class will be repelled by an examination in the general principles of jurisprudence, or even in the outline of our municipal code; and it is worthy of remark, that precisely the same objection was urged when the present system of examinations was proposed at the University of Oxford.
Professor Greenleaf, of Harvard University, the author of an excellent work on the Law of Evidence, says It is most extraordinary, that while it is conceded on all hands that the 'sciences of theology and of medicine are cultivated most successfully in public institutions and schools, this advantage should -" be denied to the Law; and still more strange, that this denial should be made in England alone. In every other country of Europe in which Advocacy is recognised as a liberal profession, a preliminary course of study is prescribed, and the candidate is duly subjected to examination. Scotland, where, we are sorry to say, no preliminary course of study is required, makes no exception, however, as regards the grand point; for every candidate is subjected to examination, both in the Municipal and in the Civil Law, previous to his admission to the Bar. The deficiency, in as far as it extends, is, strange to say, supplied in the other and less dignified branches of the Profession; for sa preliminary course of study, nearly the same for all, and tolerably comprehensive, is indispensable to admission into these.
Letter to the Principal of The Dublin Law Institute, the founders "of which will henceforth rank among the best benefactors of their profession, for the cause of legal education has derived the most valuable Jassistance from them. The King's Inns in Dublin closely resemble the English Inns; and all public instruction is equally wanting there. - A candidate for the Irish bar is required to keep eight terms at an English Inn, and nine at the King's Inns.si
In the United States of North America, the most eminent Jurists have partially reverted to the method of study formerly praetised at the English Inns of Court, and the experiment has been completely successful. Professor Greenleaf's remarks on this point merit deep attention, for he is stating the conclusions of the late Mr Justice Story as well as his own:
We both commenced the study of the law many years since, amidst the drudgery and interruptions of a lawyer's office, perusing, with what diligence we could, our Blackstone, Coke, and the other books at that time put into the hands of students; and we have, more recently, had ample opportunity to mark the difference of progress and acquisition, so much in favour of our pupils at this law school, during the last ten years. Our students have access to a law library of nearly eight thousand volumes, comprising all the English and American reports and treatises, to which we are now adding those of Ireland and Scotland. My own time is given constantly to the classes, and that of Judge Story, when he is not sitting in Court. They are met by one of us daily, and are closely examined, in rotation, upon the portion of text studied by the class, and instructed by oral expositions and commentaries. And every week we hold a moot-court, where a cause is argued by four students, which is presented usually in the form of a motion for a new trial, or verdict subject to a special case, or some other of the ordinary modes in which legal questions are presented, and an opinion is ultimately delivered by the presiding professor.
In our experience, the advantages of associate and collegiate instruction in the science of law, followed by six to twelve months' attention to the 'manipulations' of practice in a lawyer's office, are beyond all comparison superior to any other method of instruction we have ever known. And it cannot be that it can long remain out of favour either in England or Ireland. If it should once gain the attention of Parliament, with the approbation and support of the principal legal characters in each House, the course of legal education may be regarded as safe.'
Trying an experiment by halves is worse than not trying it at all; for failure is almost certain, and then all future attempts at improvement are discredited. We hear leaders of the Bar saying, Let us see how our lectures take, and how far a spirit of emulation can be excited by the examinations, before we make them compulsory; which is as good as proposing to give the let-alone system another trial, and completely evading the popular and, in our opinion, well-founded complaint,—that it is an imposition on the public, and a gross neglect of duty, to confer on any one who can afford to pay the tax exacted by the Inns, a Degree accepted as a test of station and acquirement by society.
The absurdity, in many cases, of what is called the juste milieu system, was well ridiculed in a French vaudeville. Il
faut mourir, says the first speaker; il faut vivre, says the second; il faut tenir un juste milieu, says the third. There is no juste milieu for the Benchers. The life or death, prosperity or decline, of the profession is in their hands. Hitherto, there has been no disposition to make them answerable for the habits of indifference and neglect which they have inherited from a long line of predecessors; and the utmost that has been proposed is to name a body of Commissioners, comprising a certain number of officers of state and other unprofessional members, and empower these to frame a complete system of Legal Education and place the Inns themselves on a fixed and intelligible footing. Even this might be rendered unnecessary by promptness, openness, and decision; by a fair avowal that every thing which ought to have been done has been left undone, followed by conclusive proofs of an earnest unaffected wish to make the bar all it might yet become, if the ordinary care bestowed in keeping up the tone and purifying the ranks of other learned professions, were bestowed upon it. But one thing, we repeat, is quite clear. If the reform does not come from within, it will come from without; and it is absurd to suppose that inquiry can be fenced off again, as it was fenced off fourteen years ago, by talking of voluntary societies, private property, and irresponsible power. It is now established beyond all question, that the governing bodies of these establishments are to all intents and purposes trustees for the public; and as such the legislature will deal with them.
Space permitting, we should be glad to say a few words on the establishment of a Council of Discipline: the tendency of the political influence exercised by the legal profession,-a topic well treated by M. de Tocqueville; the effect of what is called the indiscriminate defence of right and wrong on morals and modes of thinking; the degree of license to be taken or accorded in this respect, as well as in the examination of witnesses and in personal comments; with some other topics closely connected with the position, character and prospects of the profession. But these topics may be safely postponed; for we have pointed out the only effective mode of saving the Bar from sinking lower and lower in public estimation, till society begins to suffer very seriously from its decline. The reformer must begin at the fountain-head; he must purify the current from its source; he must educate, elevate, liberalise, and refine the administrators of the law; and all thinking men-making a due allowance for human weakness will soon cease to murmur (as many such do now) at the administration of it.
ART. V.-1. The Journal of Agriculture, and the Transactionsof the Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland. Published Quarterly. New Series. From July 1843 to October 1846. 8vo. Edinburgh and London,
2. The Journal of the Royal Agricultural Society of England. From January 1839 to September 1846. 8vo. London.
THERE are three classes of men whose several opinions are at present more or less generally influential, in reference to the practical agriculture of the country.
The statesman, and the independent thinker, looking at the rapid increase of our population, which no human means seem able to retard, are apprehensive that, in its progress, it may outstrip the increasing productiveness of the land. This class is desirous, therefore, of forwarding our agricultural industry in every available way, and will knowingly favour no measures likely to hinder or delay its progress.
Mercantile and Commercial men, again, under the same apprehension, look forward to a constantly increasing price of corn, should the people be constrained to buy from the home-grower only; and this fear has not been without its weight in leading to the recent alterations in the corn-laws.
The agricultural body, on the other hand, allege that the universal competition they are now exposed to, will lower the average price of corn so much as to render home farming unprofitable to throw much land out of arable culture to make us dependent upon foreign countries for our food; and in the event of a war, to expose the mass of the people to the horrors of a possible famine.
There appear good grounds, no doubt, to the minds of those who entertain them, for each of these three sets of opinions. A calm review, however, of the actual state, and of the capabilities of British agriculture, will go far, we think, to remove the apprehensions of each party, and to renew the confidence of all in the agricultural resources of the country-in its ability to grow food for its increasing population, and at a price which. shall make foreign competition comparatively harmless.
All important fiscal changes involve or necessarily cause some new adjustments of the social machine. To such adjustments our free-trade measures will give rise; but though some of the wheels may probably, by these adjustments, be caused to move more quickly, there is no risk, we think, of any of them being seriously injured or permanently displaced.