THE ADVOCATE V O L . 7 5 P A R T 5 S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 7 783
By R.C. Tino Bel
ARE THE LEGAL PROFESSIONS
This is almost as controversial a question as high tariff or free
trade. And about as old.
Prior to 1455, for instance, there had not been more than
seven or eight Attorneys-at-Law in Norwich, Norfolk and Suffolk
and, “in consequence”, according to the recital, 33 Hen. VI., cap. 7,
“great tranquillity prevailed, with little tribulation on account of vexatious
suits and proceedings”.
When, however, the seven or eight attorneys increased to ten times that
number, Parliament decided to do something about it, complaining that
“upwards of eighty attorneys were gaining their living by paltry stirring
up suits to the detriment of the whole community” and that “henceforth
there should be but seven attorneys in either of the two countries and two
Pulling, in his reference to this statute (Order of the Coif, p. 124 et seq.)
remarked that it was not actually repealed till 1843, but what steps were
ever taken to enforce it do not appear.
That it was little more than a pious resolution seems clear from Lord
Coke (2 Inst. Westm. primer, cap. 42, 249) and it is plain from Coke that his
chief objection to so many attorneys was due to their lack of perception of
legal ethics and scorn of them where known. (Id. cap. 29, 214–5; 4 Inst. The
Court of KB., cap. 7, 76. The Court of Exchequer, cap. 10, 101.)
* Reprinted from (1944) 2 Advocate 190.