The General Post Office has apologised for the late delivery of this telegraphic message, blaming technical issues at the Holborn Exchange.
With the editor holidaying on his Scottish estates, it is my duty as news editor to welcome you to the January edition of the Law Society’s Gazette. This month we present our usual 20 monochrome pages, in a quarto format convenient for carriage in the pocket of one's morning suit for perusal upon the omnibus or Underground Railway.
Our pages open with a modest plea to Lord Chancellor Haldane to incorporate into one statute the Law of Real Property and Conveyancing Bills, with the long overdue purpose of ridding the conveyancing process in England and Wales of unnecessary anomalies. Space is also devoted to the vexed question of County Court reform, including a report of the County Courts Committee urging special allowances for costs in 'important and protracted actions'.
We are pleased also to report the annual general meeting of the Solicitors’ Benevolent Association, which in the year granted relief amounting to £5,993.16s 8d to colleagues who, though sober and industrious, had fallen on hard times.
In 'Miscellaneous Professional Information', we congratulate Mr W.W. Cresswell on his appointment as partner in the firm of Messrs. Harrison, Salmon & Cresswell, solicitors and notaries, of Nairobi and Nakuru, British East Africa.
Beneath the headline 'Legal Decision affecting Solicitors' we note the judgment of the Court of Appeal in Bebb v. The Law Society, on the question of whether women may be admitted as solicitors. The Master of the Rolls - correctly, in our opinion - dismissed the sophistry of Miss Gwyneth Marjorie Bebb's request for a declaration that she is a person within the meaning of the Solicitors Act 1843 and thus entitled to sit the preliminary examinations held by The Society with a view to her becoming a solicitor.
We are confident that the decision resolves the issue for all time, to the satisfaction of even the suffragists among us.
At this time of year it is customary to survey the wider political situation. Here, general relief at the receding threat of a European war has revived debate as to the utility of the reforms to His Majesty's armed forces initiated by Lord Chancellor Haldane in his previous position at the War Office. Certainly we can forsee no role for his 'Army Expeditionary Force' although, of course, the Russian bear still lurks on the northwest frontier. No doubt Lord Haldane, along with his ministerial colleagues in this unhappy government, Mr Lloyd George and Mr Churchill, will vanish into the obscurity that is his historic due.
On the topic of the future, readers will note that, thanks the wonders of modern engineering, it is now possible to alert the Gazette editorial office around the clock, viz from 10am to 5pm weekdays and to noon on Saturdays, via our telegraphic address INTERPRET, London. A reader who has perhaps overindulged in the works of Mr H.G. Wells proposes that one day the reverse may be possible, with the Gazette conveyed to members' premises by electrical means, dispensing entirely with the medium of paper.
That, we must observe, is as perhaps as likely as a gentleman with no legal qualification being appointed to the office of Lord Chancellor.
So much for gloomy prognostication. To return to the present, it is my happy task to wish all the Gazette's 9,000 readers, and their charming wives, a prosperous and peaceful 1914.