The Law Society Gazette, August 1914

The Annual General Meeting

Mr Walter Trower, President, in the chair, said: ‘I must congratulate the Society on the increasing number of its members, notwithstanding the very large diminution in the number of those seeking an entrance to our profession. In these days of competition by public officials and others, and the attacks which are increasingly made on property of all kinds, it is more than ever necessary that the council should be supported by the majority, if not the whole, of the profession.’

The Bar Council

Two questions have been under discussion with the Bar Council, the first relating to the acceptance by counsel of briefs from persons other than solicitors, and the second with regard to the relative proportion of the fees of Leading and Junior Counsel.

With reference to the first question, the Bar Council passed a resolution in October last, namely: ‘That it is undesirable that counsel should ever accept any brief from a clerk to a local authority who is not a solicitor.’

The second question is still under discussion, but I have every reason to hope that a satisfactory conclusion will be arrived at.

Legal Decisions Affecting Solicitors

King’s Bench Division Harper v Eyjolfsson

This was an appeal by the defendant against a verdict and judgment for £175 damages obtained by the plaintiff in an action for malicious prosecution brought by the plaintiff in the Mayor’s Court, London, before the common sergeant and a jury.

The defendant applied for a new trial upon the ground inter alia that at the trial the judge had admitted in evidence a certain illegal agreement between the plaintiff, who was not a qualified solicitor, and the solicitor who employed him, as to the plaintiff’s remuneration.

The agreement was contained in a letter from which the following are extracts: ‘I agree to engage you as my managing clerk and to pay you a salary of £3 10s a week, and in addition a bonus of 25 per cent on all gross costs and other profits received by me on all business introduced by you either directly or indirectly.’

The court held that the agreement was illegal and should not have been admitted in evidence.