The Seventh Year of George II. - Chap. V.
An Act for the Amendment of the Law in relation to Popish Solicitors; and for
remedying other Mischief in relation to the Practioners in the several Courts of
Law and Equity
Whereas the laws now in force against popish solicitors have been found ineffectual by reason of the difficulty of convicting such solicitors, and the mischiefs thereby intended to be remedied still remain, to the great prejudice of the protestant interest of this kingdom: and whereas by the means of such popish solicitors, the acts against the growth of popery have been and daily are greatly eluded and evaded: for remedy whereof, and for preventing obscure and ignorant persons from practicing as attornies or solicitors, be it enacted by the King’s most excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the lords spiritual and temporal and commons in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, That from and after the last day of Michaelmas term in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and thirty four, no person whatsoever shall be permitted to practice as a solicitor in any of his Majesty’s Four courts in Dublin, who is not thereunto licensed and authorized in manner hereafter mentioned; the present and all future masters and six clerks, of the high court of Chancery, attornies, and officers, of any of the Four courts, and all and every deputy and deputies of such officer, and their clerks and apprentices, and the apprentices of such solicitors as shall be licensed according to this act, during the time of their being officers, deputies to officers, clerks, and apprentices respectively, only excepted.
II. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That from and after the said first day of Michaelmas term one thousand seven hundred and thirty four, no person shall be admitted an attorney, or licenced to be a solicitor in any of the said Four courts, who hath not been a protestant from his age of fourteen years, or for two years before his being admitted an apprentice, and who shall not have served an apprenticeship for the space of five years at least to a six-clerk of the said high court of Chancery in this kingdom, or to a six-clerk of the high court of Chancery in England, or to an attorney of one of the said other courts in this kingdom, or to a solicitor admitted and licenced in manner herein after mentioned, or to an attorney or solicitor duly admitted and licenced in England according to the laws of England, and who shall not before such admission procure an affidavit of such service to be made in the court, where such person
shall be admitted, or before some person lawfully authorized by such court to take affidavits, in case such service be in this kingdom; but in case such service be in England, then before a master of the high court of Chancery there, by some person of the protestant religion; which affidavit shall be filed in such office belonging to such court, as the lord chancellor, or the judge or judges of the respective courts, where such person shall be admitted, shall for that purpose appoint; for the filing of which affidavit and also for the swearing of the same, no fees shall be taken: and every person so to be admitted, shall at the time of such his admission, take all the oaths, and subscribe the declaration, required of persons to be admitted into the offices by the statute made in the second year of the reign of Queen Anne, intituled, An act to prevent the further growth of popery, together with the oath herein after particularly mentioned; but if it shall afterwards appear to the said lord chancellor, or judge or judges of the said respective courts, that the facts in any such affidavit, so to be made and filed as aforesaid, are not true, it shall and may be lawful to and for the said lord chancellor, and the said judge or judges of the said respective courts, to declare the admission of any attorney or solicitor in pursuance of such false affidavit to be void; and after such declaration such attorney or solicitor shall be disabled to act or practice as an attorney or solicitor in any of the said courts by virtue of such admission; and the person or persons making such false affidavit shall be liable to be prosecuted, convicted, and punished in the same manner, as if he or they had been guilty of wilful and corrupt perjury in any action or suit depending in any of the said courts.
III. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That every six clerk, attorney, or solicitor shall in the next ensuing term after his taking an apprentice, register the indentures of apprenticeship between him and such apprentice in such office, as the respective courts, whereof such persons so taking such apprentice, shall be a six-clerk, attorney, or solicitor, shall for that purpose respectively appoint; for which registry every such apprentice shall pay a fee of one shilling and no more; and in case of default of such registry, no such apprentice’s service shall qualify him to be admitted an attorney or solicitor pursuant to this act.
IV. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That every master in Chancery, six-clerk of the high court of Chancery, barrister at law, attorney and officer of any of his Majesty’s Four courts in Dublin, and all and every deputy and deputies of such officer, and every solicitor, to be licenced by this act, shall take the following oath: viz.
I A.B. do sincerely promise and swear, that I will not willingly or knowingly suffer any barrister at law, attorney, solicitor, or other person, who by any act of Parliament made in this kingdom is disqualified to practice as a barrister at law, attorney, or solicitor, to act or practice in my name in any suit, cause, or matter in any court of law or equity in this kingdom; and that I will not knowingly take as an apprentice, or employ as clerk or solicitor, any person of the popish religion.
Which oath shall be taken in such manner, and at such time, as is hereby directed: (that is to say) that every barrister, who hath been called to, or admitted to practice at the bar before the making of this act, or who shall be so call or admitted on or before the first day of May in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and thirty four, shall take the same in one of the said courts on or before the last day of Michaelmas term, which shall be in the year one thousand seven hundred and thirty four; and every barrister to be called or admitted, after the said first day of May one thousand seven hundred and thirty four, shall take the said oath in one of the said courts some time in that term, in which he shall be so called or admitted; and every master in Chancery, six-clerk of the high court of Chancery, attorney and officer of any of the Four courts, and all and every deputy and deputies of such officer, and every solicitor to be licenced according to this act, who hath been admitted before the making of the same, or who shall be admitted or licenced on or before the first day of May aforesaid, shall on or before the last day of Michaelmas term aforesaid, take the oath in the respective court, wherein he hath been or shall be so admitted or licenced; and every master in Chancery, six-clerk of the said court of Chancery, attorney and officer of any of the said courts, and all and every deputy and deputies of such officer, and every solicitor to be licenced according to this act, who shall take the same at the time of such admission, or granting such licence, in any of the said courts wherein he shall be so admitted or licenced; which oath the said lord high chancellor, or the commissioners of the great seal for the time being, and the judges of each of the said Four courts, or any of them, are hereby impowered to administer, in such manner, and in such cases, as is herein before directed; and in case any master in Chancery, six-clerk of the high court of Chancery, barrister at law, attorney or officer of any of his Majesty’s Four courts in Dublin, or any deputy or deputies of such officer, or any solicitor to be licenced according to this act, shall omit or neglect to take the said oath, as
is herein before directed, every such person so omitting or neglecting to take the same, shall thenceforth be respectively incapable of acting as a master in Chancery, six-clerk in Chancery, or officer of any of the said Four courts, or deputy of such officer, or of practicing as barrister at law, or of practicing as attorney or solicitor, either by themselves or clerk in any of the said Four courts, until he or they shall respectively take such oath.
V. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the judge and judges of the respective courts, wherein any person, disqualified by this or any former laws now in force against popish solicitors to practice as a solicitor, shall presume to act or practice as a solicitor, be impowered and required on reasonable suspicion thereof by them, or any of them, had, or on notice to them, or any of them, given in writing, and signed by the person giving such notice, to summon such disqualified solicitor, and such other person or persons, as such judge or judges shall think necessary or proper, to appear before such judge or judges, and to examine upon oath such other person or persons in relation to such practice; and if such disqualified person shall upon summons in writing duly served, refuse or neglect to appear, or if after appearance by his voluntary confession, or by proof made by one or more credible witness or witnesses upon oath, it shall appear, that he has acted as a solicitor, to punish such disqualified solicitor, as for a contempt of such court, by fine or imprisonment, at the discretion of such judge or judges, so as such fine do not exceed the sum of fifty pounds, nor be less than twenty five pounds, and so as such imprisonment do not exceed the term of six months; and in case of such punishment, the party punished shall not be liable to any other or greater punishment for the same, but shall as to such offence be exempt from the punishment, penalty, or forfeiture in the said former acts against popish solicitors contained.
VI. And for the more easy and effectual conviction of such disqualified solicitor or solicitors; be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That every person shall be deemed a solicitor within this and the said former acts against popish solicitors, who, not being a barrister duly qualified by law, master in Chancery, six-clerk, or officer of one of the said courts, or his deputy, attorney, or person qualified as aforesaid, or clerk to such barrister, master in Chancery, six-clerk, or officer, or his deputy, attorney, or qualified solicitor, such clerk having been of the protestant religion from his age of fourteen years, or for two years before he was admitted an apprentice as aforesaid, draws, dictates, or abreviates pleadings, or transcribes, or abreviates any depositions or other
evidence, in order to be made use of in any suit either at law or in equity, or takes upon himself the direction or management in any cause or suit, or the defence thereof in the said Four courts, or any of them, wherein he is not a party, nor concerned in interest.
VII. And whereas some protestants, well affected to his Majesty’s governement, have for some time past practiced as solicitors in the said courts; be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, That such of them shall be allowed and permitted to practice in the said courts as solicitors, who shall be for that purpose thereunto licenced or authorized by the lord chancellor for the time being, the master of the rolls for the time being, or by the lord chief baron, and other the barons for the time being of his Majesty’s court of Exchequer, by writing under their respective hands and seals, on or before the last day of Trinity term one thousand seven hundred and thirty four; such person or persons so licenced, taking the oath herein before mentioned at the time hereby directed, and also the other oaths, and subscribing the declaration herein before mentioned and prescribed in the high court of Chancery, or the said court of Exchequer, after such licence obtained, and registering such licence or authority in the said courts of Chancery or Exchequer, in such office or offices as the respective courts shall for that purpose appoint, and for which registry a fee of one shilling, and no more, shall be paid by each person; and that for the future all and every solicitor or solicitors, who shall be in like manner licenced and authorized, and register such licence or authority, before they or any of them shall presume to practice in the said courts, or any of them.
VIII. And to the intent that for the future the persons qualified to act as solicitors may be known: be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the respective courts, in which any solicitor or solicitors shall be licenced and registered, shall, on the first day of the next ensuing term after such licence granted, cause the name or names of the person or persons so licenced to be wrote in paper or parchment, and cause such paper or parchment to be fixed in the most publick place of such court, there to remain for the intire term.
IX. And to the intent that for the future the number of attorneys and solicitors may be limited; be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That no six-clerk shall have at any one time more than six apprentices, and that no attorney or solicitor shall have at one and the same time more than three apprentices.
X. Provided that nothing in this act shall extend, or be construed to extend, to any person, who was a common solicitor in any of the courts of this kingdom in the reign of King Charles the second, and hath been comprehended within the articles of Limerick, and hath taken the oath of abjuration before the first of July one thousand seven hundred and seven: so as such person shall not keep or employ at any time more than one clerk of the popish religion.
XI. Provided also, That the present apprentices of six-clerks, attorneys, and such protestants as have heretofore acted as solicitors, may be admitted and sworn attorneys and solicitors, as heretofore hath been accustomed; taking such oaths at their admission, and such solicitors obtaining such licence as are and is herein before prescribed; any thing herein contained to the contrary notwithstanding.
XII. Provided also, That if any person or persons, now or hereafter to be admitted a barrister, six-clerk, attorney, or solicitor (such solicitors as were comprehended within the articles of Limerick excepted) shall marry within this kingdom, or out of the same, any woman of the popish religion, or do or shall educate or permit to be educated any of his children, who are now under the age of fourteen years, or shall be hereafter born in the popish religion, such person so marrying or educating any of his children, or permitting any of his children to be educated in the popish religion, shall be thenceforth deemed a papist and disabled from being a barrister, six-clerk, attorney or solicitor, unless such person so marrying shall within one year after such marriage procure such wife to be converted to the protestant religion, and shall obtain a certificate under the hand and seal of the bishop of the diocese, or archbishop of the province, or, in their absence, of the chancellor or vicar-general of such archbishop or bishop, that she hath renounced the popish religion, and is become a protestant, and shall procure the said certificate to be inrolled in the court of Chancery in this kingdom.
XIII. Provided always, That if any person, who shall incur any disability by virtue of this act in respect of marrying a woman of the popish religion, and not procuring her to be converted to the protestant religion within one year as aforesaid, shall survive such wife, such disability incurred in respect of such marriage, and not converting such wife as aforesaid, shall form and after the death of such wife cease and determine.
XIV. Provided also, and be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, That if any six-clerk, attorney, or solicitor, with and to whom any person hath been or shall be bound by indenture as aforesaid to serve as a clerk pursuant to the direction of this act,
shall happen to die before the expiration of the said five years, or if such contract shall by mutual consent of the parties be vacated, or in case such clerk by legally discharged by any rule or order of the court, wherein such six-clerk, attorney, or solicitor shall practice, before the expiration of the said five years, then and in any of the said cases, if such clerk shall by indenture as aforesaid be obliged to serve, and shall accordingly serve as a clerk to any other six-clerk, attorney, or solicitor respectively, who shall be qualified as before directed, during the residue of the said term of five years, then such service shall be deemed and taken as good and effectual, as if such clerk had continued to serve as a clerk for the term of five years to the same person, to whom he was originally bound; and such clerk shall be intituled to his admission as attorney or solicitor, taking the usual oaths, and the oaths herein directed, and being qualified as aforesaid.
XV. Provided nevertheless, and be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That it shall and may be lawful to and for the chief remembrancer and clerk of the pleas of the court of Exchequer, and the several other officers of the said court, and to and for the clerk of the crown, and the other officers of the court of King’s bench, and to and for the prothonotary, and the other officers of the court of Common-pleas, and to and for the clerk of the crown and hanaper, and to and for the register, usher, and examiners of the high court of Chancery, to have each of them as many clerks apprentices at one and the same time, as they shall think fit, not exceeding four; and that such clerks, having served a clerkship to any of the said officers for any term not less than five years, may after the expiration of such term of five years be admitted to be attorneys and solicitors of such court, wherein they shall so respectively serve as clerks, in the same manner as any other person may be admitted, who shall serve a clerkship to any sworn attorney; such clerks taking at the time of their respective admissions the oaths herein directed to be taken by attorneys at the time of their respective admissions, and being qualified in every other respect to be admitted attorneys or solicitors, as is herein before directed.
XVI. Provided also, That no person or persons hereby required to take the said oaths, being out of this kingdom for and during the time hereby limitted and appointed for the taking the same, shall be affected or prejudiced by not taking the same, so as such person or persons take the said oaths in the next ensuing term after his or their return into this kingdom.
XVII. Provided also and be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That no person or persons shall be permitted to practice as solicitor in any cause, matter, or suit whatsoever, to be heard, tryed, and determined before the justices of assize, or oyer and terminer, and goal-delivery in their respective circuits, or in any cause, suit, or matter depending before the commissioners of his Majesty’s revenue, or their sub-commissioners, or the commissioners of appeals, unless such person may lawfully act as a solicitor in one of the Four courts in Dublin, within the intention and meaning of this act; and in case any person, hereby or by any former act disqualified to practice as a solicitor in such circuits, or before the said commissioners, sub-commissioners, or commissioners of appeals in this kingdom; such person or persons offending therein shall and may be punished in manner as in and by this act is appointed.
XVIII. Provided always, That this act, or any thing therein contained, shall not extend to any suits or prosecutions for any crimes whatsoever, which by the laws of this kingdom are to be punished with death; but that such persons may practice as solicitors in all such suits and prosecutions, as were allowed by law so to do before the making of this act; any thing herein before contained to the contrary thereof in any wise notwithstanding.
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