The next item on the Orders of the Day is the Solicitors (Ireland) Act, 1898, Amendment Bill, 1923. I understand that this Bill was moved in the Dáil by a private member, but was adopted by the Government. Consequently I have put it down as a Government measure. If I am correct, I formally move it under our Standing Orders. The motion is: "That the Solicitors (Ireland) Act, 1898, Amendment Bill, 1923, be now read a second time."
OIREACHTAS STAFF. - SOLICITORS (IRELAND) ACT, 1898, AMENDMENT BILL, 1923.
I have been approached by the private member who had charge of this Bill in the Dáil, and he has asked me if I would formally move it. I am afraid I am not prepared to undertake cross-examination on it. I understand it was non-controversial. The object of the Bill is to give solicitors in the Free State the same rights in England, and also solicitors who have to practise in the Free State from England the same rights as are enjoyed by solicitors in other portions of the Dominions. That is about all I can say on the subject. I have no doubt that if there are questions to be asked there is somebody here who can answer them.
In addition to what Senator Keane has pointed out, the Bill also gives power to dispense with one of the three examinations. The other point is that it gives power to increase the fees from 5s. to £1. That is a provision that only two clauses in the Bill in addition to those which Sir John Keane has referred to. It is a matter that refers to solicitors only, and I understand the Bill was brought in at their instance.
It has been suggested to me that it would be well if the members of the Seanad were reminded of the exact position of Bills received from the Dáil. Under the Standing Orders when a Bill is received from the Dáil which is a Government Bill it is the duty of the Cathaoirleach to put the Bill in its various stages in accordance with the Standing Orders on the Orders of the Day, and to formally move the Bill on each occasion. The reason, in the main, that is done is to enable the Ministers to speak on the Bill at the beginning, although they would not have rights in the Seanad to formally move it. Now, in the case of a private member's Bill which comes up from the Dáil would not go on the Orders of the Day unless some members of the Seanad gave notice that they would move and second it. I understand this Bill was adopted by the Government, and for that reason I will move it formally.
The Bill we are now discussing, Solicitors (Ireland) Act, 1898, Amendment Bill, 1923, is a matter that relates to the solicitors themselves. The operative clause is in Section (b), and that appears to introduce reciprocity between the English and Irish and Scotch solicitors. I suppose the more solicitors we can have the better. At all events, we are now going to have solicitors from all parts of the late United Kingdom, and I have no doubt it will add to the efficiency of our legal practice and also to the amusement of some of our courts. Apparently the only important Section in the Bill apart from the one I have mentioned is in Section 1 (c); that is the Section which provides that the Registrar's certificate shall in future be £1 instead of 5s. So long as the public will not have to pay I do not see that we are concerned; if the public had to pay I suppose it would be a money Bill. There is no reason why we should object to this, as the solicitors themselves desire it.
If it is desired to have this Bill through all its stages now it will be necessary for some Senator to move the suspension of the Standing Orders.
I beg to move the suspension of the Standing Orders.
Bill put through all its further stages without discussion, and passed.