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Friday, 20 July 1906

Mr CROUCH (Corio) .- I am very glad that the honorable member for Parramatta has shown the necessity for bringing about uniformity of practice in . regard to the appearance of practitioners before the Federal and States Courts. I think we should go one step further than is proposed by the honorable member for Kalgoorlie, and permit the High Court to make rules with regard to practitioners who appear in Courts exercising Federal jurisdiction.

Mr Isaacs - That would interfere with the States Courts - we have no power to do that.

Mr CROUCH - If the AttorneyGeneral will look at section 50 of the Act he will find that that power is already exercised with regard to the Crown Solicitor, who is entitled to practice in any Federal Court or Court exercising Federal jurisdiction.

Mr.Isaacs. - I still hold to my opinion.

Mr CROUCH - Does the AttorneyGeneral mean that the Crown Solicitor has no right to appear in a Court exercising Federal jurisdiction ?

Mr Isaacs - I shall not say one word about the right of the Crown Solicitor. The Commonwealth has the right to be represented in Courts exercising Federal jurisdiction, and the Crown Solicitor, who represents the Commonwealth, stands in a position entirely differentfrom that occupied by counsel' representing private persons.

Mr CROUCH - If we can empower the Crown Solicitor to appear in Courts exercising Federal jurisdiction, we must surely be in a position to confer similar authority on others. '

Mr Isaacs - The Crown Solicitor represents the Commonwealth, and appears as our agent in the Courts exercising Federal jurisdiction. .

Mr CROUCH - A State Court is a Federal' Court to the extent to which it exercises Federal jurisdiction, and there can be no question about our power to determine what practitioners should appear before such Court. The honorable member for Parramatta pointed out the desirability of bringing about reciprocity in regard to the appearance of solicitors and barristers before the States and Commonwealth Courts. It is a crying shame that, owing to local jealousies, we have not yet been able to establish reciprocal relations in this matter. I think that we might take, a step in this direction by extending the scope of the amendment, and I therefore move -

That the amendment be amended by inserting after, the word ''Court," line 7, the words " or Court exercising Federal jurisdiction."

Unless we go this length, I am afraid that great confusion will arise. Suppose, for instance, that the honorable member for Parramatta became a Federal solicitor. He would put up a brass plate bearing the name and description, "Joseph Cook, solicitor." Persons acquainted with his rhetorical ability, and with a full appreciation of his fighting powers, would probably consult him in their troubles. He would then have to tell them, "I cannot advise you as a State solicitor, because if I did so, I should incur the penalty imposed by the States Courts upon those who practice without authority. If, however, you first pay me my fee of 6s. 8d., and then tell me your story, I shall be able to judge whether I can take your case into a Federal Court, and therein act as your solicitor." If the matter were one of conveyancing, the honorable member would have to tell his wouldbe client that he could not undertake the case, because he was not a State solicitor. I venture to say that the adoption of the amendment, without the addition I suggest, would lead to endless confusion, because it would be necessary to draw a distinction between Federal solicitors and barristers and States solicitors and barristers.

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