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Tuesday, 30 June 1903

Mr L E GROOM (DARLING DOWNS, QUEENSLAND) - I support the position taken up by the Attorney-General; although my sympathiesare very largely ' with the honorable and learned member for Corinella, and the honorable and learned member for Indi. .1 agree with them that admission to the Bar of one State should be sufficient to enable a man to practice in any court of the Commonwealth ; but, unfortunately, we know that very different conditions exist in the States with regard to examinations before admission to practice is granted. In Queensland we have barristers and solicitors, and at the same time an Act is in force which enables barristers and solicitors to practice in either capacity. In "Victoria they have their own method ofadmission, and unfortunately the high educational test applied in that State has had the effect of excluding Victorians from the Queensland Courts* Whilst this test insures a training that is undoubtedly the best to be obtained in any of the States, it is the only bar to complete reciprocity amongst the States. As a legal practitioner goes from State to State separate fees have to be paid, but no other obstacle is put in the way. We admit to practice in Queensland any one who has qualified in any other State upon the same terms as those upon which Queensland practitioners are admitted in the State of which the applicant is a practitioner. It is. this condition which excludes Victorians from practising in our- courts. Many Queenslanders came to Victoria to be educated, and found that owing to the want of reciprocity between the States they could- not be admitted to practice in their- own State until a special rule of court was adopted to meet the difficulty. Between Queensland and New South Wales the utmost friendly feeling exists. About two years ago the Attorneys-General of the States made an effort to bring the qualifications for practitioners into line and to provide for reciprocity, extending not only to the Federal Courts but to the States Courts, and I do not think it is desirable on our part to make any attempt to accelerate that movement by a Federal enactment.

Mr McCay - My proposal would not interfere with it.

Mr L E GROOM (DARLING DOWNS, QUEENSLAND) - No. But it will have the effect of exercising statutory power to promote a movement which will come about in its own good time, if we leave it alone. I do not think it expedient at this stage to interfere, because if we do it will cause a certain amount of friction, and induce the belief that we are endeavouring to invade certain State privileges. I believe that this discussion will do a great deal to promote uniformity of practice and complete reciprocity.

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