The Problem of Paging Barristers, 1846

From Saunders’s Newsletter, 20 November 1846:

“SIR- In consequence of the numerous complaints by respectable solicitors against the present system of calling barristers’ names at the door of the library, and the uncertainty in which inquirers leave the ante-room, after suffering ten minutes’ crushing among clerks, idlers, &c., when the return of non est is given by the importunate functionary, who continually howls forth name after name through the library, to the extreme annoyance of all engaged there,

It is, therefore, suggested to the committee that a board should be erected in the ante-room, having thereon the names of the members alphabetically arranged, with a slide to cover each name, which can easily be withdrawn by the porter when the barrister to whom it belongs enters the library, and closed on his exit. A single glance at this board will give the necessary information, and the party required immediately called.

Under the present arrangement, some barristers are called twenty times an hour who have not been in the library for weeks. Your giving this insertion will oblige


Despite its many merits, the above proposal had, of course, one fatal disadvantage – if adopted, it would completely destroy the ability of barristers to ‘hide’ in the Law Library.

Need I say that it was never adopted?

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Author: Ruth Cannon BL

Irish barrister sharing the history of the Four Courts, Dublin, Ireland, and other Irish courts.

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