1902 Encyclopedia > Solicitor


SOLICITOR. See ATTORNEY. It should be noticed that by the Supreme Court of Judicature Act, 1873, § 87, all persons admitted as solicitors, attorneys, or proctors of any English court, the j arisdiction of which was transferred by the Act to the High Court of Justice or the Court of Appeal, were thenceforth to be called solicitors of the supreme court. The title of attorney-general,, however, still remains as that of the highest law officer of the crown. The Legal Practitioners Act, 1876, and the Solicitors Act, 1877, enabled solicitors to practice as proctors in the ecclesiastical courts (see PROCTOR). The Conveyancing Act, 1881, having made great changes in the practice of conveyancing, it became necessary to place the remuneration of solicitors upon a new basis. This was done by the Solicitors Remuneration Act, passed on the same day as the Conveyancing Act. It provides for the framing of general orders, fixing the principles of remuneration with reference inter alia to the skill and responsibility involved, not, as was generally the case before, with reference simply to the length of the documents perused or prepared. General orders in pursuance of the Act were issued in 1882.

In Scotland solicitors in the supreme court are not, as in England, the only persons entitled to act as law agents. They share the privilege with writers to the signet in the supreme court, with solicitors at law and procurators in the inferior courts. This difference is, however, now of little importance, as by the Law Agents Act, 1873, any person duly admitted a law agent is entitled to practise before any court in Scotland. In the United States the term solicitor is used in some States in the sense which it bore in England before the Judicature Act, viz., a law agent practising before a court of equity.

Many of the great public offices in England and the United States have their solicitors. In England the treasury solicitor fills an especially important position. He is responsible for the enforce-ment of payments due to the treasury. The office of queen's proctor is now combined with that of treasury solicitor. Under his powers as queen's proctor the treasury solicitor acts as administrator of the personal estate of an intestate which has lapsed to the crown, and intervenes in cases of divorce where collusion is alleged (see DIVORCE). Since the Prosecution of Offences Act, 1884, he has also acted as director of public prosecutions. In the United States the office of solicitor to the treasury was created by Act of Congress in 1830. His principal duties are to take measures for protecting the revenue and to deal with lands acquired by the United States by judicial process or vested in them by security for payment of debts.

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