Chapter

Governing a Fractious Profession

RICHARD L. ABEL

in English Lawyers between Market and State

Published in print May 2004 | ISBN: 9780198260349
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191682094 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198260349.003.0010

Series: Oxford Socio-Legal Studies

Governing a Fractious Profession

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This chapter talks about governing a fractious profession. In order to perform their tasks — limiting numbers, selecting entrants, allocating roles, constraining competition, negotiating with third-party players, and regulating conduct — professions needed governing structures that could balance direct democracy and representative government, choose election rules, and organize staff. The two branches differed in both challenges and responses. The greatest pitfall of self-governance, however, was not tensions among fractions or between professional and public interest, oligarchy and democracy, but apathy. Most lawyers just wanted to earn a living and leave politics to others. The Bar Committee was a response to the Judicature Act 1873, which let solicitors to take work from barristers. The Campaign for the Bar was a response to solicitors' nonpayment of fees. Its proposed reforms drew an unprecedented 1,500 to the annual general meeting, but five years later, it failed to get even a quorum of sixty.

Keywords: self-governance; Bar Committee; Judicature Act; solicitors; barristers; annual general meeting

Chapter.  30708 words. 

Subjects: Legal System and Practice

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