The early years of an unregulated profession: Lawyers in the Southern districts of New Zealand 1850-1869
This paper attempts to outline some of the salient features of the early years of the legal profession in the areas which at one time made up the “Southern District” for the purposes of judicial circuits - that is the areas now known as Canterbury, Otago, Southland and the West Coast of the South Island. of New Zealand2 over the period of significant settlement from about 1850 when the towns of Christchurch and Dunedin were established to the formation of the New Zealand Law Society in 1869. Two aspects in particular are considered. The first is an attempt to investigate the origins of the practitioners of the day by considering the requirements for admission to the profession and the antecedents of such members of the profession as can be readily identified. the latter part of this paper considers how professional discipline was preserved and standards enforced in the absence of any formal professional structure. In considering each of these issues, it is important to bear in mind that in this period as now, the legal profession in New Zealand was "fused" so that lawyers could be both barristers and solicitors and admission in one capacity generally gave a right to admission and practise in the other.