Legal counsel

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Legal counsel is the primary function of a lawyer, and includes the advising and representation of clients.


The Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904)[edit]

Quotes reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, The Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 51-55.
  • A gentleman of Lincoln's-inn.
    • Holt, C.J., Butler's Case (1699), 13 How. St. Tr. 1259.
  • A gentleman at the Bar.
  • No counsel in the world that understand themselves, can argue anything against what has been often settled and always practised.
    • Holt, C.J., Parkyn's Case (1696), 13 How. St. Tr. 134.
  • If any whimsical notions are put into you, by some enthusiastic counsel, the Court is not to take notice of their crotchets.
    • Jefferies, C.J., Hayes' Case (1684), 10 How. St. Tr. 314.
  • In a common case, it is the usual course for the counsel to take the memorandums in his hand, for the cross-examination.
    • Eyre, L.C.J., Trial of Thomas Hardy (1794), 24 How. St. Tr. 824.
  • It is impossible the cause can go on, unless the gentlemen at the bar will a little understand one another, and by mutual forbearance, assist one another; you are a little too apt to break out, and I think there has been a little inclination sometimes to observe more upon that than the occasion calls for.
    • Eyre, L.C.J., Hardy's Case (1794), 24 How. St. Tr. 688.
  • It is fit they should speak what they can for the advantage of their client.
    • Walcot, J., Hampden's Case (1684), 9 How. St. Tr. 1104.
  • It has been always the practice heretofore, that when the Court have delivered their opinion, the counsel should sit down and not dispute it any further.
    • Jefferies, C.J., Case of Titus Oates (1685), 10 How. St. Tr. 1186.
  • Consider a little how you treat the Court; the objection hath been solemnly taken in this Court, argued and adjudged by this Court, and now you come to arraign that judgment that was then given.
    • John Pratt, C.J., Layer's Case (1722), 16 How. St. Tr. 313.
  • The point now before us is a settled case, and therefore there is no need to enter into arguments about it.
  • There is usually a decency about counsel which prevents them from pressing that to a conclusion which can never be concluded.
    • Gibbs, C.J., Tomkins and others v. Willshear (1813), 5 Taunton, 431.
  • Counsel are frequently induced, and they are justified in taking the most favourable view of their clients' case; and it is not fair to pass over any piece of evidence they find difficult to deal with, provided they cite, fairly and correctly, those parts of the evidence they comment upon.
    • Lord Kenyon, Case of Earl of Thanet and others (1799), 27 How. St. Tr. 940.
  • A counsel's position is one of the utmost difficulty. He is not to speak of that which he knows; he is not called upon to consider whether the facts with which he is dealing are true or false. What he has to do, is to argue as best he can, without degrading himself, in order to maintain the proposition which will carry with it either the protection or the remedy which he desires for his client. If amidst the difficulties of his position he were to be called upon during the heat of his argument to consider whether what he says is true or false, whether what he says is relevant or irrelevant, he would have his mind so embarrassed that he could not do the duty which he is called upon to perform. For, more than a Judge, infinitely more than a witness, he wants protection on the ground of benefit to the public. The rule of law is that what is said in the course of the administration of the law is privileged; and the reason of that rule covers a counsel even more than a Judge or a witness.
    • Brett, M.R., Munster v. Lamb (1833), L. R. 11 Q. B. 603.
  • And let not the counsel at the bar chop with the Judge, nor wind himself into the handling of the cause anew, after the Judge hath declared his sentence.
    • Bacon, " Essay on Judicature."
  • Absurdum est affirjnare (re judicata) eredendum esse non judici: It is absurd to say, after judgment, that any one else than the Judge should be hearkened to.
    • 12 Co. 25.
  • It is expected you should do your best for those you are assigned for, as it is expected in any other case, that you do your duty for your client.
    • Holt, C.J., Rookwood's Case (1696), 13 How. St. Tr. 154.
  • The Court is greatly obliged to the gentlemen of the Bar who have spoke on the subject; and by whose care and abilities so much has been effected, that the rule of decision will be reduced to a very easy compass. I cannot omit to express particular happiness in seeing young men, just called to the Bar, have been able so much to profit by their reading.
    • Lord Mansfield, Somerset v. Stewart (1772), Lofft. 18; id. The Negro Case, 20 How. St. Tr. 80.
  • No man has a higher sense of the importance of the rights and privileges of counsel in discharge of their arduous and important duties, and I should regret if they had not that privilege, not for their sake only, but for the sake of the whole community.
    • Cockhurn, C.J., Ex parte Pater (1864), 9 Cox, C. C. 553.
  • An overspeaking Judge is a no well-timed cymbal. It is no grace to a Judge first to find that which he might have heard in due time from the Bar, or to show quickness of conceit in cutting off evidence or counsel too short, or to prevent (anticipate) information by questions, though pertinent.
    • Bacon, Essay of Judicature.
  • You need not cite cases: 'Tis a principle.
    • Lord Mansfield's remark to Counsel counsel in the course of the argument in Morgan v. Jones (1773), Lofft. 165. See also per Lord Alter stone in Rex r. Archbishop of Canterbury and another (1902), T. L. R. Vol. 18, 388.
  • I remember Lord Eldon saying to counsel, " You have told us how far the cases have gone, will you now tell us where they are to stop?" I think it is now time that we should say where the cases are to stop.
  • A man's rights are to be determined by the Court, not by his attorney or counsel. It is for want of remembering this that foolish people object to lawyers that they will advocate a case against their own opinions. A client is entitled to say to his counsel, I want your advocacy, not your judgment; I prefer that of the Court.
    • Bramwell, B., Johnson v. Emerson (1871), L. R. 6 Ex. 367.
  • When counsel addresses an argument on the ground of natural justice to a Court of law, he addresses it to the wrong tribunal. It may be a good argument for inducing the legislature to alter the law; but in a Court of law all that we can deal with is the law of the land as we find it.
    • North, J., In re Gregson (1887), L. J. 57 C. D. 223.
  • First settle what the case is, before you argue it.
    • Wright, L.C.J., Trial of the Seven Bishops (1688), 12 How. St. Tr. 342.
  • Don't you foist in a proposition which is not allowed.
  • It seems to me that the argument of the defendant's counsel blows hot and cold at the same time.
    • Buller, J., L'Anson v. Stuart (1787), 1 T. R. 753. Compare: ". . . . This would be blowing hot and cold". Lawrence, J., Berkeley Peerage Case (1811), 4 Camp. 412; "Hot and cold were in one body fixt; And soft with hard, and light with heavy mixt", Dryden.
  • Allegans contraria non est audiendus (Jenk. Cent. 16): "He is not to be heard who alleges things contradictory to each other." This elementary rule of logic expresses, in technical language, the saying that a man shall not be permitted to "blow hot and cold" with reference to the same transaction, or insist, at different times, on the truth of each of two conflicting allegations, according to the promptings of his private interest. Says the Satyr, if you have gotten a trick of blowing hot and cold out of the same mouth, I've e'en done with ye.
    • L'Estrange.
  • A grosser perversion of English justice it is impossible to imagine, and I should indeed be sorry if, under any circumstances, it could be proved to be English law.
    • Justice Grantham, Burrows v. Rhodes [1899], L. R. 1 Q. B. D. 823, said in rejoinder to counsel for foisting a preposterous argument upon the Court.
  • It is the duty of all Courts to keep counsel to the points before them.
    • Pemberton, L.C.J., Fitzharris' Case (1681), 8 How. St. Tr. 296.
  • I wish to uphold counsel in the exercise of their discretion.
    • Kekewich, J., In re Somerset; Somerset v. Earl Poulett (1893), L. R. [1894], 1 Ch. 249.
  • I cannot allow that the counsel is the agent of the party.
    • Best, C.J., Colledge v. Horn (1825), 3 Bing. 121.
  • I always said, I will be my client's advocate, not his agent. To hire himself to any particular course, is a position in which no member of the profession ought to place himself.
    • Pollock, C.B., Swinfen v. Lord Chelmsford (1860), L. T. Rep. Vol. 2 (N. S.) 413.

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