Skip to Content

Colonial Cases

In re D'Silva, 1869

[legal practitioners]

In re D'Silva

Judicial Committee of the Privy Council
2 February 1869
Source:The Times, 3 February 1869

(Present, - Lord Chelmsford, Sir J. Colville, Sir J. Napier, and Sir L. Peel.)
  Their Lordships resumed the sittings today. The list contains 56 appeals, of which 29 are from the Presidency of Bengal.
  This was an application of the part of Mr. D'Silva, an advocate at Moulmein, in India, who had been struck off the rolls, for leave to appeal to Her Majesty in Council.
  Mr. Bell appeared as counsel in support of the application, and narrated the circumstances, from which it appeared that a letter, signed in a fictitious name, had been sent to the Recorder of the Court mentioned, respecting a person who was applying to be admitted as an advocate. The letter was sent to the private address of the Judge, and an investigation followed. Mr. D'Silva had admitted sending the letter and knowing its contents, but he denied having written it. The Judge of the Court had struck the name of Mr. D'Silva off the roll of advocates, although he had offered in private to mention the name of the writer of the letter, but refused to do so in public because it was a confidential communication. The learned counsel submitted that it was a hard measure of justice to proceed to the extreme course adopted by the learned Recorder. Mr. D'Silva had expressed his regret, and it was too much to say that in the language of the rule which authorized his removal he had been guilty of "dishonourable and disgraceful conduct."
  Lord Chelmsford, after their Lordships had consulted, said the Court had carefully and anxiously considered the application, and had come to the conclusion that leave to appeal could not be granted. It was for the Court below to consider whether the removal should have been for a period of time or for a total removal, and the Recorder having adopted the latter course, having all the facts before him, their Lordships could not interfere.  As to the expression "dishonourable or disgraceful conduct," it was most improper for an advocate to send in private a petition or anonymous letter which was meant to do a great injury to a person who was applying to be admitted. The Judge of the Court below had not considered that a removal for a time would have been sufficient, or that after repentance and contrition the licence might be restored, and therefore, in fairness to the Recorder, they saw no reason to interfere with his decision.
  The application for leave to appeal was accordingly refused.

Published by Centre for Comparative Law, History and Governance at Macquarie Law School