A litigator's quiz: Third candle of Advent

16 December 2019

The third Sunday of Advent was traditionally a time to lift the gloom of Advent and celebrate Christmas to come – and hence was also known as Gaudete (Rejoice!) Sunday or Rose Sunday. So what has there been to celebrate in the legal profession in 2019?


1. 2019 marked the centenary of women in law in England, following the passing of the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919. Why was the act needed to allow women to practise law?


(a) Because the courts had previously held that a woman was not a 'person'.


In Bebb v Law Society [1913] EWHC 1, the Court of Appeal held that women were not 'persons' for the purposes of the Solicitors Act 1848 and that there was, at common law, a disability on the part of a woman to be a solicitor.

(b) Because women were prohibited from working for money.

Fortunately, incorrect.  

The correct answer is (a).

(c) Because a woman had not previously applied to be a solicitor.

Incorrect.  Women had been attempting to become solicitors for some 40 years before 1919. 

The correct answer is (a).

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