From the Freeman’s Journal, 19 June 1871:

DEAR SIR – [D]uring the discussion before of the House of Commons of the Alliance Gas Bill, your reporter… has omitted both the names of Mr O’Hara and myself from the list of counsel retained against the bill. And further, in the report of the Tramways Bill on Friday, my name was also omitted, although I cross-examined and examined several witnesses on behalf of the prosecutors of the bill… I ask you to set the matter right. I have no doubt it arose from inadvertence, but you know that to a junior barrister the omission of his name from such cases is a positive injury…

John Norwood was a Junior on the North-Eastern Circuit at the date of this letter, before later becoming a Magistrate in Dublin. He was the son of Benjamin Norwood, a Dublin builder whose beautifully executed building plans are preserved in the Dublin City Council Archive. The Norwood family home at 11 Nelson Street, Phibsborough, very nicely built, still stands today.

Every barrister has at least one maxim they like to quote, and Norwood’s was never to underrate the ability of an opponent, nor overstate his case. He often repeated this in court, usually as a precursor to expressing his regret that his opponent had not done the same.  His letter illustrates the importance to Counsel of news reports featuring their names in an era where there was little other opportunity to publicise one’s areas of expertise. One wonders whether he had actually intended it for publication!

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