Seven Bagfuls of Stolen Briefs, 1875

Barristers’ brief-bags, as depicted above, were primarily designed for carrying the traditional rolled up briefs tied with a ribbon. They work less well for bound A4 booklets. Today, the bags tend to be used to carry only wigs and gowns, and various miscellaneous but personally essential items varying from barrister to barrister. Image via Ebay.

From the Belfast Telegraph, 28 January 1875, a story which gives a unique insight into everyday life in the Four Courts, and Dublin, in the mid-to-late 19th century. All of human life is here: the barristers with their bagfuls of briefs transitioning back and forth from court, to the Law Library, to their homes, as the need takes them; the transportation service (staffed by women!) available to assist them; the lucrative trade in old waste paper; and the unfailing ingenuity of the Dublin criminal read more

John Philpot Curran’s Lucky Brief, 1779

The young John Philpot Curran, via Wikipedia.

Because barristers cannot receive instructions directly from the public, and are dependent on solicitors to give them cases, it can be challenging – and sometimes impossible – for a young advocate to get established. It used to be said that, as a rule of thumb, at least two of the following were needed – talent, luck or contacts. Traditionally, even the most talented young barristers were, if without connections, dependent on luck to build up a practice.

From ‘The read more

The Barrister’s Boots That Went to Mass and Came Back Lucky, 1910-1991

From the Irish Press, 18 January 1940:

“Mr. Albert Wood, SC, who has been retained to lead in the appeals of Peter Barnes and James Richards, before the Court of Criminal Appeal, London, from their convictions on the charge of the murder of a girl shop assistant who was fatally injured in an explosion at Broadgate, Coventry, will travel to London next weekend.  Mr. Wood will be accompanied by Mr. Con Lehane, solicitor, of the firm of Lehane and Hogan, Dublin, who, acting on behalf of relatives read more

The Bells of St Bartholomew’s and Serjeant William Bennett Campion, 1882-1907

St Bartholomew’s Church, Clyde Road, Dublin, via Postcards Ireland

From the Freeman’s Journal, 9 February 1924:


In the first days of a New Year, we find ourselves chatting of joybells. It seldom occurs to the present generation of Dubliners that our local peal of bells has figured in anything but joyous litigation, and in the old Four Courts too. The story is told in the Memoirs of William Bennett Campion, Serjeant-at-Law. Shortly after the erection of the bells of read more

The Barrister and the ‘Charley,’ c.1780

‘A Brace of Public Guardians,’ by Thomas Rowlandson, via the Met Museum.

From the Irish Independent, 12 November 1907, this fantastic piece on ‘The Charleys,’ or the Old Dublin Watch, by D.J.M. Quinn, with an amusing story in its last paragraph about how an eminent and somewhat officious ‘gentleman of the wig and gown’ of times past found himself magnificently outwitted by a ‘Charley’ he had sought to reprimand:




Could the good citizen, who, gazing today on the stalwart form of the Dublin Metropolitan policeman as read more