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Law students who served in war recognized, along with new lawyers called to the bar


The future and the past were celebrated by members of the legal profession Friday in a special Call to the Bar ceremony at Newfoundland Supreme Court in St. John’s.

Barry Fleming, president of the Law Society of Newfoundland and Labrador, spoke at the special Call to the Bar ceremony at Newfoundland Supreme Court in St. John’s Friday.

Five people were sworn in as new lawyers in this province, while five law students who gave up their studies more than a century ago to enlist and fight for their country in the First World War were recognized during the event, which was presided over by Newfoundland Supreme Court trial division Chief Justice Raymond Whalen.

Andrea L. Barnes, Kevin Donald Gibson, Daniel John Urbas, Julia Tomson and James Robert Farrell were added to this province’s list of solicitors.

The five law students who were honoured by being ceremonially called to the bar and given honorary degrees of barrister-at-law were: Cecil Bayly Clift (1892-1916), his brother John Clift (1893-1920), William Frederick Cyril Hutchings (1894-?), Janet Morison Miller (1891-1946) and Harris Rendell Oke (1891-1940).

Cecil Clift articled under Sir James P. Blackwood and later with his father, James A. Clift. He and his brother both enlisted in the Newfoundland Regiment Sept. 7, 1914. Cecil was killed at Gueudacourt, France, on Oct. 12, 1916, and John was severely wounded. John was awarded the Military Cross and retired from the regiment Feb. 25, 1919. He articled under Edward S. Pinsent in 1919 and died a year later from complications from his war wounds.

Hutchings also articled under Blackwood in 1914, but enlisted in the regiment Sept. 16, 1914, and was discharged Feb. 28, 1919. He re-entered articles, but was forced to abandon them for medical reasons.

Miller articled with William Morison in 1910 and was the first female permitted to enter into articles in Newfoundland. She travelled to the United Kingdom in 1915, where she later joined the Voluntary Aid Detachment and served until the end of the war. She returned to Newfoundland in 1919, but chose not to resume her law studies.

Oke articled with John Fenelon in 1909. He enlisted in the regiment on Sept. 16, 1914, and transferred to the Royal Scots Regiment Nov. 11, 1915. He was awarded the Military Cross. He returned to Newfoundland when the war ended.

“No doubt, their families, friends and descendants have celebrated their lives and mourned their deaths,” Barry Fleming, president of the Law Society of Newfoundland and Labrador, said during the ceremony.

“Today, the court and the law society will contemplate and acknowledge what might have been,” Fleming said.

“The promise of what was at the time, and still is, a much sought-after and rewarding profession was denied them because of their sense of duty and defence of country. We hope that today’s ceremony will truly ensure that their sacrifices will never be forgotten.”

Several lawyers and judges from both Newfoundland Supreme Court, Court of Appeal and provincial court attended the event, along with RNC Chief Bill Janes, Lt-Gov. Frank Fagan and descendants of the five honourees.

rmullaley@thetelegram.com

Twitter: TelyCourt

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