Society of Our Lady of Good Counsel


Composed principally of London solicitors and barristers. Its purpose is to render free legal help and advice to the poor. It is placed under the patronage of Saint Thomas More, lord high chancellor of England. Until this society was constituted, 26 April 1926, there was no means in Great Britain whereby a poor person could obtain legal assistance, excepting only advice, in regard to police court and county court cases, and it is in these courts that most cases of immediate personal concern to the poor are tried. A “poor person” according to the rules of this society is one not possessed of £50 (excluding wearing apparel, tools of trade, and the subject matter of the proceedings) and whose total income does not exceed £2 per week. Although essentially a Catholic society, the question of religion does not arise so far as applicants for help are concerned; assistance is freely given to all regardless of creed, social status, or character; it is only necessary that clients be poor and have right and justice on their side. Each solicitor and bartister on joining the society agrees to take certain classes of cases; he can thus choose the division of law with which he is most familiar. The general welfare of the society is the concern of a council which is composed of ecclesiastics, lawyers, and laymen, the Cardinal-Archbishop of Westminster being president. The activities of the society are directed by an executive of lawyers of both legal branches, the chairman being Sir Reginald Mitchell Banks. Attached to the society is a Ladies Committee which undertakes to collect funds for such necessary expenses as office rent, court fees, etc., and to make known to the poor in need of legal aid the help they may obtain from the society; a special sub-committee acts as a link between the society and foreign embassies, legations, and consulates, who may have poor of their nationalities seeking aid. While it is no part of the society’s work to foster litigation, its aim being rather to induce just and equitable settlement of disputes, it does in cases of necessity aid its clients as far as the Court of Criminal Appeal, in which tribunal, as elsewhere, it has achieved notable successes.

MLA Citation

  • “Society of Our Lady of Good Counsel”. New Catholic Dictionary. CatholicSaints.Info. 8 August 2013. Web. 5 March 2021. <>