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Lord Hewart.
Ko-ko (Sir Gordon Hewart). "Pardon me, but there I am adamant."
Cartoon from Punch magazine Vol. 158, February 25, 1920, commenting on Hewarts' bill for the continuance of the Defence of the Realm Act, without amendments, for a short time.

Gordon Hewart, 1st Viscount Hewart, PC (7 January 1870 – 5 May 1943) was a politician and Judge in the United Kingdom.

Born in Bury, Lancashire, he was educated at Manchester Grammar School and University College, Oxford. He was a Liberal Member of Parliament from 1913 and was made a Privy Counsellor in 1918, Attorney General from January 10, 1919 to March 6, 1922. He entered the cabinet in 1921, and was Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales from March 8, 1922 to October 12, 1940.

He was given a peerage as Baron Hewart in 1922 to allow him to sit in the House of Lords as Lord Chief Justice. Upon his retirement he was created Viscount Hewart.

In 1929 Hewart published The New Despotism, in which he claimed that the rule of law in Britain was being undermined by the legislature. This book was very controversial and led to the appointment of a Committee on Ministers' Powers—chaired by the Earl of Donoughmore—but its Report rejected Hewart's arguments.

Lord Hewart has been described as "one of the most vigorous and vociferous believers in the impeccability of the English jury system of this or any other century" [1]

However, in 1931, Hewart made legal history, when (sitting with Mr. Justice Branson and Mr. Justice Hawke) he quashed the conviction for murder of William Herbert Wallace, on the grounds that the conviction was not supported by the weight of the evidence. In other words - the jury was wrong.

Lord Hewart was the originator (paraphrased from the original) of the aphorism "Not only must Justice be done; it must also be seen to be done." He died in Barnet aged 73.

See also

Rex v Sussex Justices, ex parte McCarthy

Rex v Wallace

Notes

Further reading:
R. Jackson, The chief: the biography of Gordon Hewart, lord chief justice of England, 1922–40 (1959)
R. F. V. Heuston, Lives of the lord chancellors, 1885–1940 (1964)
R. Stevens, The independence of the judiciary: the view from the lord chancellor's office (1993)
R. Stevens, ‘Hewart, Gordon, first Viscount Hewart (1870–1943)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004)

References

  1. ^ The Killing of Julia Wallace, by Jonathan Goodman (Headline, London, 1987), p.251
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Eliot Crawshay-Williams and
Ramsay Macdonald
Member of Parliament for Leicester
1913–1918
Served alongside: Ramsay Macdonald
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for Leicester East
19181922
Succeeded by
George Banton
Legal offices
Preceded by
George Cave
Solicitor General for England and Wales
1916–1919
Succeeded by
Ernest Pollock
Preceded by
F. E. Smith
Attorney General for England and Wales
1919–1922
Succeeded by
Ernest Pollock
Preceded by
The Lord Trevethin
Lord Chief Justice of England
1922–1940
Succeeded by
The Viscount Caldecote
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