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Sir Samuel Shepherd KS PC


In office
December 1813 – 1817

In office
1817 – June 1819

In office
June 1819 – February 1830

Born 6 April 1760
Died 3 November 1840 (aged 72)
Nationality British
Alma mater Merchant Taylors' School
Profession Barrister, Judge, Politician

Sir Samuel Shepherd KS PC (6 April 1760 — 3 November 1840) was a British barrister, judge and politician who served as Attorney General for England and Wales and Lord Chief Baron of the Scottish Court of Exchequer. Born to a toymaker, he was educated at Merchant Taylors' School and, after a pupillage under Charles Runnington, was called to the Bar by the Inner Temple on 23 November 1781. He soon became a successful barrister, and was made a Serjeant-at-Law in 1796 and a King's Serjeant a year later. In 1812 he became Solicitor-General of the Duchy of Cornwall, and in 1813 Solicitor General for England and Wales, with a promotion to Attorney-General in 1817. In 1819 he was made Lord Chief Baron of the Scottish Court of Exchequer, a position he held until 1830 when he was forced to retire due to ill-health, dying in 1840.

Life and career

Shepherd was born on 6 April 1760 to Henry Shepherd, a London toymaker. From 1773 to 1774 he was educated at Merchant Taylors' School and then at a different school in Chiswick, entering the Inner Temple in July 1776. After a pupillage under Charles Runnington he was called to the Bar on 23 November 1781. He soon joined the home circuit, a place where, along with the Court of Common Pleas, he had great success. From 1790 onwards he gradually became deaf, rejecting the honour of being made a King's Counsel in 1793 but accepting a promotion to Serjeant-at-Law in 1796, becoming a King's Serjeant the next year and, after the death of Serjeant Cockell, King's Ancient Serjeant. In 1812 he became Solicitor-General of the Duchy of Cornwall.[1]

Political and judicial work

In December 1813, Shepherd was made Solicitor General for England and Wales, and returned to Parliament for Dorchester on 11 April 1814. He received a knighthood on 11 May 1814, and became Attorney General for England and Wales in 1817. Shepherd was an excellent and popular lawyer, who would have become far more successful if it was not for his deafness; he refused the offices of both Lord Chief Justice of the Court of King's Bench and Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, partly due to his deafness and partly because he refused to hold a judicial office that involved the trial of prisoners. In June 1819 he accepted the position of Lord Chief Baron of the Scottish Court of Exchequer, becoming a member of the Privy Council on 23 July, and as Lord Chief Baron advised Scottish judges on the application of English treason law to the participants of the Radical War. In February 1830 Shepherd was forced to retire due to ill health, and he died on 3 November 1840.[1]

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