Sir Henry Wrenfordsley: Second Chief Justice of Western Australia, 1880-1883 (and Acting Chief Justice, 1890-1891)
Of all Chief Justices in Australia in the 19th century none so demeaned the office as did Sir Henry Wrenfordsley, second Chief Justice of Western Australia.Moving from an indifferent practice as a Dublin solicitor to a very insecure career as an English barrister, Wrenfordsley won notice for his interest in Conservative politics, twice standing unsuccessfully for Parliament. An able public speaker and a companionable guest at gentlemen's clubs, he obtained a colonial judicial appointment through patronage.He served in Mauritius before being appointed Chief Justice of Western Australia and then of Fiji. He acted as a judge in Tasmania and Victoria and finally was Chief Justice of the Leeward Islands. In every office he collided with colonial administrators and fellow lawyers and was in constant dispute with the Colonial Office.A weak lawyer, he was ridiculed as a "journeyman judge" and a "gallery judge" who turned the court into a theatre. His public career was marked by every bad judicial quality - incompetence, duplicity, interference in politics, laziness, uncontrollable temper, chronic insolvency, and overwhelming self-importance, among them.The Western Australian State Set of Lives of Australian Chief Justices, which includes, Sir Archibald Burt, Sir Henry Wrenfordsley and Sir Alexander Onslow is available for $130.00 - to order the WA State Set, click here.
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Acting Chief Justice Adelaide administration Antigua Standard appear appointment April Arthur Phayre Attorney-General August Australian Chief Justices Bench Bestel Bowen career Chief Justice Chief Justiceship claimed Colonial Office Colonial Office minutes Colonial Secretary colonial service Commissioner Committee Crown December despatch Dr Bennett duty February Fiji Fleming fordsley Fremantle Giblin Gifford Government House Governor Governor of Victoria Hicks Beach Ibid interest January judgement judicial June Justice of Western Justice's leave Leeward Islands letter Levuka London Lord Knutsford magistrate March matter Mauritius Melbourne ment Mercantile Record Mercury Hobart Minute paper November October Onslow Perth Phayre plaintiff Port Louis position Privy Council Procureur Puisne Judge replied reported salary September 1878 Shand Sir Archibald Burt Sir Henry Wrenfordsley Sir Henry's Sir William Robinson Supreme Court Sydney Tasmania telegram Thurston Vceux Victoria West Australian Western Australia Wren Wrenford Wrenfordsley to Derby Wrenfordsley to Hicks