Henry George Hughes

Henry George Hughes (10 August 1810 22 July 1872) was an Irish judge, politician, and third Baron of the Court of Exchequer.[1] In 1850 he was appointed Solicitor-General for Ireland. He was elected Member of Parliament (MP) for Longford in 1856.[2]

Background and early career

He was born in Dublin, son of James Hughes, solicitor and Margaret Morton, daughter of Trevor Morton.[3] He went to a private school at Jervis St., Dublin and matriculated at the University of Dublin in 1825, but did not proceed to a degree. He entered the King's Inn in 1830, and Gray's Inn in 1832 . He was called to the Irish Bar in 1834, Queen's Counsel in 1844.[4]

He practiced at the Chancery Bar and rapidly built up a very large practice; he became renowned for his mastery of Chancery procedure, which was then very complex. His book Chancery Practice (1837) enjoyed a considerable success.[5] He was equally successful at the Inner Bar.

Before entering Parliament for Longford he had stood unsuccessfully for Cavan in 1855. He was a Roman Catholic and could generally rely on the support of the Catholic hierarchy, although his support for the Ecclesiastical Titles Act offended some of his co-religionists.[6]

His appointment to the Bench was well-deserved on merit, but is said to have been partly the result of the Government's policy of increasing the number of Catholic judges. The appointment of such a noted Chancery lawyer to a common law court caused some surprise, but in time he came to be recognised as one of the few lawyers who had successfully made the transition from one system of law to another.[7]


He married Sarah Isabella l'Estrange, daughter of Major Francis l'Estrange. They had two daughters, of whom Anna, the elder, married the future Lord Chief Justice of Ireland, Michael Morris, 1st Baron Killanin.[8] His younger daughter Margaret married Edward Fitzgerald of Dublin. He died at Bray in 1872.


  1. "Obituary: The Hon. Baron Hughes". The Irish Law Times and Solicitors' Journal. J. Falconer. 1872. Retrieved 30 December 2010.
  2. Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "L" (part 4)
  3. Ball, F. Elrington The Judges in Ireland 1221-1921 John Murray London 1926 Vol.2 p.302
  4. Ball, p.302
  5. Fitzgerald, John Donohoe "Henry George Hughes " Dictionary of National Biography Vol.28 p.137
  6. Fitzgerald p.137
  7. Fitzgerald p.137
  8. Ball p.302
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Fulke Greville-Nugent
Richard Maxwell Fox
Member of Parliament for Longford
With: Fulke Greville-Nugent
Succeeded by
Fulke Greville-Nugent
Henry White
Legal offices
Preceded by
John Hatchell
Solicitor-General for Ireland
Succeeded by
James Whiteside
Preceded by
Jonathan Christian
Solicitor-General for Ireland
Succeeded by
Edmund Hayes
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