William Watson, Baron Watson

Not to be confused with William Watson, Baron Thankerton


The Lord Watson

Lord Advocate
In office
1876–1880
MonarchQueen Victoria
Prime MinisterBenjamin Disraeli
DeputyJohn Macdonald
Solicitor General for Scotland
Preceded byEdward Gordon
Succeeded byJohn McLaren
Solicitor General for Scotland
In office
1874–1876
MonarchQueen Victoria
Prime MinisterBenjamin Disraeli
Preceded byJohn Millar
Succeeded byJohn Macdonald
Member of Parliament
for Glasgow and Aberdeen Universities
In office
1876–1880
Preceded byEdward Gordon
Succeeded byJames Alexander Campbell
Personal details
Born25 August 1828
Covington, Lanarkshire
Died14 September 1899(1899-09-14) (aged 71)
Political partyConservative
Spouse(s)Margaret Bannatyne
Residence20 Queen's Gate, South Kensington
Alma materUniversity of Glasgow, University of Edinburgh
ProfessionAdvocate

William Watson, Baron Watson PC, LL.D (25 August 1827 – 14 September 1899)[1][2] was a Scottish lawyer and Conservative Party politician. He was Lord Advocate, the most senior Law Officer in Scotland, from 1876 to 1880, and was then appointed a Lord of Appeal in Ordinary.

Early life

Watson was born in Covington, Lanarkshire on 25 August 1827. He was the eldest son and second of the six of Eleonora and Reverend Thomas Watson. He was educated privately and studied law at the universities of Glasgow and Edinburgh.[1] He was admitted to the Faculty of Advocates in 1851[1] and appeared for the defence of Dr Edward William Pritchard, the poisoner, in 1865.[3]

Career

Watson was appointed Solicitor General for Scotland, one of the Scottish Law Officers and deputy to the Lord Advocate, in 1874,[4] and was elected Dean of the Faculty of Advocates in 1875.[1] In 1876, the Lord Advocate, Edward Gordon, was appointed a Lord of Appeal in Ordinary (Lord Gordon of Drumearn) and resigned as Lord Advocate and Member of Parliament (MP) for Glasgow and Aberdeen Universities. Watson won the ensuing by-election[5] and was appointed Lord Advocate.[6] He was appointed a Privy Counsellor in 1878.[7]

Watson did not stand for re-election at the 1880 general election,[5] and was instead appointed a Lord of Appeal in Ordinary[8] as Baron Watson, of Thankerton in the County of Lanark.[8] As a member of the Privy Council, he was also entitled to sit on the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.

Judgements

  • Foakes v Beer [1884] UKHL 1, [1881-85] All ER Rep 106, (1884) 9 App Cas 605; 54 LJQB 130; 51 LT 833; 33 WR 233 - a leading case from the House of Lords on the legal concept of consideration
  • Liquidators of the Maritime Bank of Canada v. Receiver-General of New Brunswick [1892] A.C. 437 - statement of provincial powers under the BNA Act 1867

Personal life

Watson married Margaret Bannatyne (1846-1898) in 1868, and the couple had five sons and a daughter. His son William also became a law lord as Lord Thankerton. Watson lived at 20 Queen's Gate in South Kensington, and was a member of the Athenæum and the Carlton Club.[1]

He is buried in Dean Cemetery in Edinburgh against the north wall, of the Victorian north extension, near the north-west corner.

Coat of arms of William Watson, Baron Watson
Crest
The stump of an oak tree with two branches sprouting from it and grasped on either side by a hand issuing from a cloud all Proper.
Escutcheon
Or an oak tree Proper growing out of a mount in base Vert surmounted of a fess Ermine charged with two mullets Azure.
Supporters
Dexter a highland deerhound Proper; sinister a lion Argent, each charged on the shoulder with a thistle slipped and leaved Proper.
Motto
A Deo Floruit [9]

References

  1. "William Watson, Baron Watson". Who's Who. Retrieved 20 January 2011.
  2. Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "G" (part 1)
  3. Rigg, J.M.; Gordon, W.M. (2004). Watson, William (Online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/28876.
  4. London Gazette 24 July 1874
  5. Craig, F. W. S. (1989) [1977]. British parliamentary election results 1832–1885 (2nd ed.). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. p. 616. ISBN 0-900178-26-4.
  6. London Gazette 13 October 1876
  7. London Gazette 2 April 1878.
  8. London Gazette 27 April 1880
  9. Burke's Peerage. 1886.
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Edward Gordon
Member of Parliament for Glasgow and Aberdeen Universities
18761880
Succeeded by
James Alexander Campbell
Legal offices
Preceded by
John Millar
Solicitor General for Scotland
1874–1876
Succeeded by
John Macdonald
Preceded by
Edward Gordon
Lord Advocate
1876–1880
Succeeded by
John McLaren
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