John Willes (judge)

John Willes (judge)

Sir John Willes (29 November 1685 – 15 December 1761) was an English lawyer and judge who was the longest-serving Chief Justice of the Court of Common Pleas since the 15th century. He was also a Member of Parliament.

Willes was educated at Trinity College, Oxford, and was also elected a fellow of All Souls. He joined Lincoln's Inn, and was called to the bar in 1713; in 1719 he became a King's Counsel, and in 1726 he was appointed a judge on the Chester circuit.

He had meanwhile entered Parliament as MP for Launceston in 1722, and subsequently also represented Weymouth and Melcombe Regis and West Looe. In 1734 he was appointed Attorney General, and knighted. In 1737 he was elevated to become Chief Justice of the Court of Common Pleas, the third most senior judge in the English legal system as it then existed, and held this post until his death in 1761; at the same time he was appointed to the Privy Council.


* Concise Dictionary of National Biography

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