Sir Ernley Robertson Hay Blackwell KCB, (6 June 1868, St Andrews, Fife, Scotland–21 September 1941, Radlett, Hertfordshire, England) was a British lawyer and career civil servant. The youngest son of Surgeon-Major James Hay Blackwell, H.E.I.C.S., and his wife, Eliza Jane Robertson (a daughter of Andrew Robertson (d. 1868), of the Madras Civil Service, a member of a Scots gentry family; from whom Blackwell derived descent from the Royal Houses of Plantagenet, Bruce, and Stewart ) of 3, Gillespie terrace, St Andrews, Blackwell was educated at Trinity College, Glenalmond, where, as captain of school, he early displayed his leadership skills, combining these with sporting prowess, as captain of the 1st XI (Cricket), 1st XV (Rugby), and of the golf team. Destined for the legal profession, he was called to the Bar from the Inner Temple in 1892. Subsequently, he spent his career in Whitehall as a member of the British Civil Service, rising to senior appointments, first as Assistant Secretary at the Home Department from 1906 to 1913, and then as Legal Assistant Under-Secretary of State at the Home Office from 1913 until his retirement in 1933.
"I see not the slightest objection to hanging Casement and afterwards giving as much publicity to the contents of his diary as decency permits, so that at any rate the public in America and elsewhere may know what sort of man they are inclined to make a martyr of."
In 1918, due to worries over the large number of firearms left in private hands following World War I, and the concern that they would be used by "savage or semi-civilised tribesmen in outlying parts of the British Empire" or by an "anarchist or intellectual malcontent of the great cities whose weapons are the bomb and the automatic pistol.", a Committee on Firearms Control was struck with Blackwell as its chairman. The report it issued recommended "stringent regulation" of rifles and small arms as "the number of persons who can urge any reasonable ground for possession of a revolver or pistol is extremely small [and] the danger attending the indiscriminate possession of such weapons is obvious", conclusions which led to the passage of the Firearms Act 1920.
Following his retirement, Blackwell's continued interest in legal matters was shown by his 1934 appointment as chairman of the statutory committee of Britain's Pharmaceutical Society, to which he had been elected an honorary member in 1928. He exercised that position until 1939. Among other interests, he was a first-class golfer who captained The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews in 1933. He served as the first president of The Civil Service Golfing Society (which, in 1924, instituted (still awarded) The Sir Ernley Blackwell Trophy), from 1922 until his death. He was also a member of the Zoological Society from 1914.
Blackwell married at the age of 69, and, at his death, aged 73, left a widow, Kitty, Lady Blackwell, of 7, Hay Hill, London, W1. He was buried in the Blackwell family grave in St Andrews Eastern cemetery, St Andrews, Fife.
- Passenger Lists, 1865–1935. Microfilm Publications T-479 to T-520, T-4689 to T-4874, T-14700 to T-14939, C-4511 to C-4542. Library and Archives Canada, n.d. RG 76-C. Department of Employment and Immigration fonds. Library and Archives Canada Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
- Chemist & Druggist 121. 1934.
- McConville, Seán (2003). Irish political prisoners, 1848-1922: theatres of war. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-21991-4.
- date and place of death=The Times, London, 23 Sept. 1941, (Deaths)
- The Times, London, 23 Sept. 1941 (Deaths)
- The Glenalmond register: a record of all those who have entered Trinity college, Glenalmond, 1847-1929, 1929
- Burke's Peerage and Baronetage, 1914 edition, p. 2174, col. 1
- The Solicitors' journal, Volume 85, p. 392, col. 2 (Obituary of Sir Ernley Blackwell)
- Lucy McDiarmid, The Posthumous Life of Roger Casement in Gender and Sexuality in Modern Ireland, University of Massachusetts Press, 1997
- The black diaries: an account of Roger Casement's life and times, P Singleton-Gates, M Girodias - 1959 - Grove Press
- "Appendix 8: Memorandum by Mr Colin Greenwood". Select Committee on Home Affairs. Westminster: Houses of Parliament. Retrieved 29 January 2010.
- "Principles of firearms control". Select Committee on Home Affairs. Westminster: Houses of Parliament. Retrieved 29 January 2010.
- Greenwood, Colin (1972). "A History of Firearms Controls". Firearms control: a study of armed crime and firearms control in England and Wales. Routledge. ISBN 0-7100-7435-2.
- Blackwell, Ernley (15 November 1981). "Report of the Committee on the Control of Firearms". Retrieved 29 January 2010.
- "PC 8 / 1485". Privy Council Office: Original Correspondence. Kew: The National Archives. Retrieved 29 January 2010.
- A list of the fellows & honorary, foreign, & corresponding members & medallists of the Zoological society of London: Corrected to May 31st, 1922