James Eyre (judge)
He was educated at Winchester College and at St John's College, Oxford, which he left without taking a degree. He was called to the bar at Gray's Inn in 1755, Thomas Parker, chief baron of the exchequer. He commenced practice in the lord mayors and sheriffs courts, paying £63 (2011: £8,000) for one of the four counsel to the City of London Corporation.
He was appointed Recorder of London in 1763 and knighted in 1770.
He was counsel for the plaintiff in the case of Wilkes v. Wood, and made a brilliant speech in condemnation of the execution of general search warrants. His refusal to voice the remonstrances of the corporation against the exclusion of Wilkes from Parliament earned him the recognition of the ministry, and he was appointed a judge of the exchequer in 1772. From June 1792 to January 1793 he was Chief Commissioner of the Great Seal. In 1793 he was made Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, and presided over the trials of Horne Tooke, Thomas Crosfield and others.
- Wilkes v. Wood, 19 Howell's State Trials 1153 (C.P. 1763)
|Chief Justice of the Common Pleas