Gurney was born at Norwood[disambiguation needed], the son of Sir John Gurney, a Baron of the Exchequer and his wife Maria Hawes daughter of William Hawes MD. He was educated at Dunham Norfolk under Mr Jowett and at Trinity College, Cambridge and was called to the bar at the Inner Temple, of which became a bencher in November 1828. In 1845 he was made a Queen's Counsel and in 1856 was elected Recorder of London. He occasionally acted as Judge of Assize, and went the Western, Oxford, Northern, and North Wales circuits. He was a Commissioner of the Jamaica Rebellion inquiry and was sworn a member of the Privy Council in 1866, in recognition of his services. He was one of the Boundary Commissioners appointed by the Representation of the People Act 1867. He was chairman of the Law Reversionary Interest Society, deputy chairman of the Law Fire Insurance Co., and a director of the Law Life Assurance Co.
At the 1865 general election Gurney was elected as a Member of Parliament (MP) for Southampton. He held the seat until his death at the age of 73 in 1878. In parliament he was in charge of several important measures including the bill to remove defects in the Administration of the Criminal Law of 1867, the Married Women's Property Act of 1870, the Public Prosecutor's Bill of 1871, the Public Worship Regulation Act of 1874 and the Medical Act of 1876 which allowed women to practise as doctors.
- Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "S" (part 3)[self-published source][better source needed]
- "Gurney, Russell (GNY821R)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
- unknown (1918). Debretts "House of Commons and the Judicial Bench 1870".
- Craig, F. W. S. (1989) . British parliamentary election results 1832–1885 (2nd ed.). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. p. 280. ISBN 0-900178-26-4.
- Gurney, Emilia (2009). "Letters of Emilia Russell Gurney".
- Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by Russell Gurney
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
William Digby Seymour
William Anderson Rose
|Member of Parliament for Southampton
1865 – 1878
With: George Moffatt 1865–68
Peter Merrick Hoare 1868–74
Sir Frederick Perkins 1874–80
Sir Frederick Perkins
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