Thomas Chitty (1802 – 13 February 1878) was an English lawyer and legal writer who was pupil master to a generation of eminent lawyers and played a significant role in documenting the legal reforms of the nineteenth century.
- Hugh Cairns, a future Lord Chancellor;
- Farrer Herschell, another;
- James Whiteside, a future Chief Justice of Ireland;
- William Shee;
The practice of special pleader demanded mastery of detail and the technical intricacies of the law and Chitty's career spanned huge changes from the Common Law Procedure Acts 1852-4 to the Judicature Acts 1873-5, reforms that changed the ancient regime of forms of action into, essentially, the modern system. Chitty exploited the opportunity in publishing a number of practitioners' texts including preparing new editions of:
- John Frederick Archbold's The Practice of the Court of King's Bench in Personal Actions and Ejectments, despite Archbold's objections;
- His father's Treatise on the Parties to Actions;
- Richard Burn's Justice of the Peace (1845);
Family, personality and death
In 1826, he had married Eliza née Cawston, and the couple had two sons who followed in their father's legal footsteps:
- Thomas Edward Chitty (1826/7-1868), clerk to the Bristol assizes; and
- Joseph William Chitty, became a judge in 1881.
- Annual Register (1878), 136
- Solicitors' Journal, 23 (1877–8), 329
- Law Journal, 23 Feb 1878, 131–2; 2 March 1878, 148
- Hamilton, John Andrew (1887). "Chitty, Thomas". In Stephen, Leslie. Dictionary of National Biography 10. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
- Hamilton, J. A. (2004) "Chitty, Thomas (1802–1878)", rev. Michael Lobban, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, accessed 9 August 2007 (subscription or UK public library membership required)
- Simpson, A. W. B. (ed.) (1984). Biographical Dictionary of the Common Law. London: Butterworths. ISBN 0-406-51657-X.