Courtenay Ilbert

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Sir Courtenay Ilbert
Sir Courtenay Ilbert.jpg
Born (1841-06-12)June 12, 1841
Kingsbridge, Devon, England
Died May 14, 1924(1924-05-14) (aged 82)
Penn, Buckinghamshire, England
Nationality British
Alma mater Balliol College, Oxford
Occupation Lawyer, Civil servant
Known for Ilbert Bill
Legislative Methods and Forms

Sir Courtenay Peregrine Ilbert GCB KCSI CIE (June 12, 1841 – May 14, 1924) was a distinguished British lawyer and civil servant.

Ilbert served as the legal adviser to the Viceroy of India's Council for many years until his eventual return from India to England. His later career included appointments as the Parliamentary Counsel to the British Treasury and as Clerk of the House of Commons from 1902 to 1921.

Early life[edit]

Ilbert was educated at Marlborough College[1][not in citation given] and at Balliol College, Oxford, where he was Hertford, Ireland, Craven, and Eldon law scholar. He graduated with first class honours in Literae Humaniores and was elected a fellow of Balliol in 1864.

Marriage and children[edit]

Margaret Peregrina Ilbert (1882–1952) his fourth daughter married Sir Arthur Cochrane of the College of Arms.

Legal career[edit]

Ilbert was called to bar (Lincoln's Inn) in 1869. He joined the Parliamentary Counsel Office, the department for drafting parliamentary bills. He was a legal member of the Council of Governor-General of India from 1882-6. During this period he introduced the Ilbert Bill in 1883 for British India that proposed an amendment for existing laws in the country at the time to allow Indian judges and magistrates the jurisdiction to try British offenders in criminal cases at the District level, something that was disallowed at the time.[2] He was appointed assistant parliamentary counsel to Treasury in 1886 and parliamentary counsel in 1899.

In February 1902, Ilbert was appointed Clerk of the House of Commons,[3] and he served as such until 1921.


Ilbert was invested as a Knight Commander of the Order of the Star of India in 1895, as a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath in 1908, and as a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath in 1911.


Published works[edit]

  • The Government of India
  • Legislative Methods and Forms. 1901.
  • Montesquieu, the Romanes Lecture for 1904. Oxford.
  • Parliament: Its History, Constitution and Practice. 1st ed, 1911. 2nd ed, 1920. 3rd ed, Oxford, 1948.
  • The Mechanics of Law Making. Columbia University Press. 1914.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Who Was Who, accessed 11 August 2014
  2. ^ T.C.A, Srinivasa-Raghavan (17 June 2011). "To The Manor Reborn". Business Line Life (Kasturi & Sons). Retrieved 2011-06-17. 
  3. ^ The London Gazette: no. 27408. p. 1037. 18 February 1902.


External links[edit]