Fergus Morton, Baron Morton of Henryton

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Fergus Dunlop Morton, Baron Morton of Henryton PC, MC (17 October 1887 – 18 July 1973)[1] was a British judge and law lord.

Background and education[edit]

Born in Glasgow, he was a younger son of George Morton.[2] He was educated at the Kelvinside Academy and went then to St John's College, Cambridge, winning a scholarship in classics.[3] Morton graduated first class in the law tripos with a Bachelor of Laws in 1910 and a Master of Arts three years thereafter.[3]

In 1940, he was nominated an honorary fellow by his former college and in 1951 received Honorary Doctorates of Law by the University of Cambridge as well as the University of Glasgow.[4] Cambridge's Senat elected Morton a Deputy High Steward in 1954.[4] Two years later, the University of St Andrews[4] and in 1957 the University of Sydney conferred additional doctorates upon him.[5] Both the American Bar Association and the Canadian Bar Association made Morton honorary members.[4] He became also an honorary member of the Faculty of Advocates.[4]


Morton was called to the bar in 1912.[6] With the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, he was commissioned as lieutenant into the Highland Light Infantry.[6] He was promoted to captain in the following year[4] and in July 1918, he was decorated with the Military Cross.[7] After the war, Morton was attached to the War Office until 1919, when he resumed his legal career at the chancery bar.[6]

In 1929 he became a King's Counsel[8] and three years later Lincoln's Inn made him a bencher.[4] Morton was admitted as judge to the Chancery Division of the High Court of Justice in 1938, receiving the customary knighthood.[3] From 1941, he chaired the Black List Committee for the following five years.[4] He was appointed a Lord Justice of Appeal in 1944 and on this occasion was sworn of the Privy Council.[3] Three years thereafter the number of the Lords of Appeal in Ordinary was increased to nine and one of the new seats was assigned to Morton.[2] He obtained the traditional life peerage, taking the title Baron Morton of Henryton, of Henryton, in the County of Ayr.[9]

Morton joined the Council of Legal Education in 1949, which he left after four years.[4] In 1950 he sat in the Committee on the Law of Intestate Succession (named the Morton Committee)[10] and in the subsequent year he became chairman of the Royal Commission on Marriage and Divorce (named the Morton Commission).[11] Lincoln's Inn selected him its Treasurer in 1953.[4] He retired as Lord of Appeal in 1959.[12]

Notable Judicial Decisions[edit]


Morton married Margaret Greenlees, elder daughter of James Begg; they had a daughter.[4] He died aged 85 in 1973.[6]


  1. ^ "Peerage - Monteagle to Mottistone". Leigh Rayment. Retrieved 30 December 2009. 
  2. ^ a b Dod (1954), p. 168
  3. ^ a b c d Dod (1949), p. 158
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Who's Who (1963), p. 2171
  5. ^ "Honorary awards". University of Sydney. Retrieved 30 December 2009. 
  6. ^ a b c d Cretney (2003), p. 801
  7. ^ "No. 30817". The London Gazette (Supplement). 26 July 1918. p. 8969. 
  8. ^ "No. 33473". The London Gazette. 1 March 1929. p. 1447. 
  9. ^ "No. 37938". The London Gazette. 22 April 1947. p. 1775. 
  10. ^ Cretney (2003), p. 482
  11. ^ "Working Paper No. 5". Law Reform Commission of Ireland. Archived from the original on 29 September 2009. Retrieved 30 December 2009. 
  12. ^ Stevens (1978), p. 374


  • Who's Who 1963. London: Adam & Charles Black Ltd. 1963. 
  • Charles Roger Dod and Robert Philip Dod (1949). Dod's Parliamentary Companion 1949. Dod's Parliamentary Companion Ltd. 
  • Stevens, Richard Booking (1978). Law and Politics: The House of Lords as a Judicial Bbody, 1800–1976. University of North Carolina Press. 
  • Cretney, Stephen Michael (2003). Family Law in the Twentieth Century: A History. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-826899-8. 
  • Charles Roger Dod and Robert Philip Dod (1954). Dod's Peerage, Baronetage and Knightage of Great Britain and Ireland 1954. London: Business Dictionaries Ltd. 

External links[edit]