Born in Ostend, Belgium, he was the youngest son of Lieutenant-Colonel James Forrest Fulton and his wife, Fanny née Jessopp. Fulton was educated at Norwich School under his uncle, the Reverend Augustus Jessopp before attending the University of London. He graduated with a BA degree in 1867 and Bachelor of Laws degree in 1873.
Legal career 1872–1886
Fulton was called to the bar at the Middle Temple in 1872. Practising on the South Eastern Circuit, he held a number of senior legal posts including treasury counsel at the Middlesex Sessions, senior counsel to the Post Office and senior counsel to the Treasury at the Central Criminal Court.
Member of parliament 1886–1892
At the 1885 general election, Fulton was the Conservative Party's candidate to contest the newly created constituency of West Ham North. He was defeated by a margin of 719 votes. A further election was held in 1886, and Fulton stood at West Ham North again. He was elected to the Commons with a majority of 727 votes. He was described as having "made no particular mark" in parliament, and was unseated at the next general election in 1892, losing to the Liberal Party candidate, Archibald Grove, by 33 votes.
Common Serjeant and Recorder of London 1892–1922
On leaving parliament, he was appointed a Queen's Counsel, and was briefly Recorder of Maidstone. In August 1892 Sir William Charley resigned as Common Serjeant of London and Fulton was appointed his successor. He was knighted in the same year, and made a Lieutenant of the City of London, a Commissioner of the Central Criminal Court, and a Judge of the Mayor's Court of London. While Common Serjeant he presided over the case that led to the conviction of Adolph Beck for fraud in 1896. Eight years later an enquiry established that the conviction was a miscarriage of justice, a decision that led to the establishment of the Court of Criminal Appeal.
In 1900 Sir Charles Hall, Recorder of London, died. Fulton was chosen to fill the post. He was succeeded as Common Serjeant of London by Frederick Albert Bosanquet QC. As Recorder Fulton tried the case of Kitty Byron, who was charged with the murder of Arthur Reginald Baker in 1902.
- "FULTON Sir (James) Forrest". Who Was Who. Oxford University Press. 2007. Retrieved 7 December 2010.
- "Obituary: Sir Forrest Fulton. Thirty Years On The Bench.". The Times. 27 June 1925. p. 16.
- Harries et al. (1991), p. 216
- "No. 26316". The London Gazette. 12 August 1892. p. 4592.
- "No. 26352". The London Gazette. 9 December 1892. p. 7217.
- "No. 26348". The London Gazette. 25 November 1892. p. 6791.
- "No. 27176". The London Gazette. 23 March 1900. p. 1965.
- Harries, R.; Cattermole, P.; Mackintosh, P. (1991). A History of Norwich School: King Edward VI's Grammar School at Norwich. Norwich: Friends of Norwich School. ISBN 978-0-9518561-1-6.
- Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by James Forrest Fulton
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
Edward Rider Cook
|Member of Parliament for West Ham North
1886 – 1892