George Augustus Chichester May

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Right Hon. George Augustus Chichester May PC, QC (1815 – 16 August 1892) was an Irish judge.

Early life[edit]

May was born in Belfast, the son of the Reverend Edward May and Elizabeth Sinclair. He was educated at Shrewsbury School and Magdalene College, Cambridge, where he graduated B.A. as 36th Wrangler and 3rd Classic in 1836, and became a fellow of Magdalene.[1]

Legal career[edit]

Called to the Irish Bar in 1844, he became Queen's Counsel in 1865; he was appointed Law Adviser to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland in 1874, and Attorney-General for Ireland in 1875. In 1877 he became Lord Chief Justice of the Queen's Bench for Ireland and on the passing of the Judicature Act became Chief Justice of the Queen's Bench Division of the Irish High Court. He retired in 1887 and died in 1892.

According to F. Elrington Ball's definitive work on the pre-1921 Irish judiciary, though May was a considerable scholar he was not well regarded as a barrister and his appointment was greeted with some protest.[2]


May married Olivia Barrington in 1853. They had ten children, including George Chichester May and Sir Francis Henry May, Governor of Hong Kong.


  1. ^ "May, George Augustus Chichester (MY834GA)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge. 
  2. ^ Ball, F. Elrington, The Judges in Ireland 1221-1921, John Murray, London 1926
Legal offices
Preceded by
Henry Ormsby
Attorney-General for Ireland
Succeeded by
Edward Gibson
Preceded by
James Whiteside
Lord Chief Justice of the Queen's Bench for Ireland
Succeeded by
Sir Michael Morris, Bt