Harry Vaisey

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Sir Harry Bevir Vaisey (22 June 1877 – 24 November 1965) was a senior judge in the Chancery Division of the High Court of Justice in England and Wales.

Vaisey was educated at Shrewsbury School and Hertford College, Oxford, where he took Firsts in Classical Moderations and Literae Humaniores. He was called to the bar by Lincoln's Inn in 1901 and took silk in 1925. He was appointed to the High Court in 1944, receiving the customary knighthood. He retired in 1960.

Vaisey has a certain level of notoriety for some of his more colourful turns of phrase, for example he is noted as saying:

It is a fearful thing to contemplate that when you are driving along the road, a heavy horse may at any moment drop from the sky on top of you.

and:

A gentleman's agreement is an agreement which is not an agreement, made between two people neither of whom are gentlemen, whereby each expects the other to be strictly bound without himself being bound at all.

Vaisey is listed in the 1901 census as a student at Lincoln's Inn.[1]

Vaisey also set a case law precedent that the law of England and Wales does not allow a person to change their given name. In Re Parrott, Cox v Parrott [1946] Ch 183, Vaisey stated that he knew of no way short of an Act of Parliament that a person's first name could be altered. The case hinged on a will that stipulated that the inheritor would only inherit if he changed his first name. Vaisey stated that he did not believe one could change one's first name by way of a deed of change of name (deed poll).[2]

This precedent has been widely ignored, but to register a deed of change of name in the High Court of England and Wales, a caveat must be endorsed on the deed along the lines of "Notwithstanding the decision of Mr Justice Vaisey in Re Parrott, Cox v Parrott, the applicant wishes the enrolment to proceed".[3]

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