Joseph Horsford Kemp

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Sir Joseph Horsford Kemp CBE KC (1874-1950) was a British lawyer and judge. He served as Attorney General and Chief Justice of Hong Kong in the early 1930s.

Early life[edit]

Kemp was born in Drogheda, Ireland on 23 December 1874.

He was educated at the High School, Dublin, Ireland, and Cape University, South Africa.[1] He commenced studying for a Bachelor of Laws at London University.

In 1898, he sat for an Eastern cadetship and the same year he went to Hong Kong as a cadet in Hong Kong Service of the Colonial Office, having scored the highest marks in the competitive examinations.[2]

Legal appointments[edit]

In 1904, Kemp was appointed Registrar of the Land Court in Hong Kong and in 1904 Registrar of the Supreme Court of Hong Kong.He was called to the bar of Lincoln's Inn in 1911 and became Crown Solicitor in Hong Kong.In 1913, he was appointed a puisne judge of the Supreme Court of Hong Kong. Two years later, in 1915 he was appointed Attorney General of Hong Kong a position he held until 1930. In this position he was also a member of the Hong Kong Legislative Council.[3]

He was appointed a King's Counsel in 1918.[4] He was made a CBE, in the same year.[5]

Kemp was knighted in 1927.[6]

In 1930, he was appointed Chief Justice of Hong Kong replacing Sir Henry Gollan.

In his capacity as Chief Justice of Hong Kong, he also sat as a member of the Full Court of the British Supreme Court for China in Shanghai.[7]


Kemp retired to England in 1933. On his retirement, he was granted an honorary Doctor of Laws by the University of Hong Kong[8]

He died on 13 September 1950 at his home in Sutton, Surrey.[9]

External links[edit]

There is a picture of Kemp in his judicial wig and gown at:


  1. ^ Kemp's obituary. Law Journal, 1950, p529
  2. ^ S Airlie, Scottish Mandarin: The Life and Times of Sir Reginald Johnson, pp13-15
  3. ^ Kemp's obituary. Law Journal, 1950, p529
  4. ^ London Gazette, 24 September 1918, p11942
  5. ^ Supplement to the London Gazette, 15 March 1918, p3287
  6. ^ Legislative Council Record, 15 February 1927.
  7. ^ see, for example, Shanghai Evening Post, 11 March 1933 where he sat with Sir Peter Grain and Mr (later Sir) Allan Mossop
  8. ^
  9. ^ Corona: The Journal of HIs Majesty's Colonial Service, Vol 2, Page 421
Legal offices
Preceded by
John Alexander Strachey Bucknill
Attorney General of Hong Kong
Succeeded by
C. Grenville Alabaster
Preceded by
Sir Henry Gollan
Chief Justice of Hong Kong
Succeeded by
Sir Atholl MacGregor