Nathaniel Lindley, Baron Lindley

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Lord Lindley

Nathaniel Lindley, Baron Lindley SL PC FRS (29 November 1828 – 9 December 1921) was an English judge.


He was the second son of the botanist John Lindley, born at Acton Green, London. He was educated at University College School, and studied for a time at University College London. He was called to the bar at the Middle Temple in 1850, and began practice in the Court of Chancery. In 1855 he published An Introduction to the Study of Jurisprudence, consisting of a translation of the general part of Thibaut's System des Pandekten Rechts, with copious notes. In 1860 he published in two volumes his Treatise on the Law of Partnership, including its Application to Joint Stock and other Companies, and in 1862 a supplement including the Companies Act 1862. This work has since been developed into two textbooks well known to lawyers as Lindley on Companies and Lindley on Partnership.

He became a Queen's Counsel in January 1872. In 1874 he was elected a bencher of the Middle Temple, of which he was treasurer in 1894. In 1875 he was appointed a justice of the Court of Common Pleas, the appointment of a chancery barrister to a common-law court being justified by the fusion of common law and equity then shortly to be brought about, in theory at all events, by the Judicature Acts.

In 1875, he was appointed a Knight Bachelor. In 1880 he became a justice of the Queen's Bench and in 1881 he was raised to the Court of Appeal of England and Wales and made a Privy Councillor. In 1897, Lord Justice Lindley succeeded Lord Esher as Master of the Rolls, and in 1900 he was made a Lord of Appeal in Ordinary with a life peerage and the title of Baron Lindley, of East Carleton in the County of Norfolk. He resigned the judicial post in 1905.

Lord Lindley was the last serjeant-at-law appointed, and the last judge to wear the serjeant's coif, or rather the black patch representing it, on the judicial wig.

He married Sarah Katharine, daughter of Edward John Teale of Leeds, on 5 Aug 1858.[1] He died at home in East Carleton, near Norwich in 1921. They had nine children, including diplomat Sir Francis Oswald Lindley.


Lord Lindley published two notable works, Lindley on Companies and Lindley on Partnership.[2] The latter is still published today, as Lindley and Banks on Partnership, now in its 19th edition (2013).[3]



  • Nathaniel Lindley, An Introduction to the Study of Jurisprudence; Being a Translation of the General Part of Thibaut’s System des Pandekten Rechts (William Maxwell, 1855)



  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Lindley, Nathaniel Lindley, Baron". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 
  • L. G. Pine, The New Extinct Peerage 1884–1971: Containing Extinct, Abeyant, Dormant and Suspended Peerages With Genealogies and Arms (London, U.K.: Heraldry Today, 1972), page 178.

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Legal offices
Preceded by
Viscount Esher
Master of the Rolls
Succeeded by
Lord Alverstone