Heald was born in Parrs Wood, Didsbury, Lancashire. He was educated at Charterhouse, then served in France and Italy during World War I in the Royal Engineers, and was awarded the Italian Bronze Medal of Military Valor. After demobilization, he went to Christ Church, Oxford as a Holford exhibitioner, reading literae humaniores and graduating with a BA in 1920.
He was called to the Bar by the Middle Temple in 1923. At the Bar, his pupil masters were Donald Somervell and Stafford Cripps. Heald was junior counsel to the Board of Trade from 1931 to 1937, when he was appointed King's Counsel. He was a St Pancras borough councillor from 1934 until 1937. During World War II he served with the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve and reached the rank of air commodore.
At the 1950 general election, Heald was elected as Member of Parliament for the Chertsey constituency in Surrey, having been previously defeated in St Pancras South West in the 1945 general election. He held the seat until his retirement at the 1970 general election.
Heald served as Attorney General in Winston Churchill's government from 1951 to 1954, receiving the customary knighthood upon appointment. He prosecuted John Christie in 1953. He was made a Privy Counsellor in 1954. After his resignation as Attorney General he returned to the backbenches, and retired from the House of Commons in 1970. He helped Margaret Thatcher introduce the Public Bodies (Admission to Meetings) Act 1960, similar to a bill that he had proposed years earlier, in her maiden speech.
Heald married Flavia Forbes, the younger daughter of Lt. Col. James Stewart Forbes, on 9 April 1923, and was divorced from her in June 1928, on the grounds of her adultery with Capt. James Roy Notter Garton.
Heald's daughter from his first marriage, Susan was one of the secretaries who typed the English versions of the German Instrument of Surrender at the conclusion of the Second World War. His daughter Elizabeth married Colonel George Lane in 1963.
- Rawlinson, Peter. "Heald, Sir Lionel Frederick (1897–1981)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/67125. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
- Edwards, J. Ll. J. (1951). "Common Informers Act, 1951". Modern Law Review. 14 (4): 462–465, at 462. doi:10.1111/j.1468-2230.1951.tb00220.x.
- "Colonel George Lane". The Daily Telegraph. London. 26 March 2010. Retrieved 2010-04-06.
- Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by Lionel Heald
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
|Member of Parliament for Chertsey
1950 – 1970
|Attorney General for England and Wales
1951 – 1954
Sir Reginald Manningham-Buller