Sir Malcolm was educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge, where he was President of the Cambridge Union in 1890, he graduated with 1st class honours in history. He was a Cambridge Apostle; he became a Barrister at Lincoln's Inn in 1894, a Bencher in 1915 and King's Counsel (KC) in 1919.
Macnaghten sat as Member of Parliament for North Londonderry in 1922 and then for Londonderry from 1922 to 1929. He was Recorder of Colchester from 1924–1928, and a Judge of the High Court of Justice, King's Bench Division from 1928-1947.
He was knighted (KBE) in 1920 appointed a Privy Counsellor in the 1948 New Year Honours. He was Commissary of the University of Cambridge from 1926. He married the daughter of social reformer Charles Booth and had three daughters, all of whom became socialists and married Communists, and one son.
He kept a house at Campden Hill Court, London W8 and an Irish home - The End House, Portballintrae, Co. Antrim. Sir Malcolm died in January 1955, aged 86.
- Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs
- Who Was Who
- Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by Malcolm Macnaghten
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