Sidney Abrahams

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Sir Sidney Abrahams

Sir Sidney Abrahams.jpg
Sir Sidney Abrahams
26th Chief Justice of Ceylon
In office
3 July 1936 – 1939
Appointed byReginald Edward Stubbs
Preceded byPhilip James Macdonell
Succeeded byJohn Curtois Howard
Francis Soertsz
as acting
Personal details
Born(1885-02-01)1 February 1885
Birmingham, England
Died14 May 1957(1957-05-14) (aged 72)
Alma materCambridge University

Sir Sidney Solomon Abrahams QC (11 February 1885 – 14 May 1957), nicknamed Solly, was a British Olympic athlete and 26th Chief Justice of Ceylon (Sri Lanka). He was the older brother of famed Olympian Harold Abrahams.

Early life[edit]

Born in Birmingham, England, Abrahams was educated at Bedford Modern School[1] and Emmanuel College, Cambridge.

He competed at athletics for Cambridge University from 1904 to 1906. At the unofficial Olympiad, the 1906 'Intercalated Games' held in Athens, he finished fifth in the long jump with 6.21 metres. At the 1912 Stockholm Olympics he finished in eleventh place in the same event with 6.72 metres. At the 1913 Amateur Athletic Association Championships in London, he won the long jump with 6.86 metres.[1]

He studied law at the Middle Temple and was called to the bar in 1909.


He joined the Colonial Service and was Advocate General in Baghdad in 1920 and President of the Civil Courts in Basra in 1921. After serving as Attorney General of Zanzibar (1922), Uganda (1925) and Gold Coast (1928), Abrahams was appointed Chief Justice of Uganda in 1933 and Chief Justice of Tanganyika in 1934.[2]

He then served as Chief Justice of Ceylon from 1936-1939 and was knighted in 1936. The most celebrated case he presided over was that of the Australian Mark Anthony Bracegirdle, whom the Governor of British Ceylon Sir Reginald Stubbs was attempting to have deported; the court ruled against the Governor. He was founder-president of the Medico-Legal Society of Ceylon. He was succeeded by John Curtois Howard, after the acting Francis Soertsz.[3] He retired from the bench in 1939.

Sidney Abrahams chaired a Committee on the Administration of Justice in Nigeria. He was later Senior Legal Assistant to the Commonwealth Relations Office, and played a major role in the suspension of the People's Progressive Party Government of Cheddi Jagan in British Guiana (Guyana) in 1953.

He was elected president of the London Athletic Club.[citation needed] Abrahams was the first Jew to hold the post.[citation needed]

Abrahams was married to Ruth Bowman and they had two children, Valerie and Anthony Abrahams.[citation needed]

In 1936 he was given the title of baronet.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Who's Who 1935", Published by A&C Black Ltd, 1935
  2. ^ Rubinstein, William. The Palgrave Dictionary of Anglo-Jewish History. p. 11.
  3. ^ "Overview". Judicial Service Commission Secretariat. Archived from the original on 19 October 2013. Retrieved 19 October 2013.
Legal offices
Preceded by
Philip James Macdonell
Chief Justice of Ceylon
Succeeded by
John Curtois Howard
Francis Soertsz
as acting