William Field, 1st Baron Field
|Born||21 August 1813|
|Died||23 January 1907(aged 93)|
Background and education
Legal and judicial career
Field entered the legal profession as a solicitor. In 1843, however, he ceased to practise as such, and entered at the Inner Temple, being called to the Bar in 1850, after having practised for some time as a special pleader. He joined the Western circuit, but soon exchanged it for the Midland. He obtained a large business as a junior, and became a Queen's Counsel and bencher of his inn in 1864. 
As a QC he had an extensive common law practice, and had for some time been the leader of the Midland circuit, when in February 1875, on the retirement of Mr. Justice Keating, he was raised to the bench as a justice of the queen's bench. Field was considered an excellent puisne judge of the type that attracts but little public attention. He was a first-rate lawyer, had a good knowledge of commercial matters, great shrewdness and a quick intellect, while he was also painstaking and scrupulously fair.
When the rules of the Supreme Court 1883 came into force in the autumn of that year, Field was so well recognized an authority upon all questions of practice that the Lord Chancellor Lord Selborne selected him to sit continuously at Judge's Chambers in order that a consistent practice under the new rules might as far as possible be established. This he did for nearly a year, and his name will always, to a large extent, be associated with the settling of the details of the new procedure, which finally did away with the former elaborate system of special pleading. 
In 1890, he retired from the bench and was raised from his original hereditary title of 2nd Baron to the peerage as Lord Field, of Bakeham in the County of Surrey, on 10 April 1890. He had sworn a member of the Privy Council earlier the same year. In the House of Lords he at first took part, not infrequently, in the hearing of appeals, and notably delivered a carefully reasoned judgment in the case of the Bank of England v. Vagliano Brothers (5 March 1891), in which, with Lord Bramwell, he differed from the majority of his brother peers. Before long, however, deafness and advancing years rendered his attendances less frequent.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Field, William Ventris Field, Baron". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
- Lee, Sidney (1912). "Field, William Ventris". In Lee, Sidney. Dictionary of National Biography, 1912 supplement. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
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|Peerage of the United Kingdom|
|New creation||Baron Field