Meigh Goodman

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Sir W. Meigh Goodman
William Meigh Goodman.jpg
Sir W. Meigh Goodman, Chief Justice of Hong Kong
Born 1847 (1847)
Died 3 May 1928(1928-05-03) (aged 80–81)
Alma mater University College of London
Occupation Lawyer, Chief Justice

Sir William Meigh Goodman KC (1847-1928) was a British lawyer and Judge. He served as Attorney General and Chief Justice of British Honduras and Hong Kong in the late 19th and early 20th Century.

His last position before retirement was as Chief Justice of Hong Kong.

Early life[edit]

Goodman was born in 1847 and was the fourth son of Samuel Robert Goodman, of London. Goodman was educated at University College of London where he obtained a B.A.(hons) in 1867. He was called to the Bar at the Middle Temple in 1870.[1] He practised on the South Eastern Circuit and at the Surrey Sessions.[2]:412n


Goodman served as Attorney General of British Honduras (now Belize) from 1883 to 1886 and as Chief Justice of the same colony from 1886 to 1889. In 1886, he was commissioned to revise and consolidate the laws of British Honduras.[2]:412n

In 1889, Goodman was appointed Attorney-General and Admiralty Advocate of Hong Kong, taking up his post upon arrival on the City of Rio de Janeiro on 15 March of the next year. He was the first attorney-general of Hong Kong required to forego private practice.[2]:416 He served as acting Chief Justice from 6 March to 7 August 1895, during the absence of Sir Fielding Clarke, and for another four months in 1896 after the latter's retirement[2]:460,467,476,478 and was appointed a Queen's Counsel in 1900.[3]

In March 1902, he was appointed Chief Justice of Hong Kong[4] and led the court till 1905.[5] In 1903 he presided over the laying of the foundation stone for the new Hong Kong Supreme Court building.[6] Though going by his second given name, he used the initial W on official documents.

Personal life[edit]

After the loss of his wife to a brief illness on 22 May 1890, Goodman took a leave of absence from 8 July until 7 January the next year.[2]:421,427

He retired to England in 1905 and, in 1907, his book Reminiscences of a Colonial Judge was published. He died on 3 May 1928 at the age of 81.[7]


  1. ^ The county families of the United Kingdom; or, Royal manual of the titled and untitled aristocracy of England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland (Volume ed.59, yr.1919). p148
  2. ^ a b c d e Norton-Kyshe, James William (1898). History of the Laws and Courts of Hong Kong, vol. II. London: T Fisher Unwin. 
  3. ^ London Gazette, 26 June 1900, p3963
  4. ^ "No. 27415". The London Gazette. 11 March 1902. p. 1727. 
  5. ^ The County Families of UK, op cit
  6. ^ W Goodman, Reminiscences of a Colonial Judge,p306
  7. ^ Obituary, Straits Times, 10 July 1928, p7

Legal offices
Preceded by
Sir John W Carrington
Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Hong Kong
Succeeded by
Sir Francis T Piggott