William Watson, Baron Watson

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The Right Honourable
The Lord Watson
PC
Lord Advocate
In office
1876–1880
Monarch Queen Victoria
Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli
Deputy John Macdonald
Solicitor General for Scotland
Preceded by Edward Gordon
Succeeded by John McLaren
Solicitor General for Scotland
In office
1874–1876
Monarch Queen Victoria
Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli
Preceded by John Millar
Succeeded by John Macdonald
Member of Parliament
for Glasgow and Aberdeen Universities
In office
1876–1880
Preceded by Edward Gordon
Succeeded by James Alexander Campbell
Personal details
Born 25 August 1828
Covington, Lanarkshire
Died 14 September 1899(1899-09-14) (aged 71)
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Margaret Bannatyne
Residence 20 Queen's Gate, South Kensington
Alma mater University of Glasgow, University of Edinburgh
Profession Advocate
Baron Watson's grave, Dean Cemetery

William Watson, Baron Watson PC, LL.D (25 August 1827 – 14 September 1899)[1][2] was a Scottish lawyer and Conservative Party politician. He was Lord Advocate, the most senior Law Officer in Scotland, from 1876 to 1880, and was then appointed a Lord of Appeal in Ordinary.

Early life[edit]

Watson was born in Covington, Lanarkshire on 25 August 1827. He was the eldest son and second of the six of Eleonora and Reverend Thomas Watson. He was educated privately and studied law at the universities of Glasgow and Edinburgh.[1] He was admitted to the Faculty of Advocates in 1851[1] and appeared for the defence of Dr Edward William Pritchard, the poisoner, in 1865.[3]

Career[edit]

Watson was appointed Solicitor General for Scotland, one of the Scottish Law Officers and deputy to the Lord Advocate, in 1874,[4] and was elected Dean of the Faculty of Advocates in 1875.[1] In 1876, the Lord Advocate, Edward Gordon, was appointed a Lord of Appeal in Ordinary (Lord Gordon of Drumearn) and resigned as Lord Advocate and Member of Parliament (MP) for Glasgow and Aberdeen Universities. Watson won the ensuing by-election[5] and was appointed Lord Advocate.[6] He was appointed a Privy Counsellor in 1878.[7]

Watson did not stand for re-election at the 1880 general election,[5] and was instead appointed a Lord of Appeal in Ordinary[8] as Baron Watson, of Thankerton in the County of Lanark.[8] As a member of the Privy Council, he was also entitled to sit on the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.

Judgements[edit]

  • Foakes v Beer [1884] UKHL 1, [1881-85] All ER Rep 106, (1884) 9 App Cas 605; 54 LJQB 130; 51 LT 833; 33 WR 233 - a leading case from the House of Lords on the legal concept of consideration
  • Liquidators of the Maritime Bank of Canada v. Receiver-General of New Brunswick [1892] A.C. 437 - statement of provincial powers under the BNA Act 1867

Personal life[edit]

Watson married Margaret Bannatyne (1846-1898) in 1868, and the couple had five sons and a daughter. His son William also became a law lord as Lord Thankerton. Watson lived at 20 Queen's Gate in South Kensington, and was a member of the Athenæum and the Carlton Club.[1]

He is buried in Dean Cemetery in Edinburgh against the north wall, of the Victorian north extension, near the north-west corner.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e "William Watson, Baron Watson". Who's Who. Retrieved 20 January 2011. 
  2. ^ Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "G" (part 1)[self-published source][better source needed]
  3. ^ Rigg, J.M.; Gordon, W.M. (2004). Watson, William (Online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/28876. 
  4. ^ London Gazette 24 July 1874
  5. ^ a b Craig, F. W. S. (1989) [1977]. British parliamentary election results 1832–1885 (2nd ed.). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. p. 616. ISBN 0-900178-26-4. 
  6. ^ London Gazette 13 October 1876
  7. ^ London Gazette 2 April 1878.
  8. ^ a b London Gazette 27 April 1880

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Edward Gordon
Member of Parliament for Glasgow and Aberdeen Universities
18761880
Succeeded by
James Alexander Campbell
Legal offices
Preceded by
John Millar
Solicitor General for Scotland
1874–1876
Succeeded by
John Macdonald
Preceded by
Edward Gordon
Lord Advocate
1876–1880
Succeeded by
John McLaren