Lords Justices of Ireland
The Lords Justices (more formally the Lords Justices General and General Governors of Ireland) were deputies who acted collectively in the absence of the chief governor of Ireland (latterly the Lord Lieutenant) as head of the executive branch of the Dublin Castle administration. Lords Justices were sworn in at a meeting of the Privy Council of Ireland.
After the Norman Conquest of Ireland, the chief governor of the Lordship of Ireland was appointed by the King of England via letters patent; in medieval times under his privy seal, and later under the Great Seal of England. The patent usually allowed the chief governor to nominate a deputy, though sometimes the King nominated a deputy, and if the chief governor died in office the Privy Council of Ireland would elect a deputy until the King nominated a successor. The title (originally French or Latin) of the chief governor depended on his power, from most to least: King's (or Lord) Lieutenant; (Lord) Deputy; Justiciar (or Lord Justice); and Keeper. The chief governor's deputy would have a lower title than the chief governor, and was appointed under the Great Seal of Ireland unless by the King. By the time of Henry VII, the Lord Deputy was the resident chief governor (or rarely the resident deputy of a non-resident Lord Lieutenant) and, in case of the Lord Deputy's temporary absence or vacancy, there was one or, later, two Lords Justices appointed by the Privy Council of Ireland. An Irish act of Poynings' Parliament specified that the Treasurer of Ireland would be "Justice & Governoure" until the King send a "lieutenunt or deputye". This was repealed three years later, but the statute roll was subsequently lost. A 1542 act formalised how the privy council would elect from among its members one or, if necessary, two Lords Justices, each of whom had to be a layman born in England. The same year the Crown of Ireland Act 1542 changed the Lordship into the Kingdom of Ireland.
In the 17th century the King often left the chief governorship vacant for months or years and instead appointed multiple Lords Justices. This was so almost continuously from 1690 to 1700. Shortly before his 1696 death Lord Deputy Henry Capel nominated Murrough Boyle, 1st Viscount Blesington and William Wolseley to be Lords Justices; Charles Porter, Capel's rival and Lord Chancellor of Ireland, persuaded the Privy Council of Ireland that the deputies' commission expired on Capel's death, whereupon the council elected Porter as sole Lord Justice. Prior to 1767 the chief governor (now styled Lord Lieutenant or viceroy) was often absent in England unless the Parliament of Ireland was in session, typically eight months every two years. Whereas the Lord Lieutenant was a British peer, the Lords Justices were mostly Irishmen; they were influential and the English government needed their support. There were always three, typically the Speaker of the Irish House of Commons, another member of Irish Commons or Lords, and a senior bishop of the Church of Ireland. After 1767 the viceroy was resident as a rule, and the practical importance of Lords Justices diminished. They were still required during vacancies between the death or departure of one viceroy and the arrival of his successor. A 1788 act repealed and replaced long-disregarded provisions of the 1542 act regarding election of Lords Justices, allowing up to three, who need not be laymen or English-born.
After the Acts of Union 1800, de facto executive power shifted from the viceroy to the Chief Secretary for Ireland, and the Lords Justices like the viceroy exercised only formal power. A newly arrived Lord Lieutenant would be escorted in state from Dunleary (later Kingstown) harbour to the Presence Chamber of Dublin Castle, where the Lords Justices were seated. The party would proceed to the Council Chamber, where the Lord Lieutenant would present his letters patent to the Privy Council, and another letter to the Lords Justices demanding the handover of the sword of state. Up to the mid nineteenth century the usual Lords Justices were the Lord Chancellor, Church of Ireland Archbishop of Armagh or of Dublin, and Commander-in-Chief, Ireland. In 1868 it was ruled that a warrant signed in 1866 by only one of the three then Lords Justices was valid, because the patent appointing them allowed for this in case of absence "occasioned by sickness or any other necessary cause", and the cause did not have to be stated. After the Church of Ireland was disestablished in 1871, its prelates were no longer made Lords Justices, and usually only two were sworn in or the third was a second senior judge. Increasingly as the 19th century progressed, Lords Justices were sworn in during short absences from Dublin of the Lord Lieutenant, avoiding delay in validating the growing number of orders in council for routine administration. From 1890 to 1921 such absences averaged eight a year, lasting from days up to more than a month. For example, there were eleven occasions in 1897 in which various subsets of six men were sworn Lords Justices — usually three at a time, but four on two occasions and two on one occasion — the six being Somerset Lowry-Corry, 4th Earl Belmore, Commander-in-Chief Earl Roberts, and four members of the Court of Appeal in Ireland (the Lord Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor, and Master of the Rolls, and Gerald FitzGibbon). In the Irish revolutionary period the Conscription Crisis of 1918 led prime minister David Lloyd George to suggest replacing the Lord Lieutenant on an emergency basis with three Lords Justices. It proved impossible to find three willing to serve; St John Brodrick, 1st Earl of Midleton was prepared to preside but demanded more control of policy than Lloyd George would cede.
After the Anglo-Irish Treaty and partition of Ireland, the Lord Lieutenancy of Ireland was abolished by the Irish Free State (Consequential Provisions) Act 1922 and replaced by the Governor-General of the Irish Free State and Governor of Northern Ireland, which latter had deputies appointed by the Privy Council of Northern Ireland. The Irish Free State had no privy council: the Governor-General's default replacement would be the Chief Justice, but the sole suggestion of invoking this provision, at James McNeill's 1932 resignation, was not taken up.
List of Lords Justices
- Thomas Jones, (Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin and Lord Chancellor of Ireland)
- Sir John Denham, (Chief Justice of the Kings Bench for Ireland)
- Sir Adam Loftus (Lord Chancellor of Ireland)
- Richard Wingfield, 1st Viscount Powerscourt (Marshal of Ireland)
- Maurice Eustace, Lord Chancellor
- Charles Coote, 1st Earl of Mountrath (died 17 December 1661)
- Roger Boyle, 1st Earl of Orrery
- Henri de Massue, Earl of Galway (6 February 1697–April 1701; 1715–16) in practice dominated his fellow Lords Justices; "but for being a foreigner, he would have been Lord-Lieutenant".
- John Methuen accepted nomination as Lord Chancellor of Ireland in February 1697 but resiled from serving as a Lord Justice.
- Charles Paulet, 2nd Duke of Bolton (25 May 1697–1700)
- Edward Villiers, 1st Earl of Jersey (25 May 1697–1699) rarely in Ireland
- Charles Berkeley, 2nd Earl of Berkeley (1699–1700)
- Narcissus Marsh, Church of Ireland Archbishop of Armagh (1699, 1700–01, 1701–02, 1707, 1707–08, 1710)
- Constantine Phipps (1710) Lord Chancellor
- Richard Ingoldsby (1709–1710)
- Robert FitzGerald, 19th Earl of Kildare (1714)
- Colonel Sir Charles Feilding (1714) son of George Feilding, 1st Earl of Desmond
- Charles FitzRoy, 2nd Duke of Grafton (1715–16)
- Hugh Boulter, Church of Ireland Archbishop of Armagh (1726, 1730, 1732, 1734, 1736, 1737, 1738, 1740, 1742)
- Field Marshal Richard Molesworth, 3rd Viscount Molesworth (1736)
|Date appointed||Date sworn in||Lord Justice||Lord Justice||Lord Justice||Lord Justice|
|9 Mar 1726||2 Apr 1726||Hugh Boulter, Archbishop of Armagh||Richard West, L.C.||William Conolly|
|Date||Lord Chancellor||Commander||Lord Primate||Ref|
|13 March 1815||Thomas Manners-Sutton, 1st Baron Manners||Sir George Hewett||William Stuart|
|11 May 1821||Thomas Manners-Sutton, 1st Baron Manners||Sir David Baird||William Stuart|
|January 1829||Anthony Hart||John Byng, 1st Earl of Strafford||John Beresford|
|20 October 1848||Maziere Brady C||Edward Blakeney||Richard Whately|
|21 March 1849||Brady C||Blakeney|
|19 May 1849||
|15 February 1850||Brady C||Blakeney||Whately|
|25 July 1851||Brady C||Blakeney|
|8 January 1853||Thomas Langlois Lefroy LCJ||Blakeney||Whately|
|25 July 1853||Brady C||Blakeney||Whately|
|16 March 1855||Brady C||John Colborne, 1st Baron Seaton||Whately|
|8 November 1855||Brady C||Seaton||Whately|
|23 October 1856||Brady C||Seaton||Whately|
|4 May 1857||Brady C||Seaton||Whately|
|22 October 1857||Brady C||Seaton||Whately|
|10 March 1858||Blackburne LJAC||Seaton||Whately|
|11 April 1859||Joseph Napier C||Seaton||Whately|
|4 June 1859||Napier C||Whately|
|5 July 1859||Brady C||Seaton|
|12 April 1860||Brady C||George Brown|
|12 December 1860||Brady C||Brown||Whately|
|17 October 1861||Brady C||Brown||Whately|
|13 August 1862||Brady C||Brown|
|6 March 1863||Brady C||Brown||Whately|
|16 October 1863||Brady C||Brown||Beresford (Armagh)|
|11 April 1864||Brady C||Brown||Richard Chenevix Trench|
|3 October 1865||Brady C||Hugh Rose (later 1st Baron Strathnairn)|
|5 May 1866||Brady C||Rose||Trench|
|17 July 1866||Blackburne C||Trench|
|15 December 1868||Jonathan Christian LJAC||Strathnairn||Trench|
|24 December 1868||Strathnairn||Trench|
|13 June 1870||Edward Sullivan MR||Maziere Brady (ex-C)|
|20 August 1870||William Mansfield (later 1st Baron Sandhurst)||Brady|
|9 September 1878||John Michel|
|7 March 1879||
|3 January 1894||Samuel Walker C||Garnet Wolseley, 1st Viscount Wolseley|
|19 March 1894||Walker C||Wolseley|
|4 June 1894||Walker C||Wolseley|
|30 July 1894||Walker C||Wolseley|
|9 July 1895||
|11 September 1895||
||Somerset Lowry-Corry, 4th Earl Belmore (Irish representative peer)|
|5 November 1895||
|4 February 1896||
|9 March 1896||
|20 March 1896||Chatterton VC||Frederick Roberts, 1st Baron Roberts of Kandahar (later 1st Earl Roberts)|
|22 April 1896||
|2 May 1896||
|26 May 1896||FitzGibbon LJA||Roberts|
|12 September 1896||
|7 December 1896||
|5 January 1897||
|12 January 1897||
|22 February 1897||
|4 March 1897||
|19 March 1897||
|4 May 1897||
|26 May 1897||
|9 September 1897||
|12 November 1897||
|26 November 1897||
|16 December 1897||
|8 January 1898||
|12 February 1898||Ashbourne C||Roberts|
|22 February 1898||
|11 March 1898||
|19 March 1898||
|18 April 1898||
|9 May 1898||
|13 August 1898||
|29 August 1898||
|14 September 1898||FitzGibbon LJA||Roberts|
|29 October 1898||
|9 November 1898||
|19 November 1898||
|5 December 1898||
|20 January 1899||
|13 February 1899||
|20 March 1899||
|1 May 1899||
|5 May 1899||
|2 June 1899||
|4 July 1899||
|28 August 1899||
|1 November 1899||
|10 November 1899||
|21 November 1899||
|25 January 1900||
|28 February 1900||
|9 March 1900||Porter MR|
|22 March 1900||Porter MR|
|27 April 1900||
|26 May 1900||
|3 September 1900||Ashbourne C|
|17 November 1900||FitzGibbon LJA||Clonbrock|
|19 November 1900||Ashbourne C|
|3 December 1900||
|17 December 1900||
|17 January 1901||
|18 January 1901||Clonbrock|
|1 February 1901||
|13 February 1901||
|19 March 1901||
|31 August 1901||
|31 August 1901||
|28 October 1901||
|18 November 1901||
|20 November 1901||Ashbourne C||Powerscourt|
|5 December 1901||
|18 December 1901||
|13 January 1902||
|13 February 1902||
|10 March 1902||
|19 March 1902||
|7 April 1902||
|10 July 1902||
|24 July 1902||
|6 August 1902||
|13 August 1902||Ashbourne C||Powerscourt|
|18 August 1902||Ashbourne C||Powerscourt|
|5 November 1902||
|3 January 1903||
||Dermot Bourke, 7th Earl of Mayo (Irish representative peer)|
|20 March 1903|
|5 May 1903||
|8 June 1903||
|29 June 1903||
|9 November 1903||
|29 January 1904||
|5 April 1904||Holmes LJA||Mayo|
|7 July 1904||
||Francis Grenfell, 1st Baron Grenfell||Ormonde|
|4 October 1904||
|8 December 1904||
|25 January 1905||
|20 March 1905||Grenfell||Ormonde|
|22nd April 1905||
|12 October 1905||
|4 November 1905||Holmes LJA||Grenfell|
|13 December 1905||Walker C||Grenfell|
|29 March 1906||
||Grenfell||Charles Hemphill, 1st Baron Hemphill (Former Solicitor General for Ireland)|
|9 June 1906||
|4 August 1906||
|4 September 1906||Walker C||Hemphill|
|19 December 1906||
|22 February 1907||Johnson J||Hemphill|
|22 February 1907||Johnson J||Hemphill|
|25 October 1907||
|15 September 1908||
|28 June 1908||
|7 August 1909||Walker C||Neville Lyttelton|
|6 October 1909||Johnson J||Lyttelton|
|15 December 1909||Walker C||Lyttelton||William Moore Johnson (ex-J)|
|21 July 1910||Walker C||Johnson|
|13 August 1910||Richard Cherry LJA||Johnson|
|15 September 1910||Walker C||Johnson|
|16 December 1910||
|9 June 1911||
|18 July 1911||Walker C||Johnson|
|1 September 1911||Cherry LJA||Johnson|
|19 February 1912||Cherry LJA||Lyttelton|
|25 June 1912||
|28 December 1912||
|15 March 1913||Paget||Johnson|
|7 May 1913||
|21 May 1913||Wylie J||Paget|
|6 June 1913||
|26 June 1913||
|4 October 1913||Cherry LJA|
|16 December 1913||
|26 January 1914||
|17 February 1914||Wylie J||Paget|
|1 May 1914||
|22 December 1915||
||David Harrel (Former Under-Secretary for Ireland)|
|10 May 1915||
|4 December 1915||
|12 February 1916||
|11 July 1916||
|11 September 1916||Cherry LCJ||Harrel|
|11 November 1916||
|29 January 1917||
|19 March 1917||Wylie J||Richard Cherry (ex-LCJ)|
|14 May 1917||Pim J||Cherry|
|13 August 1917||
|24 July 1918||
|l2 November 1918||
|28 January 1919||
|28 January 1919||
|12 June 1919||
|21 October 1919||Campbell C||Shaw|
|14 November 1919||
|26 November 1919||
|24 April 1920||
|13 May 1920||
|18 May 1920||Pim J||Macready|
5 May 1921:
27 June 1921:
- Nevil Macready, General Officer Commanding in Ireland, was sworn in as a Lord Justice in order to swear in Sir John Ross as Lord Chancellor. The Lords Justice previously appointed were all unavailable owing to the Anglo-Irish War.
28 June 1921:
- The Lord Chief Justice Thomas Molony and the Master of the Rolls Charles O'Connor as Lords Justices opened the inoperative Parliament of Southern Ireland. (The Lord Lieutenant Viscount FitzAlan had opened the operative Parliament of Northern Ireland in person on 7 June.)
- Presidential Commission (Ireland), three officials who collectively deputise for the President of Ireland
Various deputies for the British monarch:
- Regency Acts provide for a regent during a monarch's total incapacity
- Counsellor of State during partial incapacity, such as when abroad
- Lords Commissioners for routine Parliamentary functions
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