Finlason, William Francis (DNB01)

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FINLASON, WILLIAM FRANCIS (1818–1895), legal writer and journalist, son of Thomas Finlason of Camberwell, Surrey, was born in 1818, entered as a student of the Middle Temple on 5 Jan. 1841, and for some years practised as a special pleader under the bar, reporting also for several years, as a member of the 'Times' parliamentary corps, in the gallery of the House of Commons. He was called to the bar on 21 Nov. 1851, and joined the south-eastern circuit. He was a voluminous writer upon legal subjects, and for nearly half a century he held the post of chief legal reporter for the 'Times.' In the latter capacity he recorded in a masterly manner the numerous causes celebres tried in the court of queen's bench. Among the members of his profession he was held in such high esteem that, although only a stuff-gown man, he was appointed one of the masters of the bench of the Middle Temple. He died on 11 March 1895 at his residence, 12 Campden Hill Road, Kensington.

Among his works are: 1. 'A Selection of Leading Cases on Pleading and Parties to Actions, with practical Notes,' London, 1847, 8vo. 2. 'The Catholic Hierarchy vindicated by the Law of England,' London, 1851, 8vo. 3. 'Report of the Trial and Preliminary Proceedings in the Case of the Queen on the Prosecution of G. Achilli v. Dr. Newman, with an Introduction and Notes,' London, 1852, 8vo. 4. 'An Essay on the History and Effects of the Laws of Mortmain, and the Laws against Testamentary Dispositions for Pious Purposes,' London, 1853, 8vo. 5. 'The Acts for the better Regulation of Charitable Trusts, with Notes and an Introduction on the Jurisdiction exercised over them by the Court of Chancery ,' London, 1855, 12mo. 6. 'Parliamentary Influence and Official Intrigue, as recently disclosed in the Inquiry before a Select Committee on the Affair of the Ameer of Scinde,' London, 1858, 8vo. 7. 'A Brief and Practical Exposition of the Law of Charitable Trusts,' London, 1860, 12mo. 8. 'A Treatise on Martial Law, as allowed by the Law of England in time of Rebellion,' London, 1866, 8vo. 9. 'Commentaries upon Martial Law,' London, 1867, 8vo. 10. 'A Review of the Authorities as to the repression of Riot or Rebellion, with special reference to Criminal or Civil Liability,' London, 1868, 8vo. 11. 'A History of the Jamaica Case,' London [1868], 8vo; 2nd edit. 1869. 12. 'A Dissertation on the History of Hereditary Dignities, particularly as to their course of descent, and their forfeitures by attainder. With special reference to the case of the Earldom of Wiltes,' London, 1869, 8vo. 13. 'Justice to a Colonial Governor; or some considerations on the case of Mr. Eyre; containing the substance of all the documents . . . relating thereto,' London, 1869, 8vo. 14. 'The History of the Law of Tenures of Land in England and Ireland; with particular reference to Inheritable Tenancy,' London, 1870, 8vo. 15. 'An Exposition of our Judicial System and Civil Procedure, as reconstructed under the Judicature Acts,' London, 1876, 8vo. 16. 'The Judgment of the Judicial Committee in the Folkestone Ritual Case, with an Historical Introduction and Notes,' London, 1877, 8vo. 17. 'The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. The History, Constitution, and Character of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council,' London, 1878, 8vo.

[Foster's Men at the Bar, p. 153; Times, 13 March 1895; Journalist, 16 March 1895, p. 94.]

T. C.