1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Bovill, Sir William
BOVILL, SIR WILLIAM (1814–1873), English judge, a younger son of Benjamin Bovill, of Wimbledon, was born at Allhallows, Barking, on the 26th of May 1814. On leaving school he was articled to a firm of solicitors, but entering the Middle Temple he practised for a short time as a special pleader below the bar. He was called in 1841 and joined the home circuit. His special training in a solicitor’s office, and its resulting connexion, combined with a thorough knowledge of the details of engineering, acquired through his interest in a manufacturing firm in the east end of London, soon brought him a very extensive patent and commercial practice. He became Q.C. in 1855, and in 1857 was elected M.P. for Guildford. In the House of Commons he was very zealous for legal reform, and the Partnership Law Amendment Act 1865, which he helped to pass, is always referred to as Bovill’s Act. In 1866 he was appointed solicitor-general, an office which he vacated on becoming chief justice of the common pleas in succession to Sir W. Erie in November of the same year. He died at Kingston, Surrey, on the 1st of November 1873. As a barrister he was unsurpassed for his remarkable knowledge of commercial law; and when promoted to the bench his painstaking labour and unswerving uprightness, as well as his great patience and courtesy, gained for him the respect and affection of the profession.