1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Halsbury, Hardinge Stanley Giffard, 1st Earl of

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1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 12
Halsbury, Hardinge Stanley Giffard, 1st Earl of

HALSBURY, HARDINGE STANLEY GIFFARD, 1st Earl of (1825–  ), English lord chancellor, son of Stanley Lees Giffard, LL.D., was born in London on the 3rd of September 1825. He was educated at Merton College, Oxford, and was called to the bar at the Inner Temple in 1850, joining the North Wales and Chester circuit. Afterwards he had a large practice at the central criminal court and the Middlesex sessions, and he was for several years junior prosecuting counsel to the treasury. He was engaged in most of the celebrated trials of his time, including the Overend and Gurney and the Tichborne cases. He became queen’s counsel in 1865, and a bencher of the Inner Temple. Mr Giffard twice contested Cardiff in the Conservative interest, in 1868 and 1874, but he was still without a seat in the House of Commons when he was appointed solicitor-general by Disraeli in 1875 and received the honour of knighthood. In 1877 he succeeded in obtaining a seat, when he was returned for Launceston, which borough he continued to represent until his elevation to the peerage in 1885. He was then created Baron Halsbury and appointed lord chancellor, thus forming a remarkable exception to the rule that no criminal lawyer ever reaches the woolsack. Lord Halsbury resumed the position in 1886 and held it until 1892 and again from 1895 to 1905, his tenure of the office, broken only by the brief Liberal ministries of 1886 and 1892–1895, being longer than that of any lord chancellor since Lord Eldon. In 1898 he was created earl of Halsbury and Viscount Tiverton. Among Conservative lord chancellors Lord Halsbury must always hold a high place, his grasp of legal principles and mastery in applying them being pre-eminent among the judges of his day.