A Compendium of Irish Biography/Willes, Sir James Shaw
Willes, Sir James Shaw, Judge of the English Court of Common Pleas, was born in Cork in 1814. He was educated at Trinity College, Dublin, where he took his B.A. degree in 1836. Four years later he was called to the English Bar and commenced practice on the Home Circuit. In 1850 he was appointed on the Common Law Commission, and did useful service in the preparation of the several Law Procedure Acts. When only forty-one years of age he was appointed a puisne judge of the Common Pleas, receiving the honour of knighthood at the same time. "He was esteemed one of the wisest and most learned of English lawyers, displaying in his decisions not only a rare and profound knowledge of principles, but a wonderful power of dealing with complicated facts and evidence. His decisions on questions of mercantile and maritime law were especially lucid and convincing. He took his own life, at his residence near Watford, Herts, while suffering under temporary aberration of mind, the result of suppressed gout, on 2nd October 1872, aged about 58.
- Biographical Dictionary: William R. Cates. London, 1867.