Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Chitty, Joseph

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CHIITTY, JOSEPH, the elder (1776–1841), legal writer, practised as a special pleader under the bar for some years before his call to the bar, which took place at the Middle Temple on 28 June 1816. He never took silk, but enjoyed an enormous practice, trained in succession in his pupil room at 1 Pump Court a great number of the most eminent lawyers, and poured forth a series of standard practitioners’ books. His learning and his memory were alike extraordinary, and although inclining to excessive technicality he did more than perhaps any man of his time to facilitate the study of the law. An illness in 1833 withdrew him from practice, but his labours as an author continued almost to the time of his death, which took place at his house in Southampton Street, Fitzroy Square, on 17 Feb. 1841. His sons, Joseph [see below], Thomas [q.v.], Edward [q.v.], and Tompson (d. 4 Feb. 863, aged 47), all continued to practise and write upon law.

Chitty’s works were: 1. ‘A Treatise on Bills of Exchange,’ 1799; third edit. 1809; fourth, 1812; fifth 1818; sixth, 1822; ninth, assisted b J. W. Hulme, 1840. 2. ‘Precedents of (general Issues ’ and a ‘Synopsis of Practice,’ each on a single sheet, 1805. 3. ‘Precedents of Pleading,’ first ed. 1808. 4. ‘Prospectus of Lectures on Commercial Law,’ 1810 ; second edit. 1836. 5. ‘Treatise on the Law of Apprentices,’ 1811. 6. ‘Treatise on the Game Laws,’ 1811; second edit. 1826. 7. ‘A Treatise on the Law of Nations,’ 1812. 8. Beawes’s ‘Lex Mercatoria,’ sixth edit. 1812. 9. ‘A Treatise on Criminal Law,’ 1816; second edit. 1826. 10. ‘A Synopsis of the Practice in the King's Bench and Common Pleas,’ 1816. 11. ‘A Treatise on Commercial Law,’ 1818; second edit. 1826. 12. ‘Reports of Cases on Practice and Pleading, with Notes,’ vol. i. 1820; vol. ii., with ‘ Reports of Cases in Lord Mansfield’s Time from the MSS. of Mr. Justice Ashurst,’ 1823. 13. ‘On Commercial Contracts,’ 1823. 14. ‘A Treatise on the Law of Stamp Duties,’ assisted by Mr. Hulme, 1829. 15. ‘A Collection of the Statutes of Practical Utility, with Notes,’ 1829-37 (continued to 1880 by Mr. J. M. Lely, and commonly quoted as ‘Chitty’s Statutes ’) 16. ‘The Practice in the Courts of King? Bench, Common Pleas, and Exchequer,’ 181-2 ; 3rd edit. 1837-42, commonly quoted as ‘ Chitty’s Practice.’ 17. An edition of ‘Blackstone’s Commentaries,’ 1832. 18. ‘The Practice of the Law in all Departments,’ 1833-8. 19. ‘A Treatise on Medical Jurisprudence,’ 1834. 20. ‘The Practice on Amendments of Variances,' 1835. 21. ‘On the Office of a Constable,’ 1837.

Joseph Chitty the younger, special pleader, of the Middle Temple, wrote on (1) the Prerogatives of the Crown, 1820; (2) Bills of Exchange, 1834; (3) Contracts, 1841 (11th edit. 11 by Mr. J. A. Russell), quoted as ‘Chitty on Contracts;’ (4) Precedents in Pleading, 1886-8. He died 10 April 1838 (Gent. Mag. 1838, i. 554.)

[Ann. Reg. lxxxiii. 187; Gent. Mag., February 1841, p. 96, November 1841, p. 537; Law Mag. viii. 64, x. 139.]

J. A. H.