Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Quain, John Richard

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QUAIN, Sir JOHN RICHARD (1816–1876), judge, youngest son of Richard Quain of Ratheahy, co. Cork, by his second wife, Margaret, daughter of Andrew Mahoney, was born at Ratheahy in 1816. Jones Quain [q. v.] and Richard Quain [q. v.] were his half-brothers. He was educated at Göttingen, and at University College, London, where he won many prizes. In 1839 he graduated LL.B. at London, and was elected to the university law scholarship. He became a fellow of University College in 1843, and was for several years an examiner in law to the university of London. After reading in the chambers of Mr. Thomas Chitty, and practising as a special pleader for a time, he was called to the bar at the Middle Temple on 30 May 1851, and, joining the northern circuit, soon obtained a considerable practice. In 1866 he became a queen's counsel, and in 1867 was made attorney-general for the county palatine of Durham and a bencher of the Middle Temple. He was appointed a judge of the queen's bench in December 1871, took his seat at the beginning of Hilary term 1872, and was knighted. His health failed early in 1876, before he had gained much distinction as a judge, and, after some months of intermittent illness, he died at his house, 32 Cavendish Square, London, on 12 Sept., and was buried at Finchley. He was unmarried. His law library was presented to University College, London, by his brother, Professor Richard Quain, M.D., in 1876.

[Law Times, 23 Sept. 1876; Law Journal, 16 Sept. 1876; Solicitors' Journal, 30 Dec. 1871, and 16 Sept. 1876.]

J. A. H.