Famous British Lawyers & Judges

Find out more about the greatest British Lawyers & Judges, including Thomas Cromwell, John Winthrop, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., H. H. Asquith and Amal Alamuddin.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Thomas Cromwell

Thomas Cromwell
Famous As: English statesman
Birthdate: 1485 AD
Birthplace: Putney
Died: July 28, 1540
Thomas Cromwell was the 1st Earl of Essex and the chief minister to King Henry VIII from 1532 to 1540. He supported the English Reformation. He helped Henry leave Catherine of Aragon to marry Anne Boleyn, and later Anne of Cleves. He was eventually beheaded for treason and heresy. 

 2 Amal Clooney

Amal Clooney
Famous As: Barrister, Human rights activist
Birthdate: February 3, 1978
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Beirut, Lebanon

Amal Clooney is a Lebanese-British barrister, specializing in human rights and international law. Her clients include popular and influential personalities like Yulia Tymoshenko, Nadia Murad, and Julian Assange. Her work and philanthropic activities gained media coverage after her wedding to actor George Clooney. The Clooneys are well-known philanthropists and are founders of the Clooney Foundation for Justice.

 3 Jeremy Bentham

Jeremy Bentham
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: February 15, 1748
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Houndsditch, London, England
Died: June 6, 1832
Philosopher and jurist Jeremy Bentham is remembered as the pioneer of modern utilitarianism. He believed in economic freedoms, women’s rights, animal rights, the separation of the church and the state, and freedom of expression. Bentham wished for his body to be dissected and then to be displayed as an auto-icon.

 4 Carrie Lam

Carrie Lam
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: May 13, 1957
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Wan Chai, Hong Kong, England

Carrie Lam is a Hong Kong politician who has been serving as the Chief Executive of Hong Kong since 2017. From 2007 to 2012, she served as the Secretary for Development. From 2012 to 2017, Lam was the Chief Secretary for Administration. A controversial leader, Carrie Lam's administration witnessed the criminalization of the Hong Kong National Party.

 5 Max Mosley

Max Mosley
Famous As: Racecar driver, Lawyer, Politician, Directeur sportif
Birthdate: April 13, 1940
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: London

Max Mosley was a British lawyer and racing driver. He is credited with founding the Formula One racing team and racing car constructor, March Engineering. He also served as the president of a non-profit association named Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), which represents the interests of car users and motoring organizations around the world.

 6 Anna Soubry

Anna Soubry
Famous As: Political Leader
Birthdate: December 7, 1956
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Lincoln, England, United Kingdom

Anna Soubry is a British journalist, barrister, and former politician. A vocal critic of Brexit, Soubry left the Conservative Party in February 2019 in order to join the Independent Group for Change (Change UK). Subsequently, Anna Soubry was appointed as the party's leader before the disbandment of Change UK following the party's failure at the December 2019 general election.

 7 Cherie Blair

Cherie Blair
Famous As: Barrister
Birthdate: September 23, 1954
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Bury, England

Apart from being the wife of former UK prime minister Tony Blair, Cherie Blair is also a successful attorney in her own right. The daughter of actor Tony Booth, she is has also taught at the University of Westminster. She is associated with charitable campaigns on breast cancer and other causes, too.

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 8 Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury

Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: June 1, 1563
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Westminster, London, England
Died: May 24, 1612

Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury was a British statesman best remembered for his contribution during the Union of the Crowns. One of the main discoverers of the infamous Gunpowder Plot, Robert Cecil served as the Lord High Treasurer from 1608 to 1612. From 1596 to 1612, he served as the Secretary of State of England.

 9 Dominic Raab

Dominic Raab
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: February 25, 1974
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Buckinghamshire, England

Apart from being the current deputy prime minister of the UK, Dominic Raab has also previously been the secretary of state for Brexit, foreign affairs, and justice. A black belt in karate, too, he has often been in the middle of controversies for his barbed comments against his opponents.

 10 Michael Gove

Michael Gove
Famous As: Journalist, Politician, Judge
Birthdate: August 26, 1967
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Edinburgh

Michael Gove is a British author, journalist, and politician who has been serving as the Minister for Intergovernmental Relations and Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities since 2021. Gove has served under various prime ministers like Boris Johnson, Theresa May, and David Cameron. In February 2006, he was honored with the Rising Star Award by Channel 4.

 11 Michael Howard

Michael Howard
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: July 7, 1941
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Swansea, Wales, UK

Michael Howard is an English politician who served as Leader of the Opposition as well as Leader of the Conservative Party from 2003 to 2005. An influential politician, Michael Howard held cabinet positions like the Home Secretary, Secretary of State for the Environment, and Secretary of State for Employment under the premiership of John Major and Margaret Thatcher.

 12 John Winthrop

John Winthrop
Famous As: Politician, Theologian
Birthdate: January 12, 1588
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Edwardstone, Suffolk, England
Died: March 26, 1649

John Winthrop was a British Puritan lawyer who played a major role in the establishment of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. The colony was the second major settlement after Plymouth Colony in New England. A respected political figure, Winthrop has been cited by many modern-day politicians like Ronald Reagan, John F. Kennedy, and Sarah Palin.

 13 Robin Cavendish

Robin Cavendish
Famous As: Advocate
Birthdate: March 12, 1930
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Derbyshire, England, UK
Died: August 8, 1994

Robin Cavendish was an English medical aid developer and advocate for disabled people. He is credited with aiding the development of medical devices aimed at providing independence to paralyzed people. One of Britain's longest-lived responauts, Cavendish was given three months to live at the age of 28. He lived for 64 years and his story inspired the 2017 film Breathe.

 14 Spencer Perceval

Spencer Perceval
Famous As: Politician, Lawyer
Birthdate: November 1, 1762
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: London
Died: May 11, 1812

Spencer Perceval was an English barrister and statesman who served as the United Kingdom's Prime Minister from 1809 to 1812. The only solicitor-general to have served as UK's prime minister, Perceval was also the only British PM to have been murdered. His assassination inspired poems like Universal sympathy on the martyr'd statesman, which was published in 1812.

 15 Harold Abrahams

Harold Abrahams
Famous As: Athletics competitor, Sprinter, Lawyer, Journalist
Birthdate: December 15, 1899
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Bedford
Died: January 14, 1978

English track and field athlete is best remembered for his gold medal win in the 100m race at the Paris Olympics in 1924. Part of the Achilles Club, he and his exploits inspired the 1981 film Chariots of Fire. Following his retirement, he became a broadcaster and sports administrator.

 16 Jack Straw

Jack Straw
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: August 3, 1946
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Buckhurst Hill, Essex, England

Jack Straw is an English politician who served in the Cabinet under the governments of Gordon Brown and Tony Blair. From 1997 to 2001, he served as the Home Secretary. From 2001 to 2006, Straw served as the Foreign Secretary. Straw is one of three people to have served continuously in Cabinet during the Labour governments between 1997 and 2010.

 17 Harriet Harman

Harriet Harman
Famous As: Politician, Lawyer, Solicitor
Birthdate: July 30, 1950
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: London

Harriet Harman is an English solicitor and politician who has been serving as a Member of Parliament for Camberwell and Peckham since 1982. An influential and popular politician, Harman has served in several Shadow Cabinet as well as Cabinet positions. Under Tony Blair, Harman served as the Secretary of State for Employment, Shadow Social Security Secretary, and Shadow Health Secretary.

 18 Jonathan Sumption

Jonathan Sumption
Famous As: Judge of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom
Birthdate: December 9, 1948
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: United Kingdom

Jonathan Sumption is a British medieval historian, author, and former senior judge. Between 2012 and 2018, Sumption served as a judge of the United Kingdom's Supreme Court. A former barrister, Jonathan Sumption is well known for his involvement in several legal cases, including the Three Rivers case. 

 19 William Blackstone

William Blackstone
Famous As: Jurist
Birthdate: July 10, 1723
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: London, England
Died: February 14, 1780

William Blackstone was a British politician, jurist, and judge of the 18th century. Best remembered for authoring the Commentaries on the Laws of England, Blackstone is credited with influencing prominent American personalities like Abraham Lincoln, James Kent, Alexander Hamilton, and John Marshall among others. His Commentaries, which were cited often in Supreme Court cases, were repeatedly republished throughout the 1770s.

 20 Patricia Scotland, Baroness Scotland of Asthal

Patricia Scotland, Baroness Scotland of Asthal
Birthdate: August 19, 1955
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Dominica

Patricia Scotland, Baroness Scotland of Asthal, is a British barrister, diplomat, and politician. In 2016, Patricia started serving as the Commonwealth secretary-general, becoming the first woman to hold the post. As a Labour Party politician, Patricia Scotland has served in several ministerial positions, such as the Advocate General for Northern Ireland and Attorney General for England and Wales.

 21 Brenda Hale, Baroness Hale of Richmond

Brenda Hale, Baroness Hale of Richmond
Famous As: Former President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom
Birthdate: January 31, 1945
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Leeds, England

Brenda Hale, Baroness Hale of Richmond, is a British judge. In 2004, she became the first woman to be appointed as a Law Lord in the House of Lords. In 2017, Brenda Hale became the first woman to serve as the president of the United Kingdom's Supreme Court, a position which she served until her retirement in 2020.

 22 James Boswell

James Boswell
Famous As: Biographer
Birthdate: October 18, 1740
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Edinburgh, Scotland
Died: May 19, 1795

Best known for his biography of his friend Samuel Johnson, 18th-century biographer and diarist James Boswell was also a qualified lawyer. Know for his reckless lifestyle and his trysts with prostitutes, he had contracted gonorrhea and had also fathered many children, including two illegitimate ones.

 23 Richard Rich, 1st Baron Rich

Richard Rich, 1st Baron Rich
Famous As: Chancellor
Birthdate: June 30, 1496
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: London, England
Died: June 12, 1567

Richard Rich, 1st Baron Rich was a Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain who served during the reign of King Edward VI of England. He played important roles in the trials of Protestant martyr Anne Askew as well as that of Catholic martyrs John Fisher and Thomas More. Richard Rich is also credited with founding Felsted School.  

 24 Ophelia Dahl

Ophelia Dahl
Famous As: Social justice and health care advocate
Birthdate: May 12, 1964
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Oxford, England

 25 George Carman

George Carman
Famous As: Barrister
Birthdate: October 6, 1929
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Blackpool, England
Died: January 2, 2001

George Carman was a British barrister best remembered for his involvement in several high profile cases during the 1980s and 1990s. He is best remembered for successfully defending Jeremy Thorpe in 1979 when the latter was accused of conspiracy to murder. George Carman's life and career inspired the 2002 BBC drama Get Carman: The Trials of George Carman QC.

 26 Charlie Elphicke

Charlie Elphicke
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: March 14, 1971
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Huntingdon, Huntingdonshire, England

Charlie Elphicke is an English politician and former solicitor. He served as the Lord Commissioner of the Treasury from 2015 to 2016. A controversial politician, Elphicke was charged with sexual offenses against two women and was sentenced to two years in an open prison in 2020.

 27 Henry Dundas, 1st Viscount Melville

Henry Dundas, 1st Viscount Melville
Famous As: Advocate
Birthdate: April 28, 1742
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Edinburgh, Scotland
Died: May 28, 1811

His mastery of Scottish politics earned Henry Dundas, 1st Viscount Melville the nickname King Harry the Ninth. Apart from serving as the First Lord of the Admiralty and the Secretary of State for War, he also played a significant role in the British expansion in India. He was also a successful lawyer initially.

 28 David Neuberger, Baron Neuberger of Abbotsbury

David Neuberger, Baron Neuberger of Abbotsbury
Famous As: Judge, Politician
Birthdate: January 10, 1948
Sun Sign: Capricorn

English judge David Neuberger, Baron Neuberger of Abbotsbury was born to a pathology professor and grew up with three brothers, who all worked as professors later. He rose to be the President of the Supreme Court of the UK. He has also been associated with causes such as mental health research.

 29 Tom Denning, Baron Denning

Tom Denning, Baron Denning
Famous As: Lawyer
Birthdate: January 23, 1899
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Whitchurch, Hampshire, England
Died: March 5, 1999

Tom Denning, Baron Denning was a British lawyer and judge. In 1938, Denning was appointed a King's Counsel before becoming a judge in the High Court of Justice in 1944. In 1962, he was appointed Master of the Rolls, a position which he held for two decades. Denning was called the greatest British judge of modern times by Margaret Thatcher.

 30 Edward Coke

Edward Coke
Famous As: Barrister
Birthdate: February 1, 1552
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Mileham, Breckland, Norfolk, England
Died: September 3, 1634

Edward Coke was an English politician, barrister, and judge. He is regarded as the greatest jurist of the Jacobean and Elizabethan eras. As a barrister, Coke took up important cases like Slade's Case. As a Member of Parliament, Coke campaigned for the Statute of Monopolies 1623. He also played a key role in the passage of the Petition of Right.

 31 Henry Fielding Dickens

Henry Fielding Dickens
Famous As: Lawyer and Son of novelist Charles Dickens
Birthdate: January 16, 1849
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: London, England
Died: December 21, 1933

One of the 10 children of legendary English author Charles Dickens, Henry Fielding Dickens was named after author Henry Fielding. A Cambridge alumnus, he had initially studied math. However, he later took up law and became a successful barrister. He had also been a Liberal Party member.

 32 Robert Aske

Robert Aske
Famous As: Lawyer
Birthdate: 1500 AD
Birthplace: Yorkshire, United Kingdom
Died: July 12, 1537

 33 F. E. Smith, 1st Earl of Birkenhead

F. E. Smith, 1st Earl of Birkenhead
Famous As: Statesman
Birthdate: July 12, 1872
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Birkenhead, England
Died: September 30, 1930

F. E. Smith, 1st Earl of Birkenhead was a British barrister and Conservative politician who was appointed as the Lord Chancellor in the early 20th century. A skilled orator, Smith is best remembered as one of Winston Churchill's greatest political friends. F. E. Smith died at the age of 58 due to pneumonia.

 34 Thomas McKean

Thomas McKean
Famous As: Lawyer, Politician, Judge
Birthdate: March 19, 1734
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Province of Pennsylvania
Died: June 24, 1817

One of the Founding Fathers of the US, Thomas McKean was the son of a tavern keeper and later became a successful barrister and politician. He simultaneously served in the Continental Congress of Delaware while he was also the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.

 35 Edward Henry Carson, Baron Carson

Edward Henry Carson, Baron Carson
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: February 9, 1854
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
Died: October 22, 1935

Widely known as the uncrowned king of Ulster, Scottish-Irish unionist Edward Carson is best remembered for spearheading the resistance against the British government’s imposition of the Home Rule for Ireland. As a barrister, he was responsible for noted author Oscar Wilde’s conviction for homosexuality, which was illegal back then.

 36 Margaret Mountford

Margaret Mountford
Famous As: Lawyer, Businessperson
Birthdate: November 24, 1951
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Holywood

Initially a lawyer, Margaret Mountford was also associated with the companies Amstrad and Georgica. She gained popularity as a TV personality after her appearance in The Apprentice UK. She has also presented several documentaries and has worked for causes such as the promotion of Hellenic studies and Egypt exploration.

 37 A. V. Dicey

A. V. Dicey
Famous As: Jurist
Birthdate: February 4, 1835
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: England
Died: April 7, 1922

British jurist A. V. Dicey is best known for his Introduction to the Study of the Law of the Constitution, which forms the basis of the modern British constitution. Apart from teaching law at Oxford, he also served as the principal of the Working Men’s College of London.

 38 Michael Mansfield

Michael Mansfield
Famous As: Barrister, Lawyer
Birthdate: October 12, 1941
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: London

 39 Rufus Isaacs, 1st Marquess of Reading

Rufus Isaacs, 1st Marquess of Reading
Famous As: Viceroy
Birthdate: October 10, 1860
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Tower Hamlets, London, England
Died: December 30, 1935

Apart from being a Liberal Party politician, Rufus Isaacs, 1st Marquess of Reading had also held positions such as those of the chief justice of England and the Viceroy of India, among others. He had initially also been part of his family’s fruit import business. He had eventually received 5 knighthoods.

 40 William Murray, 1st Earl of Mansfield

William Murray, 1st Earl of Mansfield
Famous As: Barrister
Birthdate: March 2, 1705
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Scone Palace, Scotland
Died: March 20, 1793

British jurist William Murray, 1st Earl of Mansfield is remembered for his significant contribution to the English commercial law. He had been the chief justice of the King’s Bench. Though he brough in new reforms in areas of finance, he mostly avoided dealing with issues such as slavery.

 41 Quintin McGarel Hogg, Baron Hailsham of St. Marylebone

Quintin McGarel Hogg, Baron Hailsham of St. Marylebone
Famous As: Barrister
Birthdate: October 9, 1907
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: London, United Kingdom
Died: October 12, 2001

The son of Lord Chancellor Douglas Hogg, Quintin McGarel Hogg was educated at Eton and Oxford and later fought in World War II. A barrister and a Conservative politician, he was the First Lord of the Admiralty. He renounced his hereditary peerage to become an MP. He was also a 2-time Lord Chancellor.

 42 Norman Birkett, 1st Baron Birkett

Norman Birkett, 1st Baron Birkett
Famous As: Judge, Politician, Lawyer, Barrister
Birthdate: September 6, 1883
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Ulverston
Died: February 10, 1962

Initially a Methodist preacher and a cloth merchant, Norman Birkett later became a successful barrister and even served as the King’s Counsel. A Liberal Party politician, he had also been an MP from Nottingham East. Apart from being a High Court judge, he was also an alternate judge at the Nuremberg Trials

 43 Peter Benenson

Peter Benenson
Famous As: Lawyer
Birthdate: July 31, 1921
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: London, England
Died: February 25, 2005

Peter Benenson was a British human rights activist and lawyer. He is credited with establishing the popular human rights group and an international non-governmental organization Amnesty International (AI). In 2001, Peter Benenson agreed to receive the prestigious Pride of Britain Award after refusing to accept all honors throughout his career.

 44 Elizabeth Butler-Sloss, Baroness Butler-Sloss

Elizabeth Butler-Sloss, Baroness Butler-Sloss
Famous As: Judge, Politician, Lawyer
Birthdate: August 10, 1933
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Buckinghamshire

Born into a family of lawyers and being the daughter of a High Court judge, Elizabeth Butler-Sloss was destined to take up law as a profession. She not only became the fourth female High Court judge but was also the first female Lord Justice of Appeal.

 45 Jacqueline Bhabha

Jacqueline Bhabha
Famous As: She is the Jeremiah Smith, Jr. lecturer in law at Harvard Law School and teaches public policy at Harvard Kennedy School
Birthdate: 1951 AD
Birthplace: Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

 46 Geoffrey Elton

Geoffrey Elton
Famous As: Writer, Historian of the modern age, Historian, University teacher, Lawyer
Birthdate: August 17, 1921
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Tübingen
Died: December 3, 1994

Born to Jewish scholars in Germany, Geoffrey Elton later moved with his family, first to Czechoslovakia and then to Britain. He grew up to become a renowned historian who specialized in the Tudor period. He also taught history at Cambridge and penned books such as England Under the Tudors.

 47 George Darwin

George Darwin
Famous As: Barrister
Birthdate: July 9, 1845
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Down House, Downe, Kent, England
Died: December 7, 1912

Born to legendary biologist Charles Darwin, George Darwin initially studied law and became a barrister. However, his interest in science made him deviate to astronomy. He believed the Moon was one part of the Earth. He later also taught at Cambridge and was made a Fellow of The Royal Society.

 48 George Edalji

George Edalji
Famous As: solicitor
Birthdate: February 29, 1876
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: West Midlands
Died: June 17, 1953

The son of an Indian-origin English vicar, solicitor George Edalji made headlines when he was convicted of mutilating a horse and writing anonymous threatening letters. Though acquitted later, Edalji had a tough time clearing his name and took the help of author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to campaign for him.

 49 Robert Cecil, 1st Viscount Cecil of Chelwood

Robert Cecil, 1st Viscount Cecil of Chelwood
Famous As: Lawyer
Birthdate: September 14, 1864
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: London, England
Died: November 24, 1958

The son of three-time prime minister of the UK Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, Robert Cecil enjoyed an elite education at Eton and Oxford. Apart from being a lawyer, he was a Conservative politician like his father and also won the Nobel Prize for his efforts in the formation of the League of Nations.

 50 Nicholas Monsarrat

Nicholas Monsarrat
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: March 22, 1910
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Liverpool, England, United Kingdom
Died: August 8, 1979

After earning his law degree, Nicholas Monsarrat intended to practice law but ended up being a celebrated author instead. Known for his novels that have the sea as a recurring theme, such as The Cruel Sea, Monsarrat had once also been a naval officer and had worked on many warships.