Frederick Lawton (judge)
Sir Frederick Horace Lawton (21 December 1911 – 3 February 2001) was a British judge who sat in the Court of Appeal.
Sir Frederick Lawton
|Lord Justice of Appeal|
11 January 1972 – 21 December 1986
|Preceded by||Lord Justice Salmon|
|Justice of the High Court|
9 January 1961 – 11 January 1972
Frederick Horace Lawson
21 December 1911
|Died||3 February 2001 (aged 89)|
|Alma mater||Corpus Christi College, Cambridge|
Lawton was born in Wandsworth, London. His father was governor of Wandsworth Prison, the first prison governor to rise from the ranks. He was educated at Battersea Grammar School and at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge.
In 1936 he was adopted as the British Union of Fascists' candidate for Hammersmith North, but there was no election before the Second World War. He served briefly in the war in the London Irish Rifles but was invalidated out due to a training accident in 1941. The war ended his association with the far right, and he later joined the Conservative Party.
He took silk in 1957, and was appointed a Justice of the High Court of Justice, Chancery Division, in 1961, receiving the customary knighthood. He was promoted to the Court of Appeal in 1972, and was sworn of the Privy Council, and retired in 1986.
Sir Frederick was married in 1957, to Doreen Wilton; she predeceased him, dying in 1979. They had two sons.
Sir Frederick made several comments during his judicial career which attracted scrutiny.
He also once controversially remarked that "Wife beating may be socially acceptable in Sheffield, but it is a different matter in Cheltenham."
In 1981, when a demonstration for nuclear disarmament got out of hand, he remarked that "a good South Devon bull might work wonders" (the demonstrations took place in Cornwall in the West Country).
In 1987, after he retired, he complained of the difficulty prosecuting "the gyppos and tinkers who invade a farmer's land".
During this time as a criminal judge, Lawton presided over the trial of the Richardson gang from south London, and the second trial of the Kray brothers. He also tried the libel cases Broome v Cassell & Co Ltd and Dering v Uris.
In the Court of Appeal his reported decisions included:
- Ward v Tesco Stores Ltd
- Harris v Goddard
- Mascall v Mascall
- Conservative and Unionist Central Office v Burrell
- BP Exploration Co (Libya) Ltd v Hunt (No 2)
- Multinational Gas and Petrochemical Co v Multinational Gas and Petrochemical Services Ltd
- R v Quick
- Re Vandervell's Trustees Ltd (No 2)
- Butler Machine Tool Co Ltd v Ex-Cell-O Corp Ltd
- Rose v Plenty
- Holwell Securities Ltd v Hughes
- Macarthys Ltd v Smith
- Fagan v Metropolitan Police Commissioner
- R v Blaue
- Clay Cross (Quarry Services) Ltd v Fletcher
- Spartan Steel & Alloys Ltd v Martin & Co (Contractors) Ltd
- "Obituary: Sir Frederick Lawton". Daily Telegraph. 6 February 2001. Retrieved 12 May 2015.
- James Morton (5 February 2001). "Obituary: Lord Justice Lawton". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 May 2015.
- Chris Mullin (2009). A View from the Foothills : The Diaries of Chris Mullin. Profile Books. p. 169. ISBN 9781846682230.