Hugh Wooding's family hailed from Barbados. He received a scholarship to study law at the Middle Temple in London, after which he returned to Trinidad and worked all over the Caribbean. He became known as "Tiger " from his tenacity in court and would represent poorer people for a minimal fee. In 1937, he was made a CBE.
In 1962, he was appointed the first Chief Justice of the newly independent Trinidad and Tobago, a post he held until 1968. He was made a Queen's Counsel (QC). He was invested with a knighthood in the 1963 New Year Honours and made a Privy Counsellor in 1966.
He chaired in 1968 a commission of inquiry into rebellions in Bermuda, concluding that the authors of the uprisings were coloured youth who felt discriminated against by (the predominantly white) police and also felt economically disadvantaged. In 1970, he sat before a committee which examined the legal situation of the Freeport region in the Bahamas.
From 1941, Hugh Wooding also engaged in politics, and in 1943 was elected mayor of Port of Spain. He was also an active freemason and was involved in the promotion of the arts, but also supported, for example, the efforts of cyclists to establish an independent cycling federation. In 1971 he worked in a commission for the reform of the constitution of Trinidad and Tobago and from 1971 until his death was Chancellor of the University of the West Indies. He is also considered a pioneer and co-founder of legal education in the West Indian region and the Hugh Wooding Law School in Saint Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago, is named in his honour. In 1969 he was awarded the Trinity Cross, the then highest medal of Trinidad and Tobago.
Wooding married Anne Marie Coussey, a British-educated African from a well-to-do Gold Coast family. She had previously been romantically involved with American poet Langston Hughes in Paris, and continued a long correspondence until she married Wooding.
He died of a heart attack.
- "PROFILE: SIR HUGH WOODING S.C., O.B.E. 1904 - 1974". Council of Legal Education-Hugh Wooding Law School. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
- Tamra B. Orr: Cultures of the World: Bermuda, 1997, S. 75
- Michael Crayton/Gail Saunders, Islanders in the Stream. A History of the Bahamian People. Vol. 2, 1998, S. 355.
- Article based on equivalent article on German Wikipedia