James Weston Leonard

  (Redirected from James Watson Leonard)

James Weston Leonard (20 April 1853 – 3 September 1909) was an influential politician of South Africa and Attorney-General of the Cape Colony.[1]

James Leonard
James W. Leonard.jpg
Attorney-General of the Cape Colony
In office
Jul 1882 – May 1884
Prime MinisterThomas Scanlen
Preceded byThomas Scanlen
Succeeded byThomas Upington
In office
Jan 1881 – May 1881
Prime MinisterGordon Sprigg
Preceded byThomas Upington
Succeeded byThomas Scanlen
Parliament of Cape Colony
In office
Personal details
James Weston Leonard

(1853-04-20)20 April 1853
Somerset East, Cape Colony
Died3 September 1909(1909-09-03) (aged 56)
Brussels, Belgium
NationalitySouth African

Early life and educationEdit

Leonard was born in Somerset East and received his schooling at Gill College. He studied law at the University of Cape Town, graduating with a LLB in 1876.[2]


In the same year that he obtained his degree, he became a member of the Cape Bar and practised at the Cape until 1888.[3]

He served as Member of the Cape Legislative Assembly for Oudtshoorn (1880–88) and served as Attorney General in the governments of Cape Prime Ministers, Gordon Sprigg in 1881 and Thomas Scanlen from 1882 until 1884. In 1883, at the age of thirty, he received the status of QC.

After the discovery of gold he settled in Johannesburg and from 1888 he practised at the Johannesburg Bar and was implicated in the Jameson Raid of 1895–6. In 1899 he moved to London.[2]


  1. ^ "The Late James W. Leonard, K.C." South African Law Journal. 27: 1. 1910.
  2. ^ a b Kahn, Ellison (1991). Law, life, and laughter : legal anecdotes and portraits. Cape Town: Juta. p. 136. ISBN 0-7021-2693-4. OCLC 28343463.
  3. ^ Who was Who: A Companion to "who's who" containing the biographies of those who died during the period 1897–1916. London: A & C Black Limited. 1920. p. 425.