The Recorder of Dublin was a judicial office holder in pre-Independence Ireland.

Functions and duties of the Recorder edit

The Recorder was the chief magistrate for Dublin, and heard a wide range of civil and criminal cases. The office existed by the late fifteenth century. From information given during a debate on the duties of the Recorder in the English House of Commons in 1831, it seems that he sat twice a week, with extra sessions as and when the workload required. Unlike his counterpart the Recorder of Cork, he never seems to have had a Deputy. His chief responsibility was to keep the peace, and he also controlled the number of pubs in the city. The duties were so onerous – by the 1830s the Recorder was hearing roughly 2,000 cases a year – that some Recorders sought promotion to the High Court bench in the belief that the workload there would be lighter. The Recorder also acted on occasion as a mediator in conflicts between the central government and Dublin Corporation.

Although he held a full-time judicial office, the Recorder, unlike the High Court judges, was not debarred from sitting in the Irish House of Commons, and despite their heavy workload, several Recorders served as MPs while sitting on the Bench. After the Act of Union 1800 the Recorder was eligible to sit in the English House of Commons, although an objection was made to this in 1832, on the grounds that a judge should not sit in Parliament and a minority of MPs supported making the Recordership incompatible with a seat in the Commons. Nonetheless, Sir Frederick Shaw, the Recorder in question, continued in his dual role for many years, until he stepped down as MP in 1848. There was apparently no objection to his combining the office of Recorder with that of a Law Officer: Sir Richard Ryves, Recorder of Dublin 1680–1685, was a King's Serjeant for part of the same period.

The Recorder was not a Crown appointee: he was elected by the Corporation of Dublin, although he could be dismissed by the Crown. There is an interesting account of the election of Dudley Hussey in 1784, when he defeated three rival candidates for office.[1] He was only one of two officials of Dublin Corporation who were elected, the other being the Clerk of the Tholsel.[2]

History of the Office edit

Thomas Cusack is named as Recorder of Dublin in 1488. He had clearly held the office in the previous year, when like all the Irish judiciary, he had supported the attempt by the pretender Lambert Simnel to claim the English Crown, and following Simnel's crushing defeat was now required to do penance for his treason and swear fealty to the Tudor dynasty. His disgrace was short-lived: Sir Richard Edgcumbe, who administered the oath of fealty to him, dined with him "with great cheer".[3]

There is then a gap on the records until the sixteenth century, when the office of Recorder was held by Thomas Fitzsimon in 1547, and by his son-in-law James Stanihurst, Speaker of the Irish House of Commons, in 1564. The last Recorder was Sir Thomas O'Shaughnessy. The Recordership was abolished in 1924 and the Recorder's functions transferred to the new Circuit Court.[4]

List of holders of the office of Recorder of Dublin 1487–1924 (incomplete) edit

Holders of the position have included:

Sir Frederick Shaw, Recorder of Dublin 1828-1876

References edit

  • F. Elrington Ball (1926) The Judges in Ireland, 1221-1921
  • Dictionary of National Biography (DNB)
  • Hansard's Parliamentary Debates 1831
  • Jacqueline R. Hill (1997) From Patriots to Unionists: Dublin Civic Politics and Irish Protestant Patriotism, 1660-1840
  • The Voyage of Sir Richard Edgcumbe into Ireland in 1488

Sources edit

  •   This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain"Stanyhurst, Richard". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.

Notes edit

  1. ^ Hibernian Magazine 1784.
  2. ^ a b c "Stanyhurst, Richard" . Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.
  3. ^ Voyage of Sir Richard Edgcumbe into Ireland in 1488
  4. ^ Courts of Justice Act 1924 s.51.
  5. ^ Voyage of Sir Richard Edgcumbe into Ireland in 1488.
  6. ^ Ball vol. I p. 223.
  7. ^ Ball vol. I p. 227.
  8. ^ "Talbot, William (d.1633)" . Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.
  9. ^ "Bolton, Richard" . Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.
  10. ^ "Barry, James (1603-1672)" . Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.
  11. ^ a b Hill p. 391.
  12. ^ a b His DNB article.
  13. ^ Ball vol. I p. 365.
  14. ^ Ball vol. II p. 61.
  15. ^ a b Hill p. 392.
  16. ^ Hill p. 321.
  17. ^ Sylvanus, Urban (1785). The Gentleman's Magazine. Vol. part II. London: John Nichols. p. 1007.
  18. ^ George Baronets
  19. ^ "East of the Great North Road". Archived from the original on 26 October 2007. Retrieved 5 June 2009.
  20. ^ By Paymaster Captain Reginald P Walker published 1939.
  21. ^ "The Shaw Family and Bushy Park, Dublin". Archived from the original on 7 October 2009. Retrieved 5 June 2009.